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October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween! Now Let's Do This Tamara!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

I just love that girl!!!!!!!!
I have this very special friend, her name is Tamara (Like Camera). She's my dream girl! And I'm not just saying that because we have the same personality type (INFP). This is my second round of #AAF with girlfriend so in case you're wondering, her kids are still way too adorable, she still takes whimsical photos, her husband makes pumpkin stew IN A HOLLOWED PUMPKIN (seriously) and I love her even more. Make sure you read how she responded to my questions on her blog, here!


What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a place for us to connect with other bloggers by asking them ten questions to really get to know them. The sky is the limit with the questions you ask! Meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world!


Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
and
Amber from Bold Fit Mom
And Co-host for the next 2 weeks: The Singapore Writing Homemaker.

TamaraLikeCamera


1. It's Halloween today! Are you dressing up? Is Dylan dressing up? What are your weekend Halloween plans? 

The plan was
Dylan=Peter Pan
Dad=Captain Hook
Mom=Tinkerbell (because I never want Peter to grow up!) 
But I didn't get my costume in time (fail), dad wouldn't have dressed up anyway (it's like pulling teeth), and now Dylan is the only one sticking to the plan. On Halloween I'll go to work with blood smeared all over my face, enter my Diz-Demo[lition] Monster Truck mini-pumpkin our annual mini-pumpkin decorating contest, then the fam head over to my sister-in-law's house for trick-or-treating with the cousins and a Halloween bash! 



2. What's something that amazes you? 

Early childhood amazes me. When I look back on my own childhood, little things like sending poetry to publishers at 8, wanting to learn how to meditate at 10, and rushing to do any project that involved writing a story, were all just "things" I was doing at the time. But now, I see that those "things" are who I really am and have always been. I was most myself as a kid and I feel like I'm only just now building back that connection. 

Just look at me, celebrating like a boss from the start!
3. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits? 

I'm pretty freakin' lazy, yo. Honestly. Last Saturday, Zepeda and I rearranged our entire room and I consider that pushing my physical limits. lol I'm so lazy that I block out anything involving physical activity. I'm still [emotionally] hurting from a day of snowboarding 4 years ago! 

4. What's a dream vacation you can't wait to take with your family? 

Right off the bat I want to say HAWAII!!! I love it. But let's dream a little bigger and go with GERMANY! It's where my mom is from and I desperately want to take everyone in the world there, especially Zepeda and Dylan, to show them this magical place where chocolate and candy falls from the sky and pretzels are bigger than 1 year olds. 



This photo sucks (because I took it). 
5. What blog post were you most afraid to publish, but did anyway?

EVERY ONE OF THEM! Though I can't imagine a life where I'm not writing something, knowing that it will be read makes me feel exposed and uncomfortable. I'm just waiting for the "WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?" comment to crush me. Please be nice, I'm sensitive under all this sass. This one made me very nervous for backlash.

6. Will you be going to any blog conferences in 2015??? What are your next plans for your wonderful blog? 

I'm going wherever you're going! I'm considering BlogHer, but really I'm just waiting for you to lay out our itinerary. I mean, if I'm going to go all the way to a blog conference, I want to go to the one you'll be at! As far as plans for my blog, monetize, monetize, monetize. In order for me to feel like I've achieved my life's dream and goal of being a successful writer, I will need to make millions of dollars. And in order to make millions of dollars, I will need to publish a book...and I'm working on it.

7. I know you asked me something similar to this, but what is something hilarious that Dylan has said or done lately? 

Uhm...well Dylan doesn't speak in complete sentences AT ALL. He's still asking for things with a single word, "aqua?" But!! This morning I was sitting in bed with him and he looked over at me and said way too clearly, "Shubah shubashuba let's get on the bus." WTF! Maybe we've watched too much of this. Considering all things, I thought it was hilarious. 

8. As you know, I just read and reviewed "My Other Ex." If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be? 

This is tough because I'm fiercely loyal. So once something terrible happens that forces an "ex" relationship, I have zero interest in considering restoration. I honestly cannot think of a single relationship I'd like to restore. Nope, not Kenny. Nope, not Shanda. And definitely not you, Michelle. I'm shameless, what can I say?

9. When did you immediately click with someone you had just met? What was the long term result? Are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first? 

There are two extremes here because on the one hand, I'm very clickable. I am extremely empathetic and can relate to anyone, plus I genuinely and generally care, so people are comfortable with me quite quickly and I learn a lot about. But I don't click with others as easily. It takes me a long time to feel like I really click with someone. Actually, I typically dislike the people I end up clicking with. For instance my husband, I couldn't stand him. Who did he think he was, anyway? lol 

Didn't see THIS coming!
10. I want a funny Halloween memory. WITH photos. Or any Halloween memories with photos.

