State of the Momma: August 2013

This weekend, I ran the America’s Finest City 5k and set a personal record. On four hours of sleep. On a course with The Hill That Never Ends. By myself.

I'm kind of a big deal.

I’m kind of a big deal. (Photo credit: kind stranger)

In the wee hours of the morning of this year’s race, Suzianne simply would not sleep. Around 3:30 a.m., I was laying on the rug next to her crib plotting my Ninja escape from her nursery when my mind drifted and started processing the new and improved, Margie, The Momma, Aug. 2013 Edition.

What a difference a year makes.

In August 2012, Dave and I moved to from D.C. to San Diego to start a public relations firm. Suzianne was five months old. Krissi and Reese helped me finish packing up:

My expert logistics team.

My expert logistics team.

(Dave left on August 10 to drive West with his soulmate)

Just a man, his poodle, and the open road.

Just a man, his poodle, and the open road.

On August 11, Suzianne and I made our move across the country. On an airplane. No way I’m driving cross-country with an infant.

Ubering to the airport.

Ubering to the airport, while Suzianne makes a weird air-nursing face.

This picture sums up my life for the first few weeks of SoCal living; I could barely function:

A type-A momma's worst nightmare.

A Type-A momma’s worst nightmare.

Mom’s place flooded the night we arrived (water heater), so we were hotel-hopping for awhile. During this time, a dear friend in Nashville passed away, and one of my father figures in Knoxville was given weeks to live. But I was too fogged up by pregnancy hormones, financial strains and moving logistics to travel home to Tennessee. Writing that sentence is a nausea-inducing. WTF? Where were my priorities? Guest question. Honestly, I have no idea how to explain the way my brain processed things at that time.

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Things you’ll discover once you have children

There are many things you may not fully understand until you have a baby. Here are three recent discoveries of mine:

Dumbo is trippy and racist. Don’t get me wrong, scenes like this are positively lovely and make me weep. And I love this one about how babies arrive. The problem comes when you’re all snuggled up with your toddler and the crows start talking:

Dave and I had already furrow-browed, squinted and head-tilted our way through the horrifically trippy “Elephant’s on Parade” scene. But this black crows business made us downright uncomfortable; we just kept glancing to the TV, at each other, and back again with wide eyes and WTF faces.

How did I go my whole life without knowing Dumbo’s crows are racist? How does a movie with such hurtful content win an Oscar? (Well, it was 1941, sigh) To tell you the truth, I’m sort of traumatized by the whole thing. Next time Suzianne needs a Disney fix, we’ll be peeping out Cinderella.

Everyone poops, but not everyone talks about poop.Poop is a totally acceptable adult conversation topic. When you’re preggers, folks warn you that you’ll be talking about poop a lot. They don’t explain that you’ll be talking about–and comparing–poop color, smell, frequency, texture, hardness, and velocity with your friends, neighbors and complete strangers, and that none of that will seem odd to you.

And when you and your spouse talk about how the baby’s morning is going, you will hear something like:

Spouse: She’s good. But her poop was a little dark. At first, I thought it was black (panic- inducing) and so I was going to wake you up and have you look at it. But once I held it up to the light, I saw that it was only dark green (not-panic-inducing).

You: Must have been all those blueberries she ate yesterday.

You’ll also discover that if your child is regular, that is to be celebrated because you’re one of the lucky ones. Some babies are constipated, or simply refuse to poop. This means that when you invite their parents over for drink, they’re often forced to say no because their baby is “in mid-poop.”

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Baby’s first hooky

The sequence of emotions that follows seeing the daycare provider’s number on your caller ID in the middle of the day, like I did yesterday, really sucks.

First ring: you get that pit in your stomach and your hands tingle (not in the good way, like when you’ve had a bit too much wine, but the holy crap something horrible just happened way.)

Second ring: you are certain your child has lost an eye, has broken something or has simply stopped breathing altogether. The situation is gruesome and life-threatening, and you haven’t even Googled it yet.

