Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bizarre Love Rectangle

The Moms: Nicci and Gabriel; Tracy and Ava; Catherine and Lucy; Me and Benjamin; and Michal and Liam. The Dads: Michael and Ava; Matt and Lucy; Mateo and Gabriel; Vince and Benjamin; and Jeramie and Liam.
If there is one thing your typical man enjoys even more than a double date, it must be a pentuple date - with babies. What better way to spend a lazy Sunday than with a flock of chatty wives and a bunch of drooling, pooping babies? Being the loving women that we are, the Anti-Cult-of-Mommy dragged our spouses and babies out last weekend for a pentuple dates in the park. The sun was out, the breeze was cool, and the air was ripe... for love!! Yes, the Bizarre Love Triangle among Buff Benjamin, La-La-Lucy, and Gallant Gabriel raged on, but with a twist, for there was a new player in the mix: Lionhearted Liam.

It just happened that Lucy and Benjamin were the first lovebirds to arrive at the picnic. As Lucy was complimenting Benjamin on his choice of footwear, Gabriel arrived. He took one look at his rival suitor and said (through mom Nicci), "This little pre-date is SO not cool." He then proceeded to sit down and flash his bib, which brazenly proclaimed, "Chicks Dig Me."

Next, Ava and Liam arrived, and not a moment too soon. Perhaps the addition of uninvolved parties would diffuse the mounting tension. But, alas, it wasn't to be, for dark horse Liam decided to strike. Using his more developed upper body strength, he half-crawled his way over to Benjamin and staked his claim in the unfolding love drama. "No fair," cried out Benjamin. "You have two months on me! I can't even sit up to defend myself yet!" Mom Michal had to extricate Liam before things got ugly.

We all breathed a sigh of relief that the drama was over and decided to pose for the obligatory group pictures. It was at that moment that Liam made one last desperate play, a play so shocking that no saw it coming. I think he's taken this May-December romance thing to a whole new level:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fun With Hair Wax

You're never too young for a mohawk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Like Son, Like Father

Figure 1
blue button-down oxford shirt on Vince: $55.00
black T-shirt on Vince: $18.00
blue button-down oxford shirt on Benjamin: $10.00
black T-shirt on Benjamin: $6.90

Figure 2
blue dress shirt on Vince: $62.00
khaki pants on Vince : $65.00
blue dress shirt on Benjamin: $0 (a hand-me-down)
khaki pants on Benjamin: $14.00

Figure 3
blue, brown, and white shirt on Vince: $18.00
beige bermudas on Vince : $35.00
blue, brown, and white shirt on Benjamin: $4.90
beige bermudas on Benjamin: $3.50

The fact that Vince got dressed after Benjamin in all three pictures: PRICELESS

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Friday Knitting Group Turns TWO!

Can you believe it's been two years already? Wow!

To celebrate, we had another potluck-style lunch and stash swap. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, and I ate way too much. It seems like my stash was bigger than my free time, too, because one of the skeins I brought to swap was one that I'd gotten from Lisa the year before. As I set it out on the swapping table, she quietly said, "Isn't that my old yarn?" I felt like I'd be caught regifting! Well, Gillian took it home this year, and who knows... Maybe that nubby green yarn will make yet another appearance at the three-year anniversary party!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?

Several weeks ago, a little birdie named Vince told me that an excellent Father's Day gift for my husband would be the video game Rock Band. I ordered it online, and a few days later, it arrived in all it's huge and cumbersome glory on my doorstep. Instead of wasting an entire roll of wrapping paper on it, I decided to take a picture of it and wrap that up instead. It would be a great way to save wrapping paper AND fake my husband out. Ha! As we loaded the presents into the car before heading to my inlaws' for Father's Day, Vince asked, "Is that it? Did we get everything?" I smugly replied, "Yup." Once at my inlaws' house, Vince's eyes glanced over his stack of small, neatly-wrapped packages and then started scanning the room. When he finally opened up the box with the picture in it, his eyes lit up, and he started hugging Benjamin while bouncing up and down excitedly. For a moment there, I felt like I had two kids!