All my favorite memories of Halloween are the same: rushing from house to house to collect the most candy, filling up a pillowcase, going home, dumping it out, counting/sorting and then trading with my four sisters. The best part about having 4 sisters on Halloween was having 4 people to trade candy with. Especially the younger ones. "I'll give you 20 Smarties for 5 Twix." I mean, who takes quantity of quality? Little sisters. And here are some Halloween photos!!





Thank you Tamara! Your questions blew my mind. Don't forget to send me our conference schedule! 

October 29, 2014

I Don't Want to Dream.

I had an entirely different post scheduled for today. But then something happened. You see, I’ve always experienced very vivid and memorable dreams. It’s great when I dream of eating my way out of a chocolate bar but disappointing when I wake up without one. And then there are times like this morning, when I woke up at 3am with tears pouring down my face because I had dreamt of escaping a violent man at a crappy motel in a bad part of town during a business trip. The dream ultimately resulted in my husband and son going back to the motel to find me, forcing me to rush back and retrieve them, only for the man to reappear, kill my husband with one blow to the head, while I attempted to frantically re-escape with Dylan in my arms. Seriously brain? Where do you get this stuff?! 

So of course, in my 3am grog, I swore someone was breaking into the house. And not just “someone,” but a reader of this here blog that I don’t know of but sits behind the screen, obsessing over my life. Seriously brain? SERIOUSLY? And there’s no talking me off the ledge! I sat up and listened for commotion but heard nothing- because hello, it was a dream

Regardless, it terrified me. I’m irrational like that. I mean, I sleep with a knife under my pillow if my husband is out of town. And when I’m the only one home, I play a game called, “Where’s your weapon?” which consists of identifying objects within reaching distance that can be used to stab someone’s eye…or chest…or whatever. But quasi-violence isn’t the only crazy fantasy I buy into. When I wake up from a husband-cheating-on-me dream, I grumpily roll over and ask him if he has anything he would like to tell me. Because “You were kissing so and so, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.” He laughs, so I give him frost bite with my eyes. 

Am I crazy? Are other people affected by their dreams like this? I have a few reoccurring classics too- like one where I watch my body fall off a cliff in the desert and land smack on the ground. And like a shitty movie, I see my lifeless body from a birds’ eye view as the shot pans out further and further away. I’m dead way before I wake up. SERIOUSLY BRAIN!? 

I can’t take it! Please, someone, save me from my imagination! This dream business is too much! So assuming I get a good night’s sleep, regular DIZMOMMY programming will resume tomorrow. Think cute stories of toddler life and sweet California sunshine- or anything other than being hunted down by a freak stalker. Thanks guys!

October 23, 2014

Moms In Da Club

Mommy Club fringe benefits are legit. Running late? Blame the kid. Don’t wanna go? Blame the kid. And my favorite: I broke it…so I blame the kid. (Gotta milk it while he’s still too young to throw me under the bus!) I knew I’d enjoy my Mom Club membership! But what I didn’t know, and what I’m just learning, is that sometimes, the mom club is really like a club. I’m talkin’ bottle service, VIP booth, stimulant-spillover, full blown CLUBBY CLUB CLUB. 

It all started when I was doing post-dinner dishes and the kitchen lights suddenly went out. What the? I turned around and saw a proud Dylan against the wall with his head contorted in my direction and one hand hovering over the light switch. Good news? The world isn’t over, Dylan just figured out how to turn the lights off. Bad news? He can only reach high enough to turn them off…so turning them back is on me. I walked over and restored light. Within seconds, he restored darkness. Despite my pleas, we went back and forth several times. Did I mention Doodlebops were on T.V.? With all the flickers, the running to and fro, the high pitched squeals from the speakers, we were basically tripping on acid in the club. You know, mom life. Always trippin’ on something. 

When the strobe show was over aka I finished dishes in the dark, I embarked on my next gig: bottle girl. Super glamorous, I know. I popped a bottle (Yes- he still gets a bottle at night. Pathetic? Maybe.) And promptly escorted Dylan to the VIP booth, otherwise known as my room. I lingered a bit just so he’d know I was available for any further requests (within reason, buddy. You don’t own me.). And when the bottle was empty, it was time to call it a night. I took him to his room and laid him in his crib, hoping he’d be a big tipper, but all I got a measly wave goodbye. Another ungrateful patron, I thought as I smiled and shut the door. 

