keep it gentle

Happy Monday, chickens.

I just now returned from taking Theo to daycare for the first time since Ellie was born, which meant an hour alone with both of them this morning, and then the arduous task of getting everyone in and out of the cars and in and out of daycare.

Let me tell you something, stay at home mamas. You are rock stars. I literally just spent two hours alone with them and feel like I’ll need a four hour nap and a Xanax to recover.

But this is not about my first world commuting issues.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been following the stories about the little boy jumping into the gorilla enclosure, and the terrible story of the toddler getting killed by the alligator at Disney.

And I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by all of the people who are talking negative smack about both of these terrifying events. Maybe it’s my hormones, maybe it’s because I’ve noticed a large concentration of people without kids commenting (not a knock on people who choose not to have kids- just an observation that if you’re not responsible for keeping other humans alive, your perspective isn’t first person and therefore, slightly flawed), but it’s driving me crazy. Maybe because I have a toddler who is seemingly always trying to injure himself despite all my attempts to keep him safe, although he would call it playing.

First of all, this just isn’t a time to criticize people’s parenting. I admit, when my mom brought up the kid who got into the gorilla habitat, what flew out of my mouth was, “Well, who was watching him?” but it felt shitty as the words escaped my lips, and also, my mother’s expression told me that I was saying the wrong thing.

She was right, obviously.

Don’t you think these people are hurting or scared or heartbroken enough? Do you think that your judgement is throwing out any positive energy into the world? Also, if you do have children, I would like to discuss the following:

If you have never had your stomach drop in panic because you have misplaced, lost sight of, or been evaded by your toddler or preschooler in a situation that could be dangerous, I can only assume one of two things:

  1. You’re a liar.
  2. You’re incredibly lucky.

But you’re probably a liar.

We went to the pool yesterday, and my mom, Jon, and I were all standing six inches from Boo, and he still slipped and fell under water. Are we bad parents? No. Toddlers are tricky you guys, and every second we keep them from injuring themselves we should consider a monumental feat.

And as for that poor family that lost their baby boy in Florida, come on, you guys. A no swimming sign doesn’t indicate that a large alligator is going to tear your child from you and drag him in the water. And even if it was the dad’s fault (it absolutely was not, chickadees), do you really think that you talking shit on social media is an appropriate response? It’s not. I’ve got to believe that some of it comes from a place of fear, and that people need to assume that someone was at fault, because if it could happen to a good parent who was paying attention, then it can happen to you too.

And it could happen to good parents like us. It’s just the scary reality of the world, and so maybe go hug your babies instead of judging how other people are raising theirs.

Let’s work on being kinder, my friends. In a world of violence and hate crimes and political vitriol, let’s remember that we have control over our own thoughts and actions, and let’s carve out a space that’s a little gentler.

PSA over for today, but I can’t guarantee that my hormones won’t drive me right back here. Enjoy the sunshine, chicks!

 

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Unpacking it

So we’ve been adjusting to life as a family of four over here, which so far means waking up a lot to feed our hungry lady baby and also to (patiently, patiently) repeat “Theo, please don’t jump so close to Ellie,” approximately one thousand times a day.

It’s keeping us pretty busy.

Aside from some Facebook sharing and talking to some of my pals who have come to visit my sweet baby girl and ended up talking to me about politics because that’s what we do, I haven’t really commented on this latest tragedy in Orlando, which is messy from a gun rights perspective, from a religious perspective, from a hate crime perspective. It’s basically America at its ugliest, the most tangled web of intolerance and violence I’ve seen in awhile. It took me some time to write anything down because I wanted to try and unpack all the ways I feel about it, but that’s not going to happen. It’s too complicated and I can’t say nothing (I mean, we know I can’t stay quiet about anything).

People who believe in their Second Amendment rights are so rooted in the issue that from what I’ve seen they don’t really want to talk about it because you guys, it’s a right, but I want to talk about it. And I’m willing to do it in a compromising way, because chickens, I’m not ashamed to admit that my real feelings are that I wouldn’t mind if all guns were outlawed. To me, my right to peace of mind is more important than my right to bear arms, but I also recognize I don’t speak for everyone.

Sure, the bad guys might find a way no matter what our laws are, but we can’t pretend that if the shooter in Orlando had a knife instead of a semi-automatic gun, 49 innocent people likely wouldn’t be dead. And sure, people will find ways to get guns even if they’re illegal, but you could say the same for heroin. That doesn’t mean that we should throw up our hands and legalize it.

