The Frazzled Mom


This is not just an apt illustration of what a frazzled mom looks like. I’m not playing with metaphor here, I’m playing with reality. This is my actual hair people, after a long day of boys, wrestling, corralling and wrangling.

Seriously. These kids have destroyed my hair. Not only is it a mangled, frizzy mess at the end of the day, but I now constantly fight a halo of smaller, newly-grown hairs to replace the ones I’ve lost. Lost because my very long, ungroomed, undyed hair is completely unkempt in not a clip, not a ponytail, but a bun. Every day it ends up this way.

I need help.

And I’ve not even started in on my eyebrows. Or the bags under my eyes. Or the fact that my eyes have experience two brand-new, out-of-the box sets of contacts this week, because I am too tired to remember to put them IN THE SOLUTION at night after I pluck them out of my eyes, and I wake up to dry, shriveled little contact shells.

I digress. It’s a mom thing. And here I am. I have become the mom I swore I wouldn’t become. You know the mom: The one that wears yoga pants outside at least once a day (bus, trash, mail, whatevs). The mom that is featured on makeover shows because she let herself go. The mom who wears the same two pairs of shorts and four shirts every single week because she just cannot bear to go out and buy more fat clothes and keeps ignoring the ones her pre-baby body fit in to. The mom who is trying to keep up with a one-year-old, a four-year-old with a disability, and work and house and no family and no friends nearby to help, and if the baby wakes up at 6:00 a.m. every freaking morning, what time is said mom supposed to get up to work out?

Some days I wish they could do that thing in sci fi shows, where they take away your sleep. And then you can have 24 hours every day in which to get things done. Because you don’t need to sleep. You just keep going and going … but then, the world of magic kicks in and you realize you’ve created an evil twin version of yourself, but hulkier, and possibly with greenish skin, who’s gonna break some glass and bust some heads and … wait. That was totally an episode of Angel.

Again, digression. Lack of sleep. Sleep! I love sleep. Lately, when Andrew is napping and Max and I are in the playroom, I find sleep just throws a sack over my head and carries me away for ten minutes. Or an hour. It’s blissful. Until I wake up. And find that Max has done something horrible. Like throw an entire bin full of dried beans under the couch.

I don’t know what to do to break this cycle. It’s a sun up, sun down kind of job, motherhood. And I don’t know if any good solutions exist to help me out of this, short of hiring a nanny. Or a maybe a house cleaner. (Let’s face it, I’m too embarrassed by the state of my house when it IS dirty to have a stranger come over and clean up my mess and make it not dirty.)

I think we just have to ride the wave. And not forget to call the salon ….


A Day in the Life of Mom

20140205_085303A few weeks ago, I was calmly eating a stack of pancakes with warm maple syrup, enjoying my second cup of coffee as I peered out the window to an icy, icy day. It actually was quite beautiful. There is something peaceful about seeing the trees all frozen, much like a morning of fully-blanketed snow.

This quiet morning was the antithesis of my previous day, which made me laugh in hindsight, because I’m sure there are people who wonder what the life of a working-stay-at-home-mom (WSAHM) looks like. Here we go:

It’s 11:00 p.m. on Thursday night, and I’m in bed with my husband, Ned, aka Ned/Thor/Gunnar, aka NTG. This is early for me, but I’m not pumping tonight, and I’m exhausted from both kids waking up in the middle of the night the previous evening. And I have a giant proof to work on in the morning.

To ensure at least five hours of sleep, we’ve put the baby to bed rather late (around 10:00 p.m.) and nursed him twice in two hours. That oughtta do it.

At three thirty in the morning, I hear my eldest son, Max, begin to stir in his room. Thirty seconds later he’s in the hallway crying. NTG is up and out of bed, in his underwear, and I’m dragging myself out from under the covers. This is how it works, always. My brain wakes up and my bladder, which is processing about 100 to 120 ounces of water per day (breastfeeding momma), screams “I GOTTA GO!” So I go.

I get into the hallway and Max is lying in the doorway of his bathroom, NTG hovering over him going, “I dunno what’s wrong.” When Max sees me, he gets up. I pick him up and immediately am hit by the wall of smell: puke. I call to NTG, “Ned, he smells like vomit.” This also, is how it works: the kid wants mommy, so daddy has to go on puke patrol. Ned checks Max’s room and his bed, but there’s nothing.

