The Day After

My parents just left after a week-long visit and I’m sad.

The day after kind, helpful company leaves is always tough, for many reasons.  One, I’ve just lost a huge help in terms of cleaning and food prep and all the energy it takes to give attention to Dylan.  Two, Dylan gets very used to all the constant, undivided attention during the visit and he’s usually more needy and whiny than usual after they leave, and I’m left to deal with that.  Three, I’ve just lost rational, adult humans to talk to and eat with every day.  It highlights just how isolated and alone I often feel on a daily basis, despite my growing efforts to reach out and meet new people with whom I can meaningfully connect (which is a struggle and a whole other post of its own).

Plus, fourth, the leaving highlights just how far away from family we are and how much that sucks.  We’re coming up on second baby’s birthing time, and I’ve had to arrange a phone tree of sorts of local friends who can keep my son alive while we wait for family to hop on a plane and get here once I go into labor.  I suppose it’s time to find some babysitters in the area we can call and *gulp* actually pay to watch my spawn from time to time, but that’s just not the same as having grandma and grandpa just across town.

Not long after Bamma and Pa-pa left, I looked at the forecast on my phone.  Readers, fellow Psychos, you all know how much the weather affects my mood.  The last two days have been mercifully sunny and delightfully warmish for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest, and I did my best to enjoy them.  We got outside and went to parks, synthesized some vitamin D and some sanity.  Well, wouldn’t you know it, in a few short hours the skies are going to open up again with a series of storms with no end in sight, says my irrational sad brain.  Ah, symbolism.  You stormy bitch.

So, visits are hard.  They are fun and exciting and something to break up the often horribly mind-numbing sameness of my days…but once they are over, the sameness I return to seems to become even more mind-numbing.



The Cranky Mommy Waddle

My son just turned two.


He’s active.

He’s kinda like a time bomb, actually, and if I don’t get him outside burning off steam, he’s going to explode yucky kid goo all over the walls of my house.

And so we walk to the park.

Well, I waddle.

I can’t move very fast anymore.  Moving hurts me.  And while it’s great that there are several parks within a few blocks of my house, my kid still insists on running away from me, often into the street.

Jesus ouch goes my fast waddle.

I’m told this is a common problem (the running into the street…but I guess also the waddle.  but I was originally referring only to the running).  So why can’t parents with brains design human parks like they design dog parks?  Toddlers and dogs ain’t that much different, folks.  Fence them in.  Mommy’s tired of running.  And by running I mean waddle-shuffling.

And another thing.  Plant some damn trees.  I know this is Oregon, but occasionally we have this thing called sunlight.

I have delicate skin that’s constantly being sucked dry by my greedy fetus.  And my pregnant body is already 1002 degrees.  Mama needs the shade.

And while you’re at it, add in a little Starbucks booth.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just big enough for a sexy college dropout barista and that whoosh-whoosh machine that makes the foam.

Cuz sleep is getting harder to come by and we all know this is only going to get worse.  I need to stay just conscious enough while I’m resting my eyes in the shade so that I can take my dog-child back home after he’s burned off a sufficient amount of evil.

See you tomorrow, fellow park-goers.


Like Nothing Had Ever Happened

It started like any ordinary day.

And that’s the thing – these days, most days were just that – ordinary.  Sure, some moments stuck out for better or for worse, but they were mostly spent in the monotony of keeping her kid safe, clothed, fed, occupied.

As she lied in bed, she could hear her son happily babbling over the baby monitor.  He rarely woke up in a bad mood.  She got up and started her usual routine of making the bed, getting dressed, dragging a brush through her hair, and then she went to go get her son.

As soon as she opened his bedroom door, the stale odor of his poopy diaper floated out to greet her.  And then she could see, under her smiling, blond baby boy, that his crib sheet was quite soiled.

She sighed.

First things first, she thought, Diaper change, then strip the bed, then laundry.

As it turned out, the leak was so bad that this kid, who normally only got two baths a week, needed a quick one from the waist down.  He was delighted.  She was already exhausted.

