As is my way... paranoia kicked in... and I Googled.

Last night in bed, I started scratching my left hand and right arm. Vigorously. I turned on my handy little flashlight app and saw that I indeed had two new bug bites. Mosquitoes? Spiders? I tend to have pretty significant reactions to both.

In any case, I was pretty sure they were mosquito bites - and after a rather lengthy session of scratching, (yes, I know you're not supposed to), I finally fell back asleep.

Cut to a few hours later, when I awoke from a strange dream - and something occurred to me:

Wait a minute... Can the Zika virus be passed through breast milk?

Shit. It probably can. What if I was bitten by an infected mosquito? Crap.

So, I googled, as is my way. I found this article on Kelly Mom, which states the following:

"To date, there are no reports of infants getting Zika virus through breastfeeding.Because of the benefits of breastfeeding, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed even in areas where Zika virus is found. 

Hmm. No reports eh? Well, Zika is relatively new here in the United States and they just discovered/reported that it can be transmitted through blood and semen. It was also just reported today that  279 pregnant women in the U.S. and its territories have the illness. (157 women in the 50 states and 122 in the U.S. territories).

I conferred with John, who basically thinks I'm being insane - and he's probably right. I have a tendency - but the thing is, better safe than sorry!

I'm down to one feeding a day with her - and I think now might be a really fantastic time to just cut it out. She doesn't even seem that interested anyway and derives a great deal of joy from holding a bottle on her own. She gets crazy distracted while breastfeeding - and frankly, I'm kind-of over it.

Our pediatrician said anything past 6 months is bonus territory - and that the 6 months is really for immunity-building purposes and so she's covered, seeing as how she's 7.5 months now.

Part of me can't help but be concerned about her last feeding now.

And part of me can't help but think this is a sign. It's time to cut her off. Nobody seems to know what the deal is with this virus - and I just don't want to take any chances.

I'm sure that some will interpret this as some kind of lame excuse to cut the baby off from the milk bar prematurely - but I can assure you, it's not. I'm paranoid. If something happened to my baby that could've been prevented, I think I'd pretty much want to die.

So, I think this is it. I think she's done.

We will see how it goes.


Not Surprisingly, I'm Way More Into Mother's Day Now

I realize this makes me sound like a bit of an asshole - the implication being that I don't love my own mother enough to appreciate Mother's Day more. The reality though, is that until I had my own child, I really couldn't even begin to comprehend the intensity of a mother's love. Now, I am overwhelmed by it - literally consumed. I think about Gypsy all the time. Every decision I make now involves her and I love that. I adore being a mommy - more than I ever thought possible. So, when I called my own mom on Mother's Day, it was different this time, because I finally understood how she felt - and I appreciated her even more than ever. See? Not a complete asshole after all.

Mother's Day, or as we're calling it in our house, Mommy Day, (because really - other than Norman Bates, who calls their mom, mother)? - couldn't have been better as a true 'first' for me.

Gypsy woke me up around 5:00 a.m. She slept through the night, which she's starting to do more. (YAY). I was still tired though, because when she doesn't wake me up in the middle of the night, I get nervous and check on her - and then it takes me a while to go back to sleep. Anyway, I fed her and didn't want to let go of her, so I just kept her in my lap. She started chatting for a bit - and then dozed off... on my chest. I was over the moon. She hasn't done that since she was a newborn. She passed out, as did I not long thereafter, and the two of us cuddled and slept for three full hours. It was blissful.

Then, my husband posts his card for me on my Facebook page. He literally drew me up on a pedestal, made me look hotter than I actually am, (but I'll take it), and while I was slightly embarrassed by the thought of being put up on a pedestal like that, I love knowing that's how he sees me.
Again, I'll take it - especially since I'm one of the last people that belong on a pedestal. I can be a challenge - a real handful even, but I won't go into too much more detail for now.

Then we went to brunch at one of our local haunts, where I basically couldn't choose between sweet or savory and so yes, I ordered two entrees: Avocado toast with roasted tomato, corn, pickled red onions and a fried egg and the most decadent, delicious pancakes on the planet with ricotta and herbs. I put a healthy dent in both. It was awesome. (This was a big deal because I never eat like this). I'm sure I gained back the 5 lbs I just lost, but oh well.

John brought me stunning parrot tulips and a bottle of my favorite chardonnay and that was it. A somewhat lazy, but entirely blissful Sunday with my fambly. It was a perfect first Mommy Day. John and I have been through a lot together. There have been some serious trials - and friends have asked us how we managed to pull through. I'm not really sure, but I am all the more thankful for every single one of our experiences to date... the good, the bad and the ugly, because they brought us here... to where we are now, with Gypsy. I can't imagine a life without her. I never thought I'd sit here reminiscing about the fairly banal aspects of a typical Mother's Day... food, flowers, cards, sleeping infants... but here I am, happier than ever. The simplicity and beauty of it all is just stunning.


Friends... May the 4th be with You

Friends are pretty great -- the loyal ones, the ones who stick by you no matter what... they're invaluable. I consider myself blessed to have a small handful of friends who I could have a veritable nervous breakdown in front of that wouldn't abandon me in my time of need. In fact, it has happened... more than once.

These are my true friends. I think they know who they are. 

Some I speak with or see regularly. Others, I can go a year or so without hearing from and when we reconnect, it's like nothing has really changed. 

Now that I'm a mom in New York City however, I've begun to see the benefit in having other mommy friends. I had a few, but unfortunately, they moved to greener pastures, (literally... Michigan and Colorado). 

I recently reconnected with a friend who I hadn't seen in a handful of years, and guess what?!? She had a baby in that time. In fact, she beat me to the punch by about a year. Her little one is 18 months old and she happens to live in one of the neighborhoods we're contemplating moving to this summer. 

My friends back in California have lots of other mommy friends. And they have cars, so it's fairly easy to do the whole play date thing. In NYC, it's not so easy, especially if those friends live in other boroughs and you have to pack up the baby and all of the crap you need to have on-hand for baby and either use a carrier or a giant stroller to get a baby up and down subway stairs, etc. etc. 

I've done it. It's one of many reasons I'm an even bigger proponent of lightweight, highly compact, old-school strollers, (which I'll be purchasing this week). I've got an 18-lb baby girl and carrying her around on my chest is lovely - until I've done it for almost an hour and my lower back starts telling you that it's time pack it in and go home. 


