I am usually the inappropriate one in a group of friends, and I fucking hate it.
It is up in the air whether the Internets help or hurt people, and for a long while when I was on Facebook, I wouldn’t connect with anyone unless I knew them pretty well. Since Wee One was born, I have found myself Facebook friends with people I barely know, (though I still don’t become friends with people I haven’t met,) but there are several different kinds of “strangers” I like being connected to:
If we were having coffee, you would comment on pictures you had seen on my Facebook feed of our visit to Skagit to see the tulips.
This is a list of 10 things I really love right now. I will not say I’m “obsessed,” because I hate the overuse of that word (I have seen obsession, and this is not it), but they are things I really appreciate in my life right now, in no particular order.
- The drive through at Starbucks. I love being able to drive through and get coffee. So easy.
- The pool at the gym I just joined – I joined a gym! I’ve never done that before, but it has childcare, so the Wee One is tended to for up to two hours. I have started swimming thi week and love it. This accomplishes one of the goals on my 52/52 challenge.
- My ergo. I’ve loved it since I had it. It’s quick, easy, and keeps my hands free while I hold and love of my Wee One. (It’s also valuable and useful for Syrian refugees, as used by the Carry The Future organization. If you have an extra carrier no longer in use, I highly recommend this organization.)
- My crothet hooks. I’ve started making some things I hope I can sell with some friends who are vendors in a few Ren Fairs in the Midwest.
- Pens for drawing zentangle. Which I haven’t been doing as much, in favor of doing the above.
- This computer for writing. Which, again, I haven’t been doing much of in favor of crocheting, and of doing the following:
- Candy Mania – It’s one of those Candy Crush-like games that you can download onto your iPhone, but the other week when I was dying with the stomach flu, it kept me company and entertained.
- Giving the Wee One her bedtime bottle. It’s the first part of her bedtime routine and we sit in the recliner and watch something. Since she doesn’t take as many bottles, she doesn’t sit in my lap and eat like she used to. This is one last warm and snuggly little time. For a second, I thought about getting rid of it, but for right now, I’m not going to fix what isn’t broken!
- The Kindermusik class I go to with the Wee One. After about a month, she has become more comfortable crawling around and interacting with other babies and the teacher, which I like to see, and it helps me learn different ways to interact with her, to play with her. And she likes music, so it’s good. The teacher is kind of weird, and I get the feeling that it’s like a posh little club and you’re lucky to get in, but still.
- My mom squad. I have a squad. 38 years old and I have a squad. But we’re an awesome team, particularly for only having known each other for several months and for having four toddlers to look after.
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by cigars and a whisky flight. (Oh yeah, and it’s the Wee One’s first birthday today! I lost my baby today and gained a toddler!)
Last Monday, a girlfriend and I went out and had so. Much. Fun. I mean, so much fun, and since then, I’ve been thinking about how similar going out after baby is to going out in junior high and early high school. Unlike previous Top Tens, these listed in the order in which they come up in a night.
(Note: This was in the early to mid 90’s, so we didn’t have the internet or even ubiquitous computers. We had landlines and cassette tapes. And acid washed jeans.)
- You dress differently. In youth, since I was going out, I wanted to look cool. So I would wear the one shirt that was a little tighter/lower cut, the one I wouldn’t normally wear. When I go out after baby, I’m not worried about access to my boobs, and I knew I wouldn’t get any spit-up on my clothes!
- You wear makeup, usually badly. In junior high, I wouldn’t wear makeup really, and when I did, it wasn’t put on very well. It wasn’t always even mine own make-up! I have found that post-Wee One, I wear make-up so rarely that I’ve kind of forgotten how to put it on. When we went out, my friend was wearing perfume – she got in the car and she DIDN’T smell like baby wipes. I was like, “What is that weird aroma?”
- The first few minutes together are spent telling stories about how you got away. In junior high, the story may involve what you told your mother or what you had to go through to get a ride. After baby, you’re dancing around bedtimes and evading separation anxiety, so it can be hard to leave the house. My girlfriend’s daughter has strong separation anxiety right now and her husband distracted the child as my friend slid out the door. She said she could hear the baby’s wail as she went down the hall. On her way to the car, she tore her pants. “But I worked so hard to get out, and I couldn’t go back in and have to leave again, so fuck it.”
- Once you get out, you go to a place you wouldn’t normally go. In junior high, we would go places our parents wouldn’t want to hang out, maybe even places we weren’t supposed to hang out. This time, my girlfriend and I went to a cigar bar, a place I used to go with fervor, as you well know, and I haven’t gotten to do as much since the Wee One came along.
- One there, you tell everyone you meet that you got away. Not that we would do this in junior high, but there were several references to it amongst the group. When my girlfriend and I went out, we told the hostess at our restaurant, our waiter, then later, a bartender and a couple of strangers that we were having a girl’s night out.
- You eat what normally wouldn’t or couldn’t. I feel weird drinking alcohol when I’m out with the Wee One, unless it’s wine and I’m in an Italian place. When I was a freshman in high school, I would go with girlfriends to Applebees and we would all order virgin strawberry daiquiris. We felt so cool drinking those, but we wouldn’t try to do it in front of our parents, who would look at us sideways.