That’s when I heard my best customer yelling for me to return. Obviously he’s delusional, or maybe he had too much to drink. But there’s no re-entry in this club buddy! So I did what any smart bottle girl does to a non-tipping, turnt-up patron- I ignored him, walked away, and went somewhere quiet. I’m off the clock buddy. Sometimes you just gotta shut the mommy club down for a members only after party. Heck, we deserve it!

October 21, 2014

Outsmarting the Universe

I’ve come to realize that I’m pretty magical, it’s as if I have super powers! Hear me out: Almost every time I make a declaration such as, “Dylan’s never had separation anxiety.” The opposite immediately becomes true and I suddenly find myself smacked in my face by separation anxiety’s ugly hand. My ability to manipulate reality byway of a bold announcement is practically witchcraft. There are times in which I’m not mindful of the danger this type of power possesses, and will say something stupid like “he’s being so good!” when we’re at a restaurant in the middle of dinner. Bad call mom, bad call

So in an effort to milk this super phenomenon in my favor, I have a handful of assertions I’d like to throw out into the Universe: 

I won’t win the jackpot when I play the lottery.
Dylan is never going to stop hitting and yelling at me.
I’ll always forget to take meat out of the freezer before I leave for work.
I’m way too busy to have time for myself.
Dylan is constantly making a mess.
I’ll never see Kobe Bryant play in person!
My next baby is totally going to be a boy.
Dylan favors dad, case closed.
I can never find the clothes I like in my size.

Alright guys, I’ll let you know how this theory plays out. Hopefully it will result in someone (eh-ehm) being the favorite parent of a well-behaved Dylan, who rocks killer threads at a Laker game [courtside seats], with a hefty bank account, pregnant with a girl, and there will be thawed meat by the afternoon. Obviously I’m a dreamer…and a genius. 

October 17, 2014

About This Whole Parenting Thing....Coming Clean

Today I’m going to come clean. Sure, I’ve been pretty honest about the whole “new mom” experience. I’ve admitted to serial killer concerns, I’ve discussed our toxic relationship, and I’ve even shared the unruly and unpredictable behavior responsible for stripping my energy and hair pigmentation. But boy oh boy is there more to child rearing than just food on the floor and slaps to the face! Yes beloved readers, I’ve been holding back. You see, the truth is that having Dylan has made me a more interesting person. Sad. But let me explain...

I used to do the same thing every day. In other words, I hardly did anything at all because I’m a lazy homebody. It was so fun! I would come home from work and fall into the couch like an accent pillow and gel my brain out to T.V.  Plans were made on the fly, with no pressure to engage in activities I didn’t feel up for [aka most of them]. Now? I have to leave my cave home for the sake of entertaining the kid, and he’s the only one falling into the couch like an accent pillow. He’s testing gravity- he’s like a scientist! (I tell myself when he falls.) 

Instead of going wherever the wind was blowing, “kid friendly” dominates the forefront of my mind, guiding me to crazy awesome parks, tadpole beaches, and the toy aisle of grocery stores. The kid makes everything more fun! We don’t just listen to music, we experience it. We don’t just drive in the car, we hunt for trucks. And there’s no such thing as blending in these days; Dylan is either forcing me into conversations that he’s initiated with strangers, or he’s drawing attention from all directions by acting a fool. Oh, you have kids too? Instantly we’re friends. 

And as I continue to develop parenting skills, I inadvertently become a participant in extremely embarrassing public displays of parenting fails. Like when I accidentally triggered my dog’s killer instinct by running through a flock of geese, resulting in Dylan’s stroller tipping over and nearly throwing him into the lake in front of a dozen concerned strangers. Good times.

I had no idea how uninteresting and boring I was in my childless life! So yes, I may have forfeited the luxury to sleep in on weekends, and my shot nerves will surely fast track gray hairs, but if you ask me what I did last weekend- you’ll never hear me say, “Not much.” Because even when we do stay home, there’s a gravity testing scientist living there, ready to unlock a new level of fun, destruction, and crazy. I think I’ll keep him. 


October 14, 2014

Rolling the Dice

I am all about fun and common sense. Shrugging my shoulders at the foreseeably stupid with a, “That’s what you get” attitude comes easy. But now that I’m a parent and I have a duty to protect my son from his own stupidity misjudgments, I’m realizing how very little I enjoy hearing the voice of reason come from my mouth. 