Late one night not that long ago, I figured I'd google apps for meeting other mommies in the area. They must exist, right? I can't be the only one with a new baby who doesn't know any other mothers. I found a few - but none of the mommies were in my 'hood. I think those apps might all still be in their infancy and I quickly abandoned them. I realize I'm not helping their cause. Then I ran across a few stories about new apps for women meeting other women to hang with. 

It wasn't specifically for mommies, but I figured there are bound to be a few on there... so I signed up. In swiping through profiles, I quickly discovered that the vast majority of participants are 20-something college students or recent grads. Not for me. But, I'd stumble across a profile or two here-and-there of someone in their 30s. I said 'hi' to a few of them. They said hi back. I also found exactly one other mother in Brooklyn. 

We have plans on Friday. 

It's a little weird. I'm aware. It's like dating for friends. And so it's weird. But it's hard making new friends as you get older - even in a city as densely populated as this one.

I met my husband online back in 2004 when everyone thought I was insane for having to 'resort' to internet dating to find the one. In fact, I'd tried as far back as 2000 when I was more or less 'assigned' to look into it for work. I immediately loved it. You're opening your world up to an entirely different set of people you'd probably otherwise never, ever meet. 

And guess what? It fucking worked. I have a kick-ass husband and now we have a kick-ass baby - and we need some kick-ass fellow parent friends to hang with here in Brooklyn. 

So I'm willing to experiment with tech again, to track down some good peeps. Wish me luck. 


So Much Yes.

I am REALLY overdue on posting. That said, I was thrilled to have saved this amazing Huffington Post article, because it says a LOT of things I think about a LOT. 

If you haven't seen it, enjoy!

Are Today’s Parents Getting a Raw Deal?

Summer 1974. I’m 9 years old. By 7:30 a.m., I’m up and out of the house, or if it’s Saturday I’m up and doing exactly what my father, Big Jerry, has told me to do. Might be raking, mowing, digging holes or washing cars.
Summer 2016. I’m tiptoeing out of the house, on my way to work, in an effort not to wake my children who will undoubtedly sleep until 11 a.m. They may complete a couple of the chores I’ve left in a list on the kitchen counter for them, or they may eat stale Cheez-Its that were left in their rooms three days ago, in order to avoid the kitchen at all costs and “not see” the list.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re getting a raw deal where this parenting gig is concerned. When did adults start caring whether or not their kids were safe, happy or popular? I can assure you that Ginny and Big Jerry were not wiling away the hours wondering if my brother and I were fulfilled.
Big Jerry was stoking the fires of his retirement savings and working, and working some more. Ginny was double bolting the door in order to keep us out of the house, and talking on the phone while she smoked a Kent. Meanwhile, we were three neighborhoods away, playing with some kids we’d never met, and we had crossed two major highways on bicycles with semi-flat tires to get there. Odds are, one of us had crashed at some point and was bleeding pretty impressively. No one cared. We were kids and if we weren’t acting as free labor, we were supposed to be out of the house and out of the way.
My personal belief is that the same “woman with too little to do,” that decided it was necessary to give 4-year-old guests a gift for coming to a birthday party, is the same loon who decided we were here to serve our kids and not the other way around.
Think about it. As a kid, what was your costume for Halloween? If you were really lucky, your mom jabbed a pair of scissors in an old sheet, cut two eye holes, and you were a ghost. If her friend was coming over to frost her hair and showed up early, you got one eye hole cut and spent the next 45 minutes using a sharp stick to jab a second hole that was about two inches lower than its partner.
I watched my cousin run directly into a parked car due to this very costume one year. He was still yelling, “Trick or Treat” as he slid down the rear quarter panel of a Buick, mildly concussed. When my son was 3 years old, we had a clown costume made by a seamstress, complete with pointy clown hat, and grease makeup. His grandmother spent more having that costume made than she did on my prom dress.
At some point in the last 25 years, the tide shifted and the parents started getting the marginal cars and the cheap clothes while the kids live like rock stars. We spend enormous amounts of money on private instruction, the best sports gear money can buy, and adhere to crazy competition schedules.
I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve bought the $300 baseball bats with money that should have been invested in a retirement account, traveled from many an AAU basketball game, or travel baseball game, to a dance competition in the course of one day, and failed to even consider why.
Remember Hank Aaron? He didn’t need a $300 bat to be great. Your kid isn’t going pro and neither is mine, but you are going to retire one day — and dumpster-diving isn’t for the elderly. My brother and I still laugh about how, when he played high school baseball, there was one good bat and the entire team used it.
Remember your clothes in the ‘70s? Despite my best efforts to block it out, I can still remember my desperate need to have a pair of authentic Converse shoes. Did I get them? Negative. Oh, was it a punch in the gut when my mother presented me with the Archdale knock-offs she found somewhere between my hometown and Greensboro. Trust me. They weren’t even close. Did I complain? Hell, no. I’m still alive, aren’t I?
We’ve got an entire generation of kids spitting up on outfits that cost more than my monthly electric bill. There were no designer baby clothes when we were kids. Why? Because our parents weren’t crazy enough to spend $60 on an outfit for us to have explosive diarrhea in or vomit on. Our parents were focused on saving for their retirement and paying their house off.
The real beauty of it is that none of these kids are going to score a job straight out of college that will allow them to pay for the necessities of life, brand new cars, and $150 jeans, so guess who’s going to be getting the phone call when they can’t make rent? Yep, we are.
Think back — way, way back. Who cleaned the house and did the yard work when you were a kid? You did. In fact, that’s why some people had children. We were free labor. My mother served as supervisor for the indoor chores, and the house damn well better be spotless when my father came through the door at 5:35. The battle cry went something like this, “Oh, no! Your father will be home in 15 minutes! Get those toys put away nooooow!” The rest of our evening was spent getting up to turn the television on demand, and only to what Dad wanted to watch.
On weekends, Dad was in charge of outdoor work and if you were thirsty you drank out of the hose, because 2 minutes of air conditioning and a glass of water from the faucet might make you soft.
Who does the housework and yardwork now? The cleaning lady that comes on Thursday, and the landscaping crew that comes every other Tuesday. Most teenage boys have never touched a mower, and if you asked my daughter to clean a toilet, she would come back with a four-page paper on the various kinds of deadly bacteria present on toilet seats.
Everyone is too busy doing stuff to take care of the stuff they already have. But don’t get confused, they aren’t working or anything crazy like that. Juggling school assignments, extracurricular activities, and spending our money could become stressful if they had to work.
I don’t recall anyone being worried about my workload being stressful — or my mental health, in general. I don’t think my father was even certain about my birthday until about 10 years ago. Jerry and Ginny had grownup stuff to worry about. As teenagers, we managed our own social lives and school affairs. If Karen, while executing a hair flip, told me my new Rave perm made me look like shit and there was no way Kevin would ever go out with my scrawny ass, my mother wasn’t even going to know about it; much less call Karen’s mother and arrange a meeting where we could iron out our misunderstanding and take a selfie together.
Additionally, no phone calls were ever made to any of my teachers or coaches. Ever. If we sat the bench, we sat the bench. Our dads were at work anyway. They only knew what we told them. I can’t even conceive of my dad leaving work to come watch a ballgame. If I made a 92.999 and got a B, I got a B. No thinly veiled threats were made and no money changed hands to get me that A. (Okay, full disclosure, in my case we would be looking at an 84.9999. I was the poster child for underachievement.)
Back in our day, high school was a testing ground for life. We were learning to be adults under the semi-vigilant supervision of our parents. We had jobs because we wanted cars, and we wanted to be able to put gas in our cars, and wear Jordache jeans and Candies. Without jobs, we had Archdale sneakers and Wranglers, and borrowed our mother’s Chevrolet Caprice, affectionately known as the “land yacht,” on Friday night.
No one, I mean, no one, got a new car. I was considered fairly lucky because my parents bought me a car at all. I use the term “car” loosely. If I tell you it was a red convertible and stop right here, you might think me special. I wasn’t. My car was a red MG Midget, possibly a ‘74 and certainly a death trap.
Had I driven that car in high winds, it’s likely I would have ended up airborne, and there were probably some serious safety infractions committed the night I took 6 people in togas to a convenience store, but I wouldn’t go back and trade it out for a new 280Z, even if I had the chance. I was a challenging teenager, and in retrospect the fact that it was pretty impressive every time I made it home alive, may not have been an accident on the part of my parents.

