Category Archives: Relationships

When Eric Works From Home

Eric:  tenor.gif

“Hey isn’t this great?”

“We have all day together!”

“What should we do?”

“What’s our plan?”

“Did you eat yet?”

“What are you thinking about?”

“Should we go run some errands?”

“What are you snacking on? Should have a snack?”

“Banana Republic’s having a sale.”

“What are you reading? Send it to me.”

“Maybe I’ll go to the gym.”

“I see you’re eating another Kind bar.”

“I had the weirdest dream last night.”

“Isn’t this nice?”

Me: giphy-1.gif

Guess I’ll Be Handling All the Coming-Of-Age Talks

Eric sits down with Nora, who is playing with her new favorite toy– a box of tampons….IMG_6908.jpeg

Eric: “Hey! Did you find a new toy? You like tampons? You’ll use tampons one day, you know. Dad’s not gonna wanna hear about it. (picks one up, examines wrapper) Look, this one says ‘L’ on it…and this one says ‘R’. Huh, they make different tampons for righties and lefties? Who knew!”

ms-krJVnF.gif

 

Parenthood is Just a Slow Erosion of Your Convictions

Me: “It’s so annoying and dumb when parents use squealing, high-pitched baby talk with their kids. Babies are humans. Just talk to them in a human voice about normal things, for christ’s sake.”

(Discovers that baby-talk makes Nora smile)

Me:


Me: “Babies need to explore and fall and get hurt sometimes. It’s how they learn.”

(Sees Nora crawling toward something dangerous)

Me:th-1.gif


Me: “Talking about babies is boring as hell. I’m not going to be the person who has a kid and only cares about baby things. And I definitely don’t care what other moms do with their kids.”

(Overhears parent talking about a new trend in baby-feeding she’s been trying, and how her baby can now eat without her help.)

Me: giphy-2.gif


Me: “Let’s be honest, babies only need ONE toy. None of this baby-takes-over-the-home-with-her-endless-crap nonsense. My apartment is my zen place.”

(Sees Nora stays occupied when she has a variety of choices)

Me: IMG_6573

      (white-up-pointing-index.pngmy actual apartment right now )


Me: “Under NO circumstances will I listen to other parents talk about their child’s poop.”

(Overhears parent claim she diagnosed her child’s illness by inspecting the color, consistency, and odor change in his poop)

Me: tenor-1.gif


Me: “Above all else, parenting is not a competition. None of this petty bickering bullshit. We are a team.”

(Eric thinks Nora’s crying in her crib because she has a dirty diaper. I say she’s testing us. Eric goes to change her diaper, and there’s nothing. Nora laughs at him.)

Me: told-you-so.gif

(One hour passes)

Me: giphy-downsized-large.gif

(One day passes)

Me: pat.gif

(8 months later)

Me: “Hey remember that time I was right?”

tumblr_plydcyL2mb1w9j4ono6_500.gif

 

 

 

We Named Our Daughter After a Mouse

(Note: This post was written while still pregnant, lest you think I just shot a kid out of my baby-cannon and now have any ability to construct a coherent sentence, much less a mini-memoir.)

Yes, a mouse.

But stay with me. We have a rational reason for doing so. Well, maybe not a rational reason (not sure how anyone can expect me to be rational right now, as I am currently in month 9 of having two vaginas), but a reason that will at least provide some context for my desire to name our child after an animal that most people try to kill with strategically placed snap-traps.

Ten years ago, I suffered a deep, terrifying, paralyzing depression. I’ve written about it and referenced it many times on this blog so I won’t re-hash the details in this post, but needles to say, it was my darkest hour. What I haven’t mentioned before is a somewhat interesting (and now extremely relevant) aspect of this terrible time in my life– my obsession with mouse-kid Noisy Nora.

Yes, I’ll explain (because who? And huh?).

In the months I spent depressed living in my parents’ home at age 26, I was unable to do virtually anything. One day, while robotically eating breakfast and staring blankly at the Honey Nut Cheerios box, my mother put a pencil in my hand and suggested I draw something. Not only did I think this was pointless, as EVERYTHING was pointless, but I thought it was extra ridiculous given that, a mild talent for photography aside, I had never at any point in my life shown any kind of visual-arts ability or interest.

But I had nothing to lose (and nothing to do), so I grabbed the pencil and started drawing what I saw on the cereal box in front of me.

