Teething + clingy stage = kill me now.

Dear God:

So, I know your plate is pretty, uh, stacked these days. What with tornado outbreaks, earthquakes, nuclear near-disasters as a result of the aforementioned earthquakes, trying to get Republicans and Democrats to either kill each other (and end the misery) or behave, the economy, gas prices (could we arrange some relief there before the July 4th holiday? Just curious…), Lindsey Lohan’s ongoing quest for feigned sobriety (cause I think we both know the truth), crazed genocidal foreign dictators (and the impotence of NATO), world hunger, population overgrowth (sorry in advance for my contribution to that, but I’m totally going for a few more kids), Lady Gaga, and a plethora of other problems to tackle – you know, you’re swamped. I get that. I really, really do.

But if you could, would you please show up at some point pretty soon in the small space of my eight-month-old’s crib and put this screaming banshee to sleep for awhile? I have been praying for patience, strength, and endurance – because this is harder than any half marathon I ever ran. It is certainly more difficult than labor was, thanks to the amazing epidural that the angel we both know was just posing as an anesthesiologist provided. I pray – I pray for help with this all the time, all the while knowing that it is a really, really stupid thing to pray for. But I figure it can’t hurt to ask. What the heck IS this?! Is it a growth spurt? Is it just a massive, epic “case of the ass?” Is it retribution for all the hell I put my parents through (and my older sister, the neighbors, my piano instructor, my dance teacher, the orchestra leader, my camp counselors, other extended family, my Sunday school teachers, and basically any other teacher from three-year-old preschool up until…senior year of college? Eh?) Fair enough.

But my kid needs to sleep. I need him to sleep. And also, I need to get to a place of understanding and patience that allows me to not want to stab other people in the eye when they discuss their child’s completely predictable nap schedule (If I have to sit and smile through someone discussing how Junior goes down for his nap at exactly 9:42 am and 2:48 pm just one more time, I may pull a Britney).

So, if you could arrange just SOME sleep – like, one good nap each day, and maybe half a night without this child waking up, screaming, and making that pitiful face that absolutely tears me up…well, it would be beyond appreciated.

Oh wait, she’s not done talking?!

Nope. Not done.

A quick post:

I want to expound briefly on the subject of my last post, the Breastfeeding Awareness PSA video. It was at a baby shower at church the other day that several moms and moms-to-be discussed the rampant hate-mongering that happens amongst and between moms who breast- or bottle-feed their babies. As someone who has been breastfeeding for 8+ months now (and who is simply trying to make it to her son’s first birthday – ya know, just in case you thought I was planning on nursing him straight to kindergarten or something like that), I don’t get the hatred amongst mothers. My sisters/sisters in law all bottlefed their babies and they have the healthiest children you can imagine. They have the most loved children you can imagine, as well. I know this is purely anecdotal evidence, but – bottom line – love, care, and concern for your children is dictated by an overall investment and effort you put towards them. Not by how you choose to feed them. So many women have extenuating circumstances – from health conditions unrelated to their pregnancies, to infections, to serious birth complications (life threatening ones, even), to premature infants who simply do not have the strength to nurse and who need to gain weight quickly)…you see my point. Now, I’m not going to tell you I don’t get frustrated when I hear someone say “Breastfeeding is gross and I’d never do it and my baby went straight to formula because breastfeeding is weird,” or some similarly ignorant statement. That really aggravates me, for a variety of pretty obvious reasons. And I do think that breastfeeding has some benefits that I’m glad to have had – Russ hasn’t been sick yet, I’ve lost all my baby weight plus an additional 7 lbs. or so, and we’ve never had to spend a dime on formula (which is Ca-raaaaaazy expensive, I’m told).

So that’s my basic stance on that: Everyone has to choose what is best for them, and as long as I don’t feel like people are choosing bottlefeeding simply because they think there is something inherently wrong or Oedipal or whatever with the boob, I could care less. For me, breastfeeding is the best choice. But every parent has to choose their own path and has their own challenges to contend with. Let’s stop acting like people just left their baby in a hot car in the Walmart parking lot just because they are or aren’t breastfeeding.

In other news…

I have the cutest child ever. I was pretty sure of it before, but now I am convinced. As evidence of this claim, I submit:

Had. To. Repost.

