Tag Archives: anxiety

Where DO They Go?

Me: “I think I’ve been a pretty reasonable parent so far. I just really want to avoid being the parent who cares TOO much– who hovers and obsesses and worries about every little thing her child does. But I definitely catch myself acting that way sometimes, so I fear I’m totally becoming that parent.”

Therapist: “You said you have a nanny part-time. Do you find it hard to relinquish control when the nanny comes to take care of Nora?”

Me: “Oh my god, NO. I count the seconds til she gets there and it’s an immediate hand off, as if we’re in a baton relay.”

Therapist: “Ok. And are Nora and the nanny always in sight when you’re home?”

Me: “What? No! The nanny immediately takes her out of the apartment.”

Therapist: “And where do they go?”

Me: “I have no idea.”

Therapist (10 second silence): “Yeah I don’t think you’re that parent who cares too much.”

Me: url

Therapist: “You might want to ask the nanny where they go.”

 

 

That IS Fair

My therapist and I discuss the experience of depressive episodes now that I’m a mom.

Me: “I’ve only experienced one depressive episode since having Nora, and luckily it was brief, but I’d say it was still miserable, just with a different twist. Like I always feel an immense amount of guilt when I’m depressed, but this time the guilt was mom-focused. I wasn’t able to really engage with Nora in the same way, and that made me feel like a terrible mother.”

Therapist: “When you say you couldn’t engage, what do you mean?”

Me: “Well like for example, she was just starting to roll over for the first time, and I couldn’t really connect with the experience in the way I wanted to. Like she was doing it and I was there witnessing it, but I just wasn’t…interested.”

Therapist: “Well, to be fair– that’s not interesting.”

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Waiting For Godot

Therapist: “So you haven’t really been blogging?”

Me: “No, not much since Nora was born.”

Therapist: “Well, it’s worth remembering that writing and blogging is your emotional and creative outlet. So that might explain why you’re feeling a bit stuck right now.”

Me: “Yeah. I know. I guess I’m just kind of waiting.”

Therapist: “Waiting for what?”

Me: “Like…waiting to feel like myself again. My normal self. Waiting to get my old groove back after having had a kid.”

Therapist: “I see….”

Me: url

(10 second silence)

Therapist: “That won’t happen until you die, you know.”

 

Nora Left Eye Lopes

To preface (because I love a good long-winded preface), the purpose of this post is two-fold.

1. To express and work through the emotions and anxiety I have as a new mom processing and managing her child’s medical issue. Even if you feel these emotions are insanely out of proportion to the issue, they are MY emotions AND I’M ALLOWED TO HAVE THEM, GOD DAMNIT. (Ching! That’s the sound of my therapist earning the $500000000000000000000000000+ my family has paid her over the past 12 years). Plus, writing about my anxiety always helps to relieve it. And sometimes, it even helps someone else going through something similar– bonus! imgres

2. People have already noticed and asked about the issue, because it is physical and perceptible. It doesn’t bother me that people ask (meh, not totally accurate– depends who it is. Friend? Fine. Guy in elevator? Fuck off.), but I want to use this platform to educate, inform, and perhaps just not have to repeat myself and explain the situation to everyone I know in the future (because saying things in person is hard and I hate it). Generally though, I feel it’s always best just to put things out there rather than have people wonder about it or make assumptions.

I know, that was only the preface and you’re already exhausted. I’m sorry. Not all my posts fit on twitter.

Here we go.


 

In the first few days after Nora was born, she did not open her right eye. At all.

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Eric and I thought this was a bit bizarre, but also recognized that she had just been through a trauma of epic proportions (ask Eric what it’s like to watch a C-section– his face goes pale and he makes multiple references to the movie Alien). So we tried not to obsess. But when the pediatrician checked her over in the hospital on Day 2, we made a point to ask about it.

Us: “So, is it weird that she hasn’t opened this eye at all?”

Pediatrician: “Nope. Totally normal. Don’t worry– she does have an eyeball under there. I checked.”

We all had a good chuckle and I tried not to interpret her remark as slightly condescending. The concern, clearly, was not about a missing eyeball (mainly because it didn’t occur to me that that was even a thing. IS that a thing?!) The concern was about her ability to open the eye. But we were assured that newborns often take days to open both eyes (which, to be fair, is true), and she was fine. So we joked that she was just giving us the stink eye for having so brutally evicted her from her cozy uterus-home, nicknamed her “One Eyed Willie,” and tried to call it a day.

