Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Traditions Old and New

I remember at some point in my childhood, we used to open gifts at midnight.  I can't remember if this came before we used to open them on Christmas morning, or after.  When I was about 5-6 years old, I had already begun to suspect that maybe Santa wasn't real.  We were going to visit my Tio Coco in Philadelphia and would be there during Christmas, and I just knew in my heart that Santa wouldn't be coming because Santa was really my mom and dad, and well, they'd be with us in Philadelphia.  I still remember opening the door to the little apartment we lived in and seeing the living room flowing with presents.  That was the moment I knew he was real. 

As I got older, life got more complicated, divorce set in and the holidays became more of a tug of war than something to be merry about.  It's hard for me to silence those demons during these months.  I really love Christmas.  I love the religious aspect of it, and I love the St. Nick aspect of it, too.  I love the colors and lights and the busy-ness and the idea of happy kids on Christmas morning.  And that's why it's so hard.  Because I still want to be one of those happy kids on Christmas morning.  But as you get older, it just isn't the same.  Having kids changed that for me a little, because now I get to create the scene to bring out the perfect look of surprise and glee in them.  It's priceless.  I love the way it makes me feel. 

Anyway, when I got married, that brought a bunch of new traditions to the table, traditions that quickly sandwiched mine because, well, I didn't really have any and my husband does.   

Christmas day is really not that big of a deal for the latins I know (this includes my South American family).  Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve, is the really big day of festivities for most hispanics down here.  In the Cuban culture, it's a day of pig roasting and dancing and overindulgence and love and laughter.  And it starts tomorrow.

Christmas Eve Eve (as I used to call the days before Christmas when I was little), my husband and his father go to the butcher's to pick out *the perfect pig*.  It has to be one big enough to feed the expected 40+ people.  For Jonathan's second Christmas, my husband decided it was time to start taking him to the butcher's, too.  Now that Bryan is old enough, he's going to join in on the tradition as well.  As much as it drives me a little batty inside, it makes me really happy to see how much it means to my father-in-law and the hubs. 

*Side note.  This troubles me on so many levels.  First of all, I cannot look at a dead pig.  I love the taste, but really, it grosses me out.  I'm a total woos about it.  Secondly, Jon Jon was 21 months old when he first went, and his favorite books were books about farm animals.  I really could not make the mental leap that he would be ok with going to pick out a dead animal which he would then light on fire and later eat.  Rest assured, he was totally fine. 

The poor pig, which I secretly name in my head (everyone deserves a proper burial, and if his is going to be in our tummies, he must have a proper name), sits on a long table in my in laws' living room thawing out.  It's fucking gross.  And fucking cold.  They put the AC on 40 (ok, not 40, but as cold as it will go) and he just sits there, spread eagle, melting away.  Ew.  

Christmas Eve, the hubs wakes up super duper early (either by choice or because my FIL comes to drag him out bed) and they go over to his house and start seasoning the pig. It sounds so much nicer in cuban talk:  "adobando el cerdo".    A ton of mojo, salt and garlic pepper.  And they build the Caja China early in the morning.  The caja china is this wooden box made specifically for roasting a pig.  It has a metal bottom which is where the charcoal goes, I think.  Or maybe it goes on top?  I don't know.  Remember...there's a dead pig in there, head and all.  I'm not looking much.  Around 3pm, the men start the fire and the pig goes in.  And roasts.  And roasts.  And roasts.  The guys all go over way before and play dominoes and drink beer and eat cheese and salami and chorizo and all kinds of freaking delicious stuff that you can munch on without saying you had a meal. Because you *cannot* have a meal.  You have to be STARVING when the pig is ready to fully appreciate the deliciousness of it.  Don't  you dare think about eating first.  It's forbidden.

Not me, man.  I'm home.  I'm home avoiding the dead pig smell like the plague.  At times, my children need me so I am forced to go over and pick them up.  I think my in laws do it on purpose, I swear.  They can't understand how I can eat my steak bleeding red but can't look at a pig.  I try to explain that if I had to butcher the cow myself, or hang out with his dead fucking body before I ate him, I probably wouldn't be so gung ho about my bloody steak, but they still don't get it.  

