Thursday, July 31, 2008

New T-shirt

I just saw a pregnant woman who was just starting to show... maybe 4 months along. She was wearing a shirt that said "BabyFat".

I thought to myself I should get myself one of those next time I'm preggo so people won't just think that I'm letting myself go.

Then I thought to myself, Why wait till I'm pregnant?

When I'm running I wear running clothes because they are the most comfortable. They're made from wicking fabrics, they don't bunch, they don't chafe. But they also don't leave anything to the imagination. Sometimes, like this morning, when I'm running past a group of construction workers I want to make excuses for myself. I had a baby! That's why my I look like this!

Usually I just settle for running faster.

Officially a...

I used to read this now defunct blog called Officially A Mom. It's too bad that it's gone because it was pretty d*mn funny, but it has been dead for awhile.

Recently the phrase "officially a mom" popped into my head... Why? Because with Husband out of town, I was forced to drop a deuce with the Bean in my lap. I am officially a mom, I thought. But then, I've thought that before.

-Realized I hadn't plucked my eyebrows in 6 weeks: Officially a mom
-Breastfed in a gas station parking lot: Officially a mom
-Saw spit up on my shirt as I was leaving the house but said eh, f*ck it: Officially a mom
-Baby spit up in my mouth (it's a long story): Officially a mom
-Had to stop in the middle of doin' it because the baby was crying: Officially a mom
-Realized I was the lady in the grocery store with the crying kid: Officially a mom
-Frequently use the phrase "BM": Officially a mom

When did you know you were Officially A (insert stereotype here)?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Being a single parent is hard

Husband was away last week at a conference. Um, being a single parent is hard. I don't understand how people who are actually single parents can survive. I mean it literally does not compute. I was absolutely exhausted from chasing the Bean around all week without being able to tag out when I needed it.

How did I cope? Caffeine, chocolate, and (apparently) cleaning my house from top to bottom.

Bean is at a stage where she's both exploring and clingy. She alternates between running full speed around the house, throwing toys at the dog, and gripping my leg, begging "Upp! Upp!" as I try to make her dinner. She's also developing her tantrum technique... so let's say you think it's a bad idea that she runs around the house with a toothbrush in her mouth (I have nightmares of it getting lodged in her throat someday)... you can try to trade her for something else, you can try to distract her with a song, but eventually you gotta strong arm it away from her. This now results in a full-fledged kicking, screaming tantrum. Awesome. We are now officially in toddler mode.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday night

Me: Ask me what I did tonight.

You: Okay ScienceMama, what'd you do tonight?

Me: Dismantled, scoured, then reassembled the entire fridge.

You: Um... wow?

Me: While vaguely watching/listening to trashy TV, thank you very much.

That's right, motherhood has turned me into a wild woman. My Friday nights are spent cleaning my fridge. Don't try to get in the way of my good time, you might get hurt.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Confessions of a trailing spouse

The coming year is going to be a stressful one for our little family. This fall, Husband is going on the job market for a tenure track position. It’s going to mean a lot of single parenting on my side. A lot of late nights and stressful deadlines for Husband. In theory we were supposed to be making plans for baby #2 somewhere along the way, but obviously that's not happening any time soon...

Husband has been working some pretty extreme hours over the last month or so, trying to finish up some experiments so that he can (finally!) publish his work before he starts the application process this fall. This week he’s leaving for an international conference where he’ll be presenting his post-doc work for the first time and (hopefully) networking with people who will likely be seated on selection committees.

When he returns from his conference, the month of August will be spent hammering out a paper and hopefully submitting. This will mean more long nights and working weekends. It’ll be hard on both of us. Husband will be missing out on a lot of quality time with Bean, and I’ll be stuck with a lot of single parent duty while he’s working. We will probably have to figure out a way to split our commute as well so that he can work as late as he needs to (this month we’ve been carpooling in the morning and he’s been bussing home late at night, but his hours are limited by the bus schedule).

If the gods are kind, he’ll get his paper submitted by the end of August (this will likely be a Hurculean task, as Husband’s boss is both a perfectionist and a reluctant writer). Then Husband can focus on getting his application package together. Husband will most likely submit somewhere between 50 and 100 applications to universities across the country.

Once his applications are in, it’s a waiting game to see who is interested enough to invite him for an interview. With any luck, Husband will be invited for a handful of interviews, and perhaps receive an offer or two. Hopefully somewhere in there Husband will be able to negotiate a job for his trailing spouse (that’s me!). And we’ll hopefully be moving to our semi-permanent location next summer.

