About Good Times with Jess

I started blogging in 2004. My blog and I have been very single, dating, traveling, bartending, very married and now I'm raising 2 kiddos.

Watch out world, here I come! As soon as I figure out what to wear

I’m a walking time capsule from 2019. Open my front door and you’ll find me with a stack of skinny jeans, a side part and typing so many 😂😂😂 to make you 😂 or not.

I’m ready to join 2021. I’ve been following the blue jean commentary and I have no new perspective, but where do I put this post-pandemic fashion angst if not on my blog? Here ya go!

Do I love my skinny jeans enough to go down with a sinking ship? Am I throwing in the towel? Is 38.75 years-old the point of no return?

I’m not ready! If my father-in-law buys his jeans at Express, than this is no time for me to clutch my skinny jeans.

And if mom jeans are in and skinny jeans are out, will skinny jeans become the new mom jeans?

I doubt this would be such a harsh predicament if it weren’t for the last 365 days of fleece pajama pants. I have no real-world feel for what is going on and what my peers are wearing.

A recent dinner in Boston affirmed that while I was hunkered down in the suburbs, people have moved on to any number of new pant options.

I would never have called myself a trendsetter, but in my twenties it felt effortless to keep up with the styles. Either that or I was very happy with my delusions of myself.

The suburbs combined with a pandemic, makes scouring the internet my only window into what the heck I should be wearing if I don’t want to be completely out of touch.

I want to dress my age: 38.75. Not 25 and not 39.

I turn to Captain, who’s still wearing his fleece pajama pants. He says,

“Trends are stupid. They just want you to buy more clothing.”

“Correct.” I will be buying more clothing.

I have 2 new styles and returned a third. Captain cocks his head at me,

“They look good if that’s what people are wearing.”

I HAVE NO IDEA! This is my problem.

With a new pair on, I head to pick up BB at school. Her teacher, who couldn’t be more trendy, says,

“I love your jeans!”

Success!

Now what shoes should we be wearing with theses new jeans? Can someone hold my hand?

My original loose jeans circa 1988. Are bowl cuts coming back too?

Partially vaccinated and READY TO PARTY or at least eat outside at a restaurant

One shot down, one to go! Good thing, because I just opened my last box of Girl Scout cookies.

From January until now I survived on 30 boxes of cookies, an immense amount of coffee, a normal amount of wine (just earlier and earlier in the day) and a renewed appreciation for being healthy, aside from all the cookies, wine and coffee.

The mass vaccination site brought me to tears. WHAT A YEAR. Hard to believe we might be pulling out of this. I wondered how long I could sit there with Captain under the guise of ruling out anaphylactic shock while enjoying a brief moment together without our children.

I wouldn’t be in a decent place without: sunshine, solo walks, people I managed to see, friends I got to talk to, frozen food, take-out, RB sleeping through the night, Captain and I sleeping in the same bed again and the Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go” in its entirety.

At 18-months old BB was starting to sing the ABCs. At 18-months old RB is singing “Let It Go.” As in she is belting out the one word she knows all the time. Something like this:

“GOOOOOOOOO!”

Throws her arms out to the side, turns in a circle,

“GO! GO! GOOOOOOO!”

I cannot begin to describe the volume on this.

I wonder if I’m failing RB or if her doing everything BB does is somehow going to work out for her. She may not have many words, but she’s ready to join BB’s pre-k soccer team.

In a year of groundhog days, tasks were on repeat. Laundry. Cleaning. Food. Start over. But for whatever reason, there’s one task that never ceases to surprise me: cutting the kiddos’ nails.

I survive giving two slippery characters a tubby, plop them in front of the TV and cut BB’s nails while RB screams at me for holding BB and not her. Then I cut RB’s nails while she screams at me to release her.

Then I brush my hands off and think to myself, ‘That’s that!!’

Only it isn’t and two weeks later I’m shocked to see how long everyone’s nails are.

This has been going on for years.

Anyway. Not sure where I’m going with this post. But did I mention we’re on our way to being fully vaccinated?

BB questions me,

“So if the parents are vaccinated, does that mean the kids don’t have to wear masks anymore?”

I wish! But this does mean we’re a lot less likely to die and leave you orphaned.

So cheers to that.

Cookies are very VERY important.

Stepped on another parenting minefield. I did not make it out unscathed

First the pandemic, then the demise of skinny jeans. I thought we had hit rock bottom, but last week I sank to a new low. I embarrassed 4-year-old BB.

My intentions were pure: loving, caring parenting, but like many moms before me, all I was was an embarrassment. I knew this was my destiny. I just thought I had a few more years before the pedestal I was enjoying crumbled beneath me.

It started with a potty break. Or 50 of them. BB was going to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I called the doctor. They recommended going in. So we did. But not before we went to the bathroom one more time.

What was I thinking? Of course they wanted a urine sample from BB and of course, even though she felt like she had to go, she didn’t. We exited the bathroom empty handed and returned to the exam room to drink apple juice.

Five minutes later,

“I need the bathroom.”

“Let’s wait a little bit. Remember it feels like you have to go, but you just went and you didn’t.”

“I really need to go.”

I manage to get her to wait another five minutes. Then she becomes adamant. We give it another shot. It’s a single use bathroom, very large and private.