But internally*, I obsessed.

(*in this context, “internally” means saying things out loud to Eric every 2-6 seconds for weeks on end.)

I knew something was off. I think they refer to this as “mother’s intuition,” and maybe there was a bit of that going on, but I believe it was really more just a product of my textbook anxious-paranoid-obsessive-compulsive tortured existence personality.

At her 3-week pediatrician appointment I brought it up again. At this point, the right eye was opening, but not nearly as wide as the left. Unfortunately, the doctor could not really assess this, as Nora slept though the entire appointment, ignoring any and all attempts to wake her. She had no problem laying there, unclothed and comatose in a freezing cold room, snoozing soundly. Like this, but stark naked:

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Clearly my kid.

So at her 8 week appointment, I brought it up once again. This time Nora decided to be awake, probably because we stupidly booked the appointment for 6pm, in the midst of her witching hour. Rookie new parent mistake. She was pissed and tired and hungry and glaring at me with “wtf Ma!?” face.

But the plus side was that the doctor was able to get a good look at her (murderous) eyes.

And she didn’t love what she saw.

“At this point, I’d expect to see both eyes opening to the same degree.”

I wanted to shout I KNEW FROM DAY 1 THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG, DICK! But instead I smiled politely and said “Mmm hmm,” because society.

She referred us to a pediatric ophthalmologist, who confirmed a diagnosis of Congenital Ptosis (the p is silent, FYI. We learned that the hard way). Ptosis is a fancy way of saying “droopy eyelid.” Without getting too technical (I have warned you all repeatedly that this is NOT a medical blog, and most of my info comes from Wikipedia, what I’m able to decipher of my frantically-jotted doctor’s appointment notes, and what I heard from “someone I know who knows someone”)– in congenital ptosis, babies are born with a damaged levator muscle, the one that is in charge of lifting the eyelid. Unfortunately, since the muscle is damaged (not simply “underdeveloped”), there is not much that can be done to strengthen it and improve the droop– treatment is instead focused on maintaining vision in the affected eye. In severe ptosis, the eyelid covers the pupil and restricts a child’s vision, which can lead to all kinds of eye problems such as lazy eye, astigmatism, or amblyopia (google it. Or don’t. I don’t care, I just don’t want to get too medically complex here. I like to think this blog is a safe space where people don’t have to learn/think too much). When that is the case, surgery is recommended ASAP to prevent these conditions from developing.

Luckily, for now, Nora’s case seems to be fairly mild (fingers crossed– we’ll know more after her appointment next week). Her lid does not cover her pupil unless she is extremely tired, so thus far, her vision seems fine and is developing normally. We will have regular checkups with the ophthalmologist to ensure that this remains the case, and if anywhere down the line her vision becomes affected, we will do the (very routine, relatively simple, and not too invasive) surgery. Otherwise, surgery is a future option simply for cosmetic reasons. Yes, Forrest Whittaker (thank you, “celebrities with ptosis” google search) has rocked his droopy eye all the way to the bank, but the droop life isn’t necessarily for everyone. Depending on how it looks when she’s a toddler, we will consider the surgery just to even things out and not have to worry about the vision aspect anymore.

I know what you’re thinking (no I don’t, but I know what the critical voices inside my head are thinking, so I’ll go ahead and address those relentless bastards)– cosmetic surgery for a toddler?! But let’s call a fig a fig**, people– kids can be cruel. The world can be cruel. I’m totally cool with Nora’s eye looking a little wonky. Maybe even she’d be cool with it (likely, as at zero years old, she’s already showing signs of being a way cooler person than I am). But other kids, and society in general, might not be cool about it. There are going to be a million challenges in this world that Nora will have to overcome, and I will be unable to control most of them (*takes deep breath, pops Prozac*). But if this is one hardship that we as parents can help alleviate, and we can prevent a lifetime of her having to explain her face (that no, she’s not tired, or sick, or skeptical, or giving the stink eye), then damnit we’re probably going to step in and do something.

Plus, Nora comes from a long line of cosmetically-enhanced women (three generations of nose jobs, praise be 🙌  ). I wouldn’t want her to feel left out.