After talking to a lot of friends and family recently, it occurs to me this is a bizarre process that non-scientists think is pretty weird. One of the major issues that non-scientists don’t understand is why Husband and I expect to have virtually zero control over where in the country we end up.

The tenure track job market is a lot like the lottery. Hundreds of post-docs go on the job market each fall, only a fraction of those post-docs will end up with jobs. Getting a job isn’t just about being the best (though that helps)… it also depends on a lot of factors that are basically out of your control. Does the university need another person working on (insert model organism here)? Are they interested in your particular subfield? Do they already have someone in the department working in that subfield? Do the folks on the selection committee like your boss? Do they like the other people who wrote your letters of recommendation? Does your work involve some big piece of equipment that the university will never be able to afford?

It’s a crap shoot. No matter how much I believe in Husband and what he does, I have no idea what his chances are on the job market this fall. All we can do is wait and see. Where will we end up? Who knows! But chances are we’ll have very little control over it. As a control freak, I find the situation a little distressing.

Maybe I should just start buying lottery tickets.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bean at 15 months

Since Bean was born, I've asked my mother what I was like at her age.

"Oh I don't remember," she sighs. "There were so many of you, you all just kind of blend together in my mind."

And I can hardly blame her. There were 5 of us for heavens sake, I'm sure she was barely coherent for a lot of those years. But I don't want to forget.

Bean you are determined. You are a do-it-yourself kind of girl. When it comes to learning new skills, you won't stop until you get it down. Last week Husband taught you how to clip the buckle on your carseat. Now you won't stand for someone else doing it for you. You have to do it yourself.

But you're a happy little dictator. You're easy with the smiles and a wonderful mimic. If Mama sticks her tongue out at you, you are happy to reply in kind with a wag of your own tiny tongue.

When we ask you where your nose is, you touch your nose and say "beep". When we ask after your ears, you point proudly. When we ask where your tummy is, you lift your shirt and rub it gleefully. When we ask where your mouth is, you stick your tongue out and touch it with a giggle.

You're always on the move, little Bean. You're curious and active. Last night at our parenting group, all the other babes were happy to sit in the grass and play with toys. Not you. As usual you were running around, finding stairs to climb up and down, up and down. You found 16 different ways to go down the stairs... backwards on your knees, forwards holding Mama's hand, face first on your belly... The you ran around the garden looking at flowers and picking up rocks. We saw a little bumble bee flitting on some flowers and we stopped to look. You were enthralled. When you got to the herb garden you plucked a basil leaf and held it to your nose, sniffing exaggeratedly just like Daddy taught you. I gave you a spearmint leaf and you sniffed it before shoving it in your mouth with a grin.

You've started saying "upp!" when you want to be held. You will run to me and grab my leg. "Upp!" you plead (or demand). Your tiny voice is so adorable I always oblige. You run to the couch and look behind you... "Upp?" you ask.

You've got so many signs now I can hardly keep track. Diaper, banana, eat, cheese, grape, all done... just to name a few. And of course the most important sign: more. You use "more" to get more food, more hugs, more trips down the slide.

Your teachers say you are half ballerina, half linebacker. You've got bruises on your little legs and scrapes on your knees. Dirt under your fingernails and finger paint in your hair. But you're petite and lovely, your sweet little face can melt me in a second.

When you sleep, you curl up in a ball with your bottom in the air. You clutch your soft little lovey to your face and you sigh in your sleep. You've started sucking your thumb on occasion, though it's not clear if it's a habit that will stick around.

It's so much fun to play with you and teach you. You love learning new things, and you're proud of yourself when you have an opportunity to show off.

I love watching you grow, little Bean.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

At least I think I'm funny

Last night Bean woke up crying. I tried to look at the clock but found I couldn't see it... my eyes were mysteriously swollen shut. While Husband tended the Bean, I stumbled to the bathroom and pried my eyes open. Sure enough, my original diagnosis was correct. My eyes were tender and red, and the lids so swollen they had lost their creases. WTF? I grumbled.

Best guess: an allergic reaction to something. I took an anti-histamine, put an ice pack on my face and went back to sleep.

This morning I looked like I had been mugged in a back alley. Though I could now open my eyes (an improvement to be sure), my eyes were still so puffy they were literally convex. Too bad I'm giving lab meeting tomorrow (for which I still haven't finished preparing) and couldn't stay home and hide all day.

"What happened to your face?" our grad student asked me.