Go to the high school now. These kids are driving cars that grown men working 55 hours a week can’t afford, and they aren’t paying for them with their jobs.
To top it all off, most of them head off to college without a clue what it’s like to look for a job, apply for it, interview and show up on time, as scheduled. If they have a job, it’s because someone owed their dad a favor... and then they work when it “fits their schedule.”
We all love our kids, and we want to see them happy and fulfilled. But I fear we’re robbing them of the experiences that make life memorable and make them capable, responsible, confident adults. For the majority of us, the very nice things we had as teenagers, we purchased with money we earned after saving for some ungodly amount of time. Our children are given most everything, and sometimes I wonder whether it’s for them or to make us feel like good parents. The bottom line is that you never value something you were given, as much as something you worked for.
There were lessons in our experiences, even though we didn’t know it at the time. 
All those high school cat fights, and battles with teachers we clashed with, were an opportunity for us to learn how to negotiate and how to compromise. It also taught us that the world isn’t fair. Sometimes people just don’t like you, and sometimes you’ll work your ass off and still get screwed. We left high school, problem solvers. I’m afraid our kids are leaving high school with mommy and daddy on speed dial.
We just don’t have the cojones our parents had. We aren’t prepared to tell our kids that they won’t have it if they don’t work for it, because we can’t bear to see them go without and we can’t bear to see them fail. We’ve given them a whole lot of stuff; stuff that will break down, wear out, get lost, go out of style, and lose value.
As parents, I suppose some of us feel pretty proud about how we’ve contributed in a material way to our kid’s popularity and paved an easy street for them. I don’t, and I know there are many of you that are just as frustrated by it as I am. I worry about what we’ve robbed them of, which I’ve listed below, in the process of giving them everything.
1. Delayed gratification is a really good thing. It teaches you perseverance and how to determine the true value of something. Our kids don’t know a damn thing about delayed gratification. To them, delayed gratification is waiting for their phone to charge.
2. Problem-solving skills and the ability to manage emotion are crucial life skills. Kids now have every problem solved for them. Good luck calling their college professor to argue about how they should have another shot at that final because they had two other finals to study for and were stressed. Don’t laugh, parents have tried it.
3. Independence allows you to discover who you really are, instead of being what someone else expects you to be. It was something I craved. These kids have traded independence for new cars and Citizen jeans. They will live under someone’s thumb forever, if it means cool stuff. I would have lived in borderline condemned housing, and survived off of crackers and popsicles to maintain my independence. Oh wait, I actually did that. It pisses me off. You’re supposed to WANT to grow up and forge your way in the world; not live on someone else’s dime, under someone else’s rule, and too often these days, under someone else’s roof.
4. Common sense is that little something extra that allows you to figure out which direction is north, how to put air in your tires, or the best route to take at a certain time of day to avoid traffic. You develop common sense by making mistakes and learning from them. It’s a skill best acquired in a setting where it’s safe to fail, and is only mastered by actually doing things for yourself. By micromanaging our kids all the time, we’re setting them up for a lifetime of cluelessness and ineptitude. At a certain age, that cluelessness becomes dangerous. I’ve seen women marry to avoid thinking for themselves, and for some it was the wisest course of action.
5. Mental toughness is what allows a person to keep going despite everything going wrong. People with mental toughness are the ones who come out on top. They battle through job losses, difficult relationships, illness and failure. It is a quality born from adversity. Adversity is a GOOD thing. It teaches you what you’re made of. It puts into practice the old saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It’s life’s teacher.
I know you’re calling me names right now, and mentally listing all the reasons this doesn’t apply to you and your kid, but remember I’m including myself in this. My kids aren’t as bad as some, because I’m too poor and too lazy to indulge them beyond a certain point. And I’m certainly not saying that our parents did everything right. God knows all that secondhand smoke I was exposed to, and those Sunday afternoon drives where Dad was drinking a Schlitz and I was standing on the front seat like a human projectile, were less than ideal.
But I do think parents in the ‘70s defined their roles in a way we never have. I worry that our kids are leaving home with more intellectual ability than we did, but without the life skills that will give them the success and independence that we’ve enjoyed.
Then again, maybe it’s not us parents that are getting the raw end of this deal after all.
Couldn't really have said any of this better, (or even necessarily as well) myself.