When Vince fired up Rock Band for the first time, we got a nostalgic reminder of who the master of the house used to be. There on the screen, was Vince's Xbox Live Handle: Pug Warrior. Perhaps Benjamin's taken over his throne, but Oliver should be content to know that he will live forever in Xbox infamy.

As an additional Father's Day gift, I allowed Vince to pick an outfit for Benjamin. This is what he came up with:

In what universe do teal, grey, light green, and camoflauge match? I suppose that as long as Benjamin doesn't mind, I shouldn't!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Back to the Grind

After a four-month-long hiatus, I traded in my sweatpants for slacks and went back to work. Did you know that it's possible for a pre-verbal baby to pull a guilt trip on you? As I was leaving, I went to give Benjamin a good-bye kiss. Before I could even get close, a look of such disappointment, disapproval, and despondency crossed his chubby face that I simply turned tail and ran into the elevator to hide from him.

Despite the soul-crushing shunning I received from my son, it was really nice to see my coworkers and friends, especially since they welcomed me back with a hearty breakfast. I started to ravage the spread like a feral pig when I suddenly realized, "I don't have to inhale my food since there's no baby to rush back to!" And an hour later, I realized that yet another benefit of being at work was the freedom to use the loo whenever I wanted to. Wow! No need to ignore my bodily functions until I was on the verge of kidney failure! I started to have hope that being away from Benjamin wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.

That changed at about 9:30 am while I was chatting with coworkers in the file room. Talk turned to the baby, and I excitedly began describing every infinitely fascinating detail of his existence - his adorable cooing, his chubby fists, his delicious baby smell, his-- Suddenly, my chest started to swell like two water balloons at a Fourth of July pool party. I frantically tried to divert my thoughts to other topics - office gossip, Barack Obama, whatever - but the harder I tried to not think about Benjamin, the more I did. I felt like a prepubescent boy trapped in line behind the hottest girl in the seventh grade with no binder to hide his growing-- You get the picture. I ran out of the file room clutching my chest, and made a beeline for my pump. This scenario would play itself out about three more times every day for the rest of the week.

One thing that I really did miss about my working life (aside from my awesome job, fabulous company, and incredible, wonderful, gorgeous boss, of course!!) was the Friday Knitting Group. On Friday, as Lisa and I got our needles out, she told me how her cat had ruined a considerable portion of her stash by peeing all over a container full of yarn. I started to laugh when I realized that there was any number of ways the same thing could happen to me. A disgruntled pug with an eye for revenge. A naked baby mid-diaper change. Or even a sudden attack of Benjamin nostalgia while I'm winding my yarn. Guess I won't be knitting any baby things while I'm away at work!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bizarre Love Triangle

As you may recall from a previous post, Benjamin began a whirlwind romance with older woman Lucy at the tender age of four weeks. Their puppy love blossomed unhindered until the untimely appearance of a rival suitor - Gabriel. At nearly six months of age, Gabriel has proven to be a formidable opponent. But if there is one thing that Benjamin has learned from the hours of E! Entertainment television he has watched with his mother, it's that May-December romances are all the rage right now (HELLO - Ashton and Demi, anyone??), so he's not about to go down without a fight.

On Saturday, he invited Gabriel to meet him at Santa Monica Beach for a mano-a-mano talk. Unfortunately, they didn't get very far before things got ugly.

Gabriel: You see these keys, Benjamin? They are the keys to Lucy's heart. Accept that your time with her is over!

Benjamin: Nice try, Gabriel, but I saw Lucy first. If you have any honor, you'll respect that. Back off!

Gabriel: I see that talking is getting us nowhere. Well, we may be on your turf, but I have superior hand-grasping skills, so watch as I steal your socks!!

It only distentegrated from there.

When we got home that afternoon, I was prepared to give Benjamin a pep talk. You know... Assure him that soon, he'd have the same ability to sit up unassisted that Lucy might be attracted to in Gabriel. As I was about to start my speech, though, something fell out of Benjamin's diaper bag.