She got all the dirty things in a pile, shoved them in the washer, threw in some extra OxyClean, and got the boy downstairs for breakfast and to move on with the day.  And not a moment too soon, because being pregnant with baby number two meant that breakfast needed to come asap in order to stave off the dizzy spells.  And all that bending over for the sheets and bath weren’t doing her any favors, either.

Breakfast was uneventful, but since the pre-breakfast cleanup took so long, she decided to just stay home and play inside between breakfast and lunch.  Hopefully they could get to the water features after lunch and before nap.

When the washer was done, both mom and son trekked back upstairs to transfer everything to the dryer.

The toddler had run off to play somewhere and mom opened the washer to discover that the poop stains had gotten worse, not better.  Upon frustrated inspection, she found that matter from the leaked diaper had stayed inside the pajamas and had been let loose inside the washer to wreak further havoc.  Everything would now have to be hand-treated and rewashed.

Just as she was silently swearing to herself, there was a loud crash.  It sounded like breaking glass, but it also didn’t register.  What the hell could he have gotten into? was her immediate thought as she turned to find him.

He was in his room, looking stunned and standing next to a floor lamp that was now entirely on the floor.  Glass was everywhere.  Both were barefoot.

She burst into tears.

He burst into tears.

She tiptoed across the carpet, picked him up, tiptoed back across the glass minefield and immediately went downstairs, leaving everything just where it was.  Poop stains and broken glass.

Feeling completely overwhelmed, she called her husband at work and a fresh round of tears choked her words as she tried to explain what had happened and that she needed him to come home.

Please help.  I can’t do this.

A mercifully short 15 minutes later, her husband was upstairs being amazing by cleaning up the mess.

It looks like a crime scene up here! he called down the stairs.

No shit.

He explained that he looked up the proper way to clean up mercury, because he didn’t want to stir up all the yucky particles.

Oh, fuck!  The actual bulb broke, too?!  I thought it was just the glass of the lamp.  I didn’t even look.  Good thing we got out of there and I didn’t even try to clean up.  Ugh.

He cleaned.  Mom and son had lunch.  They didn’t make it to the water features that day.  Instead, they played in the kiddie pool in their yard.  Not knowing the changed plans, the son had fun just the same.  Right in time for a nap, the dad had the room all clean.  No glass, new sheets.  Like nothing had ever happened.

The dad (thankyouthankyouthankyou) went back to work and the mom spent the quiet nap time working the stains out of the load of laundry by hand. As if the stains were demons and the sheets were motherhood.

She washed the load again.  This time, the stains came out.

Like nothing had ever happened.


Camping with a Toddler

We love to camp.

I grew up camping.  I was a Girl Scout for 11 years and then a camp counselor.  After that, my boyfriend, now husband (whom I met whilst camp counseling) got me hooked on backpacking.

I developed that love-hate relationship with it, where while I’m hiking up the hill in 1354627 degree heat, I just want to die…but once I get to the top, it’s all worth it.  Survival.  Independence.  Self-reliance.  All that good stuff that we are so excited to pass on to our kid.

We realized we hadn’t been camping in 4 years, and since I’m pregnant with #2, we needed to get in a trip RIGHT NOW before I am too big and before we have a screaming baby to take care of.

The short version of this story: camping was fucking hard.

Before going, I had read several articles about how camping with kids was so doable, you guys!  Just get out there and do it!

And, like a sucker, I was like, YEAH!  Let’s do this!  What could go wrong?!

The hardest part was trying to keep some kind of normal sleep schedule for my almost 2 year old.  He barely napped in the car on the way there.  Strike one.

We went out for dinner so we could hurry to the campsite and set up with enough time to put the kid to bed at a reasonable hour.  Now, we don’t co-sleep and we put our kid to bed while he’s still wide awake, so it’s his job to self-soothe himself to sleep.  I originally worried that there was no way we’d be able to get a pack n play into our tent, because I didn’t see how our thrashy sleeper would get any sleep (let alone US get any sleep) lying on an open mattress next to us.  Thank goodness our hand-me-down 5 person tent was plenty big enough to fit the pack n play next to a full sized blow up mattress for my pregnant hips.  It was a good start.