I don’t know who’s tried to get a urine sample from a 4 year-old, but contrary to Captain’s assumption, I was NOT relaxing nearby. I was on my hands and knees in front of the toilet, elbow deep in the bowl, trying to keep the sample cup pressed against her crotch because she’d squeeze out a drop here or there and I didn’t want to miss a molecule.

She declares,

“I don’t have to go.”

“Can you try a little more? If not, we need to go back to the room and wait until you can.”

She agrees to keep trying, but is upset about the whole thing and not relaxed at all. I’m sure that isn’t helping.

After I gave birth to BB, I was torn from end to end. I sat on the toilet afraid to ever go again. And I’m talking about urine. They had me relax my jaw, wiggle my tongue and make a “lululululu’ sound. It worked! It’s very hard to keep your crotch clenched if your mouth is completely relaxed.

I offered this hard-earned advice to BB,

“Imitate me, lulululu.”

“Shhh.”

“What? Do it with me. LULULULULU.”

“MOM! SHHH!! They’ll hear you!”

My legs are burning from squatting in front of the toilet. I keep missing precious drops of pee because as soon as BB starts to go at all, she drops her head down to watch, which means I can’t see what I’m doing and pee trickles up my arm. I’m doing everything I can and all I’m succeeding at is embarrassing her.

After 15 minutes in the bathroom, we both regard the urine barely covering the bottom of the sample cup. BB asks,

“Is that enough?”

“I don’t know.”

We exit. I hold out our offering to the powers that be. I whimper,

“Is there any way that this is enough?”

“Oh yeah.”

I have never been so relieved in my life. And thank goodness BB is healthy. She just needs to stay hydrated. She’s never been one to drink enough and my reminders were useless.

Now all I have to say is,

“Make sure you drink, we don’t want to go to the doctor.”

She runs for her water bottle. Maybe out of fear of the urine sample or an embarrassing mom. Or both.

Let them wipe each other’s butts

I can almost taste this vaccine. And it feels like it’s going to be an amazing summer.

When the pandemic started, I had two little people who were determined to fight over anything no matter what. I went with the motto of not negotiating with terrorists.

Then at some point during the slog of this past year, as both kiddos screamed and fought over one puppy stool because the 5 other stools in our home are NOT the same as the puppy stool, I thought to myself: “Maybe life WOULD be better with TWO puppy stools.

I put it in my Amazon cart to think about it, then immediately clicked “buy now.” Sure, I’ll throw $20 at the wall and see if it brings us a little peace.

It did not.

It has proved my initial reaction correct. No negotiating. If they are determined to fight with each other, duplicate items will not appease. I’m better off saving my money for a rainy day or whatever day it is when we go out without our children.

I just read an amazing parenting book. It covered many tactics I’ve read elsewhere, but the way this book put everything together and told me exactly how to do it, really resonated. We’ve made changes and things are looking up.

The book makes the case for few or no toys. I’m not rushing to get rid of everything, but I sure wouldn’t mind scaling back on the gift giving. Why does the Easter Bunny already have a huge bag of gifts in my closet? We don’t have room for what we have. I climb over a trampoline to get to my couch.

And if I thought duplicate items would also be interchangeable. I was very VERY wrong. BB knows which puppy stool is hers and RB is NOT allowed on it.

This post has more all caps than usual. Maybe a reflection of the strong competitive feelings around here.

BB claims she and RB are “besties.” I want to believe that. And considering BB is now willing to change RB’s poopy diapers, maybe it’s true. And don’t get confused. Willing is very different from able.

One theory of the book is that allowing BB to “help” with the dirty diapers today, creates a go getter, self initiator who may, two years from now, wipe RB’s butt all by herself. And if that isn’t parenting success, I don’t know what is.

You’re right. They’re not EXACTLY the same. The original is missing some whiskers. It’s been noted.

I miss strangers

I miss people. I miss the women I used to see at yoga and zumba; I don’t even know their names. I miss our favorite grocery store cashier. I miss the various moms I used to chat with just about anywhere. I miss sitting at a bar surrounded by people I’d rather not talk to.

I miss bartending. I used to talk to SO MANY PEOPLE. Never mind eat all their leftovers.

I read an article along this vein and it has allowed me to acknowledge that I really really miss the random people in my life who I don’t even know.

I was out for my daily walk the other day. As I passed another person, I threw out a standard,

“Good morning!”

At which point he fills me in on everything going on in his life. I have not met this neighbor before. And in pre-pandemic life I would have done the slow inching away, signaling that the conversation is all done I’ve got other things to do. But I do not have other things to do. It’s a pleasure to meet your dog, please tell me more.

During another walk a random car pulls over a safe distance away from me and the driver rolls down the window. Pre-pandemic my reaction would’ve been disinclination to talk and keep moving. This time I stop in my tracks and return the realtor’s greeting with a cheerful “hello!”

Sorry I do not know anyone interested in selling their house. Unless it’s possible to sell a house with a half-finished deck? KIDDING. Not kidding. I’ll be at the Cape all summer, let me know when it’s done.

Turning the corner on a year for the pandemic and year three for the deck. It’s anyone’s guess which will be done first.

I can’t even text with all these random people I’m missing. It’s just a big empty void. Like where the railings and stairs of my deck are supposed to be.

When I sat down to write this blog I hadn’t intended to make a deck pandemic life analogy, but here we are.