So I get Max changed and calmed down and back to bed by 4:00 a.m. NTG cannot go back to sleep, so he camps out in the spare bedroom with his Droid. I, like most moms of young children, am asleep in seconds.

And then the baby wakes at five fifteen. I linger ’til five thirty, and then I spend the next half hour changing and nursing. I fall back into bed, and am re-awakened by the sound of Max getting up, seeing everyone else is asleep, and scurrying downstairs to make trouble. When I check the clock, it’s not quite eight.

So I drag myself out of bed and to the spare room to wake Ned, who I know has a conference call at 8:30 a.m. (Yeah, yeah, I’m Wife of the Year.) I go downstairs to check on Max, who still smells faintly of vomit, and try to get him to drink some water as I stumble around a full sink of dishes trying to make coffee.

And then, I feed the cat.

Max loses it. It’s his newest threenager move: he freaks whenever I’m feeding Andrew cereal, or the cat his breakfast/lunch/dinner. Terrible really, I totally don’t get it. I deal with that hot mess for about ten minutes until NTG comes downstairs to take over, and I go up and get the baby up. Again. I make a note while I’m in the bathroom to refill the soap dispenser.

Once Andy is settled into chewing a blue elephant rattle, I get to work stripping Max’s bed and throwing in a load of clothes. I, of course, have a load of dry laundry yet to be folded sitting in a basket, as well as a full dry load of diapers in the dryer. The morning starts to blur. NTG showers. I draw a bath for Max, finish folding all the laundry. NTG leaves for work and recaps the nights events saying, “I don’t know what that was.” In my head I say, It was puke. Just because you didn’t find it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. The only thing in the world that smells like puke is puke! I go downstairs to gather up Max and give him a bath. The baby starts to fuss that he’s done for the morning and I leave Max to play while I nurse Andy to sleep. I swap out the washer for the dryer and throw in another load. Max is dried and dressed and refusing to have his nails trimmed. I turn off the light in the bathroom and make a mental note to refill the soap dispenser. I decide to take a shower when my stomach begins to urgently insist I do something about my no-breakfast. It’s ten thirty in the morning.

So I go downstairs to grab a cereal bar, and Max follows me, ready to eat. So I give him juice and water and dry cereal, and pray he keeps it down. Max follows me back upstairs when we’re done eating. I turn on the shower. He protests that I’m running water. I explain I have to get clean too. He’s not buying it.

I proceed to get “ready” for the day and crack open my laptop to check my e-mail. It’s now 11:30 a.m. Nothing urgent, so I enjoy a segment of The View and have a serious discussion with Max about why screaming in the room next to where his brother is sleeping isn’t a good idea.

I get downstairs to sit at my desk, which is in a gated-off part of our finished basement, and actually start working. I make one phone call and turn on the monitor. The baby is awake. *sigh* I trudge back upstairs to change his diaper, and end up changing his outfit because he’s leaked a bit, swap out clothes from the washer to the dryer, curse that I still haven’t remembered to fill the soap dispenser, and mentally decide to not take both boys out for a quick grocery run and make NTG do it instead. I get back downstairs to my office and as soon as I walk into the playroom, I can tell Max has pooped.

So all the way back upstairs to change a diaper (we cloth diaper, so trudging upstairs to our diapering station is a must.) I make another mental note to fetch the liquid soap from under the kitchen sink and refill the damn soap dispenser. Why is my stomach rumbling? It’s lunch time. I’ve not gotten a lick of work done. I decide to write this blog instead, because if I don’t, it’ll be 5:00 p.m. and I’ll be ready for a nap and a glass of wine. Or both.

I somehow get through lunch, another nap for the baby, a dozen emails regarding the font size of my latest book project, Max having a good twenty-minute door slamming fest, starting rice for dinner (cashew chicken, yum), getting the baby up from the nap, two more diaper changes and waiting for NTG to finally get home.

But he doesn’t get home. It’s the worst time of day, really, the witching hour for babies. By 6:00 p.m., I’m prepping food for Max, cereal for the baby, and prepping the meal for NTG and I so when he gets home, all I have to do is cook. In French they call this preparatory cooking mise en place. I call it the calm before the storm.

