Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Mama

When I was in college my favorite Halloween costume was to dress as a pregnant Catholic school girl using my old AHS uniform stuffed with a pillow. Maybe my karma came to bite me in my butt because a decade later I got pregnant after a Masquerade Ball on Halloween weekend. Two years after that I was pregnant again, but too tired to party. A year later and I am super-duper pregnant on Halloween.

Funny, I tend to think your last trimester is something like Halloween every day. I wake every morning feeling like a cross between a giant duck and a bloated walrus. At the end of the day my fat suit feels a hundred pounds heavier and my skin feels like plastic wrap trying to keep a large Tupperware bowl fresh.

The most disturbing idea I found scouring the web for ideas were not all Zombie Babies bursting from the womb, but actually a woman who had painted her outie belly button like a huge nipple. The effect of creating a huge breast was so surreal it reminded me of a perverse Jap animation. My naval never pops out during pregnancy. Mine is like a black hole that gets flattened the bigger I get so I had nothing to work with or I probably would have painted my belly like a big boob.

On a poll of my friends I got suggestions to dress as a Kangaroo, a Cow, a Mummy, a Nun, and the man who had an alien jump out of his belly at a diner on Spaceballs movie. Another friend suggested going as a Shotgun Wedding Bride – Ha! I did that for real!

I got married at plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana barefoot and pregnant not far from Angola Prison. I even got to sign our paperwork at one of the prison’s shared office buildings. The prisoners were being kept in a building that resembled a dog kennel with a small area for each inmate to go outside, maybe to pee. Some of my wedding photos were even taken beside a prison bus. Beat that!

For fun I decided to experiment with decorative belly painting. My friend and purveyor of StyleSegment painted a cute Fishbowl Baby on my belly that matched my kids’ fishbowl heads. My daughter and son have huge blond heads that are in the 97 percentile for their ages. Their bodies are in the 5 percentile so they are like little lolli-pops.

Over the weekend, my husband and I will be attending a technology themed costume party. We are going to as Facebook and Twitter. I get to be a big white bird and he gets to be a bald white dude that resembles the Facebook silhouette.

Some other notable sites that I found while looking for interesting ways to dress up my belly include;

My Monster-in-Law: A Familiar Tale of Nightmare Proportions:

When meeting your partner’s parents everyone is overtly nice and polite. That wears off quickly if they are a Romanian grandmother that has come to live with you for months at a time. It is not that my mother-in-law is particularly horrifying to meet, but to live with – yes. To put it bluntly, she sucks the life out of you, sort of like a vampire.

She comes from the old country and the old way of raising children, with lots of order and regimented intervals for every piece of life. There is to be no spontaneity and you must speak Romanian.

Absolutely nothing in the world pleases her and you will rarely here a kind word from her. She counts saying “good morning” as being nice to me. Instead she tells me quite bluntly that everything we do is “no good”. The clothes I bought for my children are “no good”. The shoes I bought for the children are “no good”. The way I feed my children is “no good”. Every day and for hours she can go on about the most benign details. For instance, she thinks yogurt should not be served straight from the fridge, rather room temperature. Yuck.

She putters around the house telling my husband and me every possible thing that she thinks is wrong and refers to a fifty-year old Communist era book of how to take care of babies.

When I asked her what she thought of my son because last year she said he lacked personality as an infant. She said, “He is so sweet when he sleep” and “So difficult when he awake.” That was the sum total of her reflections.

My husband is the polar opposite of his mom; spontaneous and carefully cluttered around the house. We are figuring life out as we go. My mother-in-law likes to cry dramatically about how America has changed her precious child and even turned him into an atheist. The irony is that Patrick was always this way he just ignored his mother and censored himself like a good vampire baby.

Why is it that most of the men I have dated have behaved this way with their moms? I have watched them seemingly listen to their moms while doing their dutiful best to ignore their complaints or diatribes usually propped up in the kitchen more concerned with eating. Patrick even asks me, “Why don’t you ignore her?”

Well I will tell you why! She is in my face all day telling me the pants I put on my son are too big and she doesn’t have to close the baby gates because they can open them anyway. What is it with Europeans that dress their children in clothes so tight they get camel-toe wearing a diaper!

