Friday, October 29, 2010

They say it's your birthday...

It's my birthday too, yeah.

Okay, not really. My birthday's on Halloween.

But, alas, Halloween is all about the kiddos. Little Guy is going to be Buzz Lightyear (complete with cheesy store bought blow up wings, oh yeah, it's like that). Girlie is going to be a vampire (with silver sparkly spray on hair, probably the only time she'll be happy to have gray hair).

For a few weeks, the kids have both been off the hook about Halloween. We'll carve pumpkins and gather at the neighbors to eat pizza, and then head out for trick or treating. Sure, there will be a cake for me amid the festivities. Fun, but not the adult kind.

So I'm celebrating early (and late) starting with a date with Hubs tonight. We're gonna have a good time...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The countdown: rinse & repeat style...

No. Today isn't Halloween.

Nope. Not tomorrow either.

Uh uh. A few more days.

What? No, I said a few more days.

How many?


Three more days. Count them on your fingers. Like this see- 1 -2 - 3.

No you can't put on your costume.


I just told you today isn't halloween.

No, tomorrow isn't Halloween.

No, we can't open the candy today.

Because it's not Halloween yet!!

What? No, not tomorrow either.

What am I going to be?

An annoyed Mommy.

I said an annoyed Mommy.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fiction class

Arrange for the sitter, get dinner ready, make sure Girlie's homework is done, pre-pack lunches for the next day, make sure Little Guy has clean PJs, walk the dog, have some cash on hand, read and thoughtfully comment on the pieces. I feel like a conductor, warming up each section, hoping it will all come together. The concert starts Tuesdays at 5:30 sharp.

It is all worth it as soon as my foot hits the sidewalk. I walk to the train. On the subway, I pretend to read while I eavesdrop on conversations. The classes are held across from the Public Gardens, just down the street from Emerson College. The streets are filled with people rushing to the trains after work and college students who move in slow packs, because they're in no hurry. I tuck into the crowd, anonymous, on my own path. I walk quickly and my footsteps are surprisingly light without the children in tow. I enter the building, ride up the ancient elevator (there's a sign that says to make sure the emergency switch is fully up, or the elevator won't operate), and find my place at the table, usually in the same seat, but not always. I listen and read aloud and share my opinion. People listen to me. At the end of it, I come home, walk through dark streets to my house.

And then I sit wide awake, like tonight, not able to sleep from the excitement of it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dude, pull up your pants...

So Little Guy is finally potty trained, knows when he has to go, rarely has accidents, etc. It didn't take as long as I thought it would. In the end, an enormous (and expensive) talking Buzz Lightyear sealed the deal. My youngest is out of diapers, now that's something. Of course, it can never be too easy.

He strips from the waist down every time, so I always have to completely re-dress him. But that isn't the worst of it, because whenever he's outside and has to pee, he seems to think it makes perfect sense to just drop his pants and go. Anytime, anywhere, rain or shine. Not too embarrassing in the backyard, but at the park or when we're walking the dog or taking out the trash...


Saturday, October 23, 2010


So I zipped in to pick Little Guy up from preschool yesterday after spending the better part of the day at Grubstreet. As I mentioned previously, I attended the screening of a documentary followed by a discussion, all around women and the sacrifices required to pursue artistic careers. The film was inspiring, but also as my friend Paige put it, a little depressing. On a side note, there is always some completely crazy person at these writing events. Not crazy, like wow I'm a busy Mom, but crazy, like sedate me and lock me up in the looney bin. I'm not going to think too hard about why some nutjob always shows up in these groups. Really. I'm not.

Anyway, Little Guy loves his school. During pick up and drop off, he's all smiles. It was tough for me to decide to send him two full days (as opposed to several half days). Its expensive and he definitely doesn't nap as well there. But he seems really happy (happy enough, that I'd love to send him three days, but it's a little out of the budget, universe are you listening). I've been getting a ton more writing done on the days he is gone and, like yesterday, attending some events that I hope will help me belong to a writing community.