Max manages to keep himself busy enough while I feed Andrew cereal mixed with formula (because I didn’t pump last night, so I don’t have enough breastmilk to mix in). He doesn’t mind. We’re a little more than halfway through the feeding when Max climbs into my lap to whine about said feeding of his little brother. And … he smells. *sigh* Where is your father? So I quickly finish up the baby, wipe his face, carry the baby upstairs to his crib, come back downstairs and carry Max upstairs (’cause he’s still not over that whole Mommy-carry-me-I-still-want-to-be-the-baby thing). As I’m changing Max, Andy is crying. Max has leaked a little from his diaper, so I decide to just put pjs on him. Andy’s revving up. Where the eff is your father? I get Max set, and he wants me to carry him back downstairs. I call to Andy, “Mommy’ll be right back,” as if that will placate my non-speaking infant, get Max to the kitchen table and his dinner, tell him, “Mommy’ll be right back,” as I climb back upstairs to a now-screaming baby who just. Wants. To. Sleep.

Ned/Thor/Gunnar walks in the door just as I’m getting Andy to latch on.

I finally get to my proof once both children are sleeping. I finish writing this blog at 12:44 p.m.

And people wonder, what we moms do all day at home. I hope I was able to clear that up. We forget to fill soap dispensers.

The Fourth Trimester

That is where I have been. Technically, I stayed away from this blog for most of my third trimester as well.

No, I have been in that lovey, beautiful haze of post-babydom with our latest little big man, Andrew Jacob. He cruised into life in mid-August, a week and a half late, weighing in at almost 9 ½ pounds and 22 inches long. That’s my boy. He’s now four-and-a-half months old and weighing in at 17 ½ pounds and 28 inches. Yep, you read that right. Everyone start sending footballs and basketballs.

20130829_221155 (2)

He is beautiful. He has Ned/Thor/Gunnar’s eyes and head and is built like a little linebacker. I can tell already he’s going to be sweet. This time around, things seem to go so much faster and little Drew and I are bonded quite nicely.

This fourth trimester has been like a ferris wheel. Scary, sometimes too fast, and sometimes. Way. Too. Slow. These are my ruminations from the past few months:

Time. There is so little and so much of it. It seems that this first few weeks are so fleeting; little man is reaching all of those milestones—smiling, laughter, cooing—so quickly. And yet, each little tickle is like a discovery, as NTG and I look at one another and wonder, “Did Max do that? When did he first smile?” We shrug and turn our eyes back to the joy of our newborn. He is here now. It fills my days, and yet seems to not be enough of it at all. He rolled over a week or two ago, and NTG was saddened. “It’s all over,” he said.
Sleep. Oh, how I love sleep. In the fourth trimester, sleep is a like a drug really. You crave it, you push it aside, you long for it, you cannot wait for it, you sometimes are overtaken by it before you know what is happening. My favorite moment of the day often is when I climb into bed, the boys are all tucked in and I get watch a little television or read a chapter of … zzzz. It still amazes me how the third trimester leaves us in a bad taste in our mouths when it comes to sleep … it evades us so well. And in an instant, we can now easily find slumber, like it was waiting to snatch us up all along.
Which brings me to patience. Certainly all parents need it, but none more than parents of more than one child, when the youngest has just arrived. Patience seems run right alongside sleep; the more rest mom gets, the more parallel the tank of patience. The less mom has to work, the greater the patience. The easier the schedule, the more I can tolerate Max slamming the pantry door a hundred times in a row. You get the picture.
Letting go. I did a lot of this with Max’s arrival. Housework, making dinner every night (see Cooking), having time to watch television. With two, the second time around letting go is amplified. It’s really leeeetttinnnng gooooo. I cleaned my bathrooms this past weekend and realized I had not scrubbed my sons’ bathroom since before THANKSGIVING. All television watching takes place via On Demand, and if a show is not on On Demand, I dump them. I’m starting to be a shower-at-night girl because morning showers are laughable when you have preschool and an infant in tow.
Cooking. Well, I’m a foodie. Totally. Even in my last month of pregnancy, while I was a giant whale of a person, I managed to cook and fill my freezer for those nights post-baby. After Andrew’s birth, we had meals cooked by my mom. Friends brought dishes and presents for the baby. And then … crickets. Because we live in such a rural area, it’s up to me make sure we eat, since take out option are rare. And kind of scary. I’ve learned once again how much the crock pot is my friend. And make-ahead freezer meals. And cooking double batches and prepping ahead of time. And to stop following recipes altogether.
Love. Yeah, we love the babies. I mean, some people are baby people, and some are not. I’m in the former category. Nothing as perfect as a little baby sighing softly in his sleep. Or how snuggled up he gets while nursing. Or the way he cannot stop himself from having a total giggle fit every time I take off or put on his clothes. Or how he already loves the game where he holds out his hand to my mouth and I pretend to eat his fingers. Better than chocolate, those babies.

