Wednesday, January 28, 2009

25 Random Things

Got tagged in the latest Facebook gimmick making the rounds... and, well, felt like it made sense here too.

Bitten and Biting Back: 25 Random Things About Me

1). I can cross one eye but I can't wiggle my ears
2). I grew up in a very, very, very small college town.
3). My twin boys were born 2 months premature. They spent 6 weeks in the NICU. They are now 20 months old. They are perfect.
4). I nursed my boys for 8 months. At my peak I was making a gallon a day. I was a cow. Literally. A COW.
5). I didn't date my husband for three years after I met him. We met in a bar.
6). We started dating on a street corner in London three years after we met. We were engaged 10 months later. Now we've been married 5 years.
7). I spent 5 years in a back brace for scoliosis - during those impressionable young teen years (age 11 to 16.) Funny thing is, although it was my DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC in my own mind, when I talk to folks from that era, they don't even remember it. Gotta love the baggy look of the 80s. And the inherent self-focused narcissism of all teenagers.
8). I went to prep school - because I wanted to. (see small town, back brace above.) I applied on my own - to the dismay of my parents. I still don't fully understand how i talked them in to letting me go. It was the best decision we could have made.
9). It sounds obnoxious (snotty? egotistical? like I'm full of myself?)but I've had 4 job interviews and four jobs (other than those I gave myself.) If that streak doesn't end, I didn't take enough risks.
10). I started out my professional life as a newspaper reporter. I wrote for a bunch of publications including the New Haven Register, the Dallas Morning News, and the Yale Alumni magazine. One story I covered for Dallas was the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. I was 20.
11). I started my first company when I was 21. With my boyfriend at the time. Needless to say, it was a really, really bad idea.
12). I started my next company when I was 23. My partners and I sold it a few years later. That one worked out a bit better.
13). I've never taken a hallucinogenic.
14). I learned to read music at the same time as letters. I remember a set of intermingled flash cards.
15). I have two brothers. One is a Broadway composer and conductor. The other runs his own IT consulting business.
16). I spent a year in LA - living large in the independent film scene where I partied with celebrities, spent way too much time at Les Deux, worked on a few projects, and learned to drink chai lattes. It got way old, way fast.
17). After LA I overcompensated and went to McKinsey where I worked as a management consultant. And wore lots of brooks brothers.
18). Now I sell lipstick (and opportunities for women!) I love it. And now I accessorize.
19.) I've never been to continental Africa or Australia. I HAVE been to Asia, Latin America, Central America, Eastern Europe and Western Europe. I want to hit every continent. Except maybe Antarctica.
20). I want to live with my family abroad. I want my boys to be citizens of the world. I want to be fluent in another language. (my husband is fluent in lots.)
21). I'm wearing braces. Now. As an adult. After having them as a teenager. (note - during the back brace era - I had braces, glasses, AND a back brace. I was smokin' hot, lemme tell you. Smokin'.) I have to have surgery on my jaw. Everyone is going to think I had a face lift. Maybe that's OK?
22). I seem to change careers every 5 years. Maybe that's OK too?
23). I love novels and tolerate non-fiction. I've never read a business book (although I've skimmed some flaps.)
24). I skip meals and forgo sleep too often. I get sick too often. I'm constantly looking for balance and falling off kilter. But on average, everything works.
25). A few months ago, I started writing a blog, and I'm really enjoying it. Someone called me a hack of a writer once. I was pissed at the time, but now I think he may be right. I write glib, quick, little nuggets. I don't really edit much. I just sort of spit it out. And its fun. It's not great literature and I have no interest in suffering for my art. I enjoy all of the other things that I do too much to sacrifice them. So yes, I'm a hack. And blogs are my perfect medium.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obama Babies take 2

Proud mama moment: Showed the boys the inauguration speech on the theory that you're never too young for exposure to history (not to mention erudition.)

Needless to say the enthusiasm was infectious. So much so, in fact, one twin almost fell off the couch.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crocodile mornings

My mornings have gotten a whole lot harder lately.

My boys love me. A lot. It's wonderful. They shout 'Mama mama mama' when they see me. Several times each day, they will stare at the door and plaintively cry 'mama? mama? mama?' (at least according to the nanny.) They kiss my picture. And when they fall down - as they do, oh, 27 times a day and lately from frighteningly high distances - I'm the one they reach for.

