Hit Me With Your Best Shot

There is a chair in my living room that has an odor. I have owned this chair for 6 years and it started to smell last summer. There is a dog who lives in my house. I have owned this dog for 7 years and she has never been allowed to sit on the furniture. Until last summer, when my second child was born and the chair and my dog became intimate. My dog, Kiley was my first child, my baby warm-up. I took her everywhere, ordered her hamburgers at the drive-thru window, painted her nails (no small feat, considering she's a 75 pound chocolate lab), and regarded her as my faithful running partner. Then I had my first daughter, Shelby, and I noticed Kiley was rather hard to pet way down there with a baby in my arms. And her fur seemed to be shedding. She never shed before I had a baby, I swear. Kiley became the stepchild I lavished on occasion while I spent the majority of my time doting on my newest addition. When Ana, my second daughter, came along last summer, days went by, even weeks, when I hadn't so much as laid a hand on Kiley's soft coat. Kiley found someone else to love, The Chair. The first time it happened the girls and I returned from an outing and peeked into the living room window as we made our way to the door. I was met by Kiley's guilty brown eyes staring up at me as she snuggled a little deeper into The Chair. "What the hell? The dog's on the furniture???" Ugh, as if I don't have enough to handle with two kids and a half remodeled house. Jeeeessh! This same scenario repeated itself for months and every time I'd come into the house, Kiley would slink off The Chair a little slower until one day she didn't get off the chair at all. I gave her a tongue lashing like you couldn't believe and chased her out of the house but it didn't last. The next day I came home to find her brown furry body curled up on the sofa! Holy Hell, is there no end to this? Then I noticed a dent in the down comforter on my bed and inspected to find evidence of Kiley there, too. This dog was showing her true colors now. And then I sat in The Chair and noticed a stench, a sweet garlic pooey smell. And upon further inspection found a tiny brown smear resembling a grease spot. Gritting my teeth and kicking myself for not dealing with Kiley's love affair with my furniture sooner, I called the vet before I even bothered to clean it up. The vet explained that my 7 year old dog has irritated Anal Glands and went on to say that she needs to have them expressed. Aren't her anal glands expressive enough? I mean, my chair smells like....like...it smells disgusting! When Kiley's exam, and subsequent expressing experience, was finished, the vet mentioned that this could be a recurring problem and I may need to bring Kiley in every few months. With every other dog, this wouldn't be a problem but my dog has MAJOR anxiety over the vet which results in public urination, shaking, yelping, running away, hiding under parked cars. And today, not only included peeing on the lobby floor before we entered our exam room, but apparently she shit all over the back room where they did her "Expressing Treatment". GROSS! So, the vet and I met eye to eye on the possibility of our visits becoming more regular and we both knew neither of us needed more of Kiley at the doctor's office. So, the doctor offers to show me how to express Kiley's anal glands myself. WHAT? Does this doctor understand my line of work? I wipe asses and change poopy diapers all day long, I certainly don't need to add my dog's anal glands to my job description. Thanks, but no thanks.


My Pamela

I've developed an imbalance this week. A personal imbalance that's becoming more and more noticeable. Ever since I spent the weekend with my breast pump, and left baby at home, I've noticed something strange. While both sides of my udders are in perfect working order, one side seems to change with the natural ebb and flow of lactation while the other side remains stubbornly full. Basically, if you approached me from my left side, you'd be met by the profile of what remains of my deflated boob. I lovingly refer to it as The Flapjack. It seems clear that this lone breast has accepted its latest role as a mere supplement to Ana's three meals, snacks and sippy cups. No harm, no foul. It's still in the game but not as a starter anymore. But breast number two is not goin' down without a fight. Picture this: approaching me from my right side you'd meet "Pamela", as in, Pamela Lee Anderson. Get the idea? This little leche is large, in charge, and standing at attention despite a drop in demand. What's a girl to do? It's spring, and tank tops are a main staple in my daily wardrobe. And the solution to this problem is truly a vicious circle. If I pump the right one to relieve the pressure, it only comes back a little fuller a few hours later. If I pump the left one to stimulate more milk production, it just responds by deflating that much more upon reaching Empty. Tonight, John's company had a casual BBQ and I threw on a great little cotton tank with a pair of white linen trousers and wedges. Knowing my problem was unavoidable in this top, I dug through my drawers for a little padding to help The Flapjack keep up with her counterpart. "There ya go, a little sock support for the evening, Flappy." This worked fine until I had to feed the baby halfway through dinner. I didn't notice the sock had rolled out of my shirt and under the coffee table until one of John's clients picked it up and set it on the table. Should I grab it now or when everyone's looking? Uh, do I have to explain this? Curse you, Pamela Lee.

