This is our life: Toddler eats

It’s snack time and Emerson is dancing around the kitchen. She’s pointing every which way—at the counter, at the refrigerator, at the toaster—while emitting a terrible grunting/whining noise and giving us the sign language sign for “eat.” Alex and I try to decipher her code, as per usual. “Apple? Toast? Hummus? Puffs?!” we call.

No. No. No. She shakes her head.

What is it, Emerson?!! What do you want?

“Mmmmmnnnttttpffffft!” She stamps the floor.

Just then, a package arrives at the door. I bring it in and place it on the kitchen floor. As I unpack the box, Alex tries to force a baby food packet into Emerson’s mouth after she insisted that he open it and subsequently refused to eat it.

Emerson is very interested in the now empty box. She decides to climb in. Amused by her new location, she opens her mouth and accepts the food Alex is offering. But, just as soon as we are relieved that she is finally eating, Emerson notices the new toddler forks that I am unwrapping. She once again closes her mouth and begins to flip out until I hand her a fork. She points. I give her another. She points again. I hand her a third. She gives us both a coy little smile and giggles, then begins to slurp down her food hungrily. As long as she is standing in a box, and holding three forks (and no less), she will eat.



So, we feed her…..while she is standing in a box, holding three forks.

This is our life.

This is our life: On marriage

Alex: Man, this is hard….When you’re married there is always this other person there to point out your mistakes. And they know you so well that nothing slips by them. Evvvvverytime you mess up….oh, there they are, like “hey, you’re doing it wrong….you need to change….what’s wrong with you?” Just….always.

Alexa: Yup. You can’t hide. And you know what? We’ve only been together for five years and we’re at this level. I mean, we sound like we’ve been married for decades. What the heck are we going to sound like when we’re old?

Alex: I don’t know…

Alexa: I think there will be a lot more silence, actually. I mean, what is left to talk about after a few decades?

Alex: The kids.

Alexa: Obviously, the kids. But, other than that….

Alex: Other than that there’s probably a whole lot of “Please stop! I’ve heard that story 900 times already!”

Alexa: Really. By the way….can you hurry up? What are you doing with that stroller?! Get it up the stairs already!


This is our life.


This is our life: Sleep?

IMG_0396Text message to my husband last night: Not going well in here. She’s not sleeping. FML. What is up with this chick?

Husband’s response: She’s chronically young…be persistent. Good luck!

As I find myself in the midst of yet another bout of sleeplessness, I’m (reluctantly) coming to grips with the fact that I will not sleep…..really sleep….until all my kids are in college. There always seems to be some new phase or affliction or fear monopolizing what should be our slumbering hours.

So, I just wanted to say this: I miss sleep. Like ten straight hours of sleep without waking to change diapers or feed a little mouth or soothe a teething child (or while pregnant- pee or eat a snack or adjust my aching belly). It’s been twenty-three months since I slept well…just for the record.

I guess I’m lucky, though, because I have an astounding amount of patience when it comes to nighttime parenting. Yet, every once in a while I hit a terrible wall….and I have to fight through my frustration to find just a sliver of nurturing and understanding to give my daughter in the night. And….when will this phase be over?

Zzzzzzz…I just fell asleep for thirty seconds at my computer….


This is our life: The wee hours

It’s 5:30 a.m. Emerson, who is lying beside me, begins to wiggle and stir. She flips over to her left side. Still asleep. Flips over to the right side. Still asleep. She calls out “daddy!” Still asleep. But, I. I am awake. I’m trying desperately to ignore all the thrashing, but knowing it’s a losing battle makes it impossible to fall back asleep. I pull out a boob and shove it in Emerson’s mouth. She instantly settles, and I think maybe…..just maybe. But, a minute later, there are limbs flying in every direction. Emerson (still asleep) stretches both her legs up in the air and then splits them with a violent force. One leg on mommy, one leg on daddy. She does the same with her arms. Up in the air, and smack! I get whacked in the eye, and then she rests her hand on my cheek. Alex is lucky (at this point). He only gets hit in the back. Emerson is now lying completely spread eagle, while Alex and I cling to our respective sides of the bed.

5:45 a.m. Emerson gets sick of nursing. Instead, she begins to round house kick Alex. Bam. Bam. BAM! After about eleven kicks, Alex is frustrated so he turns over to face us. He falls immediately back to sleep (while I stare at him, full of resentment). As soon as he’s asleep, his mouth opens and he begins to breathe heavily. Into my face. And I can’t turn over, because Emerson has decided to start nursing again and I don’t dare move her….I don’t dare wake her up! So now, I am choking on Alex’s horrific morning breath. Right into my face. I push him. I manually close his mouth for him….and it pops right back open. The bad breath fan continues. I use my pillow to create a barrier.