Our sleep setup

So we get him to bed, and he’s super distracted (understandable) and it takes him a while to get to bed, but he does, and without crying.  When we go in the tent to sleep, I can smell that he’s poopy (my son, not my husband).  We decided to let him sleep with the risk that the poopy might give him a rash.

It was a horrible night.  I couldn’t sleep and my son couldn’t sleep.  Like, at all.  I woke up several times to my son standing in the pnp, leaning over me, whispering Mama.  Creepy as all hell.  Go the eff to sleep, kid.

He woke up upset at 6am, when he normally sleeps til 8 or 9, sometimes even later.  I got up to change his poopy (which had leaked all over everything. perfect.) which made him scream and he wouldn’t stop…..and we woke up the entire camp and FELT HORRIBLE.

Breakfast was tough, he didn’t want to eat, he wanted to run away into the road.  I was exhausted and cranky and pregnant.

To make matters worse, we had to break down camp completely because we had to switch to a new campsite for the second night.  Ugh.  We seriously considered just going home.

But I’m glad we didn’t.

Breakfast and cleanup and breaking down camp took forever because one of us had to do all the work while the other made sure Cranky McDidn’t Sleep stayed alive.  We managed to pack a lunch, get the hell outta there, and went to the beach (a very short drive away).  Dylan perked up, ate, ran through the freezing ankle-deep water.  We all had fun.  We saw a 100 year old shipwreck!


Then we got to the second campsite and set everything up with enough time for Dylan to actually get a nap in before dinner.  He had to cry himself to sleep in order to do it, but he just needed to fuck-ing sleeeeeeeeeeep.

Unfortunately, he woke for dinner sooper cranky and crying and wanting to run out into the road, again.  It was incredibly frustrating and scary.  Everything during camping is hard to do anyway – cooking, washing dishes, set up, clean up – and it went even slower because one of us had to constantly be following Dylan around.  I now totally understand why parents put their kids in leashes.  Sign me up.

Thank goodness we had the genius forethought to plan hotdogs for dinner, because Dylan ate like a champ and I kid you not – halfway through the meal, his cranky whines stopped and he looked up at me and said, very calmly, Hi.  In response, I said, “Welcome back!”  And he was back, just like that.  My sweet, lovable, obedient little boy.  We went for a walk around the campground and he had his first s’more (loooved it) and we put him to bed and everything was glorious.  That night I slept, he slept, we all SLEPT.  And Dylan woke at his normal time, smiling and giggling like the horror that was yesterday never happened.

We had oatmeal and packed up and saw a cool fort and drove home and it was a very lovely day.  No one tried to run out into the road!

So.  Overall, it was a success.  A hard-fought success.

A few pointers for those still brave enough to attempt:

  1. Bring extra bedding.  Our leaky poopy experience taught us the hard way.
  2. Plan simple meals.  This one saved us.  Ain’t nobody got time for fancy meals when everything takes ten times as long and you have a hungry, cranky kid running into the road.
  3. Pack early.  With kids, you have to bring a lot of extra shit.  We left later than we wanted because we were scrambling to get everything and to make sure it all fit in the car.
  4. Reserve your campsite early.  The reason we had to switch campsites was because no one campsite was open two nights in a row because we waited so long to book.  Apparently people in Oregon loves them some camping.
  5. Be prepared to leave early if you need to.  Because every well-intentioned plan needs a backup.  Or an escape route.


I’m very glad we went.  I’m glad we didn’t come home early.

And I don’t plan to do this again any time soon.

Three Years Later

On Tuesday my partner and I celebrate three years of marriage.

I want to say it’s been all rainbows and unicorn farts, but it hasn’t.  Well, there have been farts, but not those of the unicorn variety.  It’s been…loving and supportive and stable and hilarious and the kind of tenderness that brings one to tears.  But it’s also been the biggest challenge in our relationship since moving out of state and having a kid and basically having our whole world flipped upside down.  And now we’re about to flip it once again with baby number two.  Woo-boy.  I’m sure glad I have him by my side for all this.

But enough about our marriage.  The anniversary gets us thinking about our wedding and all the bittersweet feelings that go with it.  I blogged about it (read it here) to help me cope at the time and then the post got Freshly Pressed, which I initially had mixed feelings about.  On one hand, getting recognized for my writing is always nice, but I was worried that the feedback I got would just make me feel worse.

