Well now, this is embarrassing

Two days this week, my daughter left the house weeping. Not because she has separation anxiety. Not because she had hurt herself, lost a toy or was in the midst of blaming her little brother for some perceived insult.

No, my kid was crying because — get this — she hates Vacation Bible School.

“It’s boring,” she declared Monday.

“It’s summer,” she noted Tuesday.” VBS is too much like school. AND we don’t get to go swimming like usual.”

On Wednesday, she pleaded to go to work with me. “I don’t want to go to VBS,” she sobbed.

“Because it’s like school?” I inquired.

“No, because is it’s more work than school. And we’re missing out on swimming. AND school starts soon. It’s not fair!”

Thursday, when she balked again, Hubs announced he would pick her and the E-man up a little early and take them to the pool.”

I’m baffled. She loves arts and crafts. She enjoyed VBS last year. The only thing I can figure is that she’s overwhelmed by all the kids, most of whom she doesn’t know.

Whatever the reason, it’s been a bit of a struggle this week.

After one teary drop-off, Hubs shook his head and sighed. “I had to tell her teacher why she was crying,” he explained. “She assured me that other kids feel the same way, but it was still embarrassing.”

Is kindergarten ready for the E-man?

I’m not so sure.

I know I’m not ready to accept that my baby, my little lovebug, will soon walk the hallowed halls of grade school. How can this be?

Thus far, the E-man doesn’t appear terribly perturbed by the looming change in his young life. On orientation day, as I sat in the school office filling out forms, the E-man roamed the crowded entryway, shrieking happily each time he spotted one of his friends from pre-K. I smiled proudly and continued with the paperwork.

And then …

… the E-man slid into the school office, across the entire length of floor, on his knees, a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business. All the kid needed was some air guitar skills to complete the picture. Thankfully, the secretary had left her desk for a moment.

“E-man!” I hissed. “Stop that!”

He grinned and shot back into the entryway.

Two minutes later he slid into the office again, this time in full view of the secretary. I offered a meek, conciliatory smile.

And then I pretended I didn’t know the little boy on the floor, tugging on my pant leg and cackling, “Mama, did you see that? Did you see how far I slid?”



On another note —

I’m thrilled to announce that I, along with my friend Amy, will be a Girl Scout troop leader this fall! Amy is currently preggers with her first, and I’m hoping for a girl, simply because we can order her one of those adorable Future Girl Scout onesies.

If you have any tips or suggestions, please let me know! Moody Mom has graciously agreed to be our volunteer parent! We can’t wait to get started!


Oh, and here’s a picture that illustrates my E-man-in-kindergarten skepticism:

Too cool for school? I hope not!

Bra party!!

“Hey, you wanna come to my friend Vicky’s bra party?” my friend Kristina (aka Moody Mom) asked a few weeks ago.

I raised my eyebrows, which prompted Kristina to launch into a description of how Vicky had gone to a bra party and, totally psyched after her girls were restored to ye old place of glory, decided to throw a party of her own.

The shindig was to be held at Kristina’s house, probably because Kristina, with her OCD issues, can always be depended upon to offer up her home for any sort of gathering, last-minute or otherwise.

(Sometimes, at the end of the week, when my house is at its messiest,  I like to invite Kristina to drop by  just because it’s fun to watch her twitch.)


Given my problem breasts — one is way, way bigger than the other — I figured this sort of event was right up my cheap-thrills entertainment alley.

And thus I found myself in a living room filled with cackling women and some serious-looking undergarments.


Tell me we weren't meant to be underwear models.

The party began with a presentation by Wendi, aka The Bra Lady, who explained that her bras could defeat gravity. She could turn our worn-out, dangling gym-socks boobs into perky Playboy material. I have written before on this here ol’ blog about my problem breasts.

In short, the years of nursing two babes left one boob significantly larger than the other — a whole cup size, according to the elderly  JC Penny’s bra fitter. As a result, my left breast, the bigger one, has a tendency to … well … escape. My cup spilleth over, so to speak.

If The Bra Lady could figure out a way to simultaneously hold both boobs captive AND hoist them back up to where they belong, I would most certainly buy one of her miracle garments.

As The Bra Lady held up various bras, we indulged in several glasses of wine and a tasty frozen drink that I will share with you next week on Will They Eat It?

As a result, we were all quite relaxed when The Bra Lady explained how we would proceed.

Before getting fitted, she said, we would each place stars on our shirts, where our nipples normally reside. Then, after trying on a bra, we would put the shirt back on and show everyone how our breasts were now higher than the stars.

Here’s Kristina, modeling her stars after a fitting. As you can see, gravity has been kind to her, as the stars appear to be right where they should be.

In other words, Kristina's boobs aren't in need of a lift.

One by one, we went into Kristina’s daughter’s princess-themed bedroom for our fittings.

Bear figured that if we were going to use her room for fittings, she should have an opportunity to try on bras too.

At one point, as the wine flowed freely, one of Kristina’s friends — Charlotte? Cathy? They’re identical twins — slipped a larger-size bra under her shirt. When I spotted her strutting through the living room, I thought she must have already had her fitting, and Lord Almighty, how had I never noticed her … er …. bustiness?

Wow. She’s big and yet also perky, I marveled. I must have one of those bras.

Then she pulled it out from under her shirt and the spell was broken.