And now the light is starting to filter back through the tunnel of the fourth trimester. Work is starting to come in again; Andrew is almost sleeping through the night, although I have yet to adopt his 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. sleep schedule. We’re getting into a groove, and I’m starting to feel that good feeling writers get … I’m ready and at the keyboard.

One evening, shortly after my last blog post was announced via social media, my dear husband Ned was cruising through his nightly ritual on his smartphone: looking at crap on the Internet. He came across my post and said, “Oh, is this your blog?”

*sigh* yes, Ned that is my blog. The one you’ve only read once before.

And he proceeded to read it. Halfway though, he asked me, “Who is ‘Max’?”

*sigh sigh* I explained to him that was his son’s name-change-to-protect-the-innocent. I then pointed out that I was “Molly” and he was “Ned.”

“Ned? Ned!” he protested. “You named me Ned?” I laughed. He glowered and said, “At the very least you could have named me something that fits. Like Thor or Gunnar.”

Seriously? This from He Who Never Reads My Writing? (Really, I’m okay with that part. It’s a long-standing tradition that none of my family really has an awareness of my published life. It is best, I have learned, that these people just stay out of it.)

So to honor Ned/Thor/Gunnar, and to celebrate Father’s Day, I give you my top ten things that fathers do. (Because, let’s face it, much of what they do falls into the pet peeve category for most moms; and well, we have girlfriends for that sort of talk.)

1.  The Shock of Poop. Ned/Thor/Gunnar gets the bedtime detail, just based on scheduling. I get the majority of diapers and getting Max up and putting him down, so nighttime is it for NTG. I’m usually in the laundry room while the poopy diaper is being ensconced, which is almost always followed by, “Oh dear GOD!” or “Jesus, what is your mother feeding you?” I laugh and laugh. Laugh harder when I then hear, “Max, no! Don’t put your hand there!” Hehehehehe.

One time when Max was just a few months old, we were traveling with him over the holidays. The moment we got to our seats on the plane, I could tell he’d pooped. NTG said he’d take him, and headed off to the airplane bathroom. He got back to our seats, handed me the baby and said, “Woah. That was a five-sheeter.”

2.  It’s Hard Enough Remembering to Feed the Cat. This sounds terrible, I know, but it is an universal dad thing. I have mom friends that leave their husbands detailed lists of what to feed the child, or just make everything themselves. Whenever I am out on the weekend—errands, grocery store, whatever—I will get the call from NTG, or I’ll check in with him, and we have the following conversation:

NTG: So um, I think maybe I should feed him lunch.

Me: Yes, yes. It is 12:30. Lunch is a good idea.

NTG: What do you want me to give him?

Me: *insert boring list of toddler lunch food items*

NTG: Okay. Sounds good, baby, see you later.

I then come home to find out my son ate nuts on the couch with NTG. Or Cheese-Its in the playroom. Or NTG saying, “He ate a bunch of those cheese puffs, but that was about it.”

3.  That’s Mr. Daddy. One of my most favorite things that NTG does: he teaches our son. Tools, putting together shelves, helping set up the big-boy bed. NTG is patiently narrating the entire way, letting Max participate. Laughing every time Max imitates the sound of the drill. It’s awesome.

4.  What Routine? Out to lunch on a Saturday, and Max had inhaled a buttered muffin, a bowl of grapes and a few tablespoons of ketchup via a few dozen French fries. We paid the bill, and were getting ready to go. I reached into the diaper bag and pulled out a wipe, and handed it to Ned/Thor/Gunnar. He looked at the wipe, and then at me, and asked, “What am I doing with this?”

I gave him a blank stare. He said, “Oh …” and proceeded to wipe up our son. I could not stop laughing at him.