Therapy Hour

My three year old takes a dance class once a week. After my first visit to the studio, I discovered a whole other world of parenting I never knew existed. The Observation Room Therapy Hour. Apparently, during the hour that their kids slave away at their newest hobby, parents gather behind the one-way glass to discuss their latest marriage problems, discipline concerns, and personal problems. It's bizarre and yet, deliciously entertaining. Last week it was "My Husband Doesn't Listen To Me". This week it's "How to Discuss Inappropriate Touching With Your Children". I've learned a lot! I sat quietly beside a particularly talkative mother who refers to herself as "Just A Scary Housewife" as she informed us of her recent trip to the Emergency Room with her toddler son where she encountered a creepy, but equally suave doctor. She said she took her son there because he needed medicine for what she recognized to be another ear infection. The doctor took his oral temperature and then implored to check the little boy's pants. She resisted feeling it was not only unnecessary, but inappropriate. You should have seen the shock, the scoffing, the reactions from the circle of mothers listening to "Scary Housewife's" tale. All of a sudden the silence was broken by a staunch Latin woman with smart gold reading glasses and long, kinky bronze hair. "I work with all those crazies at the State Hospital," she began, followed by a dramatic pause. I sized her up to be a psychiatrist and immediately pictured her in a scene from Silence of The Lambs, a Spanish version of Jodi Foster in stilettos and a white lab coat. She continued to reflect on the damage incurred by sexual predators and emphasized the stigma associated with boys when they are the victims. The conversation bobbed and weaved through a variety of confessions about acquaintances or family members who were victims of sexual abuse. The young pregnant girl seated across from me chimed in about an article she read about Megan's Law. I came away from this first session feeling empowered by new knowledge, interested in these other parents I'd talked with, and suddenly looking forward to next week's dance class. Let the therapy continue, Dance, Shelby, Dance!


The Dullest Edge

The after weekend tell-all was bland, tasteless, and lacked juicy details. One night in Santa Barbara, unlimited shopping, 3 restaurants, two hotel rooms, countless bags brimming with retail treasures, 7 mommies gone wild, and more mindless chatter than most anyone (else) could handle. How could you go wrong???? "So, what really happened?" asked my friend, Amelia. She spent the weekend tending to her sick family at home instead of A-ttending our girls' trip. She continued, "The details in all of your follow-up emails left nothing to go on. Either it was a total disappointment or something crazy happened and no one's talking. Give it up." I recapped the weekend in as many details as I could, which resulted in a fairly luke warm dish of dirt. Arriving at the end of my tale I concluded, "It really was a perfect night. Enough shopping, enough talking, enough drinking and dancing, and not enough sleeping." I mused, "How much more perfect could you get?" Well, actually, there was this one weekend a few years back... at the time, it wasn't, but it is now, the Legacy Tale of Mommies Gone Wild, On Location in San Francisco. Fortunately (or un-, depending on who's counting), I wasn't there. But THAT after weekend tell-all left any listener on the edge of her seat, shaking with laughter, doubled over in sympathy, and green with both disgust and envy. How could any weekend afterwards compare? Let's just say that there were four mommies, many cocktails, even more shots, public emotional outbursts complete with buckets of tears, even more public vomiting, a few enraged cab drivers, and finally, just when the party really got started, paramedics, barf bags and a breast pump. Any questions? I suppose you could say that this year, Mommies Gone Wild, On Location in Santa Barbara, was a fair disappointment. A few cocktails, a few skinny dippers, a few hangovers. Could it be that age has dulled our wild side? Is it possible we've lost our edge? How could a few more babies, and subsequently a few more breast pumps (activated every 4 to 5 hours), slow us down?
My name is Gabrielle. I am a 31 year old mother of two. MY MISSION: To redeem myself as a Mommy Gone Wild.
.....Guess I'll just have to wait until next year.

Hollywood Comes to Town

The phone rang at its usual time, 5:09 p.m., with my husband calling to tell me he was on his way home. I nodded my approval while keeping one eye on a pot of boiling potatoes and the other on Ana and Shelby, who were perched atop the kitchen counter making a serious mess of themselves with teething biscuits. I nearly hung up when it registered what John had said, "Wait! What time did you say?...TONIGHT?...Uh, okay." Holy S$#!? We were having dinner guests in an hour? And worse, unmarried dinner guests with no kids, who work in Hollywood. Oh boy, I surveyed the tornado in my living room, peeked into the toothpaste spattered bathroom with every bath toy scattered from here to next Tuesday and took a deep breath. You see, most normal people would take this all in stride and say to hell with it, this is how we live, this is us, take it or leave it. And I really want to be that person. EXCEPT, I find that if I am that person for the next hour leading up to the arrival of our guests, the minute they walk in the door I can't stop my busy hands from picking up toys off the floor, folding strewn blankets and clothes as I nod my head and act like I'm listening to their conversation when the reality is I won't stop until I've converted my house into a spotless masterpiece before their very eyes. So, with 47 minutes to go I pull out my super hero cape and race around the house at lightning speed picking up the floor and shoving everything into the hall closet. Chicken's in the oven, salad's made, bathroom won't pass a health inspection but appears clean enough, the kids have been hosed down and dressed in semi fashionable pajamas, and that's when I glance in the mirror to do a once over. It occurs to me that I haven't washed my hair in three days. Pull the grease strands into a tight bun, check. Perfume. Check. Earrings (this always makes me feel dressed up). John's home and I'm firing directions at him. Take out the trash! Set the table, Feed the baby, brush her teeth. No, not the baby's teeth! Ugh. Gotta run, guests are here.