I found this on a random blog (written by Emily Hunter McGowin, whom I do not know from Adam, but whose blog I happened upon while looking up info about that stupid Beyaz commercial I harped on awhile back) and absolutely haaaaaaaad to repost it because it’s just freakingamazingandmindblowinglygreat. And no, it isn’t National Breastfeeding Awareness Month – actually, I’m pretty sure that’s in August or September because I recall it being very late in my pregnancy when it happened and anticipating the challenges and horrors I’d been told to expect with breastfeeding. Here I am, eight months later, and I’m proud to say that I’m still nursing Russ several times a day, on top of his normal solid foods that he seems to really enjoy. He has been a pretty easy baby, sure – I haven’t had a lot of challenges to contend with like him being sick a lot or having acid reflux or even being premature. I’ve been SO lucky…but at the same time, don’t think it was easy. Learning to breastfeed was a real educational process and, as Bethenny Frankel once said, “Breastfeeding is about coming from a place of yes.” Well, it is. Anyhow, check this out – it hits on so many points about the benefits of breastfeeding, and does so in a funny, cheeky way that I just love.

If that doesn’t say it all, I’m not sure what does.

"Out there"

“You know, I guess I have noticed body language from people before with you where it’s like ‘Whoa, that girl is out there.”

My husband said this to me Saturday morning during a discussion about our tendencies in social situations. This is the kind of deep, meaningful stuff that we mull over during our runs together or when tackling a diaper so poopy that it takes the two of us just to clean it all up.

“Does that make sense?” he asked, seemingly hesitant in his fear that he’d offended me. He hadn’t.

“Well…yeah,” I said. “I notice it, too.” I’m a bit of an open book, you could say. I know, I know…you’re sitting there, reading this, thinking “You, Becky? But you’re the most low-key and mild personality I’ve ever come across in my life! So even-keeled! So poker-faced!” (po-po-po-poker face mah-mah poker face)

I’m completely joking. I mean, I’m not sporting multiple personalities and hoarding ferrets here – I’m “healthy weird.” Quirky, kooky, whatever you want to call it. Compared to a lot of people, I am booooooringly tame and normal. Actually, I think people sometimes dramatize my eccentricities to a really extreme level. But yeah, clearly I’m not Ms. America and vanilla ice cream.

One of the reasons that I didn’t necessarily excel (but rather simply existed) in the corporate world (or as I perceived it at the time – given my tendency to have numerous, nagging insecurities about my professional capabilities – failed miserably and unforgivably) is that I am not the world’s best when it comes to “holding back.”

Even when I don’t say what I’m thinking (which, contrary to popular belief, is about 75% of the time – I’m completely not joking about this), I just have one of those faces that sort of betrays my silence in some situations. I could never do stand-up comedy, because I’m that person who would giggle midway through every joke that I thought was funny (even if nobody else did, which is pretty darn awkward). I’m that person who simply must cry when someone else is crying (in most cases, anyway), because I’m just an emotional, sentimental ol’ sap. And if I’m embarassed by something, you will know, because my face will get so red and hot (not in a sexy way) that it starts emitting radiation. And even in some situations where I’m perfectly fine and content, my face just sort of does things without my permission. This always made picture day really fun and enjoyable, as if the rest of my student life wasn’t already enough of a Pandora’s Box of enjoyable and totally not horrific and bitter memories. Just ask somebody I attended school with if they have the 1997-1998 Conway Middle School year book and you’ll get a great idea of what I’m referring to.

That year book picture – in which the photographer captured me just as I was turning my head and opening my mouth, telling him that I had a sneeze that was about to come out, just in case you need the mental image to really grasp what a total Glamour Shot it was – is a really good symbol for how I am in social situations with people that I don’t know very well: goofy, maybe even a little bit spastic, completely unkempt, not remotely poised (especially when compared to my counterparts), and always just a teensy bit kooky. Teensy bit. Just a smidge.

As Jonathan and I continued our discussion of my natural propensity for creating awkward moments (I admit…I do sometimes relish an awkward moment in a very twisted and highly inappropriate way), I had one of those cliche moments of self-realization that have been the hallmark of my mid-to-late 20s.