Let me also assure you that, droop or no droop, vision issue or 20/20, I think my daughter is the height of amazingness. She is adorable, beautiful, sweet and already showing all the signs of being extremely social, happy, smart, strong, and even funny (those first slew of adjectives are all Eric, but I’m claiming the sense of humor and taking it to my grave). Her endearing personality is emerging more and more each day, and it’s incredible to watch. She is my everything, and I couldn’t possibly love her more or be more unabashedly obsessed with her (my instagram deserves a rating of 5 vomit emojis. I wasted no time becoming that mom). To use a trite phrase that I can now appreciate, she truly is perfect in my eyes (but check with me again when she’s 13 and calling me a bitch).

So in the meantime, we are putting an eyepatch on her for 30 minutes a day to ensure she uses the affected eye, and that her vision remains intact.

Clearly, this is where the nickname “Nora Left Eye Lopes” comes in– and if you don’t get that TLC reference, then may god have mercy on your un-pop-cultured soul (or maybe you’re just too young to get, in which case, fuck you). We bought some cute, stylish patches to rock, attempted to find a Lisa Left Eye Lopes Halloween costume that wasn’t slutty (doesn’t exist) and for now, as the ophthalmologist instructed, we are just “keeping an eye on it– no pun intended!”

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I’ve been asked if ptosis is something Nora will “outgrow.” The short answer is no. The muscle is damaged, and it will never work properly without surgery. However, some babies with congenital ptosis “grow into it,” in that the droop becomes less noticeable as they get older, their features grow, and they learn some compensation strategies (such as lifting their eyebrow to raise the lid– which Nora already does (below), and it’s amazing because it creates this “Are you fucking serious?” look on her face that makes me laugh every time):

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Although the raised eyebrow in THIS photo is more specifically “Are you fucking serious with this headband, Ma?”. Ugh, I don’t know Nora, I was trying a thing.

Now I also just want to take a moment to acknowledge that I am extremely aware of the fact that Nora’s ptosis is, in the grand scheme of things, a minor issue to have. Please know that I know this. Please don’t remind me that things could be a million times worse. I am well aware, and my heart aches for parents having to deal with far more terrifying and complex medical issues. Ptosis is diagnosable, and there is a pretty straightforward protocol for treatment. It is not at all life-threatening (assuming it’s not the symptom of a more serious neurological issue, which it appears not to be), and, as long as we continue to monitor it, it likely won’t ever affect her growth and development (HARD knock on wood). We are very lucky. Beyond lucky.

But when any kind of issue arises with your kid– well, it’s scary. Really fucking scary. To pretend otherwise, and to say that I immediately recognized (or have even now fully recognized) this is not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things, would be, I think, disingenuous to the experience of parenting (and to the general experience of being human, I would venture to say). Plus, I’m new at this. Nora was barely in the world for an hour before I noticed something was off. There’s no handbook for this shit. There’s no way to stop your mind from going to the deepest depths of worst-case scenarios– what if it stunts her vision? What if it’s a symptom of a more serious, underlying illness? Or what if it IS just cosmetic, but causes kids to pick on her? Laugh at her? Call her horribly mean names? (This last one, I suppose, is not REALLY a concern, as Nora will wear a hidden camera at all times throughout her entire life, which I will monitor, and should any kid even LOOK at her funny, I will kill them.)

No no, relax guys, I’m kidding.

Eric will kill them.

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So how did Nora develop congenital ptosis? Well, the doctors say it’s just something that happens sometimes. No real reason.

But I blame myself. Obviously. Because hi 👋 .

Slowly, I am starting to accept the medical (non)explanation, and my therapist’s insistence that nothing I did during pregnancy caused this, but I still can’t fully shake the crippling fear and guilt that this is somehow my fault. Here’s a list of questions I asked myself in the wake of Nora’s diagnosis:

  1. Did this happen because I was depressed during my first trimester of pregnancy?
  2. Did this happen because I took meds for the nausea, even though they were approved by my doctor?
  3. Did this happen because I worked out too much, even though I was assured it was safe, and even healthy?
  4. Did this happen because I ate that funky cheese from the farmer’s market before knowing I wasn’t supposed to eat funky cheese?
  5. Did this happen because I complained so much during pregnancy?
  6. Did this happen because I was mean to my mom in high school?
  7. Did this happen because I once stole an avocado from Whole Foods?

As you can see, the guilt has become increasingly irrational.

My intellectual side (mostly) knows this is not my fault, but my heart aches at the nagging, persistent thought that my actions might have caused this.  The mere idea of my daughter having to face any kind of hardship makes me want to just crawl up and die– to think I might have caused that hardship makes me want to die even faster and more violently.

