This is my son a few days after he was born. He did not weigh 60 pounds like I was expecting, actually he still doesn't.

This is my son a few days after he was born. He did not weigh 60 pounds like I was expecting, actually he still doesn’t.

This summer my kids will be seven and five. Even though it has been years, there are still days when I feel thankful that I am not pregnant, and then I chug a pot of coffee, shoot some tequila, put on my tightest pants, and hop on a roller coaster—just because I can. I know pregnancy is supposed to be a beautiful time, and I should have been grateful, but I felt more like I was serving a sentence. I love my children, I even like them; I just prefer them outside my body. My second pregnancy was easier to endure than the first because I had a toddler, and pregnancy made us sort of the same. We both liked to take long naps in the middle of the day, we were both constantly sober, we wore a similar style of elastic pant, and sometimes we even both peed on ourselves.

Now as my kids get older and parenting becomes increasingly challenging—babies are a breeze—I think back to my pregnant self, taking naps under the desk at my office, spending Saturdays on the couch watching Rock of Love marathons, and I think, what the hell was my problem? Maybe the actual pregnancy had nothing to do with my frustration. Maybe with the first pregnancy I was dealing with the loss of my independence, the acceptance of a great responsibility, and the disintegration of life as I knew it. Once my son was born, it all felt right and even worth it, but the nine months of stewing almost did me in.

The following is a reflection of a first-time, glowing (sweating, really, especially under the boobs) pregnant lady:

In my mind, growing another human life requires a lot of calories, and a large portion of those calories should be in cake-form and eaten in bed while watching reality television. My basic pregnancy diet theory was based on the idea that by not drinking alcohol, I would automatically be consuming fewer calories, so I could eat anything I want. This proved untrue pretty early in the pregnancy, as I could no longer fit into my regular clothes minutes after I peed on a stick. Once I realized I was not going to be one of those girls who looked like she just swallowed a basketball and that I would be more like one of those girls who looked like she swallowed an entire basketball team, I told my elastic waist pants to hold on tight because they were in for a wild ride.

I gained the full 25 pounds of recommended weight in the first six weeks. Other than the extreme gigantism, the pregnancy was going well. I was only sick for the first few months, and I felt pretty agile, like for instance if I dropped my piece of late night cake, I could easily roll off the bed and retrieve it. I read all the pregnancy books and subscribed to the weekly pregnancy email updates. (Your baby is now the size of a hamster! You are now the size of Australia!) I was inappropriately nonchalant about the labor process, and even once compared it to training for a sport, like a volleyball match, which might have been a valid comparison if during the match I accidentally swallowed the ball and then had to volley it over the net from my vagina.

I was so ready to be done with the pregnancy, to meet this baby that everyone had been talking about, that I was willing to go through any means necessary to get the job done. If the doctors told me that in order to get the baby out they were going to send a team of ninjas to my house to attack me, probably right in the middle of my favorite meal, I would have said, “Sign me up!”

Finally after eating my way through three seasons, my due date arrived. There it was circled on the calendar, the day that had been etched in my mind since my first doctor’s appointment 67 pounds ago. Seven days later, I checked into the hospital for an induction. I put on a backless gown—finally some room to breathe—and then settled in for some heavy breathing and gripping the sides of my rocking chair. I paid attention in labor class. I saw the videos. I knew what to do. I let the nurse know that I would not be getting the epidural, and she was polite enough not to laugh, but did suggest that if I changed my mind I should let her know as soon as possible. I had a killer mix CD, so I was sure I would be fine. A few hours later, as I rocked faster and faster with my husband staring at me from a nearby chair with blood coming from his eyes, I suggested he get the nurse and see what she could do. I was not against any measure, like euthanasia for instance.

Eventually, I got an epidural. Then about two hours later, one of the most exciting moments of my life happened: I gave birth to my son. He was perfect. He looked like a miniature version of my husband, which was a little weird, but adorable. I, however, did not look like a miniature version of anything. In some of the photos from the hospital I look like a really fat Sally Jesse Raphael, aided by the fact that while I was pregnant my vision got really blurry, and I had to get glasses to see my food.