“You know, I think I used to do that by accident, but now I just do it to get it out of the way,” I said. “I guess I just learned when I was younger that I wasn’t fooling anybody by pretending to be someone less ‘quirky’ (unhinged) than I really am.”

I thought about this for a moment.

“To be honest, I think I do it so I can figure out where people stand with me.” Jonathan looked at me and I immediately knew what he was thinking – Yes, please, I am just dyyyyyyying to discuss your screwed up grade school experience some more. Really, the only reason we haven’t expended boatloads of cash on therapy for me is because Jonathan is way better at it than most Ph.D. psychiatrists ever thought about being. Jonathan has a Ph.D. in putting up with me…that has to count for something.

But the truth is, I think I really do kind of prefer to lay my cards on the table – because I know I don’t have long, anyway. I’m one of those tragically uncool people whose mouths can sometimes move faster than their brains. Not always, but it definitely happens. And these little things about me are often just things that pop into my head, knocked loose by a random idea pulled from an even more random conversation with someone whom I might know well enough, but who I may just as likely have known for approximately 72 seconds. I swear…I have no idea where this comes from other than pure nervous energy. Why nervous, you ask? Who knows. I come from a long line of high-strung, moody, emotional, sensitive, worrisome, anxious, intensely gregarious folks. It is in the DNA as much as the wayward and inexplicable fat deposits on my knees and the jawline that I inherited from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family.

God bless my parents, Jonathan, and a lot of other people for loving me, even though I am “out there.” But I think I’m learning to like being that way. In my experience, if you were going to love me, hearing “my life story” (as some very small-scale thinkers have put it before) wasn’t going to change that. If anything, it was just going to make you love me more. Conversely, if you were going to hate me, hearing “my life story” was really just going to speed up the process. You might as well know who you’re hating anyway, right?

While we’re on the topic, I just want to say that I love (i.e. absolutely. freaking. abhor.) when someone claims (i.e. complains) that I am telling or once told them “my life story.” Really, dude? Jonathan has been my best friend and my partner in everything (*nod nod* *wink wink*) for almost six years now and he gets new stories from me all the time. I don’t plan it this way, I’m just someone who likes to share, I guess. The stories aren’t usually big productions.They are more often little, insignificant snippets of the girl I used to be (or the 16 year old that I try to forget).

Like how I was hit by a caregiver at my first daycare for having an accident on the slide when I was about two and a half years old (my mom switched my daycare shortly thereafter). Or the time when I was in first grade and I slapped a grown man (one of my classmates’ dads) who I thought was hitting on my mom during a field trip.

Here’s another one: When I was little, my brother and I used to set up lawn chairs upside down and make a “tent city” in the backyard. We’d string a bucket over a tree branch and fill it with water to make a “well.” We made “macaroni and cheese” using broken twigs and the yellow filling from oak acorns that we’d cracked open with mom’s pink-handled shovel. I’d cook mud “pies” for our “dessert” (we didn’t actually eat the stuff, by the way – seems obvious, but you just never know what people are going to think) and when we were really lucky, a hurricane would come. It would knock down a few big tree limps. And we’d build a fort – complete with rooms! A kitchen! A foyer! It was free entertainment back in a time when your largest imaginable expenditure for a toy was a first-generation Gameboy.

You didn’t ask for that story. Unimpressive, average (maybe even below average, in some cases!), not-remotely-compelling tales of the person I am. And I tell people these things because I might as well. And because I’m out there. And I guess, it might seem to some, because they’re “my life story,” whatever that means.

I’m feeling pretty blessed that now, in my late 20s, I’m finally starting to compile the contingent of folks who let me run up and hug them, who chuckle when I’m a little goofy or irrevent, who accept – or even love me more – for all my little oddities. My family and a few friends and Jonathan were always that way. But there are more now, and I know that I am lucky beyond belief to have them.

Because I am out there.

Post-Mothers-Day Update

The Mother’s Day weekend was a great one, though I guess my last post would’ve indicated that we got a bit of an early start on it. I’ve been making my way through that Tina Fey book whenever I have a moment to pick it up, and my nasal passages are completely cleared out after spewing water out my nose several times while reading. She’s beyond hilarious. I don’t know if I’m just flattering myself, but Tina Fey and I have quite a few things in common. We both received those super awesome Modess “My First Period” kits from our mothers during our preteen years. We both have worked in community theater (clearly, her career is doing a bit better than mine). We both have pear shaped bodies, brown hair, and dads who are complete bad asses. I think she and I would get along, but I have to say I would let her do almost all the talking because she’s a freakin’ riot. I’m loving the book.