IMG_0630.jpeg

Looking at it now, I think “Not a bad little Cheerios bee!” At the time, however, all I could manage was, “Well this drawing sucks.” Because, you know. Everything sucked. But what I did notice was that for the brief time I was immersed in the sketching process, I wasn’t, for once, writhing in despair and wondering how the minutes of life could possibly be ticking by so slowly. I was able to escape my agony for a short, precious time, and that alone was enough reason to keep drawing.

So I did. Basically, I stuck to sketching images that were on the boxes of the food I was eating:

IMG_0631.jpegIMG_0632.jpegIMG_0634.jpeg

As you can see, I was really into carbs.

Then one day, in a further desperate attempt to pass the interminable minutes, I began sorting through mountains of crap in my parents’ storage room. To my delight (delight is a strong word– I hated everything) I stumbled upon a box of my most beloved childhood books. They were all there: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where the Wild Things Are, Doctor De Soto, The Snowy Day and, finally, at the very bottom of the box– Noisy Nora.

6665307.jpg

GOD how I loved that book as a kid. It’s about a very endearing yet insufferable little mouse-kid who is jealous of the time her parents spend with her siblings, and therefore seeks attention by being a destructive little pain in the ass. I adored her, because I was her. No one could yell, stomp, and slam a door (then open it and re-slam it) for NO GOOD REASON like kid-me (and, ok, teenager-me. Adult-me…).

And for reasons I could not articulate, I suddenly became OBSESSED with drawing Nora. So obsessed, in fact, that I purchased a separate sketch pad solely for Nora drawings, where I could practice sketching her over and over again until I had her every tiny little detail perfected. (Side note: This genius separate-notebook idea backfired, as somewhere in the five times I’ve moved residencies since then, it got misplaced, while my notebook full of meaningless cereal box characters has somehow stood the test of time Face_With_Rolling_Eyes_Emoji_large ).

I sketched these Nora drawings in the privacy of my own bedroom, and kept the special Nora notepad under the bed where no one would find it. Unlike my Cheerios bee and Keebler elves, I was very protective of my Nora sketches and did not want to show them to anyone, even my mother, who was always so delighted and impressed by my cartoon drawings– so impressed, in fact, that she suggested I pursue a career in comic-strip writing (she was pretty desperate to give me purpose. She was also, understandably, drinking a LOT of wine during that time).

Nora was my little secret. I was never really able to articulate or explain to myself why I was so obsessed with her. Sure, I loved the book as a kid, but I loved lots of books and characters and wasn’t obsessing over any of THEM. At the time, the infatuation made no sense. But then again, nothing made sense, so I didn’t spend too much time or energy trying to figure it out.

Eventually, with copious medical interventions and the unwavering support of family and friends, I began to heal in early 2009, and life restarted again. I moved back to NYC, got a teaching job, found my marbles, and was functioning like the human I had forgotten I was capable of being.

And in the process, I let Nora go. Not completely and not forever– after all, she was there with me for those lonely, agonizing months and got me through a truly hopeless time– but now that I was able to participate in life again, the inexplicable obsession subsided and found a cozy spot in the back recesses of my mind, rather than in the fixated forefront.

Fast forward 9 years and I’m pregnant. As soon as we learned we were having a girl, out of (seemingly) nowhere, the name Nora came to my mind. I casually mentioned it to Eric as a name I liked, and he agreed it was nice, but suggested we keep thinking. He liked it but didn’t necessarily LOVE it, and maybe there was something out there we’d both LOVE. That was fine with me– I wasn’t even sure in that moment why I liked it so much, or why it came to me so suddenly, so I agreed to keep thinking. We looked through list after list and flirted with other names, many of which I did really like. But at the end of each day when I put my head to my pillow, I kept coming back to Nora.

And slowly, I began to realize why. Now, bear with me here– I’m not typically a hokey, whimsical or overly-spiritual person. But I am a big believer in things happening for a reason, and I do think “the universe,” however one might define that, plays a role in the direction our lives take. And in that time when I felt I truly had nothing to live for, I feel that maybe, just maybe, the Nora obsession was the universe’s way of saying “Do not give up, Emily. This darkness is temporary, and light awaits. There’s something big coming, and you’re going to want to be around to see it.”

Now I don’t want anyone to interpret this as me thinking that having a child is the only, or the ultimate, thing to live for. It has been 10 years since that depressive episode and my life has been beyond full of reasons to live– from big reasons (family, friends, major accomplishments both personal and professional, fabulous travel, discovery of new talents and interests) to all those little moments that make up a full, meaningful life  (a burst of uncontrolled laughter, hearing Journey’s “Faithfully” and remembering every single lyric to your camp alma mater, a post-run nap in a shaded hammock, the satisfaction of finally killing the pesky fly that’s been occupying your apartment for a week– sorry, that last one just happened like 5 minutes ago and DAMN it felt good! Anyway, we all have our things.)