6:15 a.m. Emerson is still asleep, but begins to crawl across my body. She collapses with the upper half of her body on top of my chest, and her legs on Alex’s stomach. She rhythmically kicks Alex in the gut, over and over, until Alex finally puts his arm over her feet in an attempt to stop the pain. Emerson gets annoyed. So, she rolls away. Onto my head. The weight of her body is now suffocating me, meanwhile, she seems perfectly comfortable to lie on top of my face. But, then she’s not so comfortable anymore. She rolls away toward Alex. She is now lying horizontally across both our pillows….butt in my face, naturally. She farts. Still asleep. I am not amused so I move her back into a normal position on a normal part of the bed.

6:30 a.m. Emerson wakes up. But, she’s still drowsy so she continues to lie there while singing to herself. The singing gets louder. And louder. Until she is screaming out random words—some real, some made-up. She gets stuck on the word “daddy,” which reminds her: oh my god, daddy is right here in bed with me! She sits up and starts smacking daddy on the back.

“Hi, daddy. HI, daddy! HI, DADDYYYY!!!”

Alex whimpers, but doesn’t budge. Displeased with his reaction, Emerson crawls onto daddy’s pillow and begins to poke him in the eyes. She sticks her fingers up his nose. She pries his mouth open and pokes his teeth. She grabs his ear and wiggles it back and forth. Alex is trying his hardest to fake that he is sleeping. So, Emerson grabs his eyelids and opens them.

“Hi, daddy!!”

“Hi, Emerson,” Alex mumbles.

I lie there secretly smiling, because damn. If I’m not sleeping, I sure as hell don’t want to watch my husband lie there, immune to the miniature acrobat in our bed. But, Alex still refuses to accept that sleepy time is over. He pulls the covers up over his head. My resentment grows.

6:45 a.m. Emerson gets bored with daddy so she crawls back over to me and proceeds to open the shirt I just buttoned up.

No, Emerson. Num nums have closed up shop. No more num nums!

Emerson ignores me. She finds her way into my shirt, literally laughing, and begins to nurse again. I want to stop her, but I also don’t want to get out of bed….so I let her nurse. Back and forth, back and forth. She switches breasts like she’s eating at a buffet.

7:00 a.m. I can’t take anymore. And I’m definitely not getting any sleep. I get out of bed and open the shades. Eventually the bright sunshine annoys Alex enough and he gets out of bed, too. “Emerson, you are one thorough alarm clock,” he says.

Good morning.

This is our life.

This is our life: Our first break from parenting

We hired some help recently. Just a little help. So I can have a mere hour or two a week to actually get things done, work on my career, or maybe just sit in an empty room doing nothing. Because, after a year of being with Emerson every waking (and non-waking) moment of my life without even one day (or night!) off…..sister needs. some. help. And so, I asked an amazing high school girl I met a few months ago to help us out.

But then, the day arrived. For the first time EVER, I was off the clock. And Alex came home early from work. So, we were both off the clock. The problem was we had no idea what to do with it. Emerson—who usually will not let me leave her alone with anyone other than Alex—suddenly didn’t need me. She was totally in love with her new friend and didn’t even notice, let alone cry, when I left the room. I was astonished and suddenly found myself wandering around the house, feeling nervous and confused, not knowing what to do.

But then I bumped into Alex in the living room and felt a spark of excitement. “We are alone in a room without a baby!” I said, expecting to be met with equal excitement. But, my husband just looked up the staircase to the bedroom, and said he wanted to take a nap.

A nap?! But, we’re alone in a room. Isn’t this what we’ve been missing the past year? What about all the months you’ve spent feeling lonely, because I’m always with Emerson?

“Yah…..I guess you’re right. What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we could just sit on the couch and talk. Or cuddle? We never get to do that!”

And so, we sat down together, but it felt strange. No one was interrupting us. No one tried to tackle us apart when we cuddled. Was Emerson okay? What was she doing right now? No. Push it out of your mind. Enjoy this moment. Talk about something interesting. Make out. Come on…

We tried.

The thing is, in the absence of our baby, we felt free. But, we were not free in the way we used to be. No. Now, freedom meant not having to find our second, third, fourth or fifth wind of the day. Freedom meant not having to ignore our needs and aches for the well-being of another. Freedom meant abruptly feeling the weight of an entire year tending to our child come crashing down on us. And so, after five minutes of talking about Emerson, the room began to spin. All that cuddling on a soft, comfortable couch was too much for us—we were just two exhausted parents.

“Just go take a nap, baby. That’s really all you’re capable of right now.”

Alex rolled off the couch and dragged himself up the staircase as I sat in the living room comatose…until I was needed again.