But apparently, that’s motherhood. It’s incredible and beautiful, but it’s tortured. This is the first challenge Nora has faced, and it won’t be her last. This one may or may not be my fault, but I’m sure future ones will be. This time I might be able to step in and minimize the effects, but that will not continue to be the case as she grows older.

There will be a time when I look away for a second and she falls flat on her face. There will be a time when I can’t make it to her event, and she feels neglected. There will be a time when she discovers this blog and, mortified, hires a lawyer to request emancipation. There will be a time when she is a young adult, telling her therapist how I am the root of all her problems (and referencing printed-out excerpts of this blog as evidence). It’s the circle of Jewish life.

In the meantime, like all moms, I’m just doing the best I can not to fuck it all up. I’m accepting (gulp) that I can’t control it all. I’m managing my anxiety and working through my guilt. And in the meantime, I’m doing everything I can to ensure Nora knows that Mom will steadfastly love and support her throughout her life, through any and all challenges she might face.

Will it be enough?

We’ll see.

(Get it? Ptosis? We’ll SEE? Ugh I hate myself.)

No I can’t end this on a bad pun. Here, this instead:

 


(** I recently learned that my go-to expression, “Let’s call a spade a spade” has racist undertones. I was clearly blissfully unaware of this, but am nevertheless horrified that I was walking around spewing this expression left and right. Unfortunately, I have yet to come up with a good replacement expression. “Let’s call a corgi a corgi,” is Eric-approved, but I’m not sure it has universal appeal. Some quick research led me to the discovery that the original expression was actually “Let’s call a fig a fig.” So that’s my temporary fill in. It’s not great, but it’s not racist, so priorities. Feel free to use it. #themoreyouknow)

When You Die

Therapist: “I know you’re overwhelmed and it’s a lot of change. But having a kid is the absolute best lesson in learning how to let go of control. You’ve had many opportunities for this lesson in the past, and it’s always been scary at first but beneficial in the end.”

Me: “Right. Well, I guess with those lessons, there was always kind of an end point. I feel like this time there is no end. Like the second I become ok and comfortable with something, she’s going to change.”

Therapist: “Correct. The lesson is ongoing. It ends when you die.”

Me: url.jpg

Therapist: url.jpg

Me: img_7086-2

Therapist: “K so here’s your August invoice! See you next week!”

 

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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“Someone Assaulted My Pregnant Wife!”*

*nope.

So here’s what actually happened.

Last week, I got into the elevator on the first floor, with 3 other adults and a 4-year-old kid. We all pressed our floors. Then the elevator stopped on floor 2, and a woman with a huge laundry cart got on. Fine, that’s allowed. But I would like to note that she entered the elevator somewhat aggressively, and essentially backed me into the far corner without so much as an “excuse me.” Technically still her right, but objectively pretty cunty.

Then, something strange happened with the elevator. When the woman got on at floor 2, all the floors we had previously pressed became unlit. So the woman, let’s call her Nasty McDouchecanoe, who was now standing directly in front of the buttons, barked, “Ok everyone just tell me their floors and I’ll hit them.” So, everyone did. Someone said 17, another said 20, another said 25, and I said 28.

She proceeded to hit floors 17, 20, 21 (presumably for herself), 25 and did not hit my request of 28.

So, thinking she simply didn’t hear me over the demons and firemonsters dancing in her head, I leaned forward from the time-out corner she had shoved me into, and attempted to press my floor.

When she saw my hand coming from behind and reaching for the buttons, she pushed it away, back towards my body, and hissed, “Back off, you can wait!”

Not knowing wtf was going on but assuming this woman was legit insane, I calmly said “Ok…” went back to my time-out, and stood there in silence. The elevator proceded to rise and go to everyone’s floor except mine, as she had not pressed my button nor was she permitting me to press it for myself, because apparently when I stepped into this elevator I had entered Gilead.

Everyone was silent and not really sure how to react, particularly with the 4-year-old kid there. A couple people looked at me, but mostly with sympathy, rather than what I wanted, which was either a gigantic “What an asshat!” eye roll or a punch to this woman’s vagina.

When the elevator stopped at 21, Nasty McDouchecanoe got off, and, over her shoulder, spat, “See, you still have plenty of time to get to 28.”