Oh, God, I just remembered that last year, Jonathan saw the pig had nipples.  So he asked where his mommy was because he wanted to drink some boobie.  And then he ate him.  No problem.  No mental trauma.  Hahaha- us adults have all the hang ups!

Alright, so about an hour before the pig is done, the vultures start hovering.  Supposedly, the cooked skin is one of the most delicious parts.  So everyone just lingers around like seagulls on a pier, waiting to see when the Chefs are going to tear off a piece of the pellejito or chicharron (which is cooked crispy skin) and give it to them.  Seriously, sometimes they fight for it.  Ew. Ew. Ew.

And then the moment of truth.  The pig is READY!!  There's a loooooooong table set up which sits 20 on each side and we all sit down to eat together.  My MIL and SIL make all the other sides -- yucca with garlic mojo, black beans, rice, salad, bread and all kinds of different desserts like flan, arroz con leche, tres leches, and some key lime pie. Hahahaha.   I mean really, we are in the USA. :-P

And for all my "ewing" and gagging, the pig is fucking delicious.  The meat is perfectly cooked and just melts in your mouth.  I get to watch my boys run around with their cousins and they are so excited that Santa is coming soon.  

We leave around 11pm, although the party has been known to go on til the wee hours of the morning.  There was one year that my sister went and they stayed up karaoke-ing until 2am.  But the later the Munchkins stay up, the lighter they sleep, and I can't have them getting a peek at Santa.  Santa doesn't come if he thinks he's been seen...

Christmas day, the boys wake up at the crack of dawn and see that Santa really did come!  He ate the cookies we baked and he found a way in regardless of us not having a chimney.  He gave the carrots to his reindeer and all those questions about why he doesn't exercise aren't really important when he's come and brought all the gifts.  I make a regal breakfast fit for my King and make sure the four of us are napping by noon.  At around 6, we go to my sister-in-law's house where they have fresh cuban bread and chopped onions waiting for the whole family to get together again, but this time to eat "pan con lechon" (pork sandwiches).  It's divine.


This year, I'm throwing a wrench in the plan by making a turkey on Christmas day.  Hopefully, I can also throw a wrench in the plan by enjoying the day, and understanding the importance of family and tradition, instead of feeling threatened by it.   Logically, this experience sounds magical for my 3 boys, but emotionally, it's hard for me to deal, it's hard for me to share, it's hard for me to not be in control--  of myself and my emotions, or others.   

But, here I am, on Christmas Eve Eve, hoping to surprise myself. Hey, stranger things have a fat man with flying reindeer getting through a chimney and making it around the world in just one night... ;-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

PC - I'll tell you what bothers me!

A friend of mine just blogged about political correctness and how annoying it is.  I would linky up, but I don't know how to.  It made me think of what really annoys me.  And that's the political correctness surrounding breasts. 

My breasts have always been gorgeous.  And natural.  And soft and silky and all that is good and sexy and for half of my life, I've used them to my sexual advantage.  And I continue to do so.  I have no problem with cleavage and the power it gives you.  I have the luxury of living in a climate where plunging shirts are not only the norm, but a near necessity.

I have also been nursing every single day of my life for the last four years, nine months, eight days and forty-three minutes.

And I'm still perfectly ok with knowing that not only can my breasts raise two healthy, happy, intelligent gorgeous boys, but they can still get me out of a ticket once in a while.  And can always get my husband excited. 

I am surrounded all day with women who have a problem with this.  Whether it's women who don't want to breastfeed because they think the breasts are only sexual and that having a baby on the other end is ew! gross!  Or women who are offended by the sexualization of the breast because gosh darn it! breasts are for making milk and nothing else.  And really, I just want to know why they aren't, or can't be for both?  I mean, mine are, but what about yours?