This past week has been the hardest. I can’t even look at her anymore. She wants to be told specifically what to do and specifically what time. Although we wrote a guide she raved that it wasn’t enough and nothing is organized enough for her. This is a woman who can spend hours, I mean hours, grating carrots very slowly with the smallest knife in the house. One day she ranted about how she folded bibs and burp clothes so perfectly then the kids messed them up.

She wanted to leave the first week, not because of me, but because my kids were not minding her. She raised her arms in the air and proclaiming that she never had such problems with her children. They never refused to eat or get dressed, or had tantrums. You can imagine this woman making her kids respond to a whistle.

It is a familiar story of the mother-in-law turning into a monster-in-law. She flipped on me this week contorting her face into a scary monster screaming that she couldn’t put shoes on my son because there were too many to choose from. Her face was contorted in such a way that even now I cannot look at her for fear I will see the monster again. I mean she is from Transylvania after all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mama Does Montreal

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Since ballooning like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka with my third pregnancy in four years, my husband and I decided to forgo our long awaited adult-only trip to Paris and go to the next best thing on the North American side of the planet, Montreal.

I had just returned from a week in NY covering Fashion Week and felt a little guilty that I was leaving my kids again, but that wore off.

The plans for our week excursion to the predominately French speaking city were left to my husband. To break up the drive we decided to stop in New York’s Finger Lake area on the way up. Patrick tried to be thoughtful and booked us into a farm house yoga retreat. Did I mention he has never taken a yoga class in his life?

We drove up late because I waited until the last minute to pack, go figure. The roads back to the yoga farm were dark and not well marked. I was on edge for good reason. The place was an old house on a farm next to a lake.

Our host was a kind older woman with long braided hair. She led us to our room that was so freezing I couldn’t pee. We were left with an electric heater that looked like an old radiator. Sharing our room were five very large spiders on the ceiling. I was livid and weeping all at the same time.

After I burst out of our room to find a thermostat our host offered me tea to warm myself and to call the nearest hotel only an hour away. However, there were no rooms available for miles around. So I took a Benedryl, a pregnant woman’s sleep aid, and slept the lights on.

In the morning I forced Patrick to participate in morning yoga. The house specialty was Dance Yoga. Patrick wore my Mama-jamas for lack of any suitable attire. It was so funny he refused to let me take a photo. My morning laugh quickly faded when we got to the farm house yoga studio that was laid out with carpet mats instead of rubber mats and had a distinct smell of animal. Of course, I got the mat with the mysterious stain on it. I refused ‘Down Dog’ and ‘Child Pose’ along with any other position that put my head too far to the ground.

There were animals everywhere along with peacocks and horses. It was pretty, but I am one of those people that try to admire nature from a distance because it makes my skin crawl with hives. This country girl has gone urban much to the dismay of my backpacking husband. One day when I am dead I will become dirt so there is hope for me yet.

Needless to say, I was very anxious to get over the border. The road to Montreal took us past a Thousand Islands which was fun to see in the autumn sun from the Canadian side’s lookout tower.

There are island castles from the early 1900s. Most notable is Boldt Castle that was built by George Boldt, the founder of the luxury hotel industry and New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. When his wife died he stopped his ambitious construction on the island and the huge austere castle was abandoned like a ghost mansion in the middle of the water. In recent years, Parks and Recreation bought the estate for a dollar, but had to invest millions to restore it.

Onward to Montreal where urban comfort awaited me.

Driving in the city limits the freeways immediately felt different. The interchanges were high above the ground level and entangled messes of spalling and cracking concrete that appeared unstable as if they were ancient ruins. It was lovely and bizarre like a European movie from the Eastern Block of Communist countries.

We stayed in Old Montreal at a cute little hotel that had big beds, tall windows, and exposed brick walls called Auberge du Vieux-Port with a view of Lawrence River. It was a welcome change from my experience at the yoga farm. The first night we took the hotel’s recommendation and ate at a restaurant not far from the hotel. The place had a nice jazz ambiance, but the food was lackluster.

I wanted French cuisine and dag-nab-it I wanted my husband to speak French. His mom and sister are French teachers and he was fluent until now it seems. So I made a new rule: No French speaking, no nookie. It didn’t really work, but I tried.

The first day walking I got pooped on by a bird. I guess these days I am a large target. My way-too-small-for-a-pregnant-lady Missoni for Target sweater got hit along with my Doncaster blouse. I felt so dirty.