When I got there, he ran across the room screaming "Moooooommmyy!" and hugged me really tight. He planted a huge kiss on my cheek. Dropping him a full day has been better than fine, good even.

This motherhood thing is so complicated. Or maybe I am making it that way.

Because, sometimes, it just isn't.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Who Does She Think She Is?

Today I am heading down to Grubstreet to attend a screening of Who Does She Think She Is? The film is about the obstacles mothers are faced with when pursuing a career. There will be a discussion afterwards led by Jane Roper, of Baby Squared.

This is a topic near and dear to my heart, something I've been thinking about a great deal lately. It is no secret that motherhood, or parenthood (let's include the Dads here too) isn't easy. It isn't supposed to be and really, I find most of the discussions of just how hard it is to be incredibly boring (unless they're funny, then bring it on, we all need a good commiserative laugh). Yes, you have to make tough choices. Often. Having a baby completely changes everything.

What I do find interesting is that men seem to have an easier time weathering the transition. They usually able to stick to the same career path. They don't cut hours, switch jobs, or reduce expectations for themselves.

There are always exceptions, but in my situation, we chose a pretty traditional approach. My career took second stage when we had kids. I left my corporate position. The plan was for me to work some sort of flexible job, or not at all, until our youngest child (we planned for 1 or 2) was in kindergarten. I opened a store, I started writing, all things that could work around the family situation. This is the part where I should tell you how much I love my kids and how the sacrifice has been worth it. Duh. Of course I love them.

We are two years away from Little Guy starting kindergarten and I am working to fully come to terms with the fact that my original plan was ridiculous. To be successful at a corporation (and I'd want to be), I'd need to go back to putting in the 10-12 hour days, working late into the evening, not to mention nailing down an MBA. The truth is that, because of the kids, and the way I am choosing to raise them, I will never be able to return to the career I had before. And to top it off, Hubs' career has now become more demanding and he travels a good bit, so someone needs to be home. He also makes more money that I will be able to upon re-entry, which means that I will likely be the one juggling the appointments, the sick days, etc. Taking a step back was my always my choice, but I'm not sure I understood the longer term implications.

The path I have taken is the same for many of the mothers I know. A lawyer friend took reduced hours (and got knocked off the partner track), a doctor took an administrative position, a writer became an editor (not that editing is less demanding, but the hours were more conducive to family life, and this gal loves to write). Some of the women I know, women with advanced degrees and tons of talent, have stopped working entirely. Yet I can't think of one man in our circle who has done that. Why is that?

So the question is not about equality, I think we've gotten way past that. The question seems to be about whether it is more wrong for a woman to choose career over family than it is for a man to make the same decision. And why, when the time comes, isn't it just as likely that one OR the other will take a step back?

Is motherhood that different from fatherhood? Does it have to be? Maybe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What's in store

Something about October always makes me miss having a store. Probably because this was the month when all of the good stuff came in and I would spend every waking second on merchandising. By November 1st, the displays would be loaded, not just with holiday merchandise, but with the best of the best of everything we carried, and a few surprises. The holiday season is when people splurge, so setting the stage with that mentality was always fun.

I spotted an empty retail space in Wellesley last week, so I've been tossing around store names. They're all horrible, but that's okay. I've got some time to work on it. We opened our last place without financing, but real estate is crazy expensive around here, so that isn't likely to happen any time soon.

So I am not working on holiday displays, but this week I decorated our front door for Halloween. I gathered some branches from our yard and made an arch over the doorway, draped a dollar bag of spider cotton over it, and hung some skulls. I love how it turned out a little Day of the Dead.

You'll notice that we still don't have pumpkins. We went to a farm this weekend, but the ones there weren't very inspiring. The best ones I've seen so far are at Trader Joes, so that might end up being our pumpkin picking excursion this year.