I’m in love with my family, blessed beyond what I could have ever imagined. They’re the concrete filled sonotubes of my deck. If you don’t know what sonotubes are, consider yourself lucky.

But I also wouldn’t mind some more people in my life. Kinda like a deck is nice but a deck with railings, throw pillows and cocktails is even nicer.

Just a little pandemic Valentine’s Day fashion.
More pandemic fashion. Can’t go wrong with a crown.

I love you people, just don’t touch me while I’m sleeping

Sleeping arrangements around here are flexible. There are numerous options, some more desirable than others. As I was reminded of the other night, when BB’s feet sidled up to my cheek.

When BB was born, I was under the false impression that a crib would be useful. By 5 months old we abandoned even attempting it and she moved into the bed with me. Captain moved to the couch.

From 11 months old to 18 months old, BB slept in her crib. Miracles do happen.

From 18 months to 2.5 years old, we took turns sleeping with BB on a mat on the floor in her room, next to her awesome, car, toddler bed that proved more useless than the crib.

From 2.5 – 3 years old BB slept by herself, in a full-size bed, in her room.

From 3 – 4 years old BB and Captain slept in her full-size bed, in her room.

From 4 until present day, except for Valentine’s Day, BB has slept by herself, in her room, with 3 night lights, the hall light, and many whispers downstairs to see if anyone wants to come up for another snuggle.

When RB was born, I wasn’t messing around. She went straight into our bed.

When she got roly poly, we moved to the mats on the floor. Captain started taking the occasional turn.

And miracle upon miracle, at 15 months old we night weaned and for the last month she has slept by herself in her crib. Praise be.

Captain and me, in our king size bed, with no little people. It’s a real treat. I look forward to it almost as much as I look forward to coffee.

Then BB started begging to sleep with us. I tried to put her off with vague,

“Oh maybe someday.”

“When? What day?”

“We’ll see.”

“Tonight?”

“No.”

“Tomorrow?”

“No.”

“What day? When can I sleep with you?”

“How about Valentine’s Day?”

And that is how I agreed to her sleeping with us again, for ONE romantic night.

We all fell asleep parallel with each other. BB somewhat closer to Captain as he has agreed he can sleep with any of us snuggled up to him. But it turns out he has his limits. Around 1am I hear him grumbling,

“This is ISN’T working!”

BB is so far away from me; I’ve been sleeping so well. I peer over. Captain has all of 3 inches of mattress. He moves BB over. Two hours later: KICK KICK KICK. Feet are pounding into my lower back.

King size beds are big, but not big enough for a 4.5 year old to sleep horizontally with anyone else. I move her body back toward Captain.

I’m fast asleep again. Then WHAM to my face. WHAT IN THE NAME OF?! I wake up ready to fight someone. BB’s feet are at my head. Her face is snuggled up next to Captain’s and they’re both snoring away.

I need my coffee. BB is in heaven. She asks,

“When can I sleep with you guys again?”

“I don’t know.”

“When?”

“Father’s Day.”

She likes to sleep sitting up. You do you baby girl.

Just a superfluous post about reality TV and goats, because what else is going on in my life? Is it time for another cookie yet?

Anyone else watching this season of The Bachelor? I’m continuing along with my general pandemic philosophy: anything goes.

Five cups of coffee? Sure. Whip cream straight from the can into my mouth at 7am? Why not? My children eating frozen chicken nuggets straight from the bag? More power to them. My children also eating frozen green beans? I’m officially winning. Mind-numbing reality TV with a great set of abs? Yes please!

It’s season 25. I’ve caught the occasional episode from seasons 1-24, but for the most part TV and I don’t have a huge relationship. I’m committed to the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and videos of my children.

I’m one of those terrible people who can’t handle any suspense and will read the last chapter of a book before continuing along from the beginning. If my favorite character is going to die or come to some other devastating end, I like to be emotionally prepared for it.

Same goes for The Bachelor. I’ve read all the online spoilers. I couldn’t help myself. This guy seems like he likes all the women or at least he’s kissing all of them. No matter how many times I remind myself that they’re all quarantined and healthy, I still find the germ sharing shocking.

Captain is not a fan. There are many more feminine body parts floating around than rock hard abs, but CNN wins him every time.

I do the news doomsday scroll throughout the day so that by the time Matt James is ready to kiss 15 different women on a farm while they shovel manure and chase goats. I’m all in.

Never mind that I’ve always been partial to goats.

India, 2007. I don’t even know how to leave the state anymore.
Nepal, 2007
India, 2007. I was on the cusp of the selfie movement.
India, 2007. I told you I like goats.

My legs. More than you ever wanted to know

A year ago, when the pandemic was just a twinkle in our eye, I went to the vascular surgeon to see about my painful veins.

Nothing against RB, but it was her pregnancy that did me in. My veins bulged, throbbed, ached. I wore compression tights every day and then after I gave birth my veins had the nerve to clot, cause more pain and then a residual dull ache for the rest of time, otherwise known as the last 15 months.

My surgeon suggested wearing compression tights forever or radiofrequency ablation. An almost painless in-office procedure that would relieve my symptoms and required no down-time for recovery. Sign me up!

On the way out the door, I asked,

“Does insurance cover this?”

“Usually.”

I bounced out of the office with a surgery date of early March 2020.

My insurance denied me. My surgeon recommended another ultrasound. We resubmitted the claim.

Denied.

