Snip Snip

The first hair cut. It happened a few weeks ago, but I'm playing catch up around here and just got around to pulling them off the camera.
For the first hair cut I decided to make an appointment at a local barber shop and randomly chose Gerry's Barber Shop. I was really excited about the photos I'd take of William in front of a big mirror, with combs in blue liquid, old guys in smocks, and fluffy brushes to brush off the little hairs. We'd chat up the old guys hanging out discussing the weather and drinking coffee and William would win them all over. I'd print the pictures in black and white. Perfect, right?

We walked in and no Gerry. A whole bunch of ladies with thick accents and hands were thrilled to see us. No smocks, no combs in liquid, and no interior facelifts or cleaning service for a number of years. I first thought that we should turn and run, but the second they took in the little guy's baby face, I knew we were stuck. Leaving would break their hearts. Hair can grow back, hearts can't.

My instructions were clear: don't cut too much, only trim, clean it up, keep the length for the most part... I tried every way to say the same thing, but there was a moment when I realized it was a losing battle. She grabbed a good sized section of hair and snipped. I knew this was most likely going to happen, so I told myself that though it would hurt to see his adorable curls fall to the ground, his hair will grow back. I chose to try hard to ensure the first haircut was a good experience for William... and me. I kept my muth shut and kept smiling.

He smiled, chatted, and didn't cry until they tried to use the blow dryer on his him. Afterward we went for lunch at Fuel and William rubbed the back of his neck shocked his mullet no longer protected him from the cold.

Last week he saw a woman who resembled his recent stylist. He pointed, then said "Lady... snip, snip." It must have been quite an experience for the lilttle guy, would love to have seen it through his eyes.


My Luxurious Life

The most recent book club pick for the Chicago Moms Blog Book Club was Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky by Chris Greenhalgh. When I read the back cover I thought the perfect place to start a book about an illicit affair in Paris, luxury, glamour, romance, art, and seduction was in a bubble bath. I haven’t taken a bath since the little one came around and one of my New Year’s plans has been to do nice things for myself, so this was the perfect opportunity. As soon as nap time started, I ran to the bathroom and started the bath. After adding a ton of delicious shea butter bubble bath, I climbed in with my book in hand.

Ahhh, I thought. Relaxation. The tub was a little cold against my back and the bathroom fan (necessary to ensure nap time lasts) was louder than I’d ever realized. I opened the book, trusting that entering a world of drama would make all of these things fade into the background, and forced myself to concentrate. After a few pages I realized the water level was still rather low, but it was my first bath in this tub, so who knows… Back to the book…. A few more pages and I looked around. Wow, we really need to re-grout the bath tub. Coco Chanel would never stand for a shower in this state. Back to the book… I made it through a few more pages and realized the water still wasn’t rising after about 20 minutes. This is when I learned that there is something seriously wrong with our drain. (Yes, our child gets baths, but we still use the infant/toddler tub, because he loves it and I feel it’s *green* to not fill a bath tub for a toddler, so this was the first time we’ve actually used the tub.) Bath is over.

Still in the mood for pampering, I decided to take a shower using all my best products. Within minutes, the hot water was fading. All that time running a bath into a half open drain had killed our hot water reserves. Ugh. The rest of the shower was a frantic attempt to take advantage of what lukewarm water was left.

Out of the shower and into bed to continue reading. This could still be luxurious, I told myself. I tried to ignore the dog hair on the bed spread, the laundry in the corner, and the pile of books, pacifiers, hair bands, and dust on my bed side table and focused on the book. Soon enough I’m sleeping. A warm, deep nap ensued until I was awoken by the sound of “come get me cries.”

I didn’t get too far in my reading that day and the first nine pages of the book are crinkly from wet bath hands. It’s the closest I could get to luxury these days and it paled in comparison to what I was hoping for, but isn’t that always the way it goes?

As I devoured the book on the train to and from work and snuck in a few pages every night before bed, I realized how much I enjoyed learning more about Coco Chanel. The affair was a fictional account of their relationship, maybe they had one. Who knows? I didn't really care about those details, that's not the story line I enjoyed in the book. I enjoyed reading and learning about a woman who rose above her roots and created so much from nothing. Her life, moxie, business savvy, and talents made me envious. Here I sat on a badly lit, kinda smelly commuter train on the coldest winter days, yet her world seemed so glamorous... But, then again, she doesn’t get to wake up every morning to a smiling William. And, really, I’ve never found a bath to be that relaxing anyway.