Dylan’s ability to transcend the seemingly safe into the dangerous is a major contributor to the woe. My kid could be in a padded room full of down feathered pillows and still figure out the quickest way to break a bone. Do you know what that kind of talent that demands of me? Supervision. And I don’t just mean watching him like a pigeon on a telephone wire, I mean SUPER VISION. Like eyes on the top, the sides, and on the back of the head type vision. And after repeating cautionary tales and explanations as to why we don’t run in the street, climb on top of tables, or stand on objects with wheels, all I really wanna do is look the other way and say, “Didn’t I tell you to be careful?!” Because he doesn’t listen and I’m sick of being so damn bossy. 

And recently, I gifted Dylan freedom. I no longer stroller him up when we walk the dog. He loves it! But for me, it’s more work. When he isn’t running up to neighbors’ doors to bark at their barking dogs (which is hilarious), he’s waiting until I’m preoccupied with picking up our beagle’s crap to perform staircase acrobatics. He’s calculated like that. But I’m steadily becoming desensitized to all the madness that is parenting a feral child. So yesterday, when Dylan bolted ahead of me, I rolled the dice and said OH FREAKING WELL. I kept my mouth shut and watched on as Dylan jumped in the air and planted his ass flat on the sidewalk. Like, intentionally. And he did it again: ran, jumped, and slammed his butt in a sitting position on the concrete, laughing hysterically. I shrugged. I just don’t get it. Doesn’t he have a tail bone? 

Clearly the kid is made of leather and can withstand a little trauma. He thinks it’s funny! And since I’m sick of being a rule maker/common sense enforcer/future seeer/probability-statistic-computer, I’m going to revert back to my natural state of shoulder shrugs and told you so’s. My little concrete ninja wants the freedom to learn common sense the hard way, literally. And so begins a bountiful series of, “I told you! Be careful!” Pray for us guys, this new approach could go either way.

 

October 9, 2014

My Terrible Son - Who I Adore

My obsession with figuring out why Dylan acts the way he does is pointless. Not just because I can come up with 12 worthless situational/transitional theories attributable to his sketchy antics at any given moment, but because I don't need to. Yet there I go, chalking up his attitude problem on a case by case basis, isolating each incident of absolute fuckery from the next, when the cause is and has been clear as day: TERRIBLE TWO'S.

When it comes to Dylan growing up, there’s a theme I play into called resistance. I resisted giving up onesies, transitioning him to solid foods, giving him sippy cups, and I’ve clung to bottles, formula, and the swaddling practice as if it would add extra hours to each day. I can’t help myself!!! I pretend, deny, plant my feet into the ground and get dragged through time instead of admitting that he's getting older...too fast. LIKE SUPER FAST. Blink-an-eye-and-he's-filing-taxes, fast. So when the "uh oh, early case of terrible two's" suggestions began surfacing in response to Dylan's snubbing, screaming, and downright freaky behavior, I ruled it out. NO WAY. Terrible Two's? He's only 1. See, that’s another thing I do. When you count your child’s age in months, they get older each month. But when you count age in years, they're 1 for a good while.1 See how sophisticated and logical my denial is? 

Unfortunately, I can no longer resist the terribles…it’s gotten really bad guys. The other day, Dylan nabbed a fistful of my hair as I carried him home from the park, shrilling "NOOO!!!" in my ear, and jerked his hand back, hair and all. That's when I realized I needed a pixie cut, stat. And later, I realized that this has become my new normal. EVERYTHING cues a "no" from that boy. And not just a single "no," six or seven of them. Even the things he asks for and wants get no’d. And there’s nothing casual about it, he shrieks 'em like a nasty pre-teen girl who just got told she isn't allowed to shave her legs like all the cool girls do.2 And speaking of legs, Dylan's are weapons. He kicks, he pushes- he even shoves his feet in my eyes. 

So assuming Dylan doesn't poke my eyes out, it's time to see him in a different light. He's not a baby. He's a little human that wants to grow up like all the other mean children do to their mothers. He’s aching for independence and there’s no sense in resisting the inevitable. Plus, if I don't stop trying and carrying him everywhere, I'll be bald by next Spring. So FINE. Grow...but preferably just out of this stage. Yeah?

1 OKAY! I admit, he's 20 months now. *sniff*
2 Random analogy, I know.

October 6, 2014

Civilizing Toddlers: It Takes a Village (Don't Teach Him That)

Being a parent is a challenging gig. And child rearing in the early years is a freak show of its own because let’s face it, toddlers are outrageous. They’re practically cavemen! They express themselves freely with little (if any) reservations and as a result, anything goes. My toddler performs all kinds of crazy, he throws handfuls of food just for laughs and then screams when there’s no food left to eat; he slaps his own face when upset and then cries in shock when it hurts. But please, don’t let the antics fool you. He’s much smarter than the grunts and limited vocab let on, so trust me when I say: don’t teach him that. 