The doors closed and I was left in the elevator with one other woman. I calmly hit 28, now that I was back in the free world and allowed to do so, and took a deep breath. The woman looked at me awkwardly and said, “When is your due date? You look fantastic!”

She clearly felt sorry for me.

Again, not what I wanted– I would have preferred this woman save her compliment and instead put that energy toward tripping Nasty McDouche on her way out, but fine. At least she was being humane. I smiled, told her I was due in a month, and thanked her for her kind words. Then she got off on 25.

The bizarre incident was officially over and I had survived it with no real harm done, so what did I do once I was alone in the elevator?

I sobbed like a pregnant little bitch.

Yes, clearly hormones were at play here, but still– the amount and decibel of sobbing was batshit. I had clearly caught an insanity bug from Nasty McD, and there was simply no controlling the extreme emotional reaction I was having to what, in hindsight, was a pretty fucking minor event.

I tremble-sobbed my way into my apartment, and, once confined to the safety of my hibernation station, immediately texted Eric the following:

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Hey, here’s a tip! Don’t tell your husband that someone slapped you if no one slapped you.

Clearly I was distraught and wasn’t thinking through my words. Yes, this woman had pretty much “slapped my hand away” from the buttons, but if we’re going to get VERY literal about what happened, there was no actual SLAP. She pushed it away. Not gently, mind you. But nobody got slapped.

Too late.

Eric sent a series of concerned texts and then, when I didn’t answer fast enough (because the mucus-tears were dripping down my screen and preventing touch-typing, as somehow Apple has not yet developed the technology to keep up with my nervous breakdowns), he called.

I was still hysterical choke-sobbing, because sure. I told him the whole story between blowing snot into copious napkins, ending with “and then she slapped my hand away from the buttons and told me to back off.”

Again, that word “slapped.” Not QUITE in line with what happened. But then again, neither was my shitnado reaction.

Eric calmly said, “Ok, I’m calling management, and I’m coming home,” then hung up and did exactly that.

To be clear, this is NOT what I wanted.

I tried to text him to tell him to PLEASE not report this to our building’s management company, but it was too late.  He told me he reported it, that they were horrified, and that they were going to review the security tapes, find out who it was, and handle it.

I wanted to die.

Me: “Eric, seriously, I really don’t want management involved. This is getting blown out of proportion.”

Eric: “SOMEONE ASSAULTED MY PREGNANT WIFE!”

I closed my eyes, took a deep, snot-filled breath and PRAYED this was not the wording he used when he spoke to management, while at the same time fully recognizing that if he DID use those words, it was 100% justified and totally my fault because I literally relayed the information to him in the same way Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds a press conference.

Which is to say I lied.

Not intentionally, like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but more inadvertently, because I don’t do words good, like Sean Spicer.

Regardless, semantics matter.

And unfortunately, when speaking, I’m not always so on-point. When writing, and given time to edit and revise, I can be fairly articulate, but even then I end up with phrases such as Nasty McDouchecanoe and words that aren’t words, like “cunty.”

Once Eric got home (because yes, he left work at 2pm to tend to a wife who got her feelings hurt, as he is a saint of epic proportions), I was a bit calmer (still crying a few more whimper-tears though, because I’m an adult with 2 masters degrees and my own business). I was able to explain to him what ACTUALLY happened versus what he was probably imagining happened based on my extremely shitty initial relaying of the story.

I then made Eric, god bless his definitely-regretting-marrying-me soul, call back the head of management (who is basically the nicest person on the planet, and who I will now forever have to avoid due to crippling embarrassment) and explain that no one is claiming assault of a pregnant woman. Yes, Nasty McD pushed my hand away. Yes, she prevented me from pressing the button to my floor, which I just kind of took for granted as my basic human right. Yes, she was extremely rude and yes, the incident clearly upset me and made me and everyone in the elevator extremely uncomfortable, but no, Mr. Management, we are not thinking of pressing charges or calling the cops and oh jesus christ what is happening and how is this my life?!

Mr. Management thanked us for clarifying (and luckily we were able to do so BEFORE he grabbed a tub of popcorn and reviewed the security tape, as he for sure would have laugh-choked once he viewed “the assault”). He also said that while it was not a crime per se, it was still an upsetting and unacceptable incident that should not have occurred. Therefore, the woman would be contacted and gently warned that her behavior had been reported and viewed on security footage, that what occured is not in line with the neighborly atmosphere they like to cultivate in their residencies, and to please consider this the next time she is interacting with her neighbors in the communal living spaces.