A Fashionable Moment In Mommy World

Life in mommy world has resumed normalcy. I spent half of my preschool day free time reorganzing my closet to allow space for the new wardrobe I acquired on my latest shopping binge through Santa Barbara. I am sorry I didn't visit the site, annabellesays.com before I went, so I had a little more fashion research behind my purchases. She does a great job of documenting cute stuff in all price ranges. All in all, I think I did just fine, although I'm certain my husband can't agree as willingly since he's still in sticker shock from the amount I threw down in a mere 24 hours. Had I been in Vegas things might have turned out differently, for the better or more possibly, for the worse. I am pining for a few items I did not buy but wish I'd had the cash for. A brown enza costa skirt that was a casual masterpiece for $218. It's from her latest spring collection and I couldn't even find it online yet! If you want to see it, I highly recommend heading to Wendy Foster/Pierre LaFond's Boutique on State Street. Bring a small fortune because you'll want to buy everything in there! Everything. I also loved, but didn't need, a pair of unexpected sandals from Frye Boots. Sleek and sexy with a very padded sole (that managed to avoid looking like a Birkenstock), these came in a few styles and colors for a reasonable $88. Also at the Pierre LaFonde boutique but cheaper at fryeboots.com. Go to their new styles for women and you can't miss them! The last item was a C&C t-shirt smock with a round neckline for $78 (I liked it in black) that would have been a great and easy "go-to" for comfortable style over leggings or jeans. It had a perfect A-line cut with a wide band around the bottom. Cute. Here I am chatting away my newfound fashion sense and can hardly believe what I sound like. Who knew I had it in me!? Although, I must admit one of my favorite finds from this weekend was a last minute surprise at Nordstrom's BP where I bought an awesome Faux leather oversized bag perfect for a carry on or overnight luggage. $36!!!! It's a camel colored pleather with some brass buckles and handy pockets inside for organizing. Other favorites include a gorgeous little conservative coral sweater coat from Anthropologie with covered buttons in a loud vintage print that also lines the inside, $59(Sparrow). Awesome green leather flats by BC with a big green leather button over the peep toe and a smaller one on the side of the heel, $54. I like these even more since I realized the sole is rubber and very cushiony. Oh yeah, Anthropologie's chocolate brown hooded sweater I bought with wood buttons and some brown and white chintz fabric edging along the place where a zipper would be, around the hood and the pockets. Instead of zipping, it ties in front with a lime green ribbon. $99 by Sparrow, so comfy. Okay, I'm starting to sound like I write about fashion every day. Better go before this becomes a very expensive habit. I almost forgot I'm a stay at home mom who's usually on a budget and wears spit up as an everyday accessory. Rock on.


Absence & Autopilots

We were waiting for our table at the beachside taco stand when I handed off the baby and made my way toward the bathroom. Nearly there, I stopped dead in my tracks. Oh my god, I'm going to the bathroom alone and I didn't ask my daughter if she needed to go. I actually thought about me, just me. I made a mental note of my new found independence and then turned around to go back for my toddler. My Auto Pilot is out of commission today. I spent 29 glorious hours away from my kids and husband and I have completely forgotten how to be a mom. It's great! After an overnight trip with my wonderful friends doing all the things we do best (shopping, eating, talking, shopping, eating and more talking) I arrived home to a tidy house, two happy kids, their doting father looking hot as usual, a carload of new clothes and shoes all for me, a refreshed sense of self, and a renewed love for my family. On a typical outing it's all about them, hubby needs new socks and a Dr. appointment, Ana needs more diapers, a trip to the park for Shelby, don't forget to take the dog to the vet, followed by a balanced meal, bath time and book reading all provided by yours truly. But not this weekend! This weekend was all about me, what I wanted, my needs. What do I want for lunch? Which shoes do I need? Where do I want to shop next? What time do I want to get out of bed for coffee? I came home three hours late and John didn't bat an eyelash. I came in $200 over budget and he didn't care. I arrived at dinnertime and he suggested the local taco stand. Oh, what a perfect end to a perfect weekend. And while we were at dinner my mommy radar was totally off. I babbled on about all the interesting things I did while Shelby ate more chips than normally allowed. I didn't notice, nor did I care. I chatted about the funny moments while my toothless baby stole chips off the table and sucked off the salt. Normally a no no, but not tonight. I gazed at my husband and kept the thank you's coming. And we arrived home to a clean kitchen and a floor clear of dinner crumbs. To all those that made this possible; the makers of Similac, Taco Temple Restaurant for the perfect end to a perfect day, Russia and their Vanilla Vodka, Best Western Hotels for an all night hot tub that tolerates skinny dipping, Nordstroms for crazy sales racks and awesome shoes, Medela for their efficient, though noisy, breastpumps, my amazing circle of friends and their strategic planning, my two beautiful daughters, (faint music) and most of all, my incredibly supportive and totally hot husband. (More music, louder)I thank you all (cut to commercial).