"Botox," I answered.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Yes, it's July.
Yes, it's gorgeous outside.
Yes, I'm wearing a sweatshirt.
Yes, they totally over air-condition the lab.
Yes, I have a space heater running.

Yes, I know that's freaking ironic.

Monday, July 7, 2008

And THAT'S why I married him

In keeping with his usual tradition of thoughtful gifts I didn't even realize I wanted, Husband gave me a fantastic gift for my birthday.

On the morning of my birthday, we started the day exactly the way I wanted to. A cuddly nurse-y cuddle fest in our bed with the Bean scrambling around in a manic giddy mood. Hugs and kisses and tickles etc. It was very Hallmark and exactly what I wanted.

After breakfast, I heard Husband and Bean in the hallway. "Take it to mama" Husband told the Bean. A giggly conspiratorial little Bean came back to the bedroom clutching an envelope. She started to move towards me, but when I caught her eye, she squealed and ran back out of the room. Husband scooped the little rascal up and brought her over to me.

Husband, as if by some sort of psychic trick, had gone out and gotten me a gift certificate for a haircut, facial, and body scrub! And not just anywhere, but at the salon I went to on our wedding day. *Swoon* (And before you cry shenanigans, he got the certificate before I wrote my last post.)

So I'm planning and plotting some sort of relaxation/beauty day for myself, hopefully followed by an actual date(!) with my husband. I might just plan it for our 3rd anniversary in August.

Yay for pampering! I've never done anything like this before, and I think it's going to be a real treat!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Motherhood: Redefining luxury

I remember once when I was little, maybe 7 years old or so. I had woken up early for no particular reason, and I wandered down to the kitchen where my mother sat reading the newspaper. Every morning my mother woke up at 5:30 a.m. and had a cup of coffee with the morning paper.

I sat down next to her and probably asked a bunch of annoying questions trying to get her to pay attention to me. My mother finally told me to take my cereal and go watch TV.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because every morning I need just a few minutes to myself" came the reply. With 5 kids running around the house, there weren't a lot of moments that my mom could take for herself. Apparently 5:30 a.m. was the only time she could get.

The all-consuming nature of being a mother leaves you with little time for yourself. I deliberately wake up early on weekdays so I can get those same quiet moments over a cup of coffee that my mom needed. On weekends, there's no time whatsoever. Naps are the only break, and that time is usually spent accomplishing some chore or another that can not get done when Bean is awake.

While I was away at my conference, I woke up early to try to beat the heat for my runs. I went out running at 5:30 a.m. and when I returned I would shower and dress at a leisurely pace before the 8:00 a.m. breakfast. It was entirely weird to be able to shower for however long I wanted to. I didn't have to bargain with anyone for enough time to shave my legs. When I got out of the shower, I had plenty of time to blowdry and curl my hair. I even plucked my eyebrows and put on moisturizer. I haven't been that well groomed since the Bean was born.

Time is my number 1 most precious commodity these days. There simply is never enough. What gets pushed by the wayside is any and all "me" time. I would love to just go get my haircut. I would love time to take care of myself.

Or better yet, for someone else to take care of me. (Hah!)

Another year another birthday

Tomorrow I'll be 29.

In the months leading up to this birthday I didn't really think that 29 was such a big deal. And I mean it's not. But it is. This is the last year of my 20s. I will be 30 on my next birthday. Which also isn't a big deal. But it is. 30 sounds like grown-up-ville.

Pre-Bean, I might have taken the opportunity to make some sort of last-year-of-my-20s resolution. Taken some sort of amazing trip, or blown all my money on a new fabulous wardrobe, or gone out dancing with my girlfriends wearing too much makeup and too little clothing. But I'm a mom. So it's kind of impossible, impractical and tacky (respectively).

Instead, I'll be living it up with my little family. Here's what I'm hoping for in terms of my birthday. I'm hoping Bean sleeps in till 6:30 a.m. I'm hoping to relax and nurse her in bed, followed by family cuddle time (until she gets impatient for breakfast). I'd like to take a long walk with Husband, Bean and Pup. I'd like a picnic in the park followed by some shenanigans involving the Bean and a playground. I'm hoping for a family dinner at a local restaurant wherein the Bean eats her food instead of wearing it or throwing it at others. I'd love to end the day with fireworks, but realistically that's just not happening. The sun sets about 3 hours after Bean's bedtime, so there's just no way we're going to get to see them. I'll settle for an evening on the couch watching a movie with Husband.

Not exactly the kind of birthday celebration I was having a couple of years ago, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

I hope the rest of you have a fantastic 4th of July. Have a beer for me!