Writing starts somewhere, but not always at the beginning.

Sometimes as I am going about my day a little spark will ignite—a little ember that seems worth writing about. Usually these are little moments, and it isn’t always something exciting or all that interesting, just a moment that seems right, as if I can already read it. When this happens, I like to type my ideas, even if it is just a few lines so I can go back to them later. When I sit down to write I will usually browse through my files to see if I can create something out of the ashes.

Today I found this little collection of “starts” about my daughter. I am not ready to use them yet. Maybe when she is older these will become reflections in a larger essay, but for now they are just little glimpses.

This afternoon my daughter asked me to be a guest speaker in her pretend class of baby dolls. I asked what she would like me to talk about, but she just directed me to sit down—crisscross applesauce—behind her row of half-dressed but very obedient students. Then she handed me a stuffed elephant and a small pink hair dryer and told me, “Rose petal likes her hair blow-dried.” While I blow-dried the elephant, my daughter went through the contents of her purse, pulling each one out and showing her students, “This is my lip gloss, this is my mirror . . .”


My daughter shows up in our room in the middle of the night prepared to stay for the long haul. She brings her blanket and a stuffed animal, places her sippie cup of milk on my nightstand, and puts her slippers on the floor beside the bed.  When I wake up in the morning, it feels like I am the one who is just visiting.


My daughter likes to say, “I love you more” after I say, “I love you,” but then she wants me to say “I love you most” back to her like from the Disney movie, Tangled. Therefore, she plays the part of the adorable and kind-hearted lost princess, and I am the evil old witch that kidnapped her. This doesn’t really work for me.

Pee Talk

Last week, my four-year-old daughter, who has been potty-trained for two years, peed on the floor in front of her time-out spot, which is in an out of the way corner in the dining room. She came to tell me in a calm voice, “Mom, I peed on the floor in there. Sorry, it was just an accident.” However, I can’t help but feel that she was trying to send me a message, and I believe it goes something like this: take your time-outs and piss off. What confuses me is not her clever and messy message, but the fact that she doesn’t realize she has already won the time-out battle.

Have you ever been to a rodeo and seen the part where the kids try to lasso a goat? That is a good representation of me attempting to put her in time-out, but in our scenario I am usually inappropriately dressed (I get why the belt has become a staple of the cowboy ensemble), and she is the fastest, most cunning, most daring little goat that the West has ever seen.  Also, since we believe in lasso-free parenting (for now), even if I catch her, I can’t exactly keep her there. Pissing on the floor in front of time-out was not necessary, but she did it anyway . . . because she could.

The deliberate nature of her so-called accident is supported by this child’s ability to “hold it” for unreasonably long periods of time. She never wets her bed, and on car trips she is capable of traversing entire states without having to stop and go. If she ever becomes an astronaut and needs to drive from Texas to Florida to terrorize an ex-boyfriend and his new lady, she will not need to wear a diaper because she can hold it the entire way. Also, I hope the popularity of the bladder bust is revitalized by the time she gets to college because I want her to have every possible chance to succeed.

My son is the opposite. When he says he has to go, it generally means we have under a minute to get him to a bathroom or at least just off the carpet. When he was potty-training, my husband would take him outside, and they would pee all over our yard. When we are travelling, and my son says he has to go, my husband just pulls over on the side of the road, and lets him piss on the shoulder of the highway or in someone’s front yard. The world is his toilet. One of the big selling points about our mini-van for my husband is that he can open the side door and let him pee without even having to get out. I hope they have never done it while the van is in motion, but I am sure it something they have both considered.

My son also likes to pee on things, over things, and in groups. This summer, we were on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we walked out on a boardwalk near the highest point. We looked out at the mountains’ dark blue silhouettes in the distance and down at the rocky terrain sloping away underneath. My son looked at me and said, “I want to pee off it.”

I let him.