Howie Update and the Latest in Torture

Realizing my last post was somewhat of a cliff hanger, I think it's high time I give an update. The human males in the household are holding up just fine. Both still have lingering coughs and W still has polka dots, but those should be cleared up in a couple of weeks. (The final diagnosis was that they were caused by hard coughing.)

So, that leaves us with Howie... The How-man's tumor was removed on Monday. The following 36 hours were tough. He just basically laid in one place and whined. Monday night was like having a newborn all over again. I worked from home yesterday and kept an eye on him, but the crying didn't let up for most of the day and he wasn't drinking or eating. Last night the vet put a pain patch on him. He stopped whining around 9 pm and finally peed. Awww, sweet relief.

The hardest part of all of this is keeping W away from his best pal, Howie. When we brought Howie in with his shaved hip and stapled five inch incision, W took one look at him and boo hoo'ed. Then when we insisted on separating them he chanted "Ti amo, Howie!" Quite dramatic this little guy.

Howie is now heavily hopped up on pain meds (when do you know that a dog is taking too many pain meds?) and seems comfortable. We're carrying him from room to room and he generally stays in one place, so keeping an eye on him hasn't been too bad. A week and this pup will be back on his feet!

On a side note... Ever need to torture someone? Try putting them in a room with a looped soundtrack of an animal crying. Seriously. Not advocating torture. I'm just saying....


"We're Fine"

We're lucky to have so many good people around us who are checking in on our mental, physical, and emotional stability these days. But, I have to admit something, last week was so jam packed with nuttiness, I'm not sure *what* everyone is inquiring about when they text or call to "check in."

So, here's a timeline of last week and an update on all of the items. I can't keep track of who knows what anymore.

Monday: Matt's "chest cold" takes a turn for the worse and he finally agrees to go to the doctor. She gives him a stern talking-to, breathing treatment, and four medications for a respiratory infection and sinus infection. (I like this lady.)

Tuesday: I get a call at work from Matt to let me know that he is having trouble breathing and headed to the ER. Catch the next train to Evanston and make inappropriate jokes in the ER about steroid use. (I can't help myself.)

Wednesday: Matt still home on bed rest. I call over and over and over to make sure he's breathing.

Thursday: Grandma B takes W to the pediatrician to check on his chest and cough and also the strange rash we noticed. Pediatrician tells her to take W directly to the hospital to get a blood test. Turns out the red bumps are not a rash and are actually pitichaie. It's a sign of tons of issues from the potentially terrible (leukemia) to a virus or from coughing too hard. Of course, googling it only opens up a hornet's nest. Matt (who is finally back at work) picks me up and we once again head for Evanston. Then we wait at home to hear back from our doctor with strict instructions not to let him fall and hit his head. (Not an easy thing with a toddler.) We hear back at 6:30 that the blood tests were fine, so they think it's from coughing really hard. The pediatrician just can't figure out why they're on his legs and arms, which is uncommon. We're watching him.

Friday: I take Howie to the vet to check out a lump we found on his hip on Wednesday. Fully expecting it to be a cyst, I am floored when the vet tells me that the biopsy showed it's a tumor. WHAT? Skin cancer, I guess. I don't know, I was too busy trying to help them hold him down for a blood sample while using every bit of will I had not to cry (was not successful with the crying bit). I scheduled him for surgery to remove the tumor, refused their offer of a financial quote, and tried to bust out of that place, so I could lose my cool in the car where I'd be by myself. Then waited all afternoon (AGAIN!) for the results of Howie's blood test. He's OK for surgery and his white blood cell count isn't too high, so things are looking alright. The official diagnosis is a mast cell tumor. The regular human diagnosis is skin cancer.

Saturday: We go to game night and celebrate babies and engagements with old friends. I get beat really bad at Win, Lose or Draw. Polish off a bottle of wine.

Sunday: Really? Four glasses of wine gives me that bad of a head ache? What a joke! This is the day I'm confronted with the reality of aging.

Monday: Why not pile on? We watched The Hurt Locker last night. JEEZ! My stress level could not be any higher. Not possible.

So, that's it, folks. There's your update. I'm sure my head ache and the aging stuff is what people are most worried about, but I assure you I'm doing OK... Inappropriate, right? See, that's what I do. Poor Matt. Every time he tries to say something about William or Howie to me I immediately ask him to stop talking or make a really bad joke.

But, that's how I deal, I guess. Seriously, though, we're fine. Once this f'in tumor is out of the H-Man and W doesn't look like he has polka dots and Matt can breathe and I can polish off a bottle of wine and feel great the next day, we'll be back on our feet. I promise.

P.S. I feel really insensitive even mentioning these things in the face of all that's going on in the world right now.


