Does This Look Like Mom Hair?

I can remember being in the fifth grade and begging my mother to let me chop my hair off.  My unmanageable curls fell to the middle of my back, the longest my natural hair would ever grow.  I wanted something chin length but the idea horrified my mother.  We settled on “shoulder length” which worked well for me when the hairdresser didn’t account for the extra three inches my hair would come up after it dried and curled.

Since that haircut I became obsessed with cutting my hair.  Like one of the opening scenes of 500 Days of Summer, I prided myself on having no attachment to my locks.  So cavalier in a stylist’s seat, I could cut it off without so much as a single butterfly in my stomach.  It was that much more satisfying if I waited until it grew long and then I could make a splash at school the next day with 6-8 inches gone.

Long, short and then the grow-out phase in between: it was a cycle that I kept religiously for the next twenty years.

The sexy bob

The sporty bob (check out that pre-baby hardcore yoga body)

Shoulder length grow-out phase

Bangs: my weakness

In its naturally curly glory

Living in LA too long (extensions)

Until I had kids.

Post kids standard haircut (give or take a little purple) – 4 years and counting

My attachment to my hair started when I was pregnant with my son.  The hormones of my male child gave me the most amazing hair possible.  It was thick, soft and always shiny.  Pantene hair with a baby bump.  Even though this super-hair fell out by the handful soon after I delivered, I never had the desire to cut it.  The long hair lent itself to ponytails, far from the spit-up and grabby hands of an infant.  My hair didn’t get the same surge when I was pregnant with my daughter, but I still never cut it.  That was over four years ago.  I’ve had a few dead-end trims, but nothing dramatic.  Is it a sign that I’ve gotten over my need to make a statement with my hair?  Or that I’ve settled into a middle age mindset – gotta keep my hair long until I have to get a practical short cut?  Am I suddenly attached to my hair in the way I think I won’t be pretty without it long?  Or am I just so lazy I couldn’t imagine a haircut that wouldn’t let me just stick it back in a rubberband?

What do you think?  Should I go for the over-the-top chop or is my new attitude a positive sign of maturity?

It’s A Great Idea If It Works

Our family is spread out across the country and our typical plane ride is 4 or 5 hours.  So I am always looking for tips and tricks for flying with kids.  I am already the queen of snacks; last flight I stowed away 2 slices of pizza, 2 baby yogurts, 2 Greek yogurts, a block of cream cheese, and HOMEMADE chocolate chip pancakes (among other things).  Trust me, I will never be caught with hungry toddlers.  I also always have new toys, old favorites, and lots of crayons.  I take great pains to make sure the long flight is as enjoyable for me, them, and our fellow passengers as possible (I mean, I’m still human people.  I’m good, but not a miracle worker).

Never one to rest on my expert toddler traveling laurels, I thought of a new idea this time around.  When the airline invited families traveling with small children to board the plane first, I sent my husband alone.  He took all our bags so he could ensure adequate overhead space.  He took the Handi-Wipes so every inch of our space would be disinfected before the kids began licking the seats.  He took all the snacks to prepare the mise en place.  It was me, the kids, their Cars 2 cars and our boarding passes.  It was genius.  I brought them to the bathroom where we played with the automated sinks.  We went to the huge windows where we watched airplanes take-off and land.  I was just strolling over to Hudson News for a bottle of water when I heard it.

LAST CALL BOARDING FOR FLIGHT 402 TO LAX 

What?  Last call?  Ian just went up a few minutes ago, didn’t he?  I checked my watch.  It was 20 minutes ago!  How is it possible that every time I check the clock during an intense game of block building only three minutes have passed and suddenly 20 minutes with the kids felt like no time at all?  Either I was really gloating about this great idea or that Virgin America terminal was a time warp.

Without uttering a single curse word, I snatched up my 20 month-old and told my 3 year-old we had to RUN.  My thoughts were faster than my feet and I immediately put together Plan B. I’ll call Ian and tell him they have to hold the plane.  Except he has my phone.  I’m sure there is a flight to LAX soon, I’ll take the kids for lunch while we wait for the next one.  Except I have no wallet.  Even if we got on another flight Ian has five hours worth of entertainment.  Oh shiiiiiiiit.

Gavin must have recognized the gravity of the situation because for a single moment he didn’t even care that I beat him to the check-in desk.  We huffed and puffed as we asked “are we too late?”  “No!” they told me and they took my outstretched boarding pass and slid it under the scanner.

MAAAAAHHHPPPP.

The electronic rejection noise alerted me we were in trouble.  “Oh, this is Gate 37A last call for SFO.  LAX is boarding at 37B.”  Are you f*cking kidding me?  There are only 11 gates, they can’t give them all their own numbers?  What kind of piss poor planning is this?  Of course I didn’t say any of that out loud and instead put on my best look of complete desperation.  The woman returned it with a “you better run” face and no offer of help.  Don’t they have an intercom?  Walkie-talkies?  Some sort of hand signals for the love of flying?  Can’t she convey to the next gate there is a crazy mom on her way with two small children who will lose it if they watch their 7 packs of Fruit Snacks and borrowed IPAD take off without them?  Apparently not.

We made the flight with all the fanfare of a Meg Ryan movie — just short of a Harrison Ford Air Force One leap from the gate onto a moving plane.  The only known casualty was Miguel Camino, Gavin’s brand new Cars 2 car that was a gift on the way to the airport, though I really didn’t look back to see if anyone slipped on the pretzel bits Chloe sprinkled in our path as I jostled her to the gate.