I wanted to do our Breastfeeding Dept's Holiday Party at Hooters.  Not only because I really do love their fresh oysters, but because what I love most about being a mom who successfully nurses her two boys is that I can do it without being this wholesome, crunchy granola mom who thinks that anything short of using breasts for lactating purposes only somehow makes you less of a lactivist or untrue to "the cause", and instead, use my multitasking breasts for all their glory.   What better way to bring those two worlds together than by having a bunch of IBCLCs and future IBCLCs enjoying lunch surrounded by big, juicy breasts?!

Don't fret-- it was at some hibachi place. :-/

My breasts aren't as fabulous as they used to be.  Truth be told, I'm not as fabulous as I used to be either, being about 30+ lbs heavier than I need to be.  But, man, oh man, they've done a lot of good in their short life, and maybe one day, I'll even repay them with a little pick me up. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Really? No, Really?!

Al Sharpton Blasts Tiger Woods for Lack of Mistress Diversity


The Rev. Al Sharpton held a press conference today to blast Tiger Woods for the lack of diversity among his mistresses. Sharpton claims that the lack of African-American women among Woods’ harem will have a negative affect on the black community, specifically young black girls.

“Why is it that a man who calls himself black can’t bring himself to cheat on his wife with a black woman?” said Sharpton, speaking to a group of supporters in Harlem . “What does it say to young black girls everywhere when you pass them over? Shame on you, Tiger Woods. What would your daddy say?”

Sharpton, who has long championed taking black women as mistresses, said that today’s black athletes need to stop neglecting black women when it comes to extramarital affairs, and should follow the examples of positive black role models such as Jesse Jackson and Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom cheated on their wives with black women. Sharpton also stressed that cheating with African-American women would help the black community financially by giving black girls the chance to sell their stories to tabloids and gossip magazines.

Added Sharpton, “I’m not asking you to not cheat on your wives, I’m just asking you to give back to your own community.”

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Impulse Shopping

I'm guilty.  Ugh.  I get this sick rush of hormones, and then tachycardia. I just bought the kids' final Christmas present and it was an impulse buy because it wouldn't be on sale for much longer.  But now, here I am wondering if I really wanted to get them *that* one.  Because originally, I wanted to get them the other one, but then today, they saw this one and said it was the one they asked Santa to bring them.  So I got it.  But I secretly wonder if they would have liked the other one better.  I guess if I'm the only one who knows about the other one, then it doesn't much matter.  But oooooh, the pressure!!!  And this, people, is how my mind works when I impulse shop.  It supersucks.

I've been really quiet lately.  Not just on here, but in real life, too, which is not like me.  This family stuff has totally brought me down and it always happens around the holidays.  I look at people who are just overcome with holiday cheer and I love them.  I want them to take me home.  I love to see the energy, the sparkle in their eye, the hop in their step.  If it were up to me, I'd love the holidays.  There isn't anything to dislike about the season of giving.  It seriously makes me euphoric to pick out *the* perfect gift.   And to have reasons to listen to Christmas carols.  I love me some Christmas carols.  Bryan has taken a definitive liking to Little Drummer Boy, which makes me smile.

Bry is having another vomiting bout.   I took him to the specialist in September who said that if he got sick again, I had to take him to get blood work, so I took a pukey kid in the car and drove 20 minutes.  And then was forced to wait in an overcrowded reception area for an hour and change.  Whaddayathink happened?!  C'mon, guess! Guess!!  Yeahp.  Puke.  All over.  And on the way home, too.  My poor baby.  I broke down and cried in front of about 50 total strangers, but man, what I would have done to take that pain away from my baby.

I really try my hardest to look at the bright side of things- to find the good.  There really is always good.  And I don't do this because I'm oh so peppy and optimistic.  Because I'm not.  But I know that if I don't do that, everything will spiral downward from the point that I mentally give up.