What do Cheerleaders, Plastic Surgery and Scrap Metal all Have in Common?


Which by the way, is why I haven't blogged lately. The organization I work with hosts an annual meeting that consumes our lives for about one week each year. (Actually, when you count the month leading up to the meeting, it's longer - but really it's the one week that is pretty much all-consuming and in Vegas, it felt even crazier thanks to the lack of clocks and daylight which, combined with a subtle bit of jet-lag can really throw off your circadian rhythm and entire sleep schedule). I also developed what I have since learned is called, "Vegas Throat." Anyway, regardless of locale, it's an amazing experience and this year, I really relished the opportunity to get to know many more of our member physicians who I generally don't have face time with and spend more time with my Cali-based colleagues, but I'm not going to lie - it was a tough week because it was the first time I ever had to leave Gypsy for longer than a typical workday. And - I swear, I could literally see her changing in the pics day-to-day. She stopped looking like an infant and started to take on more 'adult' expressions.

That said, it was also a great experience for John. He got to spend nearly 8 straight days with our baby girl solo. It was a wonderful bonding experience for the two of them - and they kept me sane by sending me pics and videos fairly constantly. We'd also Facetime in the morning, (though Gypsy seemed nonplussed by that). I spent about a minute crying each morning because I missed her so damn much - but I also knew I had a job to do and that I want to set an example for her, which means always doing my best, which means not losing my shit when there's work to be done.

Anyway though, I survived and the meeting was a success - as were Gypsy and John's 8 days alone - and this is good, because it's looking like I'll be taking a second trip in August that might be equally as long as this one.

On another note - the cheerleading convention/competition was a total trip. I have never seen so many children milling about in a casino at ALL HOURS OF THE NIGHT. It was bizarre to say the least - and add to that the near-beauty-pageantry of it all (CREEPY) and that just made my head spin.

The one group I photographed, (pictured here and YES, of course I got permission), was the ONLY one I saw over the course of many days that looked like everyday little girls. No tarty makeup, no inappropriate outfits... just natural young girls doing their 'thing." It was refreshing to say the least.

Where were they from you ask?

Oh - well... Mexico. I'll let you do the math.


So... Breastfeeding.

I realize this is the BEST POSSIBLE THING for Little G, and it's why I'm doing it.

Yes, it is a lovely little bonding thing, and yes, the health benefits for her are tremendous - no denying. It also helped me drop the 18 or 19 lbs. I gained during pregnancy practically overnight.

That said, we are just about 6 months in now... and I'm not gonna lie - I am getting very tired of walking around with comically large breasts. I was huge to begin with, (around a 36 DD or E or some nonsense), and now I'm walking around with a 36 G. A G!!!

I recently took a day trip to D.C. for work. Literally - a day trip where 10+ hours were spent traveling and about 3 hours were spent at an awards luncheon. I bought a hand pump for the occasion to bring with me so that I wouldn't wind up painfully engorged. Guess what didn't work? It was a nightmare. So there's the discomfort factor too - and carrying around an electric pump the size of a lunchbox that weighs about 5 lbs and has too many components to make it truly transportable sucks - as does feeling comfortable pumping in a public women's restroom with other women waiting on line to pee. Needless to say - this was bad planning on my part, and I won't be doing that again.

Back to the preposterous size of my boobs:

I am 5'2" tall - and while I'm curvy and not exactly small-boned, these breasts are officially disproportionately large on my person.

It is NOT okay.

I'm getting to the point where I am getting ridiculously self-conscious about it - especially as the weather warms up and I'm having to shed more layers. I also hate nursing bras. Yes they are convenient - but they're slightly padded adding even more insult to injury.

Of course, I'm going to hang on for 12 months of this, (so about another 6.5 to go), but the second I hit 12 months, I am done. D-O-N-E. done.

Then, I'm going to examine my breasts every single day like a neurotic does, to see if they're shrinking back down to their pre-pregnancy size, (which was already a bit too big).  I'm not exactly sure how long I'm supposed to allocate to this. A month? Two months? In any case, if they don't at least go back down a few cup sizes, (preferably 3 although I'll take two), I'm seriously contemplating a reduction. Once again, good thing I work for the best plastic surgeons in the entire world at the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Speaking of ASAPS - I'm heading to Vegas shortly for our Annual Meeting, and I'm supposed to attend a cocktail event where I'll need to dress appropriately. Tonight, I'll be rifling through my closet to see if I even own anything that will fit over my massive mammaries. If not, I'll be doing some shopping this weekend and daydreaming about October, which seems very far away at the moment.

Thank God I have this adorable drooly little distraction!


Even the Way She Sleeps is Cute!

What baby sleeps like this ALL THE TIME? Oh - our does! We think this is the cutest thing ever. If your baby does this too, raise your hand! (Or leave a comment).

Anyway - life is chaotic at the moment. It's my busiest time of year work-wise, John is working like 3 or 4 jobs depending on how you look at it, (between watching Gypsy most of the time during the week along with teaching and freelancing), we're both trying to get healthier, (which translates to us both doing a LOT of cooking, measuring and prepping food in advance and squeezing in trips to the gym), there's family stuff, (which I won't elaborate on), and we're eyeballing new apartments. I'm not bitching though. In essence, I've never been happier.

I don't think I need to explain why. (See pics).

That said, I'm not going to deny that the thought of leaving her behind for 9 days as of March 31st is driving me batshit insane. I'm heading to Vegas for work - and it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for her to tag along. She will be WAY better off at home, with her daddy, on her normal schedule in her normal environment. The time difference on the west coast coupled with long hours would be no bueno for little G. Not to mention the weird setting.

I am totally aware that this is the best thing for all involved, including me.

Doesn't make it any easier.

But there's Facetime and Skype... THANK GOD and I know I'll make it through this.

I just hope Delta gets me back in one piece. You hear that Delta? I'm on a red eye, alone - which makes me ALL THE MORE ANXIOUS. Don't fuck this up Delta. I need to see my little one grow up, okay? Seriously. There's never been more on the line than there is now.