Friday night was the Swamp Rabbit 5K, an event sponsored by Greenville Hospital System (Greenville Memorial is where Russ was born). We loved GHS and felt happy to be able to come out and support the organization. I can’t say it was the best organized race I’ve ever done. It was Jonathan’s first 5K and of course, Russ’s first race ever (he did it in the stroller, obviously). Jonathan pushed him along and made very good time considering that it was an obstacle course of sorts. Poor guy, he might as well have been a mobile home trying to get down the Los Angeles freeway at rush hour. There was just no way to get through the crowd.

Now, allow me to be a bit of snob for a moment because Lord knows, I don’t do the snob thing very often. People: if you’re running a 5K, great. If you’re walking a 5K, though, please do not get in the queue at the start line that is clearly marked for “7-9 minute miles,” “9-12 minute miles,” etc. You are not walking a 7 minute mile, friend. And also, if you’re one of those people who thinks it’s acceptable to talk on a cellphone and text while you’re walking (in the 7-9 minute mile queue, no less), please go locate the nearest whiffleball bat and smack yourself upside the head a few good times. Good grief. It’s really not that common for me to look right at someone and call them out when I’ve never met them, but I did have to get right in some girl’s face after she nearly caused a people-wreck during the first half mile and yell “GET OFF THE PHONE!” After she got the exact same scolding from a couple other runners, she started yelling and cussing us all out. And then she went right back to her very, very important conversation. She was a smart cookie, let me tell ya. Finally, I think it is great when people run these kinds of events with their kids. But for those with families, please take the opportunity to start teaching your kids that “slower traffic keeps right.” This is a message that generations of mall walkers and highway drivers alike seem to have missed, and I think it’s sort of ridiculous. My husband and I shouldn’t have to go offroading on the side of the course to get around groups of kids and parents spread out 7-wide across a two-lane road. People are high, I swear.

So, yeah. We were definitely running on pace for a sub-30 minute 5K, but it ended up taking longer than that because we were just running all over the place trying to miss all the craziness. I don’t know if we’ll do the race next year, for that reason alone. If we do end up doing it next year, we’ll definitely let the grandparents keep Russ and just run it sans stroller.

As if we hadn’t already punished ourselves enough, we stuck with the plan to go for a hike on Saturday morning. Now that, we did leave Russ with the grandparents for. We’re not taking any chances with all the rocks and streams and animal sightings. We did the Rainbow Falls trail, and I discovered that – despite being in better shape than I was even before I was pregnant – my memory is going. It might as well have been the first time we’d ever hiked that route, because I kept anticipating things far too early and wondering where the heck certain landmarks had gone. The thing I realized about hiking is that you never hike the same trail twice. The trail is a natural setting, but it’s also constantly evolving. Just one downed tree or one week of heavier rains can completely alter how it appears, even if you’ve hiked it 10 times before.

Once we got past the hike, we realized we’d covered well over 22 miles in the past week or so. So we slept and rested, and just generally took it easy after that. On Sunday – technically Mother’s Day – we just did church and enjoyed a low-key day at home. It was only after laying Russ down late Sunday night that I realized we hadn’t taken a single picture all weekend. Not at the 5k, not on the hike, and certainly not at church for my very first Mother’s Day. But I just opted to watch the little guy sleep. Every day has been Mother’s Day, in a way, since he got there. He’s the Christmas present that I get to open again every single morning. I couldn’t be more blessed to have this little guy.

Edit: Oh, one more little update. All that talk of teething that started way, way back when Russ’s “umbie” stump had just barely shriveled up? Well, it’s finally here. We have a tooth breaking through. And he already bit me while I was nursing him earlier. Tons of fun at the Wilhoit house!