5.  Fashion Sense Isn’t Needed at Night. In the morning, I’ll look at my son, who is wearing his “I’m Crabby” pj top with his construction vehicle pj bottoms, and ask NTG: How did this happen? He almost always responds with, “What? I just reach in and grab.” Clearly.

6.  Daddies Hang Out Better Than Anyone. See the image below for evidence. When this is just NTG messing with his smartphone for a half-hour at a time, it makes me crazy. But add the kiddo into the mix, and it’s cute. They’re like peas and carrots, those two.

MC Apr 13 012

7.  Brute Strength. This is helpful because sometimes kids just want to hug their mommies, or bite them, or hit them or do whatever they want (not what the parent wants), ’cause moms don’t retaliate. Also, some things are just heavy. Having dad around is invaluable, especially in the following situations:

  • Removing a screaming, kicking toddler from a room.
  • Transferring a screaming, kicking toddler from the park to a car seat.
  • Quickly moving a 30-pound kid up a flight of stairs.
  • Pack-muling it through an airport with a stroller, a carryon and a car seat in a protective cover strapped to his back.
  • Holding an infant still for first-time bloodwork, while Mom paces the room. (Dad may cry through this process. It’s allowed.)

8.  Teaching Inappropriate Things. My father was good at this. (He was notorious for teaching babies how to make raspberries.) Sofar, NTG has taught Max how to sing the Hofbräuhaus drinking song: “eins, zwei, g’suffa” (one, two, drink). I ignorantly thought this meant, “one, two, three.” No, now Max sings it, and clinks your glass three times with his sippy cup before he chugs his milk. Max also quite enjoys chanting: “Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!”

Other offensives include: “hubba, hubba, hubba” and “Oh, sexy girlfriend!” From Parenthood, and Sixteen Candles, respectively. At least he’s not taught him, “No more yanky my wanky.” Goodness.

9.  They Love Kid Food. Sometimes I think that Ned/Thor/Gunnar prefers veggie chips and peanut butter toast to the coconut-crusted chicken with mango salsa dinners I prepare for him. Truly, between NTG and Max, I need to buy peanut butter, cheese crackers and Oreos in bulk. Whenever Max is done eating, his father isn’t far behind, snatching up grilled cheese and declaring, “This is delicious!”

10.  They’re Human Jungle Gyms. This also includes scary monsters, hide-and-seek, and wrestling. All code for: Daddies take the abuse. Just this morning I awoke to NTG and Max goofing around in Max’s bedroom. Ned/Thor/Gunnar is lying on the floor, his legs bent and feet firmly planted on the carpet, while Max proceeds to climb up and slide down his legs like NTG is his own personal playset.

I am told this kind of activity comes with a certain risk to man parts, but today, as I watch my boys, I notice NTG is uncomfortably resting his head in his hands. I ask, “Would you like a pillow?” He says yes, and I promptly give him the one off of Max’s big boy bed. NTG happily rests his head for about 30 seconds, until Max suddenly stops playing, stands up, walks over to his father, and yanks the pillow out from under NTG’s head. Max then runs into the other room, and throws the pillow into it, taking it as far away from his daddy as he can. Like, “Bam! That’s where that shit goes!”

I laughed so hard, I cried.

So there you go, NTG. All of the daddy-like things we love about you. Happy Father’s Day.

This is the infamous phrase my dear friend Mandy uttered to me a few years ago, when she was about five months along with her first son. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with Max that I finally understood what she was talking about. I’ve written about this before: I didn’t get a cute basketball belly; in fact, it was somewhere after month five that I actually popped out enough to look pregnant. Prior to that, I just looked like I’d been binging for a few months. F-a-t, fat.

By the time I reached the third trimester, the belly comments were rolling in. And not from uncouth, uneducated strangers. No, most of it came from my own family. After sending a pic of our fabulous crib assemblage (around month seven) to friends and family, one of my cousins immediately responded: “Your belly is HUGE!” Sometime in the next month my mom became very concerned about me driving myself to my prenatal appointments, because she thought my belly wouldn’t fit behind the wheel of my car. And then, of course, there were those that participated in our online baby pool, optioning for me to give birth to a 10-pound baby.

This time around, it is not the people that know me that have jumped in on my belly size. It’s random strangers. This time, my belly popped somewhere around month four, and people have clear opinions about it.