So here it's the bright side of spending an entire day with puke all over you, without sleep and doing 6 loads of laundry in 5 hours, while taking your baby to get 6 viles of blood taken out of his already weak body and hearing him yell for you and at you because you were the one holding him down in the hopes of getting some answers...  18 years ago today, my mom kicked me out of the house.  I remembered this at about 3am, as I was wiping puke from Bry's nose.  Normally, this memory would ruin my entire day.  And for about 30 minutes, I let it get a hold of me.  But I remembered what I felt like at 3 am, as I wiped puke from Bry's nose.  And that was that as painful as it was to have your mother give up on you at 15, to be thrown out in the middle of the street with nowhere to go, and to have a stranger and her family take you in until your father decided a month later he should probably come for you, me being there, at 3 am, with my son in arms, taking care of him made today special.  And not because it was the anniversary of some horrible memory forever etched in my heart.  But because today I got to break the cycle. 

Jesus, I'm a total downer!!  Ha ha.  I swear, this was supposed to be about my impulse shopping! :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

There are some things you can never take back

Like, for instance, hitting the delete button.  I mean, sure, you can always just re-do what you've deleted, but it doesn't take away the fact that you deleted in the first place.

There are people that I want to get rid of in my life...on Facebook, at work, in my personal life.  Facebook is sort of hit delete and *poof*! they're gone.  But not really.  Deleting doesn't mean they never existed. 

It's the same when you say can say you're sorry, you can pretend the other person didn't hear, but it's out there...the words seem to linger in the Universe until the other person hears them.  That happened today on the phone.  The person on the other end said, "So, are you going to the wedding?".  And the words seemed to take forever to get to me.   When she realized I didn't know about the wedding, or the engagement for that matter, I'm sure she wished she could take those words back.  And she tried.   I will not acknowledge having heard them, but that doesn't mean they didn't happen.

Which brings me to the delete button.  If my own sister can't tell me that she's a) engaged and b) getting married in two months, then she's worthy of the delete button.  I've never been particularly close to my sister.  I blame that partly on different personalities and partly on our upbringing.  If my parents never emphasized the need for us to remain close, to stay together, to have each other's backs, then as adults, we just didn't know to do so. I guess.  For a while, I coughed it up to the old "you don't choose your family" thing, but that isn't good enough for me anymore.  I see my own boys interact and I tell them at the turn of every argument, of every disagreement--  at the end of the day, you two are brothers, and there isn't anything more important than a sibling.  One day, I won't be here, and you will only have each other.

So as I sit here contemplating the delete button, in real life and just on Facebook, I realize that we will probably talk again and while I can always "add" her back in my life, the fact that *this* is happening now will never not be the case.

My husband will tell me that she is family, and no matter what, you forgive family.  My heart hurts not because I didn't know, but more because of the lack of a sisterhood that is obvious and magnified by me not knowing.  She's my second born's Godmother, and we see her 2-3 times a year.  She lives twenty minutes away and we see her 2-3 times a year.  She is my "friend" on Facebook, and we hear from her 2-3 times a year.  I know she's in her corner saying it works both ways, and she's right, it does.  But there are very few times when there is a desire to form that sisterhood.

I'll leave the blog about the Co-conspirator, my mother, to another day.  Right now, I need to go clean up my friends' list. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm in a mood

Not that that's news or anything, but I'm really in a mood.  This weekend has been way too emotional for me, and it's just over football.  There's no crying in football! 

Jonathan is the sweetest kid ever.  You would never think so, because he's one tough cookie, but he's like a tough cookie who's all warm and soft and chewy on the inside.  My profile picture?  Yeah, that was him finding a heart shaped shell in the sand and giving it to me.  He can't pass by a weed that has a flower on the end of it without picking it up and giving it to me.  He once brought me a rock shaped like a heart, and countless heart shaped leaves.  The kid is just oozing with sweetness.

He also beats his brother up, and jumps off table tops while landing on his feet and scares the frogs away from the front door so I can come in.  And he loves, loves, loves sports. 