Overall, the good outweighed the bad and I felt so validated knowing that many, many other people felt similar letdowns as a result of their weddings.  My comment section became a big virtual group therapy session.  We shared horror stories and shared what helped make us feel better.  I thanked people for reading and supporting and commenting.  People thanked me for writing because it made them feel less invalidated, less sad, less alone.  I am glad that I wrote what I wrote.

What interests me now, and what prompted me to write about this again, is that that blog post has been by far my most popular post.  To this day – almost three full years later – it still gets about 3-10 hits a day, on average.  Every day.  And occasionally, people still comment with their own stories.

It makes me feel so sad when I read what people have Googled to get themselves to my wedding blog post.  Things like, “my wedding was a disaster,” and “I can’t get over how my wedding went,” or “I’m depressed about my wedding.”  This sucks!  Part of me feels validated because, again, I am definitely not alone in how I feel about my wedding.  However, part of me feels like a sucker.  I fell for the whole wedding-industrial complex.  I got wrapped up around expectations that were handed to me (and that I readily accepted) by society, spent a hell of a lot of money, put tons of eggs into the basket of one blissful day, only to have it crash down all around me. What does this say about our society that this post-wedding blues phenomenon is so common?!

Would I do things differently?  A few, but not many.  I admit, even now, I still just wanted the fun, expensive party that I could enjoy with all my friends and family.

In the months following my wedding, I responded to the many comments readers posted.  Some were unsolicited advice (one of my least favorite kinds of feedback), others were words of sympathy and encouragement, and many were similar horror stories.  Because I was going through my own grieving process, I found it difficult to respond to others who were suffering as I was. Reading those comments brought up my own yucky feelings that I was still wading through (or trying to forget – depending on the day) and it was uncomfortable.  It stung.  Each new story was a reminder that I’d always look back on that day with some amount of sadness, grief, regret.  Even today, a random comment that gets posted brings it all back, just a little bit.

While responding to these comments, I found myself wanting to slip into a therapist role as I typed.  Of course, that role feels natural to me, and it also protected me because it created distance between myself and my feelings.  Now that I am much more at peace with how my wedding went and how I feel about it, reading and answering the comments is easier.  Easier, but not pain-free.

My brother made us a wonderful video from the raw footage a relative took at our wedding, and only recently did my husband and I muster up enough courage to actually watch it, almost three years after the day.  Of course it brought back some of the yucky feelings.  The grief.  But.  It also reminded me that I actually managed to have fun that day.  And the ceremony was wonderfully moving.  And I looked beautiful.  And we were so in love.  I couldn’t deny it – the proof was right there on camera!  Whew.

In all the discussion with readers about how to heal and move on from these experiences, we often talked about having a do-over.  A “corrective experience” as therapists put it.  I pictured the two of us on a beach in Hawaii with an officiant and a photographer.  No one else.  I have flowers in my hair.  The wind is whipping my white cotton sundress around.  The sun is setting.  We’re laughing and holding hands.  And no one can take away our joy.

Maybe someday.  I say maybe, because I don’t want to get too hung up on expectations.


What to Expect When You’re Exhausted

I’m going to need some seriously awesome suggestions for family Halloween costumes, you guys.

Cuz my seriously knocked-up self is going to be pretty huge by then, so I gotta take full advantage of this costume-wearing opportunity.

Yup, you heard me.  I’m preggers again and it hardly feels real.

Well, so far it just feels exhausting and I doubt that will change for a very, very long time.  I wish I could go back to my pregnant-for-the-first-time-self and tell her how easy she had it.  She could rest and nap whenever she wanted.  She could eat whenever she wanted.  She could watch whatever she wanted on TV, whenever.  And she didn’t have a demanding, energetic toddler to waddle after.  Ugh, this is hard.

And the scary thing is, I only see it getting harder.  How do SAHMs take care of a toddler and a newborn?  I don’t see how it’s possible, and I have no idea how I’m going to do it.

I worry about my mental health.  It’ll be winter, it’ll be cold and rainy.  I’m not going to want to go anywhere, and I’ll feel alone.