Look, I get it, toddlers are cute. Their shameless, curious, and the barbaric nature is all part of their charm. Have you seen how happy boundless freedom makes a toddler? Better yet, have you seen how quickly a “no” can revert them to the dark side? A toddler’s wrath can be straight up demonic. So stopping a bratty tike doesn’t always come easy. Especially when it’s not your kid. But trust me when I say: DON’T TEACH HIM THAT! 

Please understand that I have to take the kid home with me and there’s no way he’s going to forget all the fun he had running amok on your watch. When I herald, “Dylan has someone’s phone! Whose phone is that?” I’m not only trying to protect your technology from the clumsy, chubby fingers of my little guy, I’m also protecting myself. So when you reply with, “It’s okay, it’s an old phone. He can play with it.” Uhm, no. Just look at him! Throwing it on the tile floor and laughing, smashing the screen with his hands, oh and now, he’s stomping on it. My toddler can’t tell the difference between phone models and can’t identify what’s valuable and what isn’t. But what he does know, is that he finally got a taste of the forbidden fruit and it’s time to juice it. That’s when my psychic abilities kick into overdrive and premonitions of my phone being eradicated by a giggling 1 year old flood my mind’s eye and I really can’t see anything else. 

Look, I understand. Their conduct is seemingly innocent behavior in toddler-world. But when my boy gets caught hitting your youngin’ because he wants a toy all to himself, I will intervene with a, “Dylan, no hitting. That’s not nice, say sorry.” EVERY TIME. And when he resists the apology, hits again, and you interject with, “Oh, it’s okay!” Please know that it’s not. It’s really, really not. Sure, my violent tot isn’t intentionally trying to inflict pain when he swats a child, he isn’t evil or cruel, and I realize he’s just expressing how he feels in the moment in the only way he knows how (i.e. I don’t feel like sharing, back off.). And okay- he lacks impulse control and is as feral as a scarred ally cat, but I have this mindset that prevents me from allowing him to lay the smack down; I call it parenting. 

Let me be clear: While I revere the kindness bestowed upon my little guy and the impassive demeanor towards the untamed, whirlwind of buffoonery that is toddler life is very much appreciated- I must civilize the brute. So when you see me getting all authoritative with boundaries and shit, please adhere. I don’t expect [or want] you to discipline my toddler, but please trust me when I say: Don’t teach him that. It takes a village. 


October 2, 2014

Pretending Not to Laugh

My 1 year old is a master scammer. He likes to pretend he doesn’t hear me when I tell him to “Come here.” And when I ask him a question he hates, such as, “Did you go poo-poo?”, he goes mute. But I’m not just dealing with selective hearing- I’m dealing with selective comprehension, blatant avoidance, and a twisted sense of humor. Dylan's messing with me on a daily basis and it’s hard not to laugh when he gets all defiantly clever. Just look at him! 

The kid has a pretty good sense of what a “no-no” looks like. So instead of committing them, they “accidentally” happen. His favorite non-offense includes pushing food he doesn't want to eat right off the table and straight into our dog's mouth, then looking to me with his fakest concerned face and saying, “Oh no!” Only to turn to the dog and shout, “NO, doggy, no!” Uhm, Mr. Dylan: reprimanding the dog for eating food you just gave him is as nonsensical as saying, “oh no!” for what clearly was NO accident. And still, he beams with, “MOM! CAN YOU BELIEVE THE FOOD FELL LIKE THAT? AND THAT IS ONE BAD DOG! 

And my favorite? Blatant avoidance. If I want fifteen minutes to myself, there’s a magical phrase for that: “Dylan, let’s go change your diaper!” Nothing will drive him away quicker. If there is any indication that it’s diaper time, Dylan suddenly has a million different interests to keep him occupied. He’ll pretend he’s in the middle of a great book he can't seem to put down; he'll play with a toy he hasn’t touched in weeks; he'll even lay on the floor and cuddle with a stuffed animal, as if the cuteness will change my mind. And when I finally have him cornered, "Come on, diaper time!" He dawns the largest grin and let's out a cheery, “Hiiii!” Translation: "Oh, were you saying something? I’m sorry, I’m so busy I didn’t even hear you. How can I help beautiful?" Master manipulator alert! 