My surgeon was confident that it should be covered, so we appealed.

Denied a third time. It’s now July 2020.

Our health insurance is a real con.

My aching legs were low on my list of concerns for 2020, but they were unrelenting and followed me around everywhere.

My surgeon, still confident my procedure was medically necessary, submitted my claim for an external appeal in August 2020.

In November 2020 my insurance informed us that they had never submitted it for an external appeal. We tried again.

January 4th 2021, I received a letter:

“Carrier’s decision overturned… procedure is medically necessary… request approved.”

I danced a little jig and tried to remember exactly what the procedure was again. Something to do with my legs.

And in case I was getting too smug about my insurance coverage, a follow-up letter said the procedure would only be covered until March 31st, 2021.

My surgeon was fully booked. They squeezed me in.

My left leg was completed last week and my right leg is scheduled for next week.

The left leg day will go down as one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time: several hours out of the house, without children and a successful, insurance covered procedure.

As the surgeon injects anesthesia in multiple spots along my leg, he keeps muttering,

“I’m getting a lot of resistance.”

“Resistance?”

“You have young skin.”

“YOUNG SKIN?! I feel very middle-aged.”

“Well your skin is young.”

And that sealed the deal. BEST day. I tell him,

“I feel like I’ve aged so much in one year.”

“Haven’t we all.”

My young skin and I skipped, hopped, hobbled out of there. My left leg already feels like a million bucks. Holding my breath for my right leg.

I have to wear compression tights again. I’m supposed to wear them for 2 weeks after each procedure. After my pregnancy I was ready to burn these tights, but as I squeezed my legs in and smushed all the extra thigh up and out of the top, I was hit with intense waves of nostalgia.

The last time I wore these I was pregnant with RB. I may end up storing these in her memory box. I’m sure she’ll appreciate that.

A few days before my procedure, BB’s school mentions,

“Waiting on a COVID test for a classmate.” And p.s. someone at school has lice.

Classmate’s test was negative and knock-on-wood, no sign of lice. Never felt so good to return to the pandemic status quo, but with at least a leg up.

Who knew foot finger puppets could be so disturbing?

Bring on the vaccine or a flood…

Happy New Year! Thank you Georgia; thank you Stacey Abrams. Thank you to my child’s preschool. I feel grateful for every day that BB is in school.

When we started in September, we thought three days a week was good. I cannot express how wrong we were. I shot out an SOS email and we switched to four days. If her school had space, she’d be going for five.

They say Americans have been drinking more. All I know is that RB’s 4th word is “cheers.”

And in the morning she drinks straight from her pretend coffee pot, which is what I’d do if it weren’t for Captain.

Christmas was good. Only problem was that Santa brought presents for RB too.

BB’s survival instincts are unstoppable. Faced with plenty of food, love, shelter, clothing, attention, toys, she will not relent until RB is screaming because she ripped whatever it was out of her hands.

And RB has perfected the 30 second tantrum. She throws herself face down on the ground, screams, pops up and moves on.

Santa stuffed BB’s stocking full of Frozen underwear. BB asks,

“Have these been washed?”

They have been, but now I see the error of my ways. I ask,

“Do they smell like they’ve been washed?”

“They do!”

“Maybe Mrs. Claus washed them?”

I instantly regret that. Who am I to force stereotypical gender roles on characters I feel very ambivalent about? Neither of whom are doing any laundry.

I’ve had enough of this Santa guy for awhile. Everytime BB misbehaved, not only did I have to tend to that, but then I had to deal with her anxiety over whether or not Santa would still bring her presents. I reassure her for the millionth time,

“You’re going to get Christmas presents no matter what.”

“That’s not what M at school says.”

M is a fellow four-year-old. “I understand she thinks that, but no matter how you behave, there will be presents.”

The next day it happens again: BB screaming, then screaming and crying because of the aforementioned screaming and now worry over presents. Again,

“You will be getting presents.”

“I told M that and she said you’re wrong.”

I have fallen hard and fast. Not only am I no longer seen as all-knowing, I am somewhere below BB’s pre-school peers.

By the last day of school vacation, we’re about to self-destruct.

Despite our living room being overrun with every type of plaything imaginable, Santa did bring presents after all, BB decided to drag the lifejackets out of the basement.

RB was happy to take the lifejacket that BB wasn’t using, but then BB wasn’t going to be happy until she took it away from RB.

With both children screaming, Captain emerges from his “office,” otherwise known as the room next to the screaming. He facilitates the donning and doffing of lifejackets until everyone is happy and there’s no risk of drowning.

BB sighs,

“I can’t wait for the vaccine.”

And you know she’s not talking about the flu. She continues,

“I’m excited to go somewhere.”

“Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere!”

“Anywhere? No place in particular?”

“Everywhere!”

I’m with you girlfriend.

2021? Our underwear is washed, our lifejackets are on, we’re ready for you.

When your new car has a perfectly good door, but you can’t be bothered.
We take water safety very seriously around here.

JoJo Siwa, Santa and the magic of COVID Christmas

This is the most relaxing Christmas season I’ve had in the entire 7 years I’ve been celebrating. There’s the undercurrent of COVID anxiety and missing friends desperately, but a little death threat in the air reminds me that what I have is so much and so precious.

Run Run Rudolph is blasting in the living room. BB starts dance jumping screaming out of her mind,

“This is JoJo Siwa! This is JoJo Siwa!”