It's gratifying. Immensely. After all, who scoffs at unconditional love?

But then there's the flip side: How do I leave the apartment in the morning without feeling like I'm ripping out their hearts and stomping all over them in my ridiculously high heels?

I admit it: sometimes I sneak. They'll be in their room with the nanny, and I tip toe out without saying goodbye. Because when I do go in for that goodbye, love-you, mommy-has-to-go-to-work-kiss, there are screams. A lot of screams.

In fact, the screaming starts when they see me in 'work clothes' (needless to say 'weekend mommy' wears a whole lot more denim).

I know. It's just a phase. And I don't, honestly, feel too horrifically guilty about leaving them during the day. They have a wonderful, stimulating daily life and they are surrounded by people that love them. I make their breakfast and tuck them in at night - which averages out to more than 3 hours a day. (not that I count or anything. That would be neurotic. Actually, a spreadsheet would be truly neurotic. But I don't have one. I swear.)

No matter how logical and rational and reasonable I am, it's hard to deliberately turn the spigot on those crocodile tears.

I know its just a phase. I know in too short a time I'll be nostalgic for the moments they actually *wanted* me around. And I know it will never, ever be easy. But for now, at least every once in a while, I might sneak out the front door in my stockinged feet.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bribery and Blagojevich

I have no intention of defending him: the notion of selling a senate seat is beyond reprehensible, and there's no doubt in my mind that Blagojevich's blatant opportunism has tainted our political system.

But it's occurred to me that we teach our children a whole lot about bribery. At least, I am teaching mine.

"Don't you want to get in the stroller? Don't you want to go outside? If you don't get in the stroller, we can't go outside. Won't it be fun to go outside?" And then the inevitable: "If you get in the stroller, I'll give you a snack!" For all of my attempts to make it a healthy snack (who knew raisins could bring so much joy?) it is clearly, incontrovertibly, a bribe.

And I do it all the time.

If you get in the tub, I'll help you make bubbles! If you drink your milk we can read a story! If you finish your beans you can have an apple! (See above re: healthy snacks. Of course, the animal crackers and gogurt are starting to sneak in - and I'm a far worse culprit than hubby - but at least they still think of apples as a treat. And I haven't yet resorted to candy-as-bribe.)

Of course, at age 20 months, when logic is just beginning to emerge and is at constant war with the demands of instant gratification, there are only so many weapons we have. How can we count to three if they can't count? How many times can you use a time out before it loses its power? (And does refusing to leave the bath *really* warrant a three-minute cone of silence?) Not to mention the fact that they are only just now beginning to form memories that last longer than a nano-second.

Bribery is a pretty damn useful tool. It's almost no small wonder that it seems to come so naturally to our illustrious Illinois governor.

So how do I keep my boys from becoming expletive-spewing, pompadour-sporting, corrupt politicians who dole out favors like I pass around boxes of snack-sized dried grapes? Not to imply Rod's parents are at fault here - there's nothing like having twins to make you fully appreciate the primacy of nature over nurture. But, on the other hand, it's not like we're powerless either.

I suppose we have to make sure we change our methods when we can pull from a larger armory. We need to shift from bribes to consequences, cajoling with treats to establishing expectations.
And trust in our own ability to teach them right from wrong.

(and yes, strains of CSN&Y and Cat Stevens are running through my mind...)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Realizations (& Resolutions)


1: It's a lot harder to find a room of one's own on the days without child care

2: Hosting a crazy dinner party on New Year's eve because you don't have baby sitter is totally fun. Waking up at 6 a.m. the next day because you don't have a baby sitter is brutal.

2B: Hangovers are a whole lot worse at 34 than 30

3: Recessionista entertainment: There's no need to pay for cable if you don't have time to watch anything except the Daily Show on Hulu, even during your staycation.

4: Recessionista child care: nanny shares (boy #3 joins us on Tuesday for our first 'group day')


1: Use date night for dates

2: Get a physical

3: Manage my personal calendar as adroitly as my professional calendar. (this one's for you, hubby.) (And for you, Dad, who I forgot to call on your birthday - see 2B above.)

4: Spend time with each boy one-on-one

5: Moisturize

Happy New Year