Thank God for Ativan too. You don't want to see me on a plane without it.


Oh, For the Love of Ghostbusters

I really, desperately wanted to love the new Ghostbusters.

Like so many others though, I groaned when we heard they were doing some sort of remake with women. I had no idea who they were casting. I didn't really want to know. I didn't understand why a remake was necessary, because the original was... perfection.

Ghostbusters was a monumental part of my childhood. If I recall correctly, my dad took my brother and I to see it at the Mann Valley Theaters in Tarzana, when my mother was in the hospital recovering from major surgery. It was a great distraction and it has since been one of my favorite movies of all time.

Anyway, I was casually watching TV - barely paying attention to what was on, because Gypsy is the world's biggest distraction - and there it was: The trailer for the new female reincarnation (more or less) of Ghostbusters. I saw the faces of many comedians I love... and for one brief second, I was intrigued and even had a glimmer of hope that the remake might not be a hacky, horrible, let's-just-do-this-because-well...WOMEN... type-of-deal.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, my hope was dashed.

If their best material was featured in the trailer, (and it usually is), it just wasn't anything special. The jokes were obvious,  a lot of what was referenced was just regurgitated/rehashed by women and only slightly updated, and there just wasn't that energy that was practically tangible in the original.

When Chris Rock called into question why men and women still have separate best actor/actress categories at this year's Oscars, I couldn't have agreed more. Why on earth are we still separating men and women when it comes to acting chops? This seems arcane and inappropriate. Yes, I am aware of the ever-present pay-gap between men and women - but it is the continued separation of men and women in instances like the Oscars that help perpetuate this unfortunate reality.

It all the more highlights my point here too. As fantastically funny and wonderful as all of the comedians in the revamped Ghostbusters are, the trailer made it pretty clear that they are nowhere near as good as their predecessors, which I can attribute to two things: Freak-of-nature talent like Bill Murray's which you really can't compete with - and MUCH BETTER WRITING. Wouldn't have mattered what private parts these new Ghostbusters had - they were doomed from the get-go.

But that's okay! It's okay to say something isn't as good as the original. It's okay to say these comedians weren't as brilliant as the first set who inhabited these roles, because they're ALL COMEDIANS. If we hold everyone up to the same exact standards, perhaps people will judge based exclusively on talent and merit and NOT on gender, race and other should-be-irrelevant-by-now nonsense.

Is this pie-in-the-sky thinking? Perhaps... but it's what I desperately want to change so that Gypsy never has to give one unnecessary second of thought to this crap.

Hey look - she's holding a bottle... on her own!


"Having it all Kinda Sucks."

So I read this article recently - and I had a pretty strong reaction to this section:

"Here's what I think is going on: this whole "having it all" business has been grossly misinterpreted by our society at large. The purpose of all that bra burning back in the '60s was to give women choices."

"Here's what we tell women today: You not only can, but should have a career and children -- because if you don't, you're basically a) lazy, b) weak, c) not a real woman. But also, you should do it without any support. Without government-paid maternity leave (what are you, a socialist?). Without too much childcare (because then you're a shitty mom) or falling behind on the job (because then you're a shitty employee  --  typical woman!). Without too much help from your husband (because then he's a pussy)."

We applaud companies for paying for female employees to freeze their eggs, but don't push them to give women the space to have children during their actual child-bearing years and come back to work without losing their place in line. Instead of changing the systems, we tell women to lean in. Because of course, it's our fault for not taking initiative. Fuck you. I'm leaning so far in I'm falling flat on my face.

I do think, though, that we should cut it out with the fairy tales already. Stop telling women they can have everything without sacrificing anything. Here's the truth: You want to have a career and kids? You totally can, but both will suffer. You will never feel like you are devoting enough time to either. You will never feel like you are good enough at either. You will never get time off (at least for the first several years). You will always be choosing between things that need your attention, and you will almost never choose yourself. You will be judged for nearly every move you make and you will never measure up to anyone else's expectations.

Okay - here is where I really beg to differ. First and foremost, it is challenging to generalize about what "having everything" means. Having it all for me may not be even slightly similar to what it is for you - and that's fine because we're all different people, people! That said, assuming there is a baseline here for having it all, (a happy marriage or relationship, children and a successful career), then we can work with that - and for me, personally, this is where I really deviate from the author's perspective.

I am back at work - full-throttle in fact, and I'm loving it. Personally, I have discovered that I need both things - a career and a family - and that doing both feels totally right. The author of this piece claims that your career and kids will suffer if you attempt to do both.

I vehemently disagree and I think the implications behind that sentiment are actually dangerous. To me, this tells employers that they should avoid hiring women in their childbearing years because if they have a child, they will potentially take a lot of time off and/or fail to deliver the goods in terms of quality work when they return - and  to boot, they'll constantly be frustrated because they can't strike a balance between work and parenting. This woman is saying that we can't 'do' it all - vs. having it all - and there's a difference.

We can do it all, if we want and/or choose to. In fact, I think we can do virtually anything we set our minds to, but of course, you need to decide for yourself what works and what doesn't.

My point here is that I am working full-time and parenting now - and I don't feel either is suffering. In fact, I think my child will eventually benefit from having a female role model who is driven and more motivated now than ever to succeed in the workforce. In the meantime, I feel as though I do have enough time with her and I don't feel she is suffering in any way, shape or form. Pretty sure my work isn't suffering either - in fact - I think becoming a parent has re-lit the fire under my ass to constantly strive to do better - because I want to set an example for my daughter.

This was really the main point in the piece I took umbrage with. I agree with a lot of her other points... that social norms need to change... it's okay to opt out of having kids, opt out of working with kids... etc. etc. etc. But the part about work and children suffering if you opt to do both? That I can't support. She might feel that way - and if that is the case, I feel for her - but by saying to everyone else that will be the case for them too - she's ultimately making matters worse for any woman thinking of doing both - parenting and careering. Not okay.

I think she examined her own personal experience - realized that diving right back into work mere seconds after having a child might not have been the best move - and is more or less projecting that onto other working parents. Sadly though, I think that sends precisely the opposite message of what she'd like to send.


But here's a cute video of the ever-adorable Gypsy, enjoying a single word... "Yum."


What Were We Thinking?!?!?!?!

Seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how ecstatically happy I am that we decided to 'kid.'