I have hope in knowing that this phase will be temporary.  That I got through it before, and I’ll get through it again.  That I have some good mommy instincts and that I have some great tools and experience under my belt that I didn’t have the first time.  That the kids will grow and change and gradually become more independent from me.  And at the same time, I don’t want to already be wishing away all the cuddly newborn snuggle time.

So there you have it- exciting and terrifying all intertwined.

But seriously – ideas for Halloween???


My Little Yeah Man

Some phases you never expect.

I expected that my kid would go through a hitting phase, a running-away-from-me phase, a picky eater phase…you know, the normal stuff.

And I fully expect my kid to, someday in the near future, figure out how fabulous the word “no” is.

But today isn’t that day.

Lately, my kid has been saying “yeah” to everything, and it’s the flippin cutest phase ever.

“Hey Dylan, do you want to go to the park?” (It’s pouring rain outside)


“Dudeman, do you want more veggies?”


“Do you want to take a dump in Mother Maggie’s shoes?” (Google it.  Better yet- YouTube it.)


He also agrees with many statements I make throughout the day.

“Man, you made quite a mess.”   Yeah.

“Boy, you’re cute!”  Yeah!

Sigh.  I love you, buddy.

Some phases you can’t wait for them to be over, but this one, this one I am very thankful for.  Especially since a part of me is bracing for the “no” phase that most likely is yet to come.

And it’s not only that my kid is particularly agreeable most of the time.  He’s also friggin’ polite and I have no idea where it came from.  Seriously, we’ve taught him here and there to either say or sign “please” and “thank you” (he’ll only sign “please” and he’ll do a combo of signing “thank you” and/or saying “da-gu!” *melt my heart*), but he spontaneously says da-gu, like, all the time. And when he asks for something and we hesitate to say yes for whatever reason, he’ll often follow up with an adorably placed “please” sign and an expectant smile.  We’re in big trouble.

One time, he thanked me for changing his diaper.  I cried.  It’s so charming that it’s scary.  He could ask for a flame thrower, sign please and say da-gu and I’d hand one right over without a second thought.  Sure, my love.  Whatever you want!

So forgive me for gushing about my baby.  He’s not perfect, and I know phases are temporary, which is partly why I think I am drawn to blog about this particular phase.  I want to remember this one.  I want to remember how, for a few months (maybe longer??? please??), my kid acted like a charming angel some of the time.

Da-gu for this phase, little man.


Down with the Sickness

The hubs and I are sick.

And, man, it sucks.

Being sick on a regular day sucks, but it sucks harder when you’re a parent.  And even harder when both parents are sick at the same time.  It’s the suckiest.

Both of us have been coughing and sneezing and hacking and gagging that my toddler thinks this is a new game.  Even though he’s still healthy (I have no idea how he hasn’t gotten our viral plague as of yet), he’s started fake coughing because he thinks it’s now the cool thing to do.  If this goes on much longer, we’ll have given our son some sort of complex.

We’ve been cooped up for several days now, and I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out.  Our produce is almost gone, we’ve dipped into my NyQuil reserves (this is not a joke), and we might be sick of each other.

As a SAHM and an introvert who is prone to self-isolation, the social commitments I make for my son and I each week are crucial to my sanity, and when one of us is sick, we can’t go talk to the other humans.  And that makes mommy something-something.  So the only silver lining is that, this week, my husband is home sick too.  WOO!  PLAGUE PARTY!!  We can sneeze the Overture of 1812 better than Ferris Bueller’s keyboard.  Seriously, it has been nice to have him home with us, because at least I don’t have to sick-parent a well-kid all by me onesie.

However, this situation has also given way to arguments over who is sicker, and thus who gets a free pass from parenting the not-sick, full-energy child.  My partner may or may not have said that he’s so sick that he’s not at work and deserves a break.  And I may or may not have said that I AM STILL AT WORK EVEN THOUGH I AM SICK AND I DESERVE TO POOP ALONE.  And then we agreed to disagree after the argument devolved into a mutual coughing fit.