Seriously, I’ve now take to answering the question, “When are you due?” with a vague, “This summer,” instead of “August.” Too many women with bug eyes, or “Really?” or “Oh my GOD! You have so much further to go!”

Here’s the basic truth in life: Women in general, do not like being told they’re fat. Pregnant women especially do not like this. And pregnant woman that were rocking an extra 30 pounds before they got pregnant really, really do not need to be reminded of this while shopping for baby clothes. Seriously.

Add to it my own personal issue; I’m 6’3″ for goodness sakes, and have spent most of my teenage years and early twenties having to endure the constant barrage of comments and opinions about my looks and my stature. Whispers from across the room; children yelling out to their moms in the grocery store about the tall lady; men of all shapes and sizes making comments of every color imaginable; well-meaning women telling me “at least your pretty.” I’ve heard it all.

Dammit, I really don’t want to deal with it again, strangers commenting on my body. And certainly not when it has to do with my unborn child.

So I started some archival research. See my evidence below. First pic is me, at 5 ½ months with Max. The second pic is me now, at 6 months pregnant.

Baby Shower 091MC Apr 13 034

So um, what’s the difference? Really. None. I look the same. I know for a fact that I’ve not gained nearly the amount of weight as I did with Max, despite my 30-pound head start. But what does it matter? I’m I a failure as a mother already, because my belly is big? Why are people asking about my due date at all, if they can’t offer a socially polite response of “That’s nice,” or “You must be excited!”

And then on Sunday, Ned and I are at church and we bring up the topic of baptism in a conversation with the pastor. My husband starts explaining that we baptized Max at a church in Florida, which causes a great deal of confusion for said pastor, who assumed that we meant we need to baptize Max. And the next thing I know, I, the woman now 6-months pregnant, am explaining to my pastor that yes indeed, there is a baby in there.

Yeah. I’m not fat, I’m just pregnant!

Oh, how quickly blogging can fall to the wayside, especially when life just sort of explodes into a frenzy. It’s been four months since my last entry. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  1. We’re pregnant.
  2. We’re pregnant and my husband works 10 hours a day.
  3. We’re pregnant, my husband works 10 hours a day, and I’m home with a terrible-twos toddler.
  4. We’re pregnant, my husband works 10 hours a day, I’m home with a terrible-twos toddler, and I’ve taken on way to much freelance work that I can’t possibly ever get done.
  5. We’re pregnant, my husband works 10 hours a day, I’m home with a terrible-twos toddler, I’ve taken on way to much freelance work that I can’t possibly ever get done, and I’m rockin’ through my third cold of this pregnancy.

That’ll kill four months like nobody’s business! My pregnancy has been the biggest time sucker, probably the suckiest thing about being pregnant, in my Gemini-go-getter opinion. This time around, for whatever reason (age, next pregnancy etc.), my tiredness hasn’t gone away, not even at 17 weeks now. Not to mention, my first trimester fell smack-dab over Christmas, and poor Ned being gone from the house twelve hours a day, and working weekends. And he and I got head colds that lasted for weeks. December sucked!

Our other time sucker of this gestational period started around week 13, when spotting sent me to the midwives’ offices for an emergency ultrasound. The results of which were bonus pics of the baby, who is doing just fine, and the news that we’re dealing with placenta previa.

For those of you that do not know what placenta previa is (I didn’t), it’s when the placenta grows over the cervix, either completely or partially. This translates to: If the placenta doesn’t move on its own due to the expanding uterus, little baby has no exit. That can mean bedrest and an eventual c-section for the mom, and possible continued spotting.

For us it means “pelvic rest.” No exercise that raises the heart rate, no lifting heavy objects, no sex.

I’ve got be honest, this has done wonders for the development of my 2 ½ year-old Max. Mommy can’t pick him up much, so he’s learned to climb up the stairs using the railing, or crawl up while Mommy tosses a toy up the stairs for incentive. He rides on my lap and we sing the “Oompa Loompa” song as we scoot down. He’s heard the phrase, “that’s my big boy” so many times he says, “big boy, big boy” now.

Sadly, Ned hasn’t heard any such compliments in so long, it’s getting ridiculous. At 20 weeks we’ll have our big ultrasound, to see if the placenta has moved. But lately, when I’ve gone in for a checkup, his only question to me is, “Did you get a sex pass?”nosexjob

*sigh* No.