“Who?”

“JoJo Siwa. I didn’t know this was her song!”

“It’s not. She’s covering it.”

“It is. She’s singing it.”

I let it go. Not my hill to die on. I ask Captain,

“Do you know who JoJo Siwa is?”

“No.”

This is the beauty of him working next to the kitchen. I can ask him any number of important questions at anytime.

I head to the internet. I now know that I’m super out of touch and it’s amazing we’ve gone this long without knowing about her. Kinda like the year I avoided ever hearing the Baby Shark song.

JoJo Siwa seems to be responsible for all unicorns, rainbows and glitter. She’s also the creator of 7,000 different bows. BIG bows. But you probably already know this.

Turns out the Hanukkah bow I bought for BB, super big and sparkly BTW, is a JoJo Siwa bow. Which according to BB is a good thing.

Google informed me that she’s huge with the toddler set. I could’ve told you that considering all BB’s knowledge about her was from other 4-year-olds at school.

I don’t know where we go from here. Is it too late to pretend I still have no idea who she is? I did learn she has a nacho machine in her kitchen. Something I could aspire to.

We’re ready for Santa. BB continues to ask a gazillion questions. I don’t know how long this tale can hold up to the interrogations.

“Do the reindeer come down the chimney?”

“No way. Just Santa.”

“Then how do they eat the carrots?”

SHOOT.

“Maybe they do come down the chimney? Ask Dad. He’s the expert.”

Captain offers,

“Santa goes around to the front door and lets them in.”

The front door and lets them in?!? I confront him later. I have an excuse, but shouldn’t he have this Santa story sorted out?

Now Santa just needs to decide if the presents go inside or outside the baby gate. Maybe both sides? It could keep the little people from killing each other. RB is happy to open all presents. BB will lose her mind if RB breathes on anything belonging to BB. And BB will be desperate to play with a baby stacking toy if it means taking it away from RB.

Let the magic begin.

Stage 5 ornament grabber

Who knows what else we’d own if the pandemic didn’t hamper my Home Goods outings

Pandemic Hanukkah was a success or so say my Hanukkah gnomes. Yes, we’ve jumped the shark.

A week ago, with an extra 15 minutes before BB’s school pick up, I pop into Home Goods. My thought was that I was going to grab Hanukkah wrapping paper and get out of there.

I was in a month ago and had already scoured their Hanukkah section. This time I couldn’t find it. I ask an employee,

“Is there still a Hanukkah section?”

She points behind me to a shelf surrounded by Christmas gnomes. I wander over. HANUKKAH GNOMES! WHAT?! I didn’t even know they existed and I don’t even have a shopping cart. I hold a couple in my arms and contemplate the check out line.

I don’t think I’m going to make it. I need to go get BB and these gnomes are ridiculous, unnecessary and the very definition of an impulse purchase. I put them down. I say goodbye to them. I linger. I stroke one of their beards.

I pick BB up from school. The beauty of school is that she always comes home ready to play independently. Off she goes. I put RB down for her afternoon nap.

Now I’m in a panic. I NEED those gnomes. What if someone bought them already? I throw on my coat about to rush out the door. BB exclaims,

“Where are you going? Please take me!”

A symptom of this pandemic is that she’s desperate to get out of the house for any reason. I sigh. Unprompted she says,

“I won’t ask for anything. I won’t touch anything. I’ll do what you say. I’ll stay right with you. I’ll wear my mask. I won’t talk.”

That last one sounds like a stretch, but I hear her desperation. I take her along.

We select several gnomes, a couple Hanukkah throws, a sign and some hand towels. So much for just the gnomes.

BB and I arrange them on the newly wrapped plywood air-conditioner cover. Looks meant to be.

BB runs to Captain excited to show him. The gnomes still have their tags on, as if I’d return them.

Captain studies the display. Half resigned, half smiling, because who can’t resist those adorable nose beard faces? He says,

“We’re in uncharted territory now.”

From left to right: Harry, Gimel and Snow
Can’t go wrong with these, one size fits most!

Pandemic Hanukkah and Christmas = anything goes?

Being a Jew with two Jewish parents, there were no Christmas decorations in our home when I was growing up, but that didn’t stop me from having opinions about them.

It seemed to me colored lights were the only way to go. Why go to the trouble of decorating if it’s just going to be boring white lights?

At some point things changed, maybe when I was however old you are when you eat vegetables.

By the time I met Captain I favored white lights and a “classic” take on Christmas decorations.

Three years ago when we moved to the land of suburbia, Captain and I couldn’t have agreed more about the direction of our holiday decorating.

One year later I ask Captain,

“What do you think about a snowman by the back door?”

“Eh. I think it’s tacky.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

The next year I mention,

“I’m still thinking about a light-up snowman.”

“I don’t know…”

And considering I had a newborn baby, places to go, people to see, I didn’t give the snowman another thought.

Now here we are. Pandemic meets holiday times. Our decorations came out weeks ago. We’ve been home, home, home and there are only so many times I can listen to,

“Mom is it time to decorate now?”

So everything came out. It was a week before Thanksgiving, but Hanukkah is early this year, so maybe that makes it ok?

I tell Captain,

“I’m going to Home Depot and thinking about getting a light-up snowman.”

“Really? I don’t know.”

