Family reunion

I recently took my first trip without Peeper. After 16 months of spending every day together, I headed up to Seattle for a business trip. It was a short jaunt—I was gone only one night—but, as I wrote earlier, I worried how she and I would handle the separation.

It felt good to be busy. Between meetings and visiting my sister and brother-in-law, I didn’t have much time to dwell on how much I missed Peeper. When I had a few minutes of down time, I walked around and stumbled across the adorable Once Upon a Time toy store in Queen Anne and of course bought her a little present.

That night, though, as I sat in the quiet hotel room, loneliness threatened to swallow me. The spacious room with its two queen beds, sitting room and kitchen that seemed so luxurious in the day felt yawning and empty in the dark.

The next morning, we videochatted. Seeing Peeper’s smiles filled up the hollow space inside me. Peeper kept peering over the top of the computer on her end, looking for me.

Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs I drove home later that day, I imagined our ecstatic reunion—like the tearful homecomings you see at the airport or veterans seeing their loved ones after coming back from war. (I know, I have a very healthy imagination.) Impatient, I cursed 5pm traffic and watched the clock, predicting what Peeper would be up to at that moment. Continue reading

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Sound effects and belly laughs: Remembering Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi

Saturday mornings when I was growing up, 10am was a sacred time in our house. Every week, my dad turned the radio to our local public radio station. And on the hour, our home—or, if we were out and about, the Shempmobile (my dad’s peeling paint minivan)—was filled with the boisterous belly laughs of Click and Clack, the brothers behind the call-in show Car Talk.

I didn’t know anything about carburetors or timing belts or spark plugs (and, ah, still don’t). But the hosts’ mischievous sense of fun and the joy they so clearly found in the show was contagious. I found myself giggling along with Click and Clack as they helped (and poked fun at) the drivers trying to figure out what was wrong with their rides.

My favorite parts, of course, were when the brothers asked callers to mimic the noise their car was making. Their attempts to replicate the kathunk-crunch or wheeeeewheeeewheee or pathudpathud sound effects cracked me up every time.

Better yet was the way Click and Clack’s commentary made my dad laugh. An especially hilarious moment would leave him with tears streaming into his beard; once or twice a show, he’d end up in a coughing fit from laughing so hard.

Tom Magliozzi, the elder of the brothers, died on Monday. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but an interview I heard yesterday with Car Talk’s executive producer said that he still laughed at jokes, even near the end.

NPR has been rerunning old shows for a while now, and I imagine they’ll continue to do so despite Tom’s death. But this week, I’ll miss his unapologetic passion for cars and helping people. He and his brother, Ray, brightened my childhood.

In his honor, I’ll be making car sound effects as I vrroooom around town. Rest well, Tom.

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Travel without my toddler

Today I’m headed up to Seattle for a brief business trip—without Peeper. I’ve never been away from her for a night, and now that she’s almost 16 months old, I bit the bullet and scheduled this overdue outing.

I don’t know how it’ll go. I’ve been imagining two scenarios:

1. I take an uninterrupted bath, order room service, lounge around the hotel room in a cushy robe and watch cable.

2. I cry uncontrollably, Skype with my husband so I can see Peeper sleep on the baby monitor and go to my meetings with puffy eyes and an emotional hangover.

Thanks to some strange timing, today’s trip is a trial run. My sisters, brother and I are converging on Santa Fe for an unprecedented siblings weekend, so I’ll be spending three days away from her then, too.

I’m already feeling the guilt at leaving her, and I’m still at home. This’ll be hard—but hopefully rewarding, recharging and fun, too.

Wish us all luck.

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Feeling grateful for the lack of a sugar hangover

The best part of having a toddler who could care less about trick-or-treating?

Not having a giant candy stash to gorge yourself on.

On Halloween, Eric and I took Peeper trick-or-treating at Multnomah Village, along with thousands of Elsas and Elmos and elephants. Parking was a zoo and shuffling along in the queue felt a little bit like going through TSA at an airport, but it was actually quite fun.

Halloween Multnomah Village - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Lobster Halloween costume - Ten Thousand Hour MamaLobster Halloween costume - Ten Thousand Hour Mama Continue reading

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From our pot to yours, happy Halloween!

Peeper is a bit afraid of other children on Halloween and every other day, so she wasn’t thrilled about the group photo. Thankfully, this little lobster cheered up and spent the rest of the play date happily throwing balls, nomming fruit and toppling headfirst into toy bins.
IMG_5844Lobster Halloween costumeHappy Halloween, everyone!

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Is it Halloween yet?

Peeper is getting in the spirit of Halloween. Only a week and a half to go!

Peeper has been getting extra use out of her candy bucket.

Peeper has been getting extra use out of her candy bucket.

She thought it was hilarious putting the bucket on Mama's head

She thought it was hilarious putting the bucket on Mama’s head

Some random kid at the zoo couldn't stop touching Peeper's bat hat. I don't blame her—it's irresistible!

Some random kid at the zoo couldn’t stop touching Peeper’s bat hat. I don’t blame her—it’s irresistible!

Peeka-

Peeka-

BOO!

BOO!

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Own your c-section birth story

Now that I’ve entered the club of motherhood, I’ve noticed a lot of women feeling judged (by others and themselves) because they birthed their baby via c-section. Research also shows that dissatisfaction with your child’s birth is linked to postpartum depression, so I felt compelled to address the issue of women feeling as if they had failed by having a child surgically.

I wrote this piece for Fit Pregnancy about how to come to peace—and even embrace—your birth story. I talked with Brooke Kyle, MD, an OB who delivered all three of her kids in the OR.

“I do feel like there are a lot of pressures in my community and nationally that make people feel like their birth is less worthy if they have to choose a c-section, like they’re less of a mother and they didn’t try hard enough,” Dr. Kyle told me. “I even feel those pressures because I aim for a vaginal birth in my practice and that’s what I’m known for. The goal for my patients is to get a vaginal birth, and that was the plan for myself, too.”

Yet childbirth is unpredictable, and many of the things we script out—delivering vaginally, opting for a home birth, going med-free—change.

(A quick aside: Childbirth can be traumatic. It’s important to recognize that many women have a difficult time, and that a bouncing bairn is not the only legitimate concern. Validating mothers’ conflicted feelings around childbirth and their birth story shows them that they’re valued, too—that their worth is not limited to bringing a child into the world at any cost.)

Kyle shared with me a few tips on how she kicked the disappointment of delivering via cesarean and came to love her birth story.

Did you feel disappointed in how your child’s birth went? (No judgment here.) How did you come to terms with it?

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