But Saturday's flag football was way too much.  Our team sucks. It really does.  But aside from the team sucking, Jonathan can't stop laughing.   He has the ball, and he sees the opposing team gunning for him, and he breaks out into a mad giggle, and runs the wrong way.  Because he's smart.  And who in their right mind would run towards eight kids trying to get him?

So there he is, running the wrong way, laughing merrily, when some kid takes his flag and the play is over.  And because there are two too many kids on the team, they have to rotate.  So the hubs, who is the unwilling Coach, tells Jon to get on the sideline so he can put a kid in that hadn't played that down.  Next thing I know, Jon is hysterical crying, crouched on the floor in the fetal position.  Really, just what a mom wants to see.

He tells me that his daddy took him out because he did something wrong.  He tells me that his sneakers were making him slip in the grass.  He tells me that he has no superpowers and all the kids can run faster than him.  He tells me he's no good.  I look in his eyes, and they tell me that he's heartbroken.  And I don't know what to do.  Because what I want to do is sit there and cry with him.  We work so hard to build his confidence, to let him know he's loved unconditionally, to teach him how special he is, but we never worked on how to handle feeling not good enough.  Did we do something wrong?  Did we say something wrong?  Did we make him feel too special, not special enough? 

These are only things that affect me.  My husband didn't think twice about it and went about his day.  But it took the life out of me.  I don't ever want Jon Jon to feel the way he did, and yet, I know it won't be the last time.  I also don't ever want my son to just give up, and I don't know how to make him dust himself off and get back in there.  No matter how many times I tell him that as long as he tries his best, he is the best, I don't know how to make him believe me.  I have no control over his heart, and I don't know how to handle that. 

When we got home from the game, I took him to the sports shop and got him some football cleats.  This morning, I woke up and got him dressed and took him to the field to practice, just the four of us.  I can still control his preparedness.   But I feel so useless that I can't control heartbreak-- his or mine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today, I watched my language

I really did.  I learned that the way you say "DNA" in spanish is cleverly "ADN" and I told each and every class of 20+ moms that every time they fed their baby ABM, they were changing their baby's DNA (or ADN, but whatevs).  I was even so bold as to start the class by saying that I'm not getting into the "benefits" of breastfeeding, because there are none.  That got a lot of eyebrows raised.  I went on to say that there are only risks in formula feeding.  And then I repeated. 

"Let me repeat... there are no benefits to breastfeeding, because breastfeeding is what is NORMAL.  There are only risks with formula feeding.  And you need to know that what you are choosing to give your baby has risks involved.  Breastfed babies are not healthier.  They are the norm.  Formula fed babies are sicker."

The one thing I love about my job is that I can say just about anything I want, as long as I have science on my side. 

And boy do I have science on my side.

I have to tweak the message.  I'll start passing it out with leftover Halloween candy.  But it will be the same.

All this time, I felt special, superior even, for having breastfed my children.  I have never been so happy to be so normal in my life.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read this:

Monday, November 9, 2009

There's a Storm Brewing...

No, really, there is... Hurricane Ida.  It's so windy out today.  The skies are ominous.  The temperature is cool and detached. And it is going to miss us completely, by at least eight hundred miles.

Hurricanes are an amazing thing.  They are such a regular occurrence here that the word doesn't ever instill fear. Instead, it seems to instill hope.  Beneath the certain twinge of anxiety of the unknown, there's hope...of school closings and early ends to long, boring work days, of coolers full of beer and pantries full of comfort food, of forced slumber parties and extended sleeping hours due to the darkness of the hurricane shutters., of warmth and love and unity.  The first hurricane we weathered together in this house was the last hurricane to hit Miami -- Hurricane Wilma in 2005.  It was a measly Cat 1, but it took out our power for three weeks, along with sprinkling our outdoor aluminum roof all over the neighborhood.  There were at least three men that came by asking to pick up the scraps so they could recycle it and cash out.  It's so bizarre how people try to turn a buck...