I watched parts of last night’s filibuster and was proud that lawmakers were doing something to say enough already, everyone. I was proud that it was led by my home state, and I was obviously proud that my in-my-head-bff Cory Booker was a part of it.

If you watch this part, you’ll probably cry. I did, but you know what? Some things need to be cried over.

Here are the things, chickadees, that I’m really struggling to understand about all of this:

  1. What’s the deal with people opposing additional background checks? I’m not talking about keeping guns from law abiding citizens, but why isn’t it as hard to get a gun as it is to get a license and a registered car? We’ve got huge loop holes in the secondary market too, and we should close them.
  2. Why can’t we get federal funding to at least research gun violence? What are we afraid of? The NRA (yes)? Finding out something we’d rather not know (maybe)?
  3. If you’re a hunter and you need an AR-15 to shoot animals, you’re missing the point of the sport. Maybe take up something else.

I have a lot of other feelings on this subject, feelings I don’t have enough data to back up and opinions I don’t know enough about to speak out about except for my gut reaction that there’s no reason that this keeps happening and that even if you believe strongly in your Second Amendment rights (which by the way, as someone who has read fairly widely on the Revolutionary War, I feel pretty confident in saying that the founders didn’t mean for us to just have access to whatever guns we wanted, even though I can’t prove it), after all these mass shootings you’d think that we’d maybe just want to consider trying something new as a way to avoid waking up to the news that large amounts of our fellow citizens have been killed by a crazy person, again.

I can’t unpack this cleanly, chickens, but I think we owe it to ourselves to talk about it, even if we’re not sure what the solution is or we aren’t versed in every nuance of gun laws or hate crimes or mass shootings. We owe it to ourselves and our families to at least start the conversation.

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the second time around

Let me start by saying that this is exactly the kind of thing that would happen to me, and I mean that in the nicest, most self-deprecating, kindest way to my own self.

But seriously, Palluzzi, get it together.

What happened was this.

As you may remember, when I had Theo, he was a few days late and I was in labor for one million hours, approximately. I labored at home, I went the hospital, I walked laps, I had an epidural, I had some Pitocin to get me to move faster, I met every medical professional there, I pushed for four hours, I finally had a beautiful baby like two whole days later.

And while I forgot most of the things about that first labor that traumatized me (poor JW wasn’t as lucky), what I did remember was that it just took so long.

This time around, everyone reminded me that it wouldn’t take that long. I nodded my head at them, but thinking yeah, maybe it won’t take a million hours this time, maybe it will only take like half a million hours. 

I was convinced I had time.

So last Thursday, five full days before my due date, I woke up, felt a little cramping (I googled it, this apparently is a thing that can happen before labor starts with your second baby), but decided to wrangle the boys and head to work. I got to work, finished a few things, had a meeting in which, looking back, I was likely in labor for, ate some lunch, and decided that even though I most certainly was not in labor, I was going home because I didn’t feel great. I could work from there.

That was at 12:30.

I got on the train, because like, why wouldn’t I? Once I got off, I headed to my car, noticing that these “cramps” were becoming almost rhythmic, but knowing that they weren’t labor because this felt nothing like when I was actually in labor with Boo.

I drove home, pulled out my computer and turned on some Real Housewives, and then decided that maybe a bath would help.

I climbed in, felt better for like ten minutes, and then as the “cramping” started back up, a light bulb came on, as I realized that perhaps I was actually in labor. I crawled out of the bath, put on the weirdest outfit ever, and texted JW that he should maybe come home.

Should I jump in a cab? He asked.

Maybe, I replied.

That was at 2:15.

It was at this time that I realized that there was no perhaps, and that 2 things were certain:

  1. I was in labor
  2. I was definitely going to die.

You’re not going to die, my very wise friend Michaela’s voice piped into my head. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, and she’s super calm, and she’s always right.

She basically had told me this would happen.

She was also at that moment on a plane to China and so remained only a voice in my head.

JW walked through the door a little after 2:30, and I got into the car. He drove as fast as he could- straight into a Cubs’ traffic jam.

We better win the World Series this year.

By the time we got onto Lakeshore Drive, it was clear to me that I was not only in labor, but pretty much actively delivering a child. I told JW we weren’t going to make it to the hospital, and he called 911 and pulled off the highway.