On a lark I sent a message to my Canadian double Sarah Lolley, who happens to be a journalist with beautiful red hair, the monopoly on all domains with our name, and lives in Montreal. I discovered her years ago when I Googled my name and was trying to create a Twitter account and domain url for my work. Surprisingly, she responded quickly and suggested meeting for lunch.

We met her upstream in Old Montreal at a little café tucked away in an old industrial building. Sarah was working that day, but aglow with her plans for her wedding only a week away. We discovered that we are the same age and the same Zodiac sign, Aquarius, and wore the same nail polish color.

The Canadian version of Sarah Lolley grew up with a physician as a parent like me, but she studied Pre-Med and wrote in the field before turning to covering feature stories. Did I mention she possesses an effortless beauty and has gorgeous red hair? The name Lolley is English and she is first generation on her dad’s side. Funny enough, we both knew there is another Sarah Lolley that lives in Birmingham, England, who strangely enough is also a writer.
As we compared our parallel lives she mentioned that there were hill-billy Lolley’s that live in the Deep South, could you believe?! Umm, yeah I can because that was where I got my name. My Louisiana granddad was ostracized by the family because he married a Jew so I don’t know any of them personally. My dad has an old family Bible that traces our name back to Lincolnshire, England. This Sarah was an original well-spoken, well-educated, well-languaged, and well-coiffed Lolley. On the other side of the table was me, a well-rounded, like a watermelon, version that had spent the last fifteen years writing about rock’n roll and fashion not really contributing to civilization until having babies.

She left us with a list of restaurants that were all freaking amazing. Tip: Don’t ask the concierge for a restaurant recommendation; ask a local or your Canadian double.

Auberge Saint-Gabriel
is artsy, bizarre, innovative, and meaty. The restaurant’s lobby is more an art museum like Louisville's 21c hotel than a bar. At the entrance, a huge whale skeleton hangs from the ceiling. A circular grassy turntable seats people waiting for a table. End tables for drinks seem to levitate from metal chords. The ambiance was all me and the menu was all Patrick, meat. The menu reads: "Everything from snout to trotter." He had a veritable food-gasm ingesting their pure style of smoking and curing various forms a meat. Rabbit was even on the menu. I ate salad and dessert while he drank an entire bottle of wine by himself while eating his chosen prey.

He was so happy and goofy walking through the old cobble stone streets I was wondering what they were soaking the pig in. Then it dawned on me that he isn't use to downing an entire bottle of wine by himself. All the times I have seen my husband drunk have been when I am pregnant and of course sober. His drunken state reminds me of my high school boyfriend when he first got high, laughing a lot and unable to wipe the grin off his face. All that was missing was Patrick singing songs to wake the spiders hanging from the street lamps.

This was how every night went and I should have been more ambitious to take a video of my beloved Patrick drowning his face in bits of animal parts and fermented grape elixirs.

The last night we spent at DNA an amazing contemporary ambiance supported by a Vancouver benefactor who supplies Canadian wines and farm goods from his own vineyards. Apparently, the meat is so fresh that the farmers can be seen carrying goats into the restaurant on their backs from their cart.

Can you tell I am a bit of a vegetarian?

Next week, Accidental Mama goes to see Jean Paul Gaultier and shopping!

The Greed of Green

The blog entitled the Greed of Green has been taken down because of a Cease and Desist Letter from lawyers representing E. Sota (Riverside Development) and Diana Lynn (One80 Real Estate).

It was never my intent to cause "defamation per se". My husband and I bought a home from Ernie and Diana. It is lawful for us to review and discuss this experience.

We are still saddened by our glorified cave. It is hard to escape it or dismiss the severity of its recent transformation from bright and sunny to dark and dismal when this is where my little brood play and we live.. staring at a wall that for us represents the Greed of Green.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Accidental Mom: Topless with Baby: Dedicated to the fight against ...

The Accidental Mom: Topless with Baby: Dedicated to the fight against ...: Appearing on today I love the name of maternity lines because a good majority of them remind me of porn, like HotMilk, Fie...

Topless with Baby: Dedicated to the fight against Breast Cancer

Appearing on today

I love the name of maternity lines because a good majority of them remind me of porn, like HotMilk, Fierce Mama, and Boobs. At what feels like the most unattractive point in a woman’s journey into motherhood the retail world like to remind you of how you got there.