This little girl has brought so much joy into our lives that I sometimes feel like I am going to burst. I am well-aware that we are not the first parents to say this - and I'm certain that we won't be the last.

All of those reservations I had? The ones about finances, my already too-large chest, struggles with weight and selfishness in general? WAY out the fucking window. Now we, (both John and I) ask ourselves how we ever even hesitated. Hindsight's 20/20 kids.

That said, the hesitation really isn't all that surprising when you think about it. You simply don't know how you're going to feel until you dive in - and once you do, there's no turning back - which is why I think it is such a scary prospect... at least for some of us. There's always the chance you'll regret it. I've read a handful of stories about women who do, which is truly tragic. I can't even imagine what a horrible feeling that must be - and I feel for those women. What must it be like to feel as if you made a huge mistake - one you cannot undo?

Fortunately, neither of us can even begin to fathom that. Gypsy's smile - and now her infectious laugh... they're like crack. We cannot get enough.

I just can't imagine my life without her anymore. Life pre-Gypsy seems a bit empty now. Sharing my 39th birthday with her was the best gift ever. She's the best gift ever. I'm sorry I'm gushing - but I can't help it.

Can you blame me?

I mean Jesus. Look at this ridiculous face - with the squishiest, rosiest, cutest most kissable cheeks ever.

She is already inspiring me to be better... to do better on so many levels - as a wife, as a working mom - as someone who can hopefully guide her to lead an extraordinary life filled with her own joys and triumphs, tears and laughter, adventures and misadventures. I can't wait to see what this little one gets into.


Anna Banana

Oh, Anna. When you were diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, the world around me came to a standstill. How could this vivacious, carefree, happy little pup who was always a ray of sunshine have heart failure at only 7 years old? And what did it mean? How long would we have with you? Weeks? Months? Could we even hope for another year?

It was awful. I was hysterical on the walk home - a short jaunt from the vet's office to our apartment, but it felt like a million miles.

I had to stop crying. You didn't even know anything was the matter. All you had was a cough - a cough that just didn't go away. You didn't even seem to notice - and so we knew we had to get ourselves together and just continue to enjoy every single minute with you - even though we had no idea how many more you'd have. You were a fighter, even when things got really bad towards the end. You'd still wake up every single day acting just as excited about it being a whole new day as you did the day before - and you brought so much joy with you. You'd get exhausted after a few minutes of barking, running around, kissing Gypsy and just being you - but you loved those minutes, which it was why it was so impossibly hard for us to let you go.

You taught us how to live. "Be as the pup," we'd say, whenever we fell on hard times. Whenever things were looking dark, you would lift us up and we would model virtually everything after your joy and enthusiasm.

You were remarkable. You were the happiest, sweetest, most inspiring pup ever.

You brought renewed life to Otto, our other loving and sweet but very neurotic pup we'd had for a handful of years before you. I am still convinced that you kept him young beyond what would've been considered 'normal.'

We would walk you down the street, and people would smile just seeing your face. Many would laugh out loud. Your exuberance was infectious and we adored you.

When I found out I was pregnant, a mere five days later, Otto got sick. Super sick. After your diagnosis, we thought he might outlive you. His passing was a total surprise and was completely devastating - but we knew he lived a pretty good, long and love-filled, joy-filled life - in large part thanks to you.

And you kept living with such joy - despite having a serious heart condition and without your Otto. Ultimately, we forgot anything was even that wrong with you.

During my pregnancy you took care of me. You always sensed when I was stressed or tired or just needed some extra love. You helped me incubate Gypsy more or less, sleeping on my tummy every day. You seemed to really love that.

Your daddy didn't tell me, but my stay in the hospital when it was time for Gypsy to join us was a sign of things to come. You were stressed and you weren't doing well. We were a family divided when I was away for those 5 days. Daddy got sick too. He didn't tell me your heart condition was worsening because he was trying to protect me and your little people pup sister. When we came home, you were doing much better. Things were fairly normal - and you quickly took to our newest family member, showering her with kisses. We let you, despite fears of her immune system not being entirely ready to handle puppy love. We couldn't help it. How could we deprive you of that joy?

Nearly four months passed and you were a champ. You constantly showered Gypsy with love - and you made us so proud little Anna. It became clear over the past few weeks though - that the meds just weren't cutting it anymore. One-and-a-half years after your initial diagnosis, you were clearly struggling - but even still, your nature, (determined, happy and loving), didn't want to give in. You kept fighting, but your daddy and I knew we couldn't let you suffer. We knew it was time, so we decided to increase your meds and spoil you rotten for a week - giving you a massive onslaught of love, cuddles and the best food we could think of giving you, (filet mignon, bacon, ice cream and peanut butter). We tried to shower you with love - and we hope that you felt it. We tried to keep smiling despite knowing what we had to do. We tried to be as strong for you as you always were for us.

Anna Banana, Anna Belle, Crazy Munchface - you are and will be forever missed, but you will always have a place in our hearts and you will never, ever be forgotten.


We Are Those Parents

So I recently took Gypsy in for her 3 month well visit - (she's now 14 pushing 15 weeks old believe it or not) - and of course, I was beaming because I, like so many other parents, already believe our child is gifted, special and beyond compare. (Cutest, smartest, bestest, etc.).

And to us, she is.

But I had one of what I am certain are fairly common moments among parents when that wind is completely taken out of your sails:

Me: She totally wants to stand up already like a big girl. She loves standing - despite not being able to do it or even crawl yet. And she's laughing out loud already too.

Pediatrician: "Oh yeah - that's completely typical for three months."

Me: Silent, but thinking - Hey... don't call my daughter typical - She is extraordinary... magical... totally unique!

That said, she's still in the 83rd percentile for head circumference, so there's that.


Not a Stay-at-Home Mom

It was decided long before Gypsy was born that I wouldn't be taking a long maternity leave, (unaffordable, not super-feasible with my gig and didn't really seem like something I'd want to do anyway). And so, I took three weeks off following Gypsy's birth. Not surprisingly, they FLEW by. Once they were over, I was actually feeling fairly ready to dive back into work life - but was thrilled to be permitted to work from home for a bit because C-sections are a bitch to recover from - and I wasn't really mentally ready to let Gypsy out of my sight. She still didn't even seem real.