Dozens and dozens of bags of breastmilk, all thrown out due to spoilage.  That's what I remember most.  Other than that, I remember closeness and family and comfort and nice evenings with the windows open and cool air coming through.  I remember big family dinners at my in-laws and really appreciating my gas dryer and gas range oven.  Hurricanes are amazing around here, because they are an excuse to come together.

There was another hurricane that passed through here last night...same ominous skies, same aloofness in the air, mixed with some thunder and lightning.  The aftereffects are still being felt, and I'm hopeful, being the cause of last night's hurricane, that it will do just as little as most hurricanes -- clear the air, bring in beautiful weather and warm, fresh breezes, and dissipate before ever making landfall.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Full Disclosure

I'm not really a PTA mom.  Well, that's not entirely true.  Yesterday, I finally got my PTA membership card.  Do you think I'll get hotel discounts and free cookies at Mrs. Field's if I flash it around?

I'm not really a PTA mom in the sense I had imagined.  Granted, there's still time, but so far, I'm a little disappointed.  I had big ideas.

Other than that, I am who I pretend to be.  I get that somewhere in my ancestry, there are Spanish descendants.  But I really couldn't go around calling myself a Spaniard, now could I?  So I wouldn't.

I do, however, call myself indian all the time.  That's probably untrue as well, although I'm not entirely sure.   I guess if I really think about it, where I'm from, I could be part Asian, but I haven't mentally explored that possibility at all, so I won't digress. 

Not indian like Native American indian, or Indian like being from India, but "indio", like the hispanic culture refers to part of their own people. It's funny because in the Cuban culture-- the hispanic culture really, calling someone an indian is an insult.  More often than not, the tone of your skin and certain facial features indicate social class.  The only time I saw that to be different was in Spain.  When I went to Spain, I was amazed at how the light-haired, light-eyed people were attracted to the darker skinned, dark eyed ones. 

When I was growing up, my sister and I would half-kid that we were going to get my mom a bumper sticker that read "Mejore la raza" -- "Better the race".  It's not that my mom was or is a racist, it's that in her culture, like most Latin American countries, the lighter, the better.  So she was really disappointed when  every boy I brought home was hispanic, and hardly any of them had the straight hair she associates (incorrectly) with good genes.  I almost wrote "pure" genes, but really, I didn't want you to think she was that off the'd really have to understand the culture to get where she was coming from.  In the end, it all works out...she got her light haired, light skinned grandchildren thanks to my overly hispanic husband.

Anyway, I had a point. A lot of times, I really do feel more indian than of Spanish descent, and I'm proud of that indian heritage.  The Incas were an amazing people and I'm sure, because of my skin tone and hair texture, that somewhere in my bloodline, there's a fierce Inca.  Or at least I like to think so.  When people asked me why I wanted to breastfeed, or why I was breastfeeding, or why I was breastfeeding for so long, or why I am breastfeeding for so long, I politely and proudly say, "I'm indian.  It's what my people do.".  That usually shuts them up.  Mostly because I just called myself what they view as derogatory and partly because all along, they probably thought I was Cuban.  Which is ok.  The full disclosure is I am Cuban, too.  By injection only. 

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's Late

I know it's late and I should be sleeping, but I'm not.

Instead I'm using the light from my cell phone to stare at my babies. Jonathan keeps blurting stuff out in his sleep and it always amazes me how he processes his day this way.

Bry is making baby noises and sucking motions with his mouth.

There are days when I just can't believe they're mine.

Jonathan just popped up in his sleep, made finger shadows on the wall with the light from the phone, and plopped back to sleep. It would have cracked me up if it hadn't freaked me out so much first.

Bry likes for me to wrap my arm around him while he sleeps. I'm not complaining.

When I was pregnant with Bry, I had to get Jonathan accustomed to sleeping on a different side and relying more on Papi's body warmth than mine. I beat myself up about that a lot. At least 3 times a night he still searches out my hand to rub the skin on the finger pad of specifically the pinky, which for some odd reason, puts him back to sleep. Don't try to give him any other finger. It has to be the pinky. He says the skin is the softest there.