A fire truck showed up and tried to ask me some questions as I yelled through some contractions and then an ambulance showed up. Four burly men threw me on a stretcher, loaded me into the ambulance, and headed to St. Joseph, a lovely facility that also happens to not be my hospital.

During this time the EMTs told me not to push while I alternated between screaming and laughing at them because chickens, you can’t just not push when a baby is coming out of you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, even if they’re medical professionals and you’re just a lady wearing yoga pants and yelling like a maniac.

We got to the hospital, thankfully, and I squeezed my eyes shut and headed into the ER on a stretcher. We made a move for the elevator to head to labor & delivery, when I realized that my child was about to be born in an elevator and told them it was too late for that and to please turn around because the baby was coming (this is the polite version I’m sure, but I can’t actually remember the words that came out of my mouth).

Ellie was born one push and thirty seconds later in the ER, and while technically a doctor made it downstairs to witness her birth, I wouldn’t say that anyone really delivered her, per se.

She’s an independent woman. She delivered herself.

That was at 3:30.

Ellie is perfect, obviously, and she actually showed up in much better shape than her brother did, likely because she did it on her own terms.

The people at St. Joseph were a delight, and while it would have been preferable to have my own doctor there, you know, things turned out great and I’m feeling good five days later, to which I credit my not-on-purpose quick and all-natural and drug-free birth.

The moral of the story is twofold, you guys:

  1. Always listen to Michaela (I already knew this, I don’t know why I never learn).
  2. You maybe don’t have the time you think you have.

It was a little scary and a lot dramatic, but chickens, look at what we got for our trouble:

ellie1

Welcome to the world, Eleanor Grace. Thanks for letting us know who the boss is.

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deep down into the fray

Ok guys, so I’ve been in DC and Phoenix since I last saw you because why wouldn’t I be traveling around the country when I’m 37 weeks pregnant?

Seriously, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Plus, I made quite the circuit when I was pregnant with Theo and doesn’t Lady Baby deserve the same jet setter treatment as her older brother?

Obviously.

So anyway, I’ve been trying to stay above the political fray, except that I’ve been in hotels which means I’ve had cable which means I’ve had cable news which means I’m not above the fray at all.

On the issue of this whole transgender bathroom thing, I would just like to say the following:

  1. No actual violent, crazy sexual predator is just now going to feel entitled to molest little boys or girls because the law lets people use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. It’s not like the law says “you may now use whichever bathroom you choose and also molest anyone you feel like. Go right ahead. Equality!”
  2. You probably use the bathroom with transgender people all the time and don’t know it. They don’t wear signs.
  3. Can we just please all stop hating on each other, already?

In addition, the other thing that has been starting to wear on me (other than the end of my pregnancy) is this whole “Make America Great Again!” thing.

Full disclosure: Nothing I am about to say means that I don’t think America is great. I believe in my country and I love my country. I also believe in my toddler and love my toddle, but sometimes you guys, if I’m being completely honest, he can be a bit of a pain in the ass. That’s not disloyal, it’s just being real. In fact, I would argue that I love both my country and my child more by not putting them up on some pedestal of perfection. It’s too much pressure, chickens.

Which brings me to this. Our beautiful, amazing country has always been flawed. When it started, slavery was legal and women couldn’t vote. Then we couldn’t agree about if we were a nation of separate states or one unified country, so we got into big fat fights about that.

We killed Native Americans because we didn’t understand them. We still didn’t let women vote. We got into a giant civil war where we fought each other because some of us still thought slavery should be legal. When we finally made it illegal, we still couldn’t (still haven’t) shake racism.

We operated an economy with child labor. We went through depressions. We got into World Wars. We interned our own citizens in camps because they were Japanese. We had trouble accepting civil rights, and we assassinated Presidents and had race riots.

I’m stopping there, because this could take all day despite me not even getting to the last half century.. And yes, I know we’ve done amazing, great things too. But my point is this. We have been a lot of things, but a perfect nation is not one of them. So when we say let’s make America great again, when was that, you guys? Is there a specific cut off in time in which we stopped being great?

In my estimation, we’ve been equal parts great and not-so-great this whole time. If I was running for President, I’d be focused on continuing to keep what’s great about America intact (diversity, ambition, independence, freedom, ingenuity) and working on what we’ve had some trouble with (tolerance, equality, wealth gaps, racism).

As you can see, I’ve dived right down into the fray, but I’m frustrated. I don’t think the world is a terrible place. I don’t think all humans are the worst. We have work to do, chickadees, but we’re America, which means nothing is impossible.