I was very happy to be doing something other than sitting in my apartment on the couch watching television and it helps that I really like my job. Also... newborns sleep a lot - and while I love staring at Gypsy sleeping, there's only so much of this you can do in a day. Oh - and there's the fact that my apartment has become a claustrophobic clusterfuck of baby things. Anyway - work helped me get back into a groove - a routine, a semi-semblance of normalcy. It was good all-around... until it wasn't.

After about a month or so of spending my days on the couch with a laptop a puppy and a baby, I realized I was starting to go a bit stir-crazy in my pad and that I had more than taken advantage of my bosses' accommodations with respect to working from home for a bit. I also noticed that I couldn't stand the lack of social engagement on a day-to-day basis. It was abundantly clear to me at that point:

I am not a stay-at-home mom.

And so, I made a plan to get back into the office and I put it in writing. I didn't really articulate this as intelligently as I should've to my bosses in hindsight - but now I know why:

I was totally scared of going back to the office and leaving Gypsy behind. The thought of being away from her on a regular basis terrified me, despite knowing she'd be in phenomenal hands - her daddy's.

It wasn't a lack of trust - in fact it had nothing to do with John. I've already seen that he's my equal when it comes to parenting. It was straight-up separation anxiety. I had grown so used to being with Gypsy almost 24/7 that a change was really fucking scary, especially because I am so ridiculously in love with her that I can hardly handle it.

But I did it. I went back to the office - and you know what? It felt really, really good. I even loved my commute again! Being on the subway,  (and not driving) listening to music and people watching is kind-of awesome. So is setting foot into Manhattan - the busiest, loudest most interesting city in New York. It just felt right. Don't get me wrong - I missed Gypsy like crazy and obsessively texted, emailed and called my husband to make sure she was okay for the first few days, but I was able to enjoy being back in my office.

Apparently, I just had to get my feet wet with the whole 'leaving baby behind thing.'

What I realize now is that I am not and will never be a good stay-at-home mom. There are those that are built for it - but I'm just not. I need work. I need to leave the house. I need social interaction with other adults and I need a change of scenery. I am restless, I am curious and I am driven - and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

In fact, I think I might be setting a good example for my daughter, even though she's not aware of it yet.

Plus... it helps to have a husband who LOVES the idea of being a stay-at-home dad.


Sleep Training is a GODSEND

As anyone reading this blog regularly knows, our little Gypsy hasn't been a great sleeper and has basically insisted on sleeping on us the vast majority of the time. We have accommodated her and I even trained myself to sleep on my back on the COUCH in order to do so - but I know this is NOT smart for a multitude of reasons. Namely:

  1. Anything can happen when you're sleeping and I can't be entirely sure she's protected. She could shift her position and wind up smothering herself. We all know this would be very, very bad. I don't need to go into great detail.
  2. I don't sleep well this way. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced I do any real sleeping at all this way. No sleep = crankypants.
  3. It isn't good for her. I mean come on - she's got to learn to sleep like a normal person at some point. At first we resorted to a swing - a lovely rock n' play that everyone raves about. It worked - kind-of... in that she'd sleep in it for short stints, (maybe an hour - two if we were really lucky), then wake up and demand the chest again. Again, not good for her and not that great for us either.
  4. My husband and I hadn't slept in the same bed for three months. THREE MONTHS. We slept in shifts. One of us was always on the couch with her and the other in bed. After a while, I realized it was easier for me to just stay on the couch most of the night. My left shoulder started hurting... a lot. It sucked. Again, no bueno. 
After three months of this nonsense, we realized something had to give.

At her two-month well visit, our pediatrician told us to begin sleep training. We looked at her like she had just asked us to sacrifice our baby to the devil. No way! Too young. I asked my Facebook friends what to do and got a mixed bag of responses. Many condoned sleep training. Others didn't. It was totally helpful and totally not because at the end of the day - I realized we had to do what was right for us and our daughter - because when you're a parent - you have to turn off the noise of everyone else's opinions and make your own.

That isn't to say the info I received wasn't helpful. It TOTALLY was. In fact, I did a ton of reading based on those recommendations and everyone else's experiences and ultimately, it helped me come to a conclusion with my husband one full month later:

It was time to sleep train this little girl.

And so we started. In fact, I believe we've now been on this quest for 9 days. Today will be day 10.

Good thing too, because we started about a few days shy of her three-month "birthday" and had just received an email from our pediatrician warning us about the failure to sleep train by three months. It was incredibly, incredibly ominous. Honestly, it sent a shiver down my spine.

Ultimately, we went with some type of sleep training that isn't quite as harsh, (I guess), which was more or less the Ferberization method.

Don't get me wrong - this method is still no picnic. You put your baby in the crib after a bedtime routine - and walk away - letting him/her cry it out for small increments at first - and gradually increasing over the next handful of days. You can go in and comfort your little one during those 5, 10, 15 min. increments but cannot take them out of the crib. As any mother will tell you - this goes against every cell of your being. Your instincts and hormones are BEGGING you to free your child from the confines of its baby jail. BEGGING. It is torture.

Anyway, I quickly realized that the so-called 'comforting' your baby didn't do much in the way of comforting - at least not with ours. Sometimes, it would make her cry louder and really dish out some of those desperate cries - the ones that brought me to tears. After about 3 or 4 days - we decided to truly let her just... cry it out.

And it worked! Each day, the crying lessened in both intensity and duration to the point where she would barely cry on-and-off for a little while each night. Then she regressed and had a really bad night of almost non-stop crying for two hours. I texted a smart girlfriend about it. She offered sage advice and told me to stick with it. I did - and cried with my daughter - but in the next room where she couldn't see or hear me. After a week + of this, I wasn't giving up. Last night was a huge improvement again. Not only is she not crying that much - but she's now regularly napping in her crib too - without much of a fuss. In fact, there was only a brief 10 minute crying fuss fest last night when we put her to bed - and then she slept pretty consistently until 3:00 a.m. - when she woke up for a feeding. Then she went right back to sleep - in her crib - without any fussing whatsoever. And then she did that again at 6:00 - slept pretty soundly until around 10 a.m.