The no sex is a terrible thing to do to a pregnant woman. I mean really. Excess hormones. The insanely vivid dreams. Seriously, my dream self is whoring it up every night. My real self is almost ready to put on a habit.

Perhaps this is why I’ve been taking on all that extra work ….

Parental Dating

Oh … romance. What is that?

So the lack of dating for most parents can be the result of several factors. Time is usually a huge one, and finding a night to go out in and of itself can be a challenge. Then there is finding a sitter, plotting and planning for your child to be fed/bathed/rocked while you and the other parent are absent. For some parents, you may even weigh the financial setback of a date night. Between dinner, drinks, movie, show, whatever … and paying a babysitter … it seems easier to order pizza and cough up the five bucks for pay-per-view.

But, my mom was visiting from Ohio and stayed for a whole week, so Saturday night, it felt like we had the time. Ned and I talked about it and thought we’d have a relaxing dinner, go see a movie … things we don’t really do anymore.

So the movie was a challenge, not really much that we were dying to see, and what we did really want to see wasn’t release until the following weekend. But we settled on Cloud Atlas, and dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. I was ready for a cocktail, heels and a nice bag-o-popcorn.

As I’m putting on makeup and Ned gets out of the shower he says, “Do you really have your heart set on seeing a movie?”

Oh boy, here it comes. He doesn’t plan the date, but now here is a new, bigger, more appealing idea. He wants to drive to a little town over in West Virginia, which has a German restaurant that we really like (goodbye, gnocci) and then hit up one of the other little places in the quaint college town for a drink.

I say okay. I’m trying to be agreeable.

So with no movie to make, I finish drying my hair, put on my face and we head out. It is a half-hour drive, one I rarely enjoy. A windy, hilly country road equals a nauseated Molly. So Ned takes care to drive slowly for me, and we get to the Bavarian restaurant around 7:00 p.m. A huge tent is set up on the property (which doubles as an inn), and we walk up to the pub entrance. It’s closed. We find our way to the main entrance to discover that the only way we’re eating weisswurst is if we crash the wedding that is taking place there. The entire establishment is reserved for the private party.

So we head off to the nearby town and quickly find a cute-looking French bistro. We head in and are asked if we have a reservation. My husband tells the hostess, “No.” She proceeds to tell him that the restaurant is full for the evening. Ned asks, “You mean you have no tables available for the entire night?” She confirms in a voice that says, “Duh. That’s what I just said.”

So we head out, find another restaurant, Italian. Again, we’re asked if we have a reservation. Again no. The hostess walks away from us and returns a millisecond later to say she can seat us at 9:00 p.m. Ned checks his watch. It’s 7:30. Not one seat available out of the dozen at the bar.

We put our name in and leave to wander the streets again, and after ten more minutes in the 40-degree cold, we’re no closer to finding another restaurant. The options for food aren’t great. We’re in a teeny town in the middle of nowhere, civilization is at least another forty-five minutes away. It’s now 7:45 p.m. I’m trying not to curse under my breath. Had we stuck to our original plan, we’d be having dessert and heading to the theater by now.

As we pile back in the car, we spot one last restaurant, and I hop out. They have a beef wellington special and a full bar. Sold. We are ushered in to a dark and dated space, but after a drink we’re feeling better. And just when our date night seems to be salvaged …  the food comes. Oh, boy. Stale bread. A “pizzette” that is nothing more than dough and cheese. The worst beef wellington I’ve ever tasted, which managed to be soggy (pastry) and dry (beef), with mushrooms that still tasted of the earth they grew in. Ned’s food was cold, and the ravioli’s on his plate were clearly created in a factory, not a gourmet kitchen. It was one of the most awful meals we’d ever had.

I couldn’t stop laughing.

I mean, really, what are the chances? Of changing plans at the last minute, one restaurant totally shutting down for one client and two others not leaving tables open for walk-in guests? On the one night we had chosen for a date, the last night my mom would be with us? Holy shit.

Ned tried to save face by taking us to our local coffee house for a drink and dessert. I ate a sugar cookie and drank a chai; but the sweet ending didn’t seem to fit. We hadn’t had a satisfying first or second course.

The upside is, now we owe each other a real date. Sometime before we run out of Saturdays in 2012.