I keep telling myself that this non-working time in my life is just a season. Like Halloween, it will soon be over and I'll be on to the next thing. For now I'm writing some decent fiction and reading a ton. I'm just beginning to figure out new freelance opportunities. The kids are settled and we have enough of everything, even without me working.

It's really not the actual situation that bothers me, as much as the not knowing what's in store for the future. And that's just silly, isn't it? None of us really know.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Down, from head to toe

I've started coat shopping. I have coats of course, but not real coats. I have boots, but not real boots. And my cute knit Anthro hat? I am pretty sure it won't get me past November.

So the process has begun. To be warm enough, I am pretty sure I am going to have to get a little ugly. The first trip through the coat racks didn't go so well, I left the store with a lovely calf length gray leopard wool dress coat and a pretty pair of red gloves.

Not very practical, but so fabulous. And I will need it for a fancy night out, right? You know, because with the two kids, I have a ton of those on the horizon.

I might need a winter-vention.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Holidays?

This week the temperature has been in the mid-fifties during the day and in the high forties at night, just like Thanksgiving in Georgia or Christmas in Arizona. I have a strange urge to pop a turkey in the oven.

This will be our first winter in Boston and we've been trying to be proper New Englanders about the weather. That means no complaining (early on anyway, I hear in March all bets are off), and no turning on the heat this early. Or so we thought. After a quick poll of the neighborhood, turns out everyone turned on the heat two days ago. Why didn't we get the memo?

We have radiators and it only took a few minutes to take the chill out of the air. I love radiator heat. Love it so much I could hug it. Except I can't hug it, of course, because ouch. But seriously, radiant heat is toasty. I am sure there are some practical reasons why everyone has gotten rid of it. Like those horrible glare-ish light bulbs we all have to switch to by 2014 (and I might be hoarding the old bulbs, but that's another post), forced air heat is probably more efficient somehow, but the old fashioned way just feels nicer. And as a bonus, the pipes heat up the basement.

I took a peek at the forecast and it looks like it isn't going to warm up again. Until March. Or April. Maybe I'll pretend it's one long ongoing holiday season.

Cookie anyone?

Friday, October 15, 2010


I have always had a pretty good sense of direction. If I've been somewhere once, I can usually remember how to get back, and if I have a general idea of where something is, I can find it. My brain just works that way.

I wish I could apply that characteristic, and my confidence in it, to my life. Lately I have been worrying about the whole back to work situation. The plan is that I will go back again when Little Guy starts kindergarten, which is two years away. There are some things I need do to prepare for that. Freelance writing? Back to school? MFA? Retail? Start my own business again or work for a corporation? There are many options, but I am a little lost.

Left or right? Full or part-time?

I think I need a map.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Eight is enough

Girlie is at the perfect age. If I could figure out a way to freeze her at 8, I might be tempted to do it. The spot-on commentary,the endless supply of positive energy, the gaps in her smile where the teeth are missing, the hair long and natural and curling at the ends, the snarky but not too snarky sense of humor. Last week , she finally learned to turn a cartwheel at gymnastics. She's fantastic really.

I read to both of the kids every night before bed. Since Girlie likes older books (we're halfway through the Narnia series), I read to them individually. More often than not, Hubs is out of town and by the time I get to her, I have wrestled Little Guy through the dinner, bath, PJs, teeth, books, bed thing and I am completely exhausted.

On my way to her room at night, I almost always wish I could skip reading to her. She's old enough to shower, jump into PJ's, and do the whole routine herself. She can read to herself too, and often does. So I almost always think about bagging on the book time and heading for the couch to spend a little time with Don Draper and a brimming glass of cabernet. But then, I get to her room and there she is with that little gappish smile and I can't. I don't.

Sometimes we talk after the books. Last night she told me about a boy in her class. She's not old enough to like any of them yet, but this guy sits at her lunch table and she says he's pretty nice. What makes him nice I ask? She tells me that he's a good listener, you know, for a boy. I tell her I do know.

Can we just stick with eight?