Suddenly well-endowed twin. I call this look "The Dolly."

And then it was my turn.

“My left breast is a lot bigger than the right one,” I informed The Bra Lady.

Ha! I’ve stumped you, haven’t I?!

She measured me.

“Try the Audrey,” she said, handing me a D-cup bra.

“Uh, I’m a C,” I replied skeptically.

“No,” she said firmly. “You’re a D.”

Meekly, I let her fasten me into it. Then I put my shirt back on — stars still attached — and went out to model.

I promise, the result was wonderful. However, Kristina was a tad tipsy when she took this photo. I choose to blame her jollity for my lopsided stars. I mean, yeah, I was ... happy. But not so much that I couldn't put on a couple of stars. Ahem.

Anyway, I bought the bra. Not only did it help give the illusion of 25-year-old boobs, it did a dang good job of keeping my bigger, stray breast in captivity.

I eagerly await its arrival!

For Kristina’s version of the party, go here!

Our baby dog

Puppy in repose

Daisy launches herself from the deck in pursuit of her fluffy sheep. (mid-air, foreground)

And she's off ... again ...

Her prized orange ball.

And now let’s travel back in time, to the day I brought Miss Daisy home.

Five minutes after meeting ...

First night home. She likes Hubs' favorite spot on the couch, just as Molly liked his favorite chair.

Along for the ride. And a tad indignant over her predictment.

Anyone else remember clapping rhymes?

Yes, I was a child of the ’70s.

A few days ago, I started a book that had one of those old rhymes in it. I hadn’t thought of those in years, even though my friends and I spent countless hours creating these elaborate  routines to go with them.

A few examples (and yeah, when these lodge themselves into YOUR brain, you will likely hate me):

Say, say oh playmate, come out and play with me …

Down, down baby, down by the rollercoaster …

Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell ….

Anyone remember any others? And when did kids stop doing these? Around the time they quit jumping rope at recess? Sorry, my age is showing!

Bidding a frenemy adieu

Today, I sent my breast pump to a new home, where it will help yet another mama continue a dairy-making operation.

But oh, the memories…

When I first set up shop at our dining room table, a single thought slid through my mind:

I hope that one day, Hubs will forget this image.

Seeing one’s wife crouched over, her breasts attached to plastic cones and tubing, isn’t what one would deem a turn-on.

Factor in the whirring and wheezing noises and you’ve got a real Kathleen Turner scene in the making. Yeah, right.

Each woman who pumps begins to believe the rhythmic noise can be interpreted into human language. My pump offered this refrain: Let it go, let it go, let it go …

A fellow reporter and photographer once held a spirited debate over what my pump seemed to be saying. We were in New Orleans a few months after Katrina, driving down empty streets. The bickering pair sat in the front. I was crouched over my pump in the back seat. At one point, the photographer, a guy, pulled over to chat with some construction workers, prompting my fellow reporter to shriek: “Stephen, Cathy’s half-naked!”

“Oh, sorry,” the absent-minded Stephen replied.

The fellow reporter, my friend Amy, probably had the most exposure to my pump — after me, that is. During one story, when we met in a conference room to spread out documents and notes, I would pump while we pored over police reports.

I pumped in my car, beach towels slung across windows, in public bathrooms and, on one occasion, in an airplane lavatory. How I didn’t attract the attention of a U.S. marshal still astounds me.

Once, in an airport security line, a baffled, elderly worker pulled my pump from the x-ray machine and began pulling out the plastic cones and tubing. He looked at another worker, who simply shrugged.

“It’s a breast pump!” I hollered from the confines of the metal detector. The poor man dropped my plastic cones so fast, you’d have thought they were coated in anthrax.

So yeah, the pump was often an inconvenience.

But as a working mom, it also was a necessity. I didn’t necessarily like the thing, but it served an important purpose.

So it is with mixed feelings that I pass it on.

I loved nursing. I loved the glazed eyes and milk-drunk expressions of my sweet babes. I loved watching them fall asleep at my breast.

The pump allowed me to continue that relationship long after returning to work. I nursed my first until she was nearly a year and a half; the second just over a year.

So goodbye, old … friend. I can’t wait to hear what your new owner thinks you’re saying.

A few photos —

Tootie had a tough time believing that she, too, once got milk from mama.


New-baby hospital photos: Everyone looks great but you

So our sweet new mama Kristin finally offered up a hospital photo in which we could see her too, not just the baby. She explained that it was the only one in which she looked presentable.

Note that what little we can see of her face is both pretty radiant. I don't know why she's complaining.

Just for her, I’m going to share a few of my own hospital photos. But first, for the uninitiated, let me explain here and now that the only people who feel like they look good in such photos are the daddies, grandparents and other family members. You, the mother, on the other hand, will generally look like hell.

Exhibit 1. One of us is happy! Excited! Thrilled! The other is trying to smile through a contraction.

Exhibit 2. The birth. No one looks attractive while pushing.

This is Suzanne, my doula, after helping me through a long, hard day of labor. She looks fabulous, no? As for me ... I looked stoned.

Our first family-of-four portrait. I still look wretched. The day after. And Tootie? Well, let's just say she wasn't initially enthused about her new little brother.

Even after you get home, it'll be awhile before you're proud of your appearance again. Note the yoga pants/decorative flip-flop combo. But look! My toenails are polished! Progress, baby.