There are trillions of reasons to live, big and small, but when you’re severely depressed, you can’t access any of them. So I think this Nora obsession, for which I had no explanation at the time, only an intense and seemingly primal NEED to draw her, was the universe desperately trying to shove hope in my face– to tell me that if I could just hold on and get through this time, I would rediscover all the reasons to be here, and come to see that I still have so much important work left to do in this life, including (but certainly not limited to) becoming a mom.

So I kept coming back to the name Nora, and although Eric liked it, he still wasn’t totally sold. I wanted to disclose the reason I was so attached to it, but I also worried he might think I was nuts (not sure why I still occasionally fear this. The guy has witnessed some pretty emotionally ape-shit moments and he’s still here, inexplicably, with bells on). For months, I kept pressing the name on him, with no explanation other than, “I just really like it,” only to get a non-committal, “I like it too, but let’s keep thinking,” in response.

So eventually, on a particularly hormonal day, I explained my reasoning. With tears in my eyes, I cautiously relayed the story of my Noisy Nora fixation, and how in hindsight I think it might have been the universe giving me a reason to hold on.

“Oh,” Eric said. “Well then that’s it. That’s her name. Why didn’t you just tell me that? Of course that’s her name. And now I love it.”

And that is why I married him.

And why we named our daughter after a rodent.

NoisyNora6

Getting Our Ducks in a Row

Last year, while on our annual family vacation in the Outer Banks (moment of silence to mourn the fact that we will be missing this year’s trip, which of course makes us sad but it’s obviously for a very good reason– so my vagina can be torn in half), Eric stumbled upon these two ducks in a novelty store.

DUCKS1

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before (every third post), but Eric loves animals. Obsessed. The obsession is mostly focused on dogs, but he really does not discriminate. Just yesterday I was forced to watch a minutes-long video of a kangaroo on a golf course, sniffing a ball and then slinking away, which elicited a slightly amused chuckle from me, and a maniacal cackle-giggle from Eric, who couldn’t help but repeatedly yell, “I mean, just look at him hop! Look at him! Hoppin’ away like a little hoppin’ machine!”

So he came across these ducks last year and, as you can imagine, absolutely could not in any way control his excitement because a) THEY’RE DUCKS! and b) they happen to have our names. Without even thinking to look at the price tag he grabbed them and declared, “This probably goes without saying, but we need these.”

Now, sometimes I am wiling to be indulgent of this animal addiction, such as last week when I purchased this giraffe toilet paper holder for our bathroom and named it Jaben, after our South African safari guide, for no other reason than I knew it would make Eric smile and think of me with gratitude every time he sits on the pot, which is important in a marriage.

IMG_0529.jpeg

Other times, such as when he purchased this Corgi welcome mat without my knowledge, IMG_0530.jpeg, I threaten to burn the product should it be anywhere in my direct line of sight (rug has since been moved from front door entrance to his side of the bed, halfway tucked under the bed frame. I can technically still see it when I use the bathroom or clean the bedroom (once a year) but placing his feet on that rug first thing every morning makes him so happy that I don’t quite have the heart to burn it, so it stays. For now.)

As for the ducks, I took one look and said, “We really don’t need more clutter in the apartment.” He stared back at me, expression blank, and then, after 30 seconds of careful contemplation, formed his astute counter-argument: “BUT THEY SAY OUR NAMES!”

I was not convinced, and reminded him of the concerted effort we had been putting into de-cluttering our tight living space, already occupied by a ceramic hedgehog, a camel carrying a dowry, three llamas (two from Abu Dhabi and one Peruvian, and may god have mercy on your soul if you can’t tell the difference), four elephant figurines, a life-sized corgi pillow, and the aforementioned corgi mat.

“Ok, ok, you’re right,” he conceded. So I gave him a warm smile and soft kiss on the cheek to show appreciation for his sacrifice, directly after which he walked up to the cashier and purchased both ducks.

So fine. Now we have these ducks.

But ever since bringing them home, something has bothered me about them (like, aside from the fact that we have the world’s most unnecessary wooden birds taking up our tight, NYC living space), and I haven’t been able to place my finger on it. Then yesterday, almost a year after purchase, I finally figured it out:

THEY’RE WEARING THE WRONG NAMES.