“Let me rephrase that. I’m going to Home Depot to buy a light-up snowman.”

I also went down the Hanukkah internet rabbit hole. How have I managed to celebrate for 38 years without a light-up, menorah, throw pillow for the couch?

Back from Home Depot and with no back door, our only choice is to have our light-up snowman out front. BB and I set it up. She is over the moon. She talks to him. Hugs and kisses him. Worries about him when the weather turns. I tell Captain,

“The only thing we need now are some of those light-up presents for the other side of the front door.”

“What?!”

But I’ve worn him down. Because you know there are presents out there.

I run the whole thing by a Christian neighbor. Which is probably all of them. I relay to her Captain’s concerns about being “that” house with the tacky decorations. She offers,

“A snowman is within the realm of normal for this neighborhood.”

Next year it may be time for one of those giant inflatable menorahs, which is NOT in the realm of “normal,” but is anything anymore?

No more election weighing me down, just a small person on my head

My Vice-President Kamala Harris action figure doll just arrived. Technically it’s a Hanukkah present for BB.

Don’t underestimate the little kiddos. After weeks of hearing about Dump and Biden, BB heard us mention Harris. She said,

“A woman? I only heard you talking about two guys.”

“Yes, a woman vice-president!”

“A woman!” Her face lighting up.

It can’t come too soon. Dump in the white house is like my children playing in their rooms unattended. I don’t know what they’re up to, but I know it’s no good.

RB continues on her path of showing me how different two sisters can be. Seems like a combo of genetics and birth order.

BB made me work for my sleep until I gave up and started bed sharing. Then magically at 11 months she didn’t need me anymore and then unmagically at 18 months decided she did need someone. At which point she had night weaned herself and Captain was in the bedsharing, mat-on-the-floor rotation.

RB shows zero signs of not needing me for sleep. And is nowhere close to night weaning. A couple months ago she was in the mode of a snack every hour or so. I broke her of that.

When I did that with BB, she ended up rolling away from me and going to sleep without touching me.

Which in retrospect is very much like BB, she’s not a big hugger or into physical contact, even pre-pandemic.

RB is the opposite. When faced with no boob to suckle herself back to sleep with, she does not roll away. She rolls on top of me. If I let her, she will fall asleep with her cheek pressed against mine.

This is impossibly adorable, sweet, loving, the best, a little bit of heaven on a good day at 7pm. At 4am, ANY day, it is another story.

When she’s zonked and I start to slip away, her arm flies out and clamps down on my shirt like someone rising from the dead.

The king-size, floor mat means nothing to RB. We might as well just have a twin. And if I was feeling the slightest bit nostalgic: like someday my kiddos won’t even live with me nevermind sleep on my head, BB has other ideas.

We get off the phone with my mom. BB places her hand on my arm, looks me in the eye and says,

“I’m sorry your mom left you.”

“Thank you, but it’s kinda the other way around.”

“What do you mean?”

“When kids grow up, they want to move out.”

“Not me! I want to live with you forever, can I live with you forever?”

“Sure. RB too?”

“No, she’ll move out.”

Of course she will.

BB informs me that her future children, who will be living with me as well, will be named: Taylor Swift, Laurie Berkner and Buttercup.

Sounds like I’ll have two grandchildren destined to become musicians and one will be a pony.

My life.
Note all are 3+ except AOC is 14+. Is that a joke?

Time to go big orange clown

Sitting on pins and needles over here. Please please please let this election be a blowout for Biden. I know there’s no reason to expect this, but waiting days or weeks to see who won, while the criminal in office claims he won, is not how I want to spend the future.

This administration, this pandemic and not to be discounted entirely: my children, have aged me to the point that my insides feel OLD. Current photos of me look way younger than how I feel.

And my wardrobe isn’t helping. On a walk with a neighbor I remark,

“You look really put together!”

“I do?”

“Yes! Maybe it’s the jeans.”

I used to wear jeans all the time. Yes I still could. But when Captain is in snuggy, fleece pants, RB is in a snuggy, fleece onesie and BB is wearing a tutu, I can’t see any reason to wear jeans. Especially considering I just got a new pair of fleece pants.

Snuggy is winning. So when BB said she wanted to be a unicorn for Halloween and Target had unicorn onesies for the whole family, I didn’t have to give it much thought. And I should’ve because now I need to store a giant, adult, unicorn onesie.

On Halloween night, scantily-clad teenage girls pass us. I turn to Captain,

“What were their costumes?”

“I don’t know. Minimal?”

I prance along with my unicorn babies, my figure all but a mystery and I reflect on my life choices. In a different lifetime, the goal of my Halloween costume was minimal too.

I complete my life assessment as we trot through the neighborhood. I’m much happier and cozier. But I am going to go home and marvel at my Wonder Woman costume from 8 years ago.

If Biden wins, I’ll put on those 4-inch heels to celebrate. Or at least a pair of jeans.

And no matter what administration we end up with, I will wear my unicorn onesie again next year. My fleece pants fit under it perfectly

Looking a little sloppy. Next year I’ll make sure my horn is standing up straight.

Where should we live if the commuter rail means nothing anymore?

I voted. Crossed all my fingers and toes. Said a prayer. Internally swore at some Drump flags. Put on some hand sanitizer. Said another prayer. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t make me google how to get Canadian citizenship again.