An intro to Mother’s Day

With my first Mother’s Day coming up, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After some stuff unexpectedly broke on my car – the kind of stuff that has to be fixed, lest you take up a new hobby of hitch hiking with your infant son in tow – we weren’t making any huge plans. I don’t know if I can say it was all that “unexpected” either, since we all know the minute you pay the note on that P.O.S., everything under the hood withers into a pile of dust and goo (like the guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark, after they popped the top). Hey, I just made an Indiana Jones reference! My hubby will be so proud…

I knew not to expect a lot for Mother’s Day, let’s just get that out right now. Last time I checked, Trent Reznor was actually tossing rocks into our checking account to produce a sound for one of his big movie scores (“Hey Atticus, do you think this clip on track 8 is nailing that ‘post-apocalyptic, void sort of feeling?“). In fact, all I really wanted for Mother’s Day (MD) was for this jerk in China who we unwittingly bought an Ergo Baby Carrier from on Ebay (FOUR WEEKS AGO) to finally send the friggin’ thing. Yeah, next time you think you’re bidding on an item from a seller in “Mobile, AL,” just remember…he may not have done well in elementary level geography.

So today, when Jonathan said he was going to buy me a MD gift, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m not a materialistic person, but I am one of those people who is always like “$*#@&! this thing doesn’t work! You know what I need? A better one!” What can I say, the apple doesn’t fall far from my dad. So, whatever he was getting, I didn’t really have a clue – could’ve been mixing bowls, could’ve been a gift card. Folks, I am not that sneaky Cosmopolitan reader who “leaves out” the ad page for the engagement ring she likes. No, sir. I am the girl whose fiance knew to just bring her to the mall and have her try on stuff before “surprising” her with his own version of exactly that which she tried on and liked best in the store. My man knows what’s up. You could say I’m a hint dropper if it weren’t for the fact that that might require some level of restraint.

But honestly, like I said, we’re Ramen-Noodles-Broke, so what I really halfway expected was a stack of 3×5 cards filled out to look like “coupons” for “favors” like “Washing the dog” or “Sweeping the kitchen floor.” Who came up with that idea, people? The only people who can get by with that should be kids under age 10. Even then, if you’re doing your job as a parent right, your kid should be performing almost all those tasks, on somewhat of a regular basis, just as their penance for furthering your astronomical grocery bill.

“Billy, you need to clean your room.”
“Mom, do you have a coupon for that?”
“No, but I’m the manager here and guess what’s on sale this week?”

Coupons. Bah.

While Jonathan was at work and then out on his lunch hour getting this secret present, I was having…let’s just say, not my favorite day ever. Aside from a great lunch with two friends from church and their ridiculously adorable daughter, nothing seemed to be going right for me today. It started before I even got coffee brewing this morning, when I let Rocky in and she tracked a trail of dark, dirty dog prints all over the light beige carpet in our living room. I mean, for reals, it looked like a bunch of leprechauns went on a mud run and the post race party was at my house. Ridiculous. I used half a bottle of Resolve and quite a bit of elbow grease fixing that one.

Russ is engrossed in teething, so it’s been an all-day endeavor just to keep the poor thing placated. He’s been pretty clingy and doesn’t want to be more than two feet away from me. He also has a reach like Michael Phelps already, so you can’t put anything breakable or edible or – okay, you can’t put anything, period, within about 27 feet of him or he reaches over and grab it. It’s completely insane. He practically tried to pick up the salad bowl at Olive Garden with my church friends and wear it as a hat. For crying out loud, kid. Take a nap.

But there were no naps to be had, even as I drove home from lunch, fishing for my cell phone before realizing that I’d left my purse in the car earlier…with one of those chocolate mints from OG in the front pocket…right beside my phone…in 70+ degree, bright, sunshiny weather. Let’s just say my phone smells absolutely delicious. Now if only I could get those last few smushed, melted bits of mint chocolate out of the ear piece.

By the time Jonathan got home from work, I really didn’t care what else happened today as long as he would help me by holding the baby. It was also around this time that I realized I hadn’t peed in about nine hours. AND that my underwear has been on inside out. All day. Jonathan could see the dejection and defeat spreading across my face.

“I think you need your Mother’s Day surprise early,” he said.

With that, he reached into his computer bag and pulled out the book I’ve been wanting for weeks now – “Bossypants,” by Tina Fey! Yayness!!

“Oh, you have to read the inside cover,” he said. I honestly had no idea why he’d write on the inside cover of the thing, since that makes it hardly marketable on Half.com later, but I glanced inside to see what it said.