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So remember that post where I said I somehow manage to make enemies in every building I occupy? Well, add Nasty McD to the enemy list. Also mark this as #920183098219839382195 on my list of reasons why I am scared to leave the apartment or interact with humans in general.

But whatever, this woman was a huge asshole for NO reason, and a part of me is not sorry that there will be some kind of small consequence for her behavior (although let’s be honest, this woman is not going to give a FUCK when she gets that call from management…or, alternatively, she is outside my door right now with a shotgun.)

But yeah, overall, I definitely feel like that annoying Kindergartener who runs and tattles to the teacher instead of using her words to defend herself.

But let the record show: I did NOT want to run and tattle to management like a whiny little 5-year-old pussy.

I wanted to run and tattle to my husband like a giant 36-year-old pussy.

And that, I think we can all agree, was accomplished with accuracy.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Things Should Be Called What They Are, Part 1

So I actually have two stories that fall into the “Things Should Be Called What They Are” category but I will post the second one at a later date because I’ve learned that when one post gets too long, you people don’t read it, even if I’ve done my damnedest to keep it entertaining throughout.

But fine, you guys are lazy and busy. I get it. I don’t read stuff either. Because Instagram! And texting! And staring at walls blankly whilst in the grips of crippling anxiety!

Anyway a few months ago I was working on my baby registry with my sister, when I noticed something was missing from her list of newborn essentials.

“I’m no expert, but doesn’t the baby need, like, clothes?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she answered, “But Mom will get you all those things when she takes you for the layette.”

“Oh, ok, cool,” I said. And then, the second she left the room, I googled, “What the fuck is a layette?” because seriously WHAT THE FUCK IS A LAYETTE.

I’ll tell you what the fuck a layette is– it’s buying stuff.

That’s it.

There is absolutely no reason for it to have a name other than “we’re going to go to a store and buy some shit the baby can wear for a few months so she’s not always naked and so your neighbors don’t call the police.” I guess referring to it as a “layette” makes it sound fancy and whimsical, but I personally found it unnecessarily confusing and, for lack of a better word, dumb. And to be honest, it caused me a bit of anxiety, like there must be something wrong with me and it must say something about what kind of mother I’m going to be if I don’t even know what a layette is. Which I know is crazy and totally over-analyzing but hi have we met?

But ok. Layette. Free stuff! 52a0e87bb80b3b54af4cff0f2a2266bb (for me. Stupidly expensive for my parents.shrug_1f937)

So I gave my belly a gentle pat and whispered, “Don’t worry baby girl, I’ll have this shit all figured out by the time you get here,” which was obviously a lie but luckily she knows zero things.

My mom and I went to Lesters on the Upper East Side, where you make an appointment to have a person walk you through what you’ll “need” (in quotes because we all know the only thing newborns NEED are diapers and a boob). Having already done this with my sister, my mom warned me that the saleslady was going to be pushy and try to get us to buy a bunch of unnecessary crapola, so let’s just be as practical as possible. This is easy enough for me– I am generally the queen of practical. What amused me is that my mom was giving me this warning, as when it comes to buying stuff she is about as practical as she is speedy (that’s funnier if you know her and have ever tried to walk alongside her. It’s literally impossible to stay at her snail’s pace if you have more than one working leg.)

So we’re halfway through the layette, and I’m being a total Practical Patty and turning down the more ridiculous items being presented (“Oh, that’s something I throw over my shoulder that she’s going to repeatedly barf on? It’s literal purpose is barf collection? Yeah I’ll take the plain, cheap rags then and forgo the patterened organza and no I don’t need it embroidered because WHAT IS HAPPENING”).

Mom was also totally behaving herself, aside from a few absurd comments such as suggesting that this onesie I picked out was “really more for a boy”:

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Me: “Why do you say that, dare I ask?”

Mom: “Well, the animals at the bottom. They’re boy animals.”

To be clear– these. She meant these:

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I nodded and tried not to be disturbed by the fact that my mom lives in a world where a girl can’t possibly sport a monkey in a bee t-shirt riding a polka-dotted crocodile, and quietly placed it in the “definitely buying this with your money” pile.

Mom was also confused by my excitement over this get-up, also found in the boys section (because as we all know, fruit is gender-specific), but honestly what is NOT exciting about YAWNING BANANAS HAVING A HEARTY MORNING STRETCH?!!

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If you can’t appreciate a