Bry has to sleep with his legs between mine. He doesn't nurse so much at night anymore -- maybe three times or so, but I love it when he snuggles so close that my breast is his pillow. That is, after all, his intention.

I'm not going anywhere with this. I just want to remember this moment forever.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life with Two

Last night, my husband went to play softball. He's on his 5th "I really need to lose weight" kick of the month, and he's right, so we're supporting him all the way. Once upon a time, he likes to tell me, he used to be a really good softball player, and back in the high school days, he was quite the sexy baseball player. I've always had a thing for sexy baseball players...

So the boys and I went to dinner at this place called Sweet Tomatoes. It's dawned on me recently that Miami isn't the be all of the rest of the Universe, so for anyone who might not have a Sweet Tomatoes in your area, it's a supposedly healthy take on a buffet, offering salad, soups, breads and pasta as well as fruits and non-fat frozen yogurts as dessert. And really, I imagine if you lay off the breads and pasta, it probably really is a healthy place to go. But, after B downed about six slices of pizza, and J scarfed down a bowl of macaroni and cheese bigger than his face so he could get to the "shaky milk", and I kept sneaking in some mini banana nut muffins, I remembered that it's as gimmicky as it makes you feel.

Anyway, life with two isn't easy. Hubs and I (I really have to come up with a better name for him - any suggestions?) often go back and forth on having another child. He feels our life is perfect with our two boys, and thinks the mere suggestion of having another implies that I disagree. For the record, I don't disagree. Life is perfect with my two boys. But that doesn't mean that on occasion, I don't reminisce about the "baby stage" or tearily look into the future and realize that B is growing up, no matter how many times I ask him to reassure me that he's my baby. It goes a little something like this:

"B, who's Momma's baby?"


*insert deep sigh of relief*

But then there are those times at places like Sweet Tomatoes where really, I think another baby is great in theory. Of course, I forgot to get napkins, or water, or silverware for the boys as we sat down very, very, very far from the napkins, water and silverware counter in the restaurant. So, do I stop the boys from eating, load up my purse that has no less than five superheros, two stainless steel (read: heavy!) water bottles, one diaper, three squirty fish and a countless amount of crumbled crackers in it, along with my enormously large wallet to go get the stuff I need to make this meal a success? It's moments like these that I take the time out to envision yet another munchkin to add to that mix and think, really, going without another "baby stage" might be the best thing that'll happen to us. By the way, I did what every efficient mother would do-- I scoped out all potential exits, made a mental note of everyone's face, rehearsed yelling loudly, and explained to J that if anyone, and I did mean ANYONE even looked at him for longer than 2 seconds, he was to YELL LOUDLY, "MMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAMIIIIIIII", and told the server as I was stepping away to keep an eye on them. Luckily, J didn't decide to practice our emergency plan in the 30 seconds I was away.

I have a friend who has 3 boys (my dream) and has another baby on the way. And she still looks fabulous and is still a great mom and her boys are well behaved and yeah, she does drive a minivan, but still manages to be cool. And I look at her and have hope that I can do it, too. Part of it is probably competition, but mostly it's wanting to rationalize this baby into being. Where there's a will, there's a way...

But most days, I'll step out with the two munchkins to Target or Walmart or Publix or *insert mother store here* and sure enough, I'll look around and the most frazzled, poorly put together, mom-jeans-wearing, hair-in-a-raggedy pony tail looking mom in there is always, always, always carrying around 3. (Side note: Don't be offended if you have 3...either this is you, or it isn't. We have a La Leche League policy at this blog: "Take what works for you and leave the rest at the door".).

As we prepared for bed, little B brought me a book and said, "Mami, lee esto", and snuggled his head up against one side of my chest as J got his flashlight out and perfectly illuminated the pages for me from the other side of my chest, while Daddy came back all sweaty and smelling of youth and sexiness and kissed our foreheads. I breathed a deep sigh of relief, not doubting for a second that life with my three boys is perfect.