Truthfully, I need a sense of humor. After all I am currently pregnant with my third baby in four years. Maternity clothes are sort of like toddler clothes, they get worn and washed and still have snot stains on them. I have also had a bad habit of giving away my maternity clothes every time I get my figure back, only to lose it again to my husband’s commando sperm.

The irony is that being mommy, at least for me, is not at all sexy. Even though half of Kentucky may have seen my boobs when it came time to breastfeed I was embarrassed!

When I was a teenager growing up in Kentucky, I was what you might call a Catholic schoolgirl gone wild. There was little to do in Fern Creek accept bowling and lake rides on whomever’s boat was handy.

My best friend Beth would opt to flash her well-known derriere to the fishermen and I would join in with my assets that were definitely not my flat butt. The goal was to see how many old men we could get to fall out of their boats.

When my little girls became painfully hard with mother’s milk much to my husband’s delight they were like torture devices strapped to my chest that wouldn’t fit comfortable in any ‘boulder holder.’ When it came time to put them to use my daughter was so small and frail that she was suffocating when I tried to put to use what my crash course in parenthood and breastfeeding with toy dolls taught me.

My husband wanted to give our little girl Lyra nothing, but nature’s gift so he took to preaching to me about how to properly insert my huge raspberry nipple. Back then I could only get this to work when I could escape to the car to peacefully wrestle my boob into her mouth after squirting her in the eye numerous times.

Because she put up such a fight and screamed at the whole process, breastfeeding in public was not possible. I couldn’t manage to use a Hooter Hider either because I couldn’t see what I was doing and would end up trying to hide my entire head under it just to hide myself from the world.
I ended up spending most of my time hooked up to a milking machine that deflated my buxom bosom. After six months I was done after my daughter bit me and laughed. My boobs were so sore from being hooked up to a machine I bleeding into the suction cups.

A year later my son was came along and changed the whole boobie-exposing experience. His attachment to my chest quickly turned him into my personal bra. You wouldn’t have guessed he was born with a short little serpent tongue, sometimes called ‘tongue tied.’ I refused to cut any part of him and there was no need. He had such enthusiasm for the boob he easily learned to hold on via suction. Here is where my topless adventures began again.

My son Luca wouldn’t take a bottle unless it was my milk. He even slept using my boob as a pillow like a blanket or favorite toy. So when he was three-months old I took him with me to New York when I covered Spring Fashion Week 2011. He had been inside me the previous season in February when I attended the runway shows for the first time in my glorified Mama-Jamas. It was cold and I couldn’t fully button a single coat that I had brought with me. My belly stuck out as if I was trying to smuggle a watermelon into the shows.

This time I was hoping to have a drink of free champagne, didn’t I deserve it? I brought my sister with me as my nanny and booked a room at the Empire Hotel across from Lincoln Center, the new home for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. My enthusiasm for the trip got a little out of hand the night before the flight at Pittsburgh’s Fashion Story event. I woke with a gallon of tainted milk in my chest. I had to drain myself of the vodka-infused mixture before taking off with my little guy.

I would like to suggest to the retail maternity world to make more pockets in clothes. I have never needed pockets more than I need them now. I tend to stick every contraption I can into my bra including my son’s favorite pacifier that is shaped like a hotdog nipple. In my rush to the airport I lost the pacifier and forgot to put my garment bag into my suitcase with all my well planned clothes.

The result: I had to run through the airport with a baby stuck to my breasts. During the entire plan ride I remained exposed for fear my son’s high pitched screams would scare the pilot. In New York, we all endured the worst taxi ride of all our lives. They just don’t make cabs equipped for car seats in the back, but that wasn’t the problem. My son hated the noise and just wanted to nestle into my boobs for comfort and fear.

My sister spent most of the trip in our room away from the bustling parties and urban noises letting my son sleep on her boobs and listening to the whistling tunes of Brother Bones, a 1920s vaudeville singer.

During my breaks from shows she would bring my son over for his feedings and so I could expose my working mammary glands for the likes of Anna Wintour. When I was looking for a quiet place to sit I found her at Avery Hall tucked away enjoying tea or coffee. If I had a twitter account back them I should have sent out a message “Anna Wintour saw my boobies!”

Breastfeeding is liberating at the same time constraining. Because my son doesn’t put up a fuss about being my nipple cover I often even forget my boobs are even exposed until someone says “Umm, Miss you’re falling out.” Oops I did it again.