Third ring: you finally answer the phone and the caregiver tells you your child is inconsolable. She doesn’t have a fever, she just won’t stop crying and is so tired and miserable and can you come get her?

The good thing about incorrectly assuming your child is ER-bound is that hearing “your child is crying and miserable” is fabulous news!

Clearly, your child at this moment has needs only her momma parents can fulfill.

About 30 minutes after the call came, Dave pulls up to the house with my poor, miserable baby. From the two giant pair of crossed eyes I see peeking out from the backseat, I see that he’d enlisted Suzianne’s life-size Cookie Monster for back up. That Dave is always thinking ahead.

As I approach the car, I am wringing my hands and mentally preparing for the worst. Then, I hear it…

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Things I did not understand until I had a baby

They say having a child gives you a change in perspective. They are correct. I’m not talking about a new-found understanding of sleep deprivation as a form of torture, “experiencing a love like no other” or even the development of your new pain tolerance standards (would you say it was labor painful? or just broken limb painful?).

What I am talking about is the acceptance–if not the active practice–of things you used to have no tolerance for, like:

Cars full of crap. 

Before baby: So, you’ve procreated and now you can’t clean out your backseat? Really? Sure, I’ll ride back here. No problem. Let me just brush these soggy Cheerios off the seat and side step these three sad, gnawed on action figures. No, no, really it’s fine. I’m sure whatever wet substance I just put my hand in is not pee.

Now: This morning, our backseat inventory included: four books, two very large stuffed animals, a beach towel, a spoiled bottle of milk, two milk bottle caps, sand, one sock, a car seat the size of Texas, and an Elmo mirror. Don’t look in the trunk, it’s a mess. However, should we take a spontaneous trip to the beach, we’re all set thanks to the beach umbrella, a beach chair, two beach towels and the bucket of beach toys that reside in the trunk. Last week, we also toted around TWO strollers for our one child.

The lure of the Mini Van.

Before baby: Have you lost your mind? You birthed a baby, not the Brady Bunch. No one requires a vehicle that big unless they have four kids who take surfing and/or pole-vaulting lessons.

Now: Whoa. Maybe we need one of these:

Every now and then, I entertain the idea of a larger vehicle. The only thing that keeps me from seriously considering a mini van is Dave’s theory about getting a larger house, car, or office: in every case, the more space you give yourself, the more stuff you’ll end up collecting to fill it. If what we are doing to our four-door Volkswagen is any indication, we do not need this temptation.

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One of these things is not like the other one

Here’s how Princess Kate rolls ONE DAY after giving birth to the future King of England:

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 3.13.31 PM

{Slow Clap}.

That, friends, is a woman with a newborn who took a shower AND brushed her teeth on the same day.

Not only did she look stunning, she carried her baby and walked–unassisted and without limping–down a flight of stairs into a gaggle of the World’s press. Without so much as one grimace.

Let’s compare Kate’s exit to how I left the hospital, THREE days after birthing Suzianne:


I can haz 10 Motrin?

That is a photo of a woman who has not bathed in four days. Although, I did manage to brush my teeth on Day Two:


When I left the hospital, I was wheeled out. Not just because it was hospital protocol, but because I could not hardly walk.

I wore pajamas and house shoes–the same exact outfit that I would wear for the next three days. Probably longer, had Suzianne not peed all over it.

Over the next three weeks, I would be completely overwhelmed and paralyzed at the very thought of having to greet visitors. Even when they were family members.

My pregnancy and labor were nearly perfect, but the act of giving birth really wrecked my body and mind. If ever there was a time to be happy NOT to be a Royal, it was this week, as I watched a woman who just gave birth greet the World graciously and gracefully. Two things it literally took me months to do…and no one was publishing my picture or commenting on the remains of my bump.

How to: Crying It Out

Crying It Out, also known as The Ferber Method, really does work. It’s a good thing, too, because you’ll be re-Crying-It-Out every month or so. Blame teething, colds, growth spurts, etc.