Trying To Be Good Makes Me Feel Bad

On Wednesday night I cleaned up after dinner and started to think about what I should pull out for Thursday's dinner. I'm trying to work on using what we have. I'm a sucker for the "Buy One, Get One" deals and hit up Costco monthly, so I always have stuff that sits around for a while. (I'm working on that.) After taking a looksie through the cabinet and fridge, I realized I could throw together chili in the crock pot.

The next morning (at 5:30 am) I threw together tons of diced tomatoes, ground turkey, garlic powder, onions, onion powder, zucchini, chili powder, corn, kidney beans, and jalapenos. I had to use the big girl crock pop, because it turned out to be a crap load of chili.

When it came time for me to take a shower and get ready for work I was feeling pretty good about myself, but as I stepped under the steamy water my mind went to Haiti. Here I was TRYING not to waste food. TRYING to use what I have on hand. And I was making an obscene amount of food. Ridiculous for two people. That's when I faced my reality. Yes, we're stretched financially, who isn't? And, hell yeah, I spend a lot of timing worrying and complaining about the things I don't have and can't afford, like plane tickets and a personal trainer. But, there is nothing more sobering than what is going on in Haiti right now.

As I watch my bank account hobble along, I'm taking some time today to figure out what organization is doing the best work and making a donation. I hope you will too. If we can't go help with our hands, we can at least use our dollars. However few we can spare. Right?

And for those of you wondering how the chili came out: It was alright. Yesterday was an incredibly stressful day (more on that later) and I was hoping to walk into an inviting house smelling of really nice chili. Instead, it smelled like chili-flavored dog food (or dog food-flavored chili for that matter) and it was really bland. So, I doctored it up with some grill seasoning, bbq sauce, beer, cayenne pepper, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and an obscene amount of chili powder. Upon tasting, I realized I went too far with the spice, so had to add celery to take down the heat. Ultimately, I somehow managed to make a very spicy, yet not-so-flavorful chili. But Matt liked it, so he'll eat it for a couple of days.


Hey Goombah!

Grandma B and the little guy pick me up from the train station this evening. I jump into the back seat for a kiss and a squeeze. "Hi, buddy," I say.

His response? "Hey... goombah!"

As in: "Hey goombah I love how you dance the rumba."

W's favorite song: Mambo Italiano
W's favorite artist: Dean Martin
W's new favorite word: Goombah


Dog Made Three, Then Baby Made Four

New Mom Warning: Your relationship with your dog will most likely change. I hate to be the one to break it to you.

I recently wrote a post for Chicago Moms Blog about my damaged relationship with Howie. And I'm afraid this time it's my fault. I'm working on it.


Sometimes You Get Poop Under Your Nails

New moms often ask current moms what they'll need, as if there is a magical item that makes being a mom work. This is what you need: HUMOR. Every time you want to scream or cry or throw up... You have to find a way to laugh.

For Chicago Moms Blog Book Club, I read See Mom Run: Side Splitting Essays from the World's Most Harried Moms. Beth Feldman edited this book of real-life funny stories by mom bloggers. As most moms can agree, most of these funny stories have mentions of bodily functions and are stories that would have previously been frightening.

When I was about four months pregnant, we put our city condo on the market to move closer to my parents in the suburbs and their offer of child care. I had trouble with the move to the suburbs compounded by the coming baby and changing life.

William was about a month old when my sister moved into a new apartment in Lincoln Park. My mom and I took the little guy to pay his aunt a visit and see her new digs. We were only a couple blocks away when I heard (and then smelled) a diaper explosion. We pulled over right next to the el station on Armitage and removed him from the car seat to find that he had completely filled his footie pajamas with liquid poop. It was like a horror show.

I was in my stretchy post-baby clothes, literally up to my wrists in orange rust-colored poop, leaning over the back seat of an SUV on a beautiful fall day on one of the most fun, fantastic blocks in Chicago. I longingly looked at the young women coming off the el with their incredible shoes, carrying terrific bags, wearing adorable jackets.... They were on their way home from work, headed to their apartments, then possibly out for a walk with their friends or to meet at a beer garden. My former life flashed before my eyes as I realized I had poop under my nails.


What Up, 2010!

Here we are in 2010. I don't have any cliche things that I'm in the mood to say about it. 2009 was a great year, with a number of really tough spots and general bumps in the road. But, we're all healthy, happy, can pay the bills, and have a ton that keeps us laughing -- So, I can't complain.

I'm posting this because I feel like I have to post something signifying the new year. I'm not going to give a list of my resolutions, but I will admit that this is a transitional time for the Hannemaniacs in a number of ways. 2010 is going to be a good year... Just you wait and see.