In related illness news: I discovered that I can now hit Adele’s sexy, sexy low notes. I’d better get this down in the studio before my immune system decides to wake the fuck up.  Also, after visually confirming that my voice wasn’t coming from a would-be creepy male kidnapper, the hubs told me that I should start a late night sexy-talk line (that’s what they’re called, right?) and use the alias Bernice in order to earn a little extra cash.  You know, for our kid’s college fund.  Or so I can buy some more NyQuil.

To the Moon and Back


To an untrained ear, you might think that my toddler was addressing me using a sweet accent he picked up from overhearing Downton Abbey.

Now that I think about it, that would be pretty sweet.  But what he’s referring to is something even sweeter in my opinion.

He’s actually saying, “Moon!!  Look at the moon!”


Source: (duh)

Lately, my kid has become obsessed with everything moon-like, which developed quite randomly and unexpectedly.  My husband and I, before we were parents, used to think it was weird and quirky when we saw kids being obsessed with seemingly random objects.  Of course, we now realize that, with toddlers, random is the norm.  Case in point – I once babysat for a sweet 4 year old boy.  On one of our first meetings, I asked him to go get his favorite book and we’d read together.  He brought out a ceiling fan catalog.  I glanced at his mom, who happened to still be in the room, and she smiled and nodded.  Unsure of how to read this book, I asked the kid to read to me and he proceeded to point out particular fans and explained to me exactly why they were his favorite.  Yuup.

My son’s obsession with moons began innocently enough through reading his growing collection of books.  I never realized how many kid books have moons in them or reference moons – there are a lot.  There’s Goodnight Moon, for starters, and on the very first page of The Very Hungry Caterpillar there is a large moon.  We started pointing these out, among other objects in the pictures, to Dylan when we read to him every night.  And then one night, he started saying it back to us.  He’d point at the yellow crescent and coo, Mumm!

I remember the first time Dylan pointed and named the real moon.  We were coming out of the library and it was just starting to get dark.  The lights in the parking lot had come on already, and since my kid loves lights, I figured he was pointing to a light, thinking it was the moon.  But nope, he knew the difference and he had also made the connection between the yellow crescents on paper with the glowing crescent in the sky.  What an amazing moment.

Since then, he works hard to seek out the moon wherever he can.  If he spots a yellow circle, it’s the moon.  Even pictures of the sun are, in fact, the moon. (Duh, mama!)  He’ll sit in his room and page through books he knows have moon pictures in them just to point them out to us (or to confirm they are still there).

More recently still, Dylan has started searching the sky looking for the moon.  He asks us to take him outside or to a window so he can see it.  (Points to window/door and shouts MUMMM!)  If it’s the wrong time of day, or if it’s overcast (welcome to the pacific northwest, moonlovers!), we explain to him that we can’t see it right now, and he gets so very frustrated and upset.

All of this is incredibly exciting for me to watch.  First, it’s evidence that my son is learning, growing, and showing preferences and making connections.  How freaking cool is that?!  Second, I love astronomy and space travel and…the moon.  When I took the PSATs, they had you list your projected career choice.  As a Junior in high school, I chose astronomer (this was while I was still in denial about my abilities in physics and quantum mechanics).  I can quote Apollo 13 in its entirety.  The Air and Space Museum is one of my all-time favorites.  I just watched a documentary about Scott Kelly’s historic year spent on the space station.  One of my favorite movies – Contact – speaks to me on so many levels.  I even insisted we visit Arecibo while Brian and I were in Puerto Rico a few years ago.  It was my nerdy pilgrimage of joy!



So anyways, I am so excited to be able to share my love of space science with my son!  I told Brian that it’s only a matter of time until we have to get Dylan a telescope.  (And by Dylan, I mean me, because I was the kid who asked for a telescope and instead got a pair of high-powered binoculars.  So much for getting to be Ellie Arroway.)  I can’t wait to explain to Dylan why the moon is always in a new place in the sky and why it looks like it keeps changing shape.  And why we have seasons and about retrograde planetary motion and red shift and blue shift!!  So far, we’ve introduced Dylan to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s reboot of Cosmos (which is a really cool program, I might add).  And while Dylan largely ignores it to play with his toys, he always comes back to pictures of the moon.