This is our life.

This is our life: Lowering my expectations, Part II

I wrote about lowering my expectations yesterday….more specifically about a poop on the floor incident. But, that was more of a thoughtful piece, unlike my usual poop posts. Have I said the word “poop” too much in the last three sentences? Or in general? Interesting side note—I actually would not ever say the word “poop” until I was 23-years-old, and that was only because I started working at a daycare center and had to. Before that, I would literally cringe whenever someone would say the word. I couldn’t stand it. In fact, my college boyfriend used to taunt me by listing various ways of expressing the act of pooping. And I would scream and beg him to stop while he laughed hysterically. True story.

This might be the biggest tangent I’ve ever gone off on….

Anyway, what I meant to say here is that while my thoughts about the poop on the floor incident were more profound than funny when looking back on it, it wasn’t exactly that way in the moment. Here is the actual conversation (in part) Alex and I had while I cleaned poop off the floor (by the way, I’ve said poop seven times so far, but here’s some more):

Alex: You’re actually taking this really well.

Alexa: Actually, I’m just so pissed that I have to keep it inside.

Alex: Oh, that’s going to work out really well for all of us. Just say it all to me now. Come on, let’s have it…

Alexa: Okay. Are you an idiot? Why didn’t you just put the poopy diaper in the bucket meant for poopy diapers? It’s right there! Why the floor?!

Alex: There was still poop on Emerson! I didn’t really give any thought to the poop in the diaper. I just threw it on the floor to get it out of my way.

Alexa: It’s a turd! It’s round. You can’t just cast it aside. It will fall right out of the diaper and roll away like a log!

Alex: Um…I did not know that.

Alex: *Long pause*

Alex: You know, the worst part of all this is knowing that it’s going to end up on the internet.

Alexa: Yup. I’m writing the post in my head right now.

Alex: You could always not post this one. Maybe just skip it.

Alexa: Not going to happen.

This is our life.

This is our life: a conversation in the car

Alexa: Remember when we used to take vacations, just the two of us?

Alex: I don’t remember being just two.

Alexa: We totally glutted ourselves on attention, affection, and romance. We were obsessed with each other. Totally and completely obsessed. We spent all our time together. Remember?

Alex: *Blank stare*

Alexa: Then POUF! It was gone. Just like that…I can’t even access all that stuff now.

Alex: Now it’s like we’re two co-servants to some greater God, and we’re just tripping over and annoying each other in the process. You know, like co-workers arguing over who gets to take their break first.

Alexa: Yes.

This is our life.

This is our life: On dinner

At dinner last night, Emerson was very insistent that she take a break from eating peas and instead have some nums nums (breast milk). She was strapped into her highchair at the time putting a 3-point harness and tray in between her and a nursing session. But, she didn’t want to get out of the chair and give up what was on her plate. She just wanted a boobie juice break.

This happens semi-regularly—Emerson wants to nurse at the most inopportune time. Given I am fully committed to nursing her on demand, I have done some serious acrobatics in order to get her some milk (or comfort) at times. This was one of those times as I was starving myself and needed to finish chowing down my meal in order to get Emerson down to sleep afterwards. So, with one leg still on my chair and one arm still in control of my dinner fork, I bent backwards and sideways allowing my other arm to drape over the back of Emerson’s highchair. I shoved tacos into my mouth as Emerson happily sucked down milk. This arrangement was a new one for us both, and Emerson was quite pleased with the service. She had a few peas in one hand and a boob in her mouth. To express her glee, she reached up and began to lovingly caress my face. As I awwwww-ed at her, her caresses slowly grew more aggressive until she was (lightly) slapping me across the cheek as she nursed. Bam. Bam. Bam.

“Emerson, stop slapping your mother!” Alex pleaded. “Now there’s something I didn’t expect to say in a situation I didn’t expect to find myself in.” Long pause and stare. “Dinners around here keep getting weirder and weirder.”

I don’t know what you mean,” I replied.

This is our life.

This is our life: It happened again

Emerson pooped in the tub. I definitely felt better prepared for the situation this time, but I’m not sure it will ever not bring out the heightened emotions crazy person in me, which is why there is still a story to be told.


It was Saturday, and I was getting dressed after my shower. As I rummaged through my underwear drawer, I had the spontaneous urge to put on something sexy. I had no intention of showing off my undergarments to my husband (sorry, dear). This was just for me. Because, sometimes it really does make a girl feel good about herself to know she is secretly wearing black lace underneath her sweatpants.