Obviously, there’s a lot of pretending going on in our house these days. Dylan likes to pretend he isn’t mindful of rules by creatively manipulating me, and I like to pretend I'm not amused.

September 29, 2014

Who Am I Kidding Here?

Yesterday was my niece’s birthday and we went to Chuck-E-Cheese to celebrate. I was super excited because I’ve had Chuck-E-Cheese on my mind since the gestation of Dylan! Running around and blowing money on kid games is totally my thing. So before we got there, I had a mental list of favorites that I wanted to play; and when we arrived, the list doubled with all the other things I saw flashing and calling my name. Like the three-seater quarter ride that was monster truck shaped, mimicked off-roading, and had big bright headlights that flashed on and off. I mean, HELLO! Dylan loves trucks! It was fate. But you know, Chuck-E-Cheese requires patience. And on weekends? A Xanax. 

When it was finally Dylan’s turn to ride the truck, he was too confused to really enjoy it. And I was confused too, because I saw the truck tip back and it wasn’t tipping back for Dylan. But there was no time to experiment because the ride was way too short and the pressure to get off was real, as parents waited for their children’s turn to hop on. FINE. We moved on to other things…like basketball and flaming finger and things I couldn’t figure out but were fun anyways because they gave me us tickets and played excitable music. Then it was back to the truck because I’m obsessive like that. It’s genetic I think. 

I spotted a couple of kids riding the truck but there was no line so I ran towards it and waited for the rats to finish up. As they hopped out, I jumped in to stand guard. I motioned for my husband to bring Dylan over and when he did, I put my hand out for some tokens. The heavens opened up as I stuck ‘em in the monster truck. “Are you ready Dylan!?” I was delighted! I noticed a foot pedal and instantly knew I had solved the truck tipping mystery. I couldn’t wait to show Dylan what this thing could really do! And it was awesome. We rode that thing until we ran out of tokens. It was SO fun and definitely made Dylan’s first trip to Chuck-E-Cheese a success. 

Once we got home, my husband mentioned that he couldn’t believe I rode the truck. “I know! Me too! It was so fun.” There were so many kids, yet Dylan and I got to ride it like…5 times in a row with no line! 
"When we started tipping back, Dylan clenched onto my arm. It was so funny, I think he was scared!” I reported. 
“It’s a good thing you rode with him. I don’t think very many adults are riding those things.”
Wait. What? “Really? Why, was it weird?” 
“Yes.”
Oh. 

But come on! It was a three-seater! And I’m short! So I practically fit! And without my assistance, how else was the truck gonna tip back? I like rides! And games…and to be honest, I don’t pick up on kid-only restrictions. But then I saw the picture- and now I understand. Who am I kidding? It changes nothing! You see, I’m a fairly oblivious person. And as a result of overlooking things (like groups of people and social norms), I’m not easily embarrassed. So in a lot of ways, I am an embarrassment. 

Sorry Dylan! But guess who's growing up weird?

September 24, 2014

The Full Circle Effect: Parents Gone Grand

My relationship with my grandparents always came easy. The love, the treats, and the lack of discipline equaled full-time fun. Whereas the relationship with my parents was a bit more complicated because growing up there were uhm…rules and expectations. But just like my parents predicted so many times before, I’ve come to value and appreciate all they’ve done for me. And as life will have it, the roles have been reversed and they’re finally the freewheelin’ lovebugs I always knew they could be. Only instead of giving into everything I’ve ever wanted and letting me get away with way too much, Dylan gets to reap the benefits of parents gone grand. And me? I’ve become them. Specifically, I’ve become my dad…and I couldn’t be more proud. 

Though it is evident that I’m my mother’s daughter, let’s just say if people started calling me “Carl,” I’d respond without wondering why. Because: 

Our middles names are “Fervent.” I mean, not technically, but practically. I genuinely find excitement in everything, just like my dad. This zestful nature makes life really fun for Dylan (and for me). Though that same enthusiasm and passion for all things can evolve into… 

Intensity. Because I’m easily interested and engaged in each moment, my passion can spill over into being hands on, in your face, and quite frankly, a bit intense. And if I go a little overboard, especially with the rule breaking, at least… 

I have no problem apologizing. Wrong, right, who cares? Even if my intensity is seemingly justified (NO KICKING THE DOG DYLAN), even if my intention is pure (DON’T RUN INTO THE STREET!), even if I don’t have to apologize because I’m the parent, I will and I do. Being “right” is less important to me than the impact my reactions can have on others. Even if… 