- You scream with laughter. As much as we loved our families as kids, and as much as we love our babies now, we felt free in a way we normally weren’t. We felt joyful and full of life, and that was our way of expressing it.
- You talk to lots of people. When you’re finally out on your own in JH, you’re the one doing that talking, not your mother. Your opinion is the only one that matters. AB, you can suddenly make conversation with anyone about anything and stand there and talk for as long as you want! Which wasn’t always a good thing, as it might lead to #9
- Get talked to by someone inappropriate. In JH, it was the creepy guy in the food court who kept smiling at you when he refilled his soda. This time, it was a guy at the craps table who thought he was slick in asking about my friend’s husband. (Now that I think about it, it was probably the same guy.)
- Come away from it feeling very much alive. Both then and now, you laugh for days afterwards and hold on to the memories for a long time.
If we were having coffee, when I walk to the table, I notice a cherry danish where I would normally be sitting. “Are you expecting someone?” I ask you, half serious. You, silly! you say. You bought me a treat for Valentine’s Day, and now I feel like an asshole because I hadn’t thought of the same thing.
You wave me away when I say that, and point to one side. A side you cut. It was actually half of yours, but you knew I would feel like a jerk and you wanted to get a little chuckle this morning. I’m so glad I please you, I say, rolling my eyes. You notice I’m not drinking out of a paper cup, but a porcelain one. It’s actually quite big and you joke with me about being at Central Perk, from Friends. Oh stop, I say. You’re not that funny. You throw a napkin at me.
If we were having coffee, you ask me about Valentine’s Day with Cohiba and the Wee One. I shrug and roll my eyes. Cohiba and I really think it’s just a Hallmark holiday to make money so we don’t really care about doing big gestures. Instead, we went out for (a very early) dinner as a family, as we usually do on Saturday nights. We talked and made plans and watched the Wee One interact with other kids and learn about gravity by dropping things. You tell me you’ll be having a ‘Galentine’s‘ dinner with friends, which I think sounds like fun. I’ve actually never done that, and I just now realized that I could. You can come to mine next year, you say, if you make the cut.
This reminds me of a really sweet offer a friend of mine made. The Wee One’s birthday party is next weekend, and she said I could call on her if we needed any help picking anything up! Until she said that and I started thinking about it, I didn’t even realize how much having an extra person would help and how much her offer meant to me. You know, being a mother is also teaching me about friendship and being a good friend. Lessons I would not have learned otherwise. Cohiba and I were talking about that at dinner last night, how the Wee One has helped us be a better couple.
That sounds like a pretty nice Valentine’s Day lesson, you muse, and I agree.
If we were having coffee, you would ask me about how the story is coming; am I still working on it? I tell you that I think I’ve set a goal to finish my March. Ooh! I should put that on my 52/52! I say. Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month in November? You squint your eyes and say you think you have. When I do the blog posts every day in November, I’m doing it in lieu of a No, a novel. Have you every written one in a month? you ask me, and I tell you I haven’t, but I did write over 10,000 words, which is more than I’ve ever done before. And I don’t think this story should be a novel, at least not right now. So a 10,000 word story is good.
Well, I’m looking forward to it, you say.
If we were having coffee, we would settle into our usual spots, noticing, for the first time, there are people we have seen in the weeks prior. They are regulars, as we are, and this makes us feel good. We smile at the “regular” label. After we settle with our drinks, I pull out a long glass bottle: homemade Irish cream, a Christmas gift from a friend. Isn’t this such a unique idea? I ask. I love Irish cream and its good, if not a little rough.
I tried to take the Wee One hiking this week, I tell you, because the weather was really nice where I live. It was not so nice, however, at the site of the park, less than 20 miles away. This take some getting used to: living in the mountains and how different things are at different elevations, even when the difference doesn’t seem that great.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a bit of a rough week and some anxious thoughts. I wonder if I need to go back to counseling. I’m annoyed by it, frankly, because its fucking work that I don’t want to have to do. It certainly wouldn’t hurt, you point out, and I agree. I also think that becoming involved with a faith community would help as well. I reached out to a couple of friends about it.
Cohiba has been sick and staying away from the Wee One, so I haven’t been able to sleep in or get some time away from her recently. Fortunately, her sleep schedule is better than it’s ever been. She’s taking two solid naps a day and I think she’s sleeping longer in the early morning. Even better, she’s starting to entertain herself in her crib, giving me a bit more time if I need it.
She’s also started humming when I sing and rock her to sleep.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you about meeting with another mother and having a girls night: wine and movies. It was a really good time and the first I’ve had since the Wee One was born. We tried watching Pitch Perfect. Your eyes light up and you start to chatter about how much you love it. I wasn’t so into it, but maybe I need to see it from the beginning. “Oh, you totally do,” I hear a voice from behind me. I turn, and see one of the barista’s cleaning the table behind me. “Sorry to eavesdrop, but I love that movie. I recommend you give it another chance.” You talk with her about your favorite parts, and I lean over to get the bottle from my bag. May as well finish off the Irish cream.