As soon as I was done getting dressed, I called to Alex to bring Emerson up for her bath. We plopped her in the tub and spent the next ten minutes smiling and applauding her splashes…until she got that look on her face. The look every parent knows—the “she’s-about-to-poop face”. Emerson kept standing up in the tub, trying to get out, so she could do her business elsewhere. Unfortunately, I did not read the urgency of the situation. I was almost done scrubbing her down. I can get away with another thirty seconds, right? I can get her out in time. 

Just then, I saw something dark-colored rolling around on the bottom of the tub. And then another.

I was a pro at this now, though. I grabbed Emerson and wrapped her up in a towel and handed her off to Alex, who was less than pleased with his role. “You want me to just hold her? She has pieces of poop on her!”

Relax! She’s wrapped up in a towel. Just deal with it. I have work to do!

I collected my arsenal in front of the tub—rubber gloves, non-toxic disinfectant, paper towels, sponge. A hundred de-pooping strategies swirled through my head while Alex continually suggested that I simply dump the tub water down the drain.

“I cannot do that! What is wrong with you?! There are solid poops in the water and they cannot go down the drain! Just be quiet and let me think!”

I decided to carefully pour as much of the water down the drain as I could without letting Emerson’s lovely gifts seep out. Then I’d pour the rest into the toilet. This made perfect sense in my mind, but was a little difficult to execute. As I frantically tipped the baby tub back and forth, the murky water kept splashed up on me.

“Noooooo! Why?! Again?! Why must the poopy water hit me in the face every time this happens?!

I peeled off my soiled shirt once the tub was clear. But, Alex yelled at me to take my pants off too, because he saw the poop dump all over them. So I yanked them off, revealing my black lace secret. Trying to ignore my outfit, I strapped on a pair of disposable rubber gloves, bent over the tub, and began furiously spraying disinfectant in every direction.

Alex stared at me, confused and slightly intrigued.

Alex: What is happening here? I mean….what are you wearing? Those are some pretty racy underwear.

Alexa: Yes, I am wearing sexy underwear today. It was supposed to be a secret. It’s a girl thing….I didn’t expect to suddenly be wearing nothing but this during family time.

Alex: I’m really confused by everything you just said, but look at you! Sexy underwear and rubber gloves, cleaning a bath tub in a very provocative position. You look like a character from a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

Alexa: Leave me alone!

Alex: The greatest part is that you left your socks on and they have giant peace signs on them. Your outfit doesn’t make any sense.

Alexa: What about the fact that I’m not just wearing regular rubber gloves, but the disposable medical exam kind.

Alex: I didn’t want to say, but that’s kind of creepy. I’m pretty sure only perverts have a 100-count box of those at home.

Alexa:You know they are for cleaning Emerson’s cloth diapers in the toilet bowl. But, you are right. They are creepy……What exactly do you think creepy people do with exam gloves? Weird kinky stuff we can’t even imagine?


Alexa:This is an inappropriate conversation to have in front of Emerson. I need to get this tub clean.

Alex: Babe, please! You already sprayed that spot like four times! Can we get the baby back in the tub yet?

Alexa: No, I need to spray it again. And then I need to clean the big tub, because I poured the poopy water in there.

Alex: It’s just poop!

Alexa:You take baths in there like four times a week. Doesn’t bathing in Emerson’s poop remnants bother you?!

Alex: No, it’s just poop. People used to live in poop and they were fine.

Alexa: Why are you always referencing yesteryear? Like you know exactly what people went through in the 1600’s. I’m sure they got sick, just like we get sick from accidentally eating or bathing in poop.

Alex: Actually, I know everything about the 1600’s. But, we should really be talking about the 1500’s and the bubonic plague. You would have hated to live through that. Think of all the germs.

Alexa: Are you kidding me right now?! I don’t care about the bubonic plague, I care about the poop in my bathtub!

Alex: I need to open a window. I’m getting dizzy from all that spray. And look at your poor daughter. She keeps sneezing.

Alexa: I’m using all natural products. It’s not hurting you! Stop being so dramatic!

Alex: Oh, “all natural” products, sure. What kind of “natural” chemicals are in that one?

Alexa: Actually, it’s just a combination of oregano oil, rosemary and thyme because they are natural antibacterials.

Alex: Well, that explains why it smells like some strange Indian poop dish in here. It’s your spicy spray.

Alexa: I’ll give you that. It does smell exactly like Indian food and poop in here.

Alex: Honestly, I don’t think I can ever see you in sexy underwear again. Sexy lingerie has been ruined for me. I’ll always associate it with poop from now on, and poop is not sexy. Why did you have to wear that today?

Alexa: I told you! It was supposed to be a secret!

Alex: Can we please bath our child now? She is violently trying to free herself from my arms.

Alexa: Hold on….

Alex: Emerson! Stop kicking me in the balls! Babe, come on!

Alexa: Okay, fine, put her in.


This is our life.