I feel important. Not more important than you, which is the whole point. We’re all equally special. I take everyone seriously, kids included, Dylan included. I can’t help but listen and consider what he feels and what he has to say despite the fact he is a 1 year old. Unfortunately my consideration can appear misleading when it involves something like his desire to eat cookies for dinner, so uhm…sorry kid. But hey! I very briefly thought about it, therefore… 

I expect some things. It’s completely unrealistic, but I expect Dylan to listen, follow instruction, or convince me why he shouldn’t have to. I’m open to clever persuasion, though again, there are no guarantees. But at least… 

I’ve held onto my inner child. I genuinely enjoy being silly, making up stories, coming up with games, and chalking everything up to be a result of magic. The kid in me gets it. So it’s highly likely that Dylan will still be writing letters to the North Pole when he’s 17, and he’ll be super bummed when can read and figures out that “Arrow Burger” is actually In-N-Out; but all the fun of childhood will be just enough to spill over into his adult life. 

So that way, when it’s Dylan’s turn to be the enthusiastic, intense parent who still feels like a kid but is compelled to make rules that he will later feel the need to apologize for enforcing too harshly, he will be proud to assume the position because he’ll appreciate the results. And this will allow me to be the freewheelin’ lovebug parent gone grand, returning to my childlike nature and spoiling the crap out of my grandkids like it’s a full-time job. Sigh. The circle of life- it’s a beautiful thing. 

And To My Dad: Thanks for making my childhood magical, and for making me, you. You are free to overindulged Dylan because hey, you've earned it! Happy Birthday. (PS. If I’m you, does this mean it’s my birthday as well?) I love you Dad!

September 22, 2014

Breaking My Back

I take loving my son to a whole new level, which my husband likes to refer to as being “a pushover.” Though “pushover” isn’t a word I would use to describe myself, when it comes to Dylan, sometimes…it happens. 

What can I say? He’s my firstborn, the son I dreamt of, he’s my little baby everything, and he won’t stop growing. He’s thriving through the thick of toddlerhood; tantrums, independence, wonderment and all. He’s ready to explore, discover, and marvel at this big ol’ world and I’m sitting here like, “Do you wanna baba little baby?” My point is, I’m not a “pushover,” I’m Tinkerbell. I just want to hang out with a young Peter forever! But dang, this fairy dust business is breaking a girl’s back. 

You see, I still consider Dylan a wittle baybee- all 28lbs of him. So naturally, I disregard his ability to walk and instead, opt to wear him like a vital accessory. And up until my arms go numb and my sides ache, I LOVE carrying him. I didn’t expect babyhood to whiz by as quickly as it has and lugging the kid around on my hip is the ultimate metaphor for how I’m feeling about his maturation: I’m holding on as long as I can. 

Yet the days of accessorizing with Dylan are quickly dwindling into a thing of the past because I’m no longer hauling a baby, I’m towing a freaking child who is constantly requesting to walk, to go down, and to do his damn thang. And though it is my responsibility to let him grow-up (within reason), I continue to “shh” Dylan’s requests because Tinkerbell’s back ain’t broken yet. And until I literally am pushed over, I’m holding onto Peter Dylan as long as I can.

September 15, 2014

Liebchen - Together Through Life

This past weekend I had to say goodbye to my 14 year old mini-dachshund, Liebchen (Leeb-shen, German for sweetheart/treasure/darling/etc.). But she wasn’t just a dog to me, as our pets often aren’t, she was my dear and cherished friend, the one that knew me, that loved me, and the one that accepted me without judgment. My love for her was strikingly obvious. People liked to ask me what I’d do when she’d die and my response was always the same, “She isn’t going to die! Liebe is going to live forever.” And when she turned 10, I really believed it. And when she had a lifesaving surgery at 11, I was convinced. But you know, time happens. And it’s too easy for me to be sucked into the depression that comes with losing my pack leader, my little 8lb alpha. And it’s too easy to wallow in the reality that I will never hold her again, pet her, kiss her, or scratch her favorite spot beneath her chin just to watch her foot thump uncontrollably on the floor…great, now I’m crying. 

Liebe deserves more from me than the tears over what’s been lost. So instead of going through the details surrounding her health, I’m going to skip the past years’ worth of amounting deterioration, the tumor regrowth, and the moment when it became clear that it was time to say goodbye, because her life was 14 years more than that. I want to celebrate her in the only way I know how: shamelessly bragging. So here’s to Liebchen, my little good girl who will forever be mein Liebe. 