The pandemic has me feeling unmoored. Why do we live here? Why this town? If Captain may never return to his office. We could live anywhere.

Our lives used to revolve around the commuter rail to Boston. It dictated wake-up time, meal times and pick ups and drop offs. Now wake up time is determined by two little people’s internal clocks and meals are dictated by me yelling from the kitchen or BB having a complete meltdown and yelling from wherever. Whichever one comes first.

After another day of Captain feeling grumbly about our living situation, I press the moving question. Are we sure we want to be here?

He gestures to the deck under construction,

“And leave this?”

Yes, it would be hard to leave the part of the deck that is finished. But the plywood part? I’m sure that can be recreated.

Or Captain could just move his home office. Right now it’s adjacent to the kitchen. I can imagine a few other places in the house that would be quieter. Really anywhere else.

He turns the question around to me. Big picture, I’m happy here. We’re close to Boston, the Y and Target. I may go to those places again someday.

I love our yard and our neighborhood. Even if the next-door neighbors now have COVID and Captain may never let BB play with anyone ever again.

Faced with no vastly superior options, we could be here another 17 years. Either that or Canada.

My good, little, huge, wild baby

We’re turning the corner on a year! RB is about to be one. How did that happen?

It’s a little blury. First everything was normal, i.e. it was 2019. Then 2020 hit. And if 2020 has taught us anything, there’s plenty of time left for more mayhem.

At the very least there will be a small, outdoor, socially distanced naming ceremony and birthday party for my little, huge baby. I was tempted to get a bouncy house. Captain was incredulous,

“For 3 kids?”

We’re up to 5 now, but point taken.

Everyone keeps asking,

“Is she a good baby?”

As my doula pointed out,

“She hasn’t broken any laws yet, so so far so good.”

Compared to BB, she’s been easy. RB is calm, smiley and exuberant. Food brings her great joy, as does climbing the stairs and getting her hands on any of BB’s forbidden toys. So maybe she isn’t as law abiding as we think.

She continues to throw her weight around and has started doing chin-ups on the kitchen table. She’s very motivated to make sure she’s not missing out on any food.

For the first 8 months of her life RB was content to lie in one spot on the floor, now she is making it clear that she will NOT be held back. That includes being unwilling to waste time on the changing table.

I never had to wrestle with BB to changer her diaper. I gave her a toy and she was happy.

RB will resist until we’re both covered in poop, diaper cream and tears. I buckle her down. That one strap across the waist is a joke. A five point harness would be more helpful.

She reaches a hand through her legs toward the poop. I block it. She reaches around to the side. I block it. She strains against the strap and tries to sit up in the poop. I put her back down. I hand her a forbidden barbie. She squeals with delight. With a false sense of victory I finish wiping. She sneaks a hand down the side and whips her poopy diaper out from under her.

I scream. She looks at me. I ask,

“Is it possible to potty train a one-year-old?”

BB comes running,

“What’s going on?”

I’m losing my mind.

With BB around, RB seems convinced she’s capable of doing everything a 4-year-old can.

BB knows what RB should and shouldn’t be doing and she’s good at letting me know. She’s not as good at preventing it in the first place.

My parenting style varies, but one main tactic is to avoid going near them and only intervene if I hear screaming.

BB yells,

“She’s in the toilet!”

I remove the baby from the toilet and remind BB to close the bathroom door.

Minutes later,

“She’s on the couch!”

Good grief.

Awhile later I hear,

“No no no, don’t do that! Mom she’s going to fall on her head!”

BB has been sliding down an overturned chair head first and RB has decided it’s a good idea to follow suit.

It’s not lost on me that BB may be instigating some of this. She does not always have her sister’s best interests at heart.

And before anyone says more supervision is key, which it is. BB headed into her first birthday with a giant gash above her eye that required a trip to the emergency room. So that’s what constant supervision got me.

All RB has is a small scab on the side of her head which makeup covered up perfectly for portraits the other day.

Here’s to another year of keeping the kids alive.

Curtis Construction Company: count on perfection, pray for completion

2020 I’m waving a white flag over here. You took Justice Ginsburg. That’s enough now. And on Rosh Hashanah no less, as fitting as that may be.

BB tells me,

“We’re not Jews.”

“Why do you say that?”

“We don’t look like Jews.”

“What do Jews look like?”

“They wear grass skirts.”

I have NO idea where this information is coming from. She goes to a Jewish preschool with Jewish kids who look all sorts of ways: mainly small and 2 to 5 years old. I have not seen anyone in grass skirts.

Jews aside, Captain is building a deck.

Not just any deck. A dry deck with a third garage bay and more square footage than the condo we used to live in.

We’re in year 2 of construction. I was never tempted to blog about it before, but dire times call for home improvement blogs. Or really whatever material I can scrounge up around the house.

I was under no delusions that it would be finished last year. And this year doesn’t seem to be its year either. Maybe next year.

We’ve been home since March, but the pandemic induced inertia is real around here. There are so many little projects I could’ve, should’ve done by now, but I keep thinking,

“Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe next month. Or maybe when we have a new president.”

We’ve been hanging out on the part of the deck that’s finished. It’s 5 feet off the ground with no railings.

Captain is as sick of it as I am, so it’s nice to have someone to commiserate with about it. As we snuggled on the couch and complained, I sighed and said,

“The good news is RB won’t even remember this.”