Let’s focus our energy on a new message, my friends. And let it be one that’s a little less I’m-so-angry and a little more I’m-so-grateful.

That’s where I am. Stay tuned- I can’t imagine it’s the last I’ll have to say on it.

 

 

 

 

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Quick check in

I know, I know, I know. I’m so remiss and also, behind, but man, you guys, I mostly want to laugh with Boo and sleep through the next four weeks and some change, even though I am deeply aware that this is not an option.

Lady Baby reminds me of this with a swift kick to the ribs regularly.

In preparation for welcoming my second little baby into this world, I’m doing things like making lists of what to take to the hospital (apparently I remember nothing from the first time, and so I did some googling. You know what was on one list? White Christmas lights for ambient lighting. C’mon, internet), going to yoga because I believe it will keep me sane, and reading an insane amount because last time I had a baby, I became illiterate and spent three months watching I Love Lucy (I do not regret this, if you were wondering).

We also redid the closet in the children’s bedroom so that we can fit all of the pink outfits that somehow have accumulated in my home. I thought I was being Highly Reasonable, but you know, those are just words that don’t really describe me.

Pretty much, once we hit June over here, she’s welcome to show up at any point. We may not have a crib or a vision of what our lives look like with two little ones, but I put my money on crazy, full, and incredibly exciting.

In the meantime, I’m back to my 80 pages per day quota on Alexander Hamilton, which is keeping me calm during this election season by bringing to my attention the fact that nobody ever gets along and everyone’s always been bat shit crazy.

Don’t ask me why this calms me, but it just does.

Enjoy the sunshine, chickens!

 

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restless nights and sunny days

Oh man, you guys.

I’ve hit the part of this pregnancy where I want to maybe throw my FitBit, because it’s mostly telling me I’m no longer sleeping.

As if I hadn’t noticed that I am rolling around all night. I really think I need a human-sized rotisserie to help turn me over when I’ve been on one side too long, but that’s a business plan for another day.

The lady baby is pretty active. Boo, if you will recall, was breech at this point and so despite not yet knowing it, I was merely being head butted a lot.

Now I’m being stabbed in the ribs with appendages, but chickens, it’s the miracle of life, right?

I’ll have a word with her when she arrives.

Other than that, I’m enjoying the gradual warm up around here (and the dry-up, it’s finally stopped raining, and I’m crossing my fingers that Theo, at some point, stops being made mostly from mud) and getting ready for this little girl by online shopping in a way that could be considered unhealthy and thinking that it might be almost time to buy some newborn-sized diapers.

That’s all it takes to raise them, right?

Help me out guys- I can’t really remember, even though it’s only been two years.

Now all it takes to raise them (him) is an unlimited supply of cereal bars, a nearby park, and Night, Night, Elmo on repeat.

This kid stuff is easy.

And with that, I’m off to coax my child into the car, despite my unreasonable demands that he let mama drive and that he sit down in his car seat.

Be easy, chickadees. Enjoy this sunshine!

 

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racking up wins and good advice

You guys, I am so sick of the cold and the rain hanging around in Chicago this week.

Can we please, please move on to summer, right now please?

Thank you for your consideration, weather gods.

This week I’ve had the following parenting wins: I reasoned with Boo to eat one more bite of dinner in exchange for dessert and it worked, I think I have almost taught him to excuse himself from the table instead of just shouting “THEO DONE!” and launching himself from his chair whilst covered in crumbs, and while we were accidentally co-sleeping the other night, he asked me for a pillow while still mostly asleep and mumbled thank you mama when I gave it to him.

He also has screamed into my belly (I imagine trying to rile up his sister), insisted on reading the same book 87 times in a row, and demanded to use very specific cutlery in order to eat his dinner, but you guys, it’s all give and take, I think.

*****

In other news, I’m reading Cory Booker’s United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good and obviously I love it because I love him and his attitude and his dedication to service and that he really is always helping people, but my favorite parts so far are when he passes on advice from his dad.

Thanks for sharing your dad, Senator.

My very favorite quote so far is this one:

“No matter what the circumstances, you exercise your power, you demonstrate your worth when you decide how to react, how to act in the face of it all. If the world punches you in the gut that doesn’t define you; what you do next, that speaks your truth.”

Man, I could use that one to fall back on about 37 times a day.

Good thing I’ve got it now.

Enjoy this one chickens- let’s all hope for a little sunshine!

 

 

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