- She lived 14 years, 9 months, and 13 days. Knowing these precise details would be a little creepy for any other dog, but it was too easy not to track with Liebe! She was born on the millennium, 1/1/2000, and was originally named Y2K Katie. 

- Girlfriend was a serious hunter. Years ago, an outdoor storage revealed itself to be the breeding grounds for a family of mice. Liebchen wasn’t having it and went after the tribe, sniffing out and catching each pest, killing them with one bite, then dropping them to the ground. She had no interest in playing with the dead, chewing, or eating them. She was in it for the kill- 9 kills total. Boy was she proud! 

- She was noticeably gorgeous. Liebe was the star wherever she went. People always wanted to talk about how pretty she was, how small she was, how fast she ran, yada yada. She had the spirit of a puppy and constantly shocked people by her age. They’d try to pet her but… 

- She was a notorious snob. If you weren’t family, she had zero interest. She’d walk away from admirers and avoid being touched by anyone she didn’t know. She simply did not care for meaningless affections, nor did she share hers with just anyone. I loved watching her reject people from afar. 

- We frequently referred to her as “World Police” because she enforced her own set of rules at the dog park. If a dog was running too fast, making too much noise, or messing with one of our other dogs, Liebchen chased after them until they either slowed down, shut up, or bugged off. Size and breed didn’t matter, she feared nothing. 

- She was a family dog and when we took her in, I hated her. I referred to her as a rat for the first 2 years of her life because I was hurting. My parents had just given away my first dog, a pitbull. They basically replaced my big, smart companion with a tiny little black rat and I took my grief out on her. Until…. 

- I healed. And my younger sister/roomie, Angela, taught me how to love Liebe by regularly leaving her in our room. So when no one was looking, we’d bond. And before I knew it, I was 19 and moving out with Liebchen. She became MY dog. She loved me despite our rough start and I love her for that. 

- I still shared her with Angela, and when Angela had a place of her own and wanted a Liebe slumber party, I dropped her off. But a couple hours later I received a frantic phone call that I needed to immediately pick her up because my gentle, 8lb little lady, for the first (and only) time in her life, had bitten someone. And by someone, I mean my sister’s boyfriend (who I couldn’t stand). I was shocked! Oh, and he’s an ex-boyfriend now. What can I say? Liebchen knows. More proof can be found… 

- When she first met my husband…by accident. I was 18, still living at home, and he was dropping me off on one very late night. I ran into the house to quickly retrieve something and when I entered my room, Liebchen bolted out. It was so unlike her! I was confused, rushed to figure out where she went only to see the front door wide opened. I freaked and ran outside, unsure if she escaped. Then the weirdest thing happened. I watched my snobby, stranger-hating dog leap into my boyfriend’s passenger door, hop onto his lap, and kiss him on his face. It was so strange for her to take to someone she never met that I took a picture of it as it happened. He’s now my husband. Liebchen just knew. 

- Her song was “Wild Thing” by The Troggs because she was obsessed with slithering through cracks to run free and explore the back hills of our house. She’d always return with leaves in her hair and ticks behind her ears. Oh Liebe… 

- At least she loved baths. She loved being clean! There was a ladylike air to her. She was the classiest of them all. And way too smart. I mean… 

- She faked injuries for attention. My perfectly healthy dog would suddenly limp and hobble about, careful not to put pressure on whatever leg. I’d pick her up and ask her what hurt, what happened!? I’d yell for someone to come look, help, anyone! And when someone else came, she’d bounce all around and light up. Faker, prankster, little brat. 

- She refused to play with dog toys and scoffed at any attempts to encourage her otherwise. But every once in a while, she’d grab a sock and pretend like she was going to play with it. 

- She loved our Beagle, Schnuggie. She constantly humped him, which was weird, and she refused to sit anywhere other than right next to him. They had to share a kennel. 

- Her ultimate weakness: Chili-cheese fries. She was well-behaved until you threw some chili-cheese fries away. Then she’d tip the trashcan over and lick the container clean.  

I love my little girl. She was good to me and everyone I cared for. And as expected, it’s extremely tough losing her. But to all of those who knew and witnessed the beautiful love I felt for my dog, and questioned what the heck I’d do when she wasn’t around anymore, my answer has not changed. Though I may have held her as she took her last breath, the fact is that when you love something enough, it doesn’t just die. It lives on forever, just like mein Liebchen, and just like I've always said. 



 
 

 
Our last picture together.

 My favorite picture together.

Liebchen aka L.A. Lieb 1/1/2000 - 9/13/2014
"Liebchen will live forever."