On second thought, I turn to him and say in my most serious voice,

“This better not go on long enough for her to remember it.”

Captain starts daydreaming about the changes we want to make to the kitchen. I used to enjoy planning this too. Now I tell him,

“Nope. I will die in this 1980’s kitchen before we remodel it for 3 years.”

2021 I hope to see you soon, feel free to bring some good news: a new president, 13 Supreme Court justices and a deck with railings and stairs.

Shanah Tovah.

Here goes nothing

BB is back in school.

I cried. She didn’t. I didn’t expect to cry, but something about leaving her for the first time in 6 months. Never mind that as safe as her school is being, we still had to sign our lives away, so there’s that.

BB makes many music requests for the car. Today I let her have her way and for whatever reason she wanted Humpty Dumpty blasted on repeat.

I keep meaning to get her hearing checked.

I’m not sure the last time you listened to Humpty Dumpty, but it’s not long. In a 7 minute car ride it’s possible to listen to it about 30 times. It’s also not inspiring. He falls down, gets broken and no one can fix him. I turn it off. BB shouts,

“AGAIN!”

“We’re almost at school.”

“I wasn’t excited, but now I am!”

Humpty Dumpty for the win?

It’s been an hour and a half and I haven’t heard from her school, not that I’m checking my phone every second.

And I have the baby to myself. A nice treat! Especially considering she’s napping.

I’ve been so overdue for blogging. Now’s my chance. I need to get in as many blogs as I can before school shuts down again and I won’t be able to remember what the heck I was crying about.

Storing up sun and thigh rolls to see us through the lonely months ahead

At the Cape savoring my last 2 weeks of denial before we’re home for a long winter.

RB is 10 months old and within 12 pounds of 4-year-old BB. BB tries to push her around. I warned BB her days for this are numbered.

BB declares,

“I had a tall growth spurt and RB had a wide one.”

RB is STRONG. Given a large stationary toy intended to stay put RB is most likely to heave it over her head and toss it across the room. She has accumulated many nicknames including Bam Bam and Destructo.

We had a well visit with the pediatrician. She goes through her standard list of questions:

“How’s she eating?”

I grab a chunk of baby thigh rolls, “These don’t happen by magic.”

“How’s she sleeping?”

“As to be expected.” Meaning she’s up multiple times a night.

The doctor reminds me,

“She’s old enough to cry it out if you want.”

“Yes.” I’ve avoided mentioning we’re bed-sharing. I may someday when our pediatrician has kids of her own.

“Does she transfer toys from hand to hand?”

“Yes.” And from feet to hand and from hand to as far as she can fling it.

I left BB in the middle of our playroom, formerly known as our living room, and headed to the car to load up for the Cape. I hear an immense crash and rush back in. RB is sitting there smiling, launching large toys across the rug onto the hardwood floor.

I’m continuing to enforce the hard truth that some of BB’s toys are for RB too. BB expresses concern for their welfare. I chalked this up to not wanting to share, but now I must agree BB has a valid point.

At the Cape my mom shared some of my brother’s old toys with BB. RB also got something to play with. BB was not thrilled,

“That’s MINE.”

“No it’s not. It’s Uncle J’s.”

My mom adds,

“Yes, and he wants both of you to play with it.”

BB who had been on the verge of a fit, sighs,

“Well that answers that.”

And there was peace. For 5 minutes.

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I love me some ruffly butts.

Our overburdened dishwasher just quit

We’re home and our dishwasher is broken. This may be what sends me back to therapy.

Like many of us, I’m totally fine and about to lose it. I just didn’t know the dishwasher would be the tipping point.

The Cape doesn’t even have a dishwasher. Maybe that’s in its favor. It makes no pretense of anything washing the dishes besides a person.

As the dishwasher-detergent subscriptions pile up, Captain is on the case. He’s fixed the fridge, the washing machine and the clothes dryer so I have faith even if we did call some repair people.

They’re backed up. Everyone’s dishwashers are breaking. Should’ve know. It’s another symptom of this pandemic, just like the backorder on exercise bikes, puppies and sweatpants.

I made that up. They better never run out of sweatpants.

We’re headed back to the Cape as soon as possible, but being there without Captain has brought BB’s lingering jealousy into relief.

At 6 am I’m jolted awake. BB’s little face is peering at me over the side of the bed. She whispers,

“I’m your first baby.”

“Yes! Of course!”

GOOD GRIEF and with that RB startles awake and starts wailing.

Never thought I’d get to the beach by 8am, but this is my year.

With Captain around to play Barbies and otherwise dote on BB, she couldn’t care less that RB is in bed with me. Without him around, she’s inclined to snatch every single toy away from her sister regardless of whether the toy is something she truly wants to play with.

She grabs a pot and pan lid from RB. RB screams. I mention,

“RB was playing with that.”

“But I NEED it.”

“You need it?”

“I don’t have any cymbals.”

And for many reasons this is about when we leave for the beach.

BB asks,

“Who do you love more?”

I have answered this question several ways. This time I try a new tactic,

“You love Frozen right?”

“Yes.”

“Do you love Frozen I or Frozen II?”

“Can I watch Frozen II?”

Sigh.

I pop into my obgyn office to get a mysterious spot checked out. No kids allowed. Yes I really had a spot. All is well. The doctor asks,

“Any postpartum depression?”

“No.” But can I tell you about my dishwasher?

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