I sat down red-faced and covered in a thin coat of sweat.  In my best Taylor Swift dramatic tone I broke the news to Ian.  “We are never, ever doing that again.  Like, ever.”

Last picture taken before Ian walked off with all our lifelines.

To Procreate Or Not (I’m sure that’s appropriate to ask the general public)

I know the last thing you probably want to read is another post from a woman nearing the ridiculously determined “advanced maternal age” crying about wanting more babies, and if that’s the case you should probably turn away now.  Because WAAAAAAAAAHHHH!  I have me some baby fever.

It started last weekend when Ian had a fancy business trip that I crashed.  Despite traveling 3000 miles for 48 hours, I had a great time.  My kids were home safe and sound with their grandparents and Ian and I enjoyed ourselves.  What’s two glorious well-rested nights away from your own kids likely to do?  Make you want some more.

Time away from your kids may also make you get a little tipsy and run for the position of Karaoke Queen, but that isn’t part of this story.

I romanticize every stage from pregnancy to first foods to walking and talking.  I completely forget about the sleep deprivation and the hazy first year, and lament how it all goes so fast.  When I first raised this with Ian, he mentioned I might just be hungry (low blood sugar does make me loopy) so we went to In ‘N Out Burger and never discussed my need for two additional children again that weekend.

Less than a week later the feeling is creeping up again.  I was holding a friend’s five-week-old baby, cradling and rocking her in one arm while I poured juice and gave out snacks with my other.  I felt like a mommy machine (in case you aren’t sure, that was a good thing).  Suddenly I didn’t care at all about waking up every 3 hours for months on end, I simply wanted to procreate.  Twice.  Because I have a weird thing with odd numbers.  And I haven’t yet decided if twins would be the perfect package or too much, but I’m willing to roll the dice.  They even have names: Sloane and Grayson.

Ian, who prefers such superficial things as sleep, money, and freedom, is not on board with this baby train.  He enjoys pointing out that since we have a son and a daughter and they don’t make any other kind, it’s nature’s way of saying “you’ve got all I have to give.”  But I don’t care.  It’s biological, this need to procreate, and I swear it multiplies with each child.  One friend who made the wise choice to stop at two suggested I go out and buy myself a fabulous new purse to cure my baby fever.  It sounds like a really great idea, but I’m worried I would buy the purse and still want more kids and then I’d have to figure out how to use the purse as a sling because I will have spent our budgeted baby gear money on a chic new hobo style bag.  Might as well skip it and go straight to procreating.  I’m all about efficiency.

Even waking up at 5am didn’t convince me to rethink my position. Instead they both jumped in the bed and hugged and kissed each other and it only made me want more.

On Writing And Being Published, Seeing Your Dreams Come True And Revising Your Future

I have been writing…a lot.  Due to some personal issues of two awesome Mommyish writers, I have been covering a lot of the news cycle.  I wrote three articles on Saturday, two on Sunday, and five on both Monday and Tuesday.  That’s somewhere around 7500 words in four days.  It has been intense, but so rewarding.  To see the volume and diversity of work published under my Mommyish byline blows my mind.  Three months ago I was sitting behind a desk advising commercial mortgage originators on the legal implications of their loan structure.  WHAT?  Now here I am gobbling up freelance writing work like it was my job…oh right, it is my job now.  I feel so blessed for the opportunities that have somehow found their way to me and my home computer.

All this other writing has left me with little time to write here on my own blog.  Today, though, is my day of rest.  No assignments calling my name, I settled in and wanted to write a much needed WTTM blog post.  But it hasn’t been all about writing.  This morning I built a cardboard rocketship with the kids and even got in a few minutes to read.  Which is the other thing I have been doing a lot of at night.

When you cover the news, your mind is frantically searching for the headline of the moment; the latest celebrity under a microscope after giving birth, the newest published study to guilt parents, or the tragic story that needs to be told.  After that, I need to unwind at night with some light fare and I’ve been scouring a ton of samples on my e-reader.  These books are mostly what you might consider “chick lit.”  Wow, is there some terrible crap out there!  You look down your nose at Twilight or The Hunger Games, but at least those have original and compelling stories.  Some of the stuff published under the chick lit umbrella is downright painful in its butchering of the English language.

As someone who once thought publishing a novel would be the best thing that could ever happen to a person, these terrible books both inspire and dishearten me.  But in the end they really just help me refine my future endeavors.  Until recently I have been saying my dream is to be a published author.  Of course, I have done that now, but in my mind I think I really meant publishing a book.  In any event, there are two problems with this goal.  First, is, as I already mentioned, there is a lot of garbage published, because, to be honest, publishers need content.  It’s the same as crappy news stories or painful movies.  Producers of the goods need goods to put out.  Some projects are lean, some are stunning.  To simply be published isn’t all the glory and praise I once imagined.  The second problem is I have no control over whether I get published or not.  After my studies in yoga (any yogis will know the niyama I am talking about) I have learned to give everything I can in my effort but let go of the results.

With these two points in mind, I set a new intention.  To continue to write what is in my head and my heart and to check in with how it is affecting my body and soul.  I have created some ugly unintended controversy (first here and then I regret ever asking for a medal for my natural birth – even if I intended more humor in that opening paragraph than came across) and I am figuring out how to navigate those rough waters.  I hope in the future I continue to tell more stories that I want to share, like the truth about my post-baby body, the feelings I have about Sabrina, and even revisit my screenplay in the form of a novel.   I can hold those hopes close, but the truth is I have no idea where this writer’s journey will take me.  That idea both thrills me and terrifies me, but I promise I will enjoy the ride.