Hi Mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day! I can’t write just yet (seeing as I’m only seven months old), so I asked Daddy to help. I wanted to write this extra special note to you since this is an extra special Mother’s Day – your first!

Thank you for being my mommy. Thank you for growing me in your tummy…it was a pretty cool place to hang out, but now that I’m out here with you guys, I think I like this better – especially because I get to spend every day with you.

I know sometimes I can be hard to get along with. I know that it’s tough when I spit my food all over the place and chew on electrical cords and shout at the top of my lungs. I know waking up in the middle of the night or changing poopy diapers or listening to me cry can be a pain. But it’s all okay, because once a year you get presents and Mother’s Day and that makes it all better, right?

I picked out this book all by myself (Daddy helped a little, but not that much) to show you just how much I love you.

I love you, Mommy!

Love, Russ

Screw Mother’s Day. I’ll take today, any day. Even the chocolate under my fingernails (or is that poop? *sniffs*).

Good grief

So, Osama bin Laden is dead.

The news came through late Sunday night, in a 10:30 EST announcement by the President that had a lot of us nervous (before we found out what it was all about). I mean, 10:30 at night isn’t exactly a typical time for the President to go speaking on national television, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Nuclear threat? Impending asteroid impact? Malia is betrothed to Prince Harry? All of these scenarios (plus a few others) crossed my mind before I thought about Osama bin Laden. Let’s face it, the guy was kind of like a bearded, stinky, male, super violent version of Carmen San Diego at this point. I wasn’t exactly expecting him to get knocked off at this late stage of the game.

So, as stated before – OBL is 86’d. Cue the naysayers, the skeptics, and the religious hysteria.

You know, I wish I could take credit for the quote, but alas, I’m just not as cool as Mark Twain. But he won’t said “I never wished a man dead. But I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” I find that a pretty appropriate sentiment for a time like this. But apparently that makes me a terrible, hateful, awful person – at least, according to some.

I’m not sure if folks remember what 9/11 was like, or if they’re just so wrapped up in their own analysis and pronouncement of the world at large that they have lost the power for at least a semi-insightful retrospective.

Let me break it down for those of you who need the refresher:

3,000+ people died that day.
Thousands of families were directly affected.
An entire nation was in complete turmoil after taking a cheap shot from an extremist terrorist organization.
The way we live was drastically and irreparably changed.
A war (or two) resulted.

Does that about cover it? Granted, I could go into much greater detail, but why? I don’t want to relive it anymore than I want to suffer through the tedious and self-righteous biblical scripture quotation that has been so rampant (and often time, so completely taken out of any logical context) over the last few days.

I don’t know where Osama bin Laden is right now, and to be honest, only a very minor, miniscule part of me really gives a crap. I’m over that douchebag, you could say. I read yesterday where someone lamented the fact that (they assumed) OBL was in hell. I actually laughed out loud. The arrogance of it hit me in the face full-force. Christians, I have a question for you – who the heck told us we were qualified to determine who goes to Heaven, who goes to Hell? Do we not have enough to worry about in this world, with our own souls, without having to go projecting our beliefs onto every person we’ve ever met or known of? I just don’t get it. I don’t know where the guy is, and I won’t speculate.

Now, I fully “get” that some folks are deeply bothered by the idea that such a horrible, violent, frightening, vicious person could have just as good a chance of getting into Heaven as anyone else, but folks – better just face the truth. And that is that we are all sinners. We are all imperfect. In the Bible, it is made pretty clear that sin is sin, and that God doesn’t split hairs over it. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t sit and harp about any number of “issues” that other people raise heck over. I’m still trying to get the plank out of my own eye over here, friends.

But anyhow, that’s my $0.02 on the whole thing. Oh, and I really hope and pray that they won’t release any “death photos” of him. I understand that it would give a lot of Americans sitting home, comfortable and warm and safe, a sense of security from a very real threat. But for soldiers and contractors overseas who are actually directly in the line of fire of Al Qaeda, it would only increase the threat to their safety. We can’t be selfish towards them – their families deserve the peace of mind of knowing that gas hasn’t been poured on that fire, figuratively speaking. So, I hope they won’t release photos. Conspiracy theorists will just nitpick those, anyway.