So, I guess this opens me up to all kinds of criticism for being a heartless parent - for ignoring the needs of my child and putting my own needs first. Well, trust me when I tell you naysayers - Gypsy is sleeping better, is noticeably even happier, much more active and playful and we are MUCH better parents, because we are SLEEPING. Sleep is precious. I have never been a fan of it, until it was pretty much taken away from me for nearly three months. Now I have a brand new appreciation for it entirely.


Definitely Gonna Have to Move


I knew a move would ultimately be inevitable, but we may actually break our lease early in an effort to pre-empt Gypsy's crawling and walking firsts, because our current apartment just isn't conducive to either.

Our current apartment, (which we've now been in for 3 1/2 years), has treated us well. It has a yard. A YARD! That is almost unheard of in New York City. In fact, that's predominantly why we took this apartment pretty much sight-unseen save for a few pics when we moved cross country from California. It also has a sizable kitchen for a New York apartment - and is located in Park Slope, one of the nicest neighborhoods in Brooklyn - rife with more puppies and babies than anyone really knows what to do with.

We have adored living here, but the cons are starting to outweigh the pros.

  1. No room for Gypsy to walk or crawl.
  2. The only "room" available for Gypsy is a basement level space with no windows. (It's currently used to house tons of her things, including her Pack n' Play), but she rarely spends any time down there at all.
  3. Her crib is in our living room. (Adjacent to our bedroom which is separated by a couple of French doors that I'll be blacking out the windows of today as we progress with Night 2 of sleep training). Please reserve commentary naysayers. Thanks.
  4. Our living room is more or less, Gypsy's room. (See pics).
  5. Our living room isn't exactly baby safe. (See pics).
  6. We just purchased a new TV and ordered another cable box for our bedroom because we need the living room to serve as her bedroom for naps and of course, bedtime.
  7. We have shitty new upstairs neighbors. Pretty sure they're in their 20s and single. Might be trust funders because they don't seem to work... like ever. I'll let you do the math there.
  8. Our rent is obscene. OBSCENE. That is all you need to know.
  9. We're not a big fan of the uber-judge-y Park Slope parenting crowd. I was at a nearby bar recently and a woman overheard me discussing vaccines with another patron, (who happened to be wearing her baby) and offered unsolicited advice on the toxins in those vaccines and how to eliminate them homeopathically. (Don't get me wrong - it was well-intentioned and clearly she was trying to help), but the intense opinions and the my-way-is-best attitude here is enough to make any newbie mother feel like an inadequate disaster). I get the impression that a neighborhood we're currently eyeing wouldn't produce as many of these encounters.
  10. The neighborhood we're currently eyeing is cheaper - a LOT cheaper and apartments are more spacious - MUCH more spacious. Saving money and not feeling claustrophobic in our living room seem like very good things.
So that's where I'm at. Looks like we'll be moving sooner rather than later. Just need to get through my first trip away from my adorable little girl in March/April and then we get serious.

Hey - but look at Gypsy sleeping in her crib!!!



New Year, New Star Wars, New Baby.

(Wrote this about a week ago - so dates won't make sense).

Over the past month or so, I've asked my husband exactly two questions about his take on this whole resurrected Star Wars craze. (You've heard of it, right)?

1. Does it bother you that every-other-commercial features Star Wars and that you can't throw a stick without it hitting something Star Wars-related?

2. Did you hear what Lucas had to say about the new movie? And if so, I want your pre- and post-viewing opinion.

This line of questioning reminded me of why I fell for John Brian Fountain in the first place.

(This is a demented love letter, so be warned).

Let's start with John's answers: 

1. No.

Why I love this: John is, without question, a die-hard Star Wars fan. He loves every single movie. He doesn't bitch about any aspect of a single one of the first six made... EVER. He loves them all. He hasn't yet seen the seventh, but he will be (finally) tomorrow and I am very excited for him. I also think it's a phenomenal way to start the first day of 2016. I wish I could go with him but I can't and in a way, I almost think it's better. It's just him and the movie. That's it. No distractions.

2. Yes.

For those of you that didn't hear, apparently Lucas is a bit disappointed that the story isn't as relationship-focused as his vision for the franchise was always supposed to be -akin to a family soap opera.

Back to John's answer. (Bear in mind that I am paraphrasing and probably not doing his explanation/opinion justice).

John: Yeah, he sounds a little bitter, but I don't blame him.

Me: But he CHOSE to sell the franchise - after he probably made a fortune just from licensing to Disney for their theme parks and what not - not to mention countless other profitable licenses.

John: Yes, but he probably sold it somewhat reluctantly. For the past 10 years, he's had to put up with incessant slamming and vitriol coming from the same people who worshipped the first trilogy.

Me: Yes, but he chose to try to be successful in Hollywood and SUCCEEDED and anyone who goes down that path has to know that they're going to have to deal with a combo platter of love and hate. It goes with the territory.

John: But he couldn't have predicted that this world he'd create would have such a monumental impact... globally - and that decades later upon the advent of the Internet, he'd be subjected to an endless onslaught of hatred - in the form of outright insults to accusations that he has ruined people's lives to wildly offensive parodies. And not just online - in person too. That has to get to him. For there to be this hateful backlash to the world that HE created, to have to live with never being able to live up to every single fan's expectations... it can't be easy.

Me: Jesus. You're totally right. I guess I don't blame him for being a bit bitter either. So do you think you're going to like the new movie?

John: Yes.

And I hope to God he does. And I hope I do too, because my husband is totally 100% correct. George Lucas CREATED this whole entire world that everyone is gaga for... until they stamp their feet and decide that they could've written the latest screenplay better. In the meantime, when you stop to consider the millions his creation has had a monumental impact on, let alone the artists, filmmakers, etc. whose imaginations were ignited by Star Wars, it's pretty preposterous that he even has to deal with some of those same people raking him over the coals for expanding that universe in a manner they deem inappropriate.

So here's the thing. My husband's take on Star Wars is the same take he has on everything he truly loves: He loves hard and deep and forever. That's not to say he wouldn't admit it if he really hated any of the movies. He totally would... But he really loves them - all of them...

... and it makes me love him more.

And he's Gypsy's dad. :)

Side note: People hated the ending to Lost, including me. I find it all the more interesting that JJ Abrams directed the latest installment of Star Wars.
Another side note: Since writing this, John did in fact see the movie on New Year's day and gave it a B+. I have no idea when I'll get around to seeing it. Probably not until it's on On Demand or something.