Gabriel's sock! Benjamin claimed that he had no idea how it had found it's way into his belongings, but I have my suspicions. Perhaps I'd underestimated his cunning all along!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


It's a sad fact of life that babyhood passes quickly (for the parents, anyway). It's an even sadder fact of life that that swift passage requires an ever-increasing supply of ever-increasingly expensive baby gear. So after watching Benjamin try to climb out of his swing for the hundredth time with a look on his face that said "Come ON, Mom, this thing is sooooooo last month," I made a trip to the local money pit (AKA Babies R Us) and purchased a Baby Einstein activity center. In theory, Benjamin will be able to comfortably "stand" up inside of it while entertaining himself with its myriad of toys, lights, and noisemakers. I'm not sure if this is a good thing, but he seemed to be most drawn to the little mirror mounted on one side. Maybe he just wanted to make sure his 'do was in place.

I guess the resolution we made to ourselves that we would never allow our home to turn into a baby gear junkyard has been tossed out the window, along with many other resolutions we smugly and naively made before Benjamin was born. These included a promise to never use baby-talk and a vow that the pug would not be neglected. It seems that the pug may have found a way to get back at us for our neglect, though. Check out what came in the mail the other day:

If we come home to find the place filled with loads of new pug gear, I guess we'll know who the culprit is.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again (Sort Of)

After nearly a year of waiting, I finally staged my momentous return to the beaches of Santa Monica and reclaimed my title as reigning Queen of Volleyball. Ok, obviously lack of sleep has made me delusional, because my return was less than momentous, and I have never even been close to being the Queen of Volleyball. Lowly Serf of Volleyball is more like it. Still, it felt gooooooood to get back on the sand, even if it means that I'm still so sore that it hurts to type this post.

Luckily, I had two of my best girlfriends there to fight over - I mean, to babysit Benjamin. Here is an exchange that I happened to overhear:

Deb [with longing look on her face]: Do you need a break? I'll take Benjamin for a little bit.
Yvonne [holding Benjamin]: No, that's ok. I'm fine. I mean, of course unless you want to take him.
Deb [eyes downcast]: No, no, no... I got to hold him yesterday. You go ahead.

It went on like this between the two of them for much of morning. And while they were busy fighting over who got to hold the baby, the baby mama was busy getting her butt kicked seven ways from Sunday. One of the guys even commented to me, "Hey, you're getting pretty good at diving into the sand!" I think I deserve mad props, guy! Have any of YOU ever tried to dive for a ball while majorly engorged? I'm directing this comment mainly towards my husband. After one particularly humiliating faceplant, I looked up to see him holding Benjamin while pointing at me and saying, "You see Mommy playing volleyball? Isn't she GREAT? HAHAHA!!"

When Benjamin gets old enough to understand how the game is supposed to be played, I'll just show him this picture:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Anti-Cult-of-Mommy

The coolest kids in the park, counter-clockwise from top left: Lucy (Catherine's daughter), Presley (Brooke's daughter), my Benjamin, Liam (Michal's son), and Gabriel (Nicci's son).

As I've mentioned before, one of the perks of joining Gymboree has been meeting other moms. Other moms who are not members of the dreaded clique I'll call the "Cult of Mommy." You may be asking yourselves, "What is the Cult of Mommy?" It's hard to say definitively what it is, but giving you examples of typical Cult of Mommy comments should paint a fairly clear picture.
  • "Don't you know that feeding your baby store-bought baby food instead of organic vegetables you puree yourself causes permanent brain damage?"
  • "You mean you don't worship at the Altar of Harvey Karp?"
  • "Your baby drinks FORMULA?? Why don't you just go ahead and give her crack?"
(Each of these comments is usually accompanied by raised eyebrows and clucks of disapproval.)

Well, a few of us Gymboree moms decided to form a mommy clique of our own. The difference is that our clique doesn't believe you're a bad mommy if you let your baby watch trash TV with you or if you wean him before he starts kindergarten. In our mommy clique, it's ok to admit that you miss your old life sometimes and crave the company of other new moms. Of course, we also love watching our little ones hang out together, which at this age entails plopping them on the same picnic blanket and letting them slobber all over themselves.

At our latest playdate, a certain little one exhibited some remarkably forward-thinking behavior. Lucy decided to make her intentions known to Benjamin. I, for one, was very impressed, because many-a woman much older than she still hasn't figured out that it's ok for the girl to make the first move. Go, Lucy!