Yes, those were the name tags they were wearing in the store, aka the names the artist thought were accurate and appropriate for each duck. But if you look closely, you’ll see this was a classic mix up.

The one wearing the Emily tag is a short, stumpy, spry little yapper. Literally has NO LEGS. Its lips are open, chatting away, likely about something related to a dog walking by or an hours-long, in-depth retell of “the weirdest dream I had last night.” Eyes are open wide with wonder, like it can’t wait to discover what the day will bring– a kangaroo on a golf course? A corgi playing in a puddle? A squirrel having a good scratch? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

This duck is clearly Eric.

Meanwhile, who is this excitable little Eric duck yapping away to, and clearly being tuned out by? (And to be clear, it’s not a purposeful, spiteful tune-out–  this lanky duck is clearly involuntarily stuck in a thought-loop, berating itself for something embarrassing it did 12 years ago and wondering if the gaggle of geese who witnessed the transgression are still talking about it).

That’s right, this long, chicken-leg-limbed yet too-large-footed figure is clearly Emily duck, staring into the abyss, silent, minding its own business and probably confused about something. If you look closely, its dark, beady little shell-shocked eye screams inner panic attack and the stiff, craned neck says “Hi, I am uncomfortable.” This duck is also the color of pee, which more literally represents what I spend half my time needing to do.

So I switched the name tags and now all is right with the world.

IMG_0508.jpeg

Best purchased we* ever made.

*we = really 100% Eric, against my will, but now that I’m amused by them, I will take half credit for their discovery and purchase because MARRIAGE.

 

As Usual, I’m Making New Friends Left and Right

We just moved to a new apartment building last week, and I kid you not, Eric already knows the name of every person who works here, from the 7 different doormen to the maintenance crew to the service entrance security guards. He passes them in the lobby and with a huge, happy-to-know-ya smile, says, “Hey, how’s it goin [insert worker’s first name here, because I sure as shit don’t know it]!”, as he is already everyone’s best friend and probably in some form of fantasy sports league with them, as he was with the doormen in our last building.

Me? I’ve interacted with one person. Unwillingly.

It happened in the gym this morning.

Me: <“exercising,” headphones on OBVIOUSLY, and generally minding my own business>

Guy: “Wow, look at you! You’re ready to pop!”

Me: “Well, not quite yet, but yes, end of August…”

Guy: “And you’re allowed to exercise? That doesn’t seem safe! You’re sure that’s safe?”

Me: “I’m on a back-supported bike made for seniors, cycling at level 1. I think I’ll be ok!”

Guy: “I don’t know, you’re making me nervous…”

Me: “Well, you’re making me uncomfortable, so I guess we’re even.”

Guy: < Silent. Shits self. >

So it’s safe to say Eric and I have comparable social skills.

The unfortunate thing is that I know the guy meant no harm, and yeah, dude, OF COURSE I’m making you nervous. You think this situation doesn’t make ME nervous every time I look in the mirror?!

IMG_0476.jpeg

The fact that I am not straight up face-planting every time I stand is truly defying the laws of physics (I assume. Can’t actually quote any laws of physics.)

But sorry, man, I’m in the home stretch here and the hormones win. Between my rapidly expanding frontal load and a preexisting discomfort with strangers talking to/looking at/being near me, I’m in no mood. If my rascal pouch makes you nervous, that’s fine, but keep it to your damn self.

So yeah I’d say we have about one year in this building before I make so many enemies that it’s simply too uncomfortable to stay. Took me about two years in the old place, but pregnancy is going to speed up this timeline a bit.

But that’s perfectly fine– since college, I’ve established a pattern of living in a place only JUST long enough to serve my needs and then moving out right before EVERYONE writes me off as the unfriendly, awkward weirdo-tenant, and it’s totally worked out for me so far.

Meanwhile, as I type this, Eric is enthusiastically shaking hands and exchanging “good-to-meet-ya!” pleasantries with yet another building occupant.

A corgi.

f9cb963015796a316ad72546a89fa6e9.gif

Shit. We can never move.

 

 

I AM the best

Eric (last night): “Sooo…I know we’re still unpacking, but can I play golf tomorrow morning at 8am?”

Me: “Of course, that’s fine!”

Eric: “…and also at 1pm? My friend just invited me to play at his club.”

Me: “Sure babe, whatever you want!”

Eric: “You’re the best.” (rolls over, goes to sleep with smile on face)

Me: (Opens laptop. Logs golf hours to be paid back in diaper duty, on secret excel sheet created day after taking pregnancy test, to be presented to Eric during labor).

img_1292-1