I know I’ve been absent lately, but when it comes to Crying It Out, just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been sharing my experiences with the Internet. Here’s an Insta-gem from April, when Suzianne could stand up, but could not figure out how to lay back down:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 3.18.15 PM

Here’s June, when she was positive there was a party in the next room she should have been invited to:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 3.16.47 PM

Most of the time, the Crying It Out training we first initiated back in November 2012 really works. We started it when Suzianne was about seven months old. Thanks to a few nights of wine and standing our ground, we now are able to lay her down in her crib and she’ll fall asleep on her own without incident within 10-15 minutes:  IMG_7510

When that happens, this happens:


Not pictured: the glasses of craft beer we were enjoying.

Many folks have asked about our Crying It Out formula. Here’s what I did for my baby, who was seven months old at the time. Continue reading

What you missed: tantrums

At the 15 month mark, Suzianne bestowed upon us the blessed gift of toddler drama:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 3.36.46 PM

Fortunately, Suzianne and I were flying cross-country during her first real inconsolable tantrum. That’s right, just a momma, her demon spawn and 130 strangers. And a Bloody Mary in a kids cup with a bendy straw.

For 4.5 hours, we wrestled on and off the seats, up and down the aisle. At one point I Momma Mean Whispered, “you are the reason adults cry when they see babies on a plane.” The woman beside me said, “So true, but I do love her hair.”

Then, as the freakin landing gear lowered, so did her eyelids. I was left with this in my lap for the last 15 minutes of the flight:


As the evidence actual sleep became clear, a chorus of “You’ve got to be kidding me”‘s echoed throughout the cabin. Yeah, people, tell me about it.

Then, of course, nothing could wake her:



Woe unto you, parents of 12 – 14 month olds. One day, you’ll wake up to find your 15 month old, formerly happy-go-lucky baby looking at you like a Walking Dead cast member:  IMG_7466

This is the toddler warning shot.

I have no advice for you.

Just be sure you’ve got a fully stocked bar. You’ll also need a flask because most of the tantrums happen in public.

Suzianne is especially prone to playground scream fests. The hallmark these is a Boneless Meltdown, followed by Flailing About In Momma’s Arms, and topped off by the Unbendable Toddler Plank, which prohibits stroller insertion. I don’t have any of that on video because I need every available appendage to keep her from falling and busting her head open.

The good news: this phase only lasted about four weeks. She’s about 16.5 months old now and only really goes boneless when I retrieve her in the mornings. She wants her Daddy, not me. But that’s another post…

What a Zoo

I don’t mean to be critical, but I have a bone to pick with the San Diego Zoo. As card carrying Zoo members, we consider ourselves lucky to be just a few miles away from one of the country’s most famous conservation organizations.


When was the last time you were strolling through a zoo and had to move out of the way of The World’s Largest Double Decker Bus every 10 minutes?

It's coming.

It’s coming. (Photo: Flickr user Asim Bharwani)

I’d have taken a photo of my own to show it to you, but I can’t be distracted while trying to peep out the Koala’s AND preparing myself to hurl a 16 month old and anyone’s granny I see out of the path of a BUS rolling through the WALKWAY.

Who’s idea was this? To drive through a sea of slow-moving, face-painted, oblivious-to-anything-not-clinging-to-a-tree sight seekers and tourists. This is not a smart idea.

Until Suzianne actually starts responding to commands like, “Hey, don’t get hit by a bus the size of Manhattan,” we’ll be sticking to Sea World. No busses there. Besides, Sea World gives you these awesome beer glasses to walk around with.


Which are great to have on hand when your Suzianne’s a snoozin:




And so…hi! It’s been four months since I’ve blogged. Sorry about that. Welcome back, us. We’ve got quite a bit to catch up on.


I'm kind of a big deal.

I’m kind of a big deal.

On March 5, 2012, I was in labor in our living room, craving pineapple and fretting over who would let the dog outside if we indeed went to the hospital. A mere eight hours later, Suzianne came flying out into the world. Life–and my understanding of the importance of great stitch-work–would never be the same.

As you know, the first seven months were rough. Not for Suzianne, thankfully, just for me. I simply could not shake the feeling that everything I was doing was wrong. That taking care of an infant was a challenge I simply was not cut out for. Facebook posts from others served as a constant reminder that being a new mom was so fun (snuggle time!) and easy (playdates! weddings! road trips!) for everyone else but me.

From the worry that I would never figure out the logistics of leaving the house, to the fear of a public meltdown I could not stop, to challenges with breastfeeding and my tiny body giving out at inopportune moments. I still get breathless when I think about it.

One thing I did rock out though: cross country air travel. Like a boss.

I now realize that it is laughable, how seriously I took the whole thing. So what if your baby’s prolonged nap, or lack thereof, makes you late to your doctors appointment? So what if she melts down at a restaurant–then on the street and on the train? So what if your kitchen is a mess? Oh, Lord, last summer, every time folks tried to tell me “calm down” or “that is just what babies do,” I would just cry.

Just one year later, those anxieties feel a world away. I am myself again–mentally and physically. Though both of those transitions took so much longer than I’d imagined.

For Suzianne, one year on earth has brought her from blob-of-amazing-cheeks to a toddling, tiny human.

Once they hit six months, the cognitive, social and emotional developments come on fast and strong. This month, Suzianne began pointing at objects, holding up books for us to read, and responding to requests (where is your baby doll? do you want milk? where is Georgia?). In fact, her first words, “baby” and possibly “Georgia,” were just this week.

We celebrated her one year like anyone would in the presence of Granny Sue Sue: with a fabulous dinner at The Palm, complete with flower arrangements, party favors and a sash.

Pre-party with daddy.

Pre-party with daddy.

IMG_6173 IMG_6214 IMG_6213



The Cake!


But the thing I thought was the most brilliant was the floor covering:


Granny Sue Sue can throw a party. Anyone of my friends from Elementary and High School can vouch for that! It’s been so fun having Suzianne and her Granny only one mile apart. What a blessing.

Our girl is growing fast. She’ll be walking before we know it. And talking. Lord help us!

Suzianne, we are so grateful for you. We thank God daily that you are healthy, happy and curious. I also thank God my hormones finally leveled out so that you can I can actually enjoy each other. You are perfect in every way, my love. It is an honor to be your momma.

Happy First Birthday, Suzianne! We love you!

Happy First Birthday, Suzianne! We love you!


Three reasons type-A’s make great mothers

I used to beat myself up over being a Type-A mother.

Not sure about the heart disease part, but the rest of it sounds accurate.

But over the past month, I got my groove back. I’ve now discovered several aspects of this “personality trait” that make me a freakin’ awesome mother.

Type-A mommas inherently are:

1. Futzers. We can’t sit still when there are Christmas tree pine needles on the floor that need Swiffering, a diaper drawer that needs re-organzing, bottles that need washing, laundry that needs folding, and a baby book that needs to be taken out, flipped through, and then put away without updating. You call it OCD or ADD, we call it productivity and a clean house. Potato, patattah. Whatevs. Ya’lls socks are clean.

2. Always prepared and highly organized. Laugh all you want at my massive diaper bag. We’ll see who is snorting when your baby needs extra pants, a blanket, bib, a bedtime story, socks, Orajel, Tylenol, solid food, one of my four pacifiers, formula from my tower, or a mini Sophie. Awe, no, I’m just kidding. I’ll come to your rescue, but I’m totally gonna give you a judgy, lifted-eyebrow, “I told you so” look.

3. Not afraid of you, child. Listen, honey. I made your face INSIDE OF MY BODY while I was working, commuting AND avoiding alcohol. I will wash that face when I feel like it. Also, I will trim those nails of yours, even if I have to sneak into your room in the middle of the night. See, these things are on momma’s to-do list, and you, sweet love of her life, are not going to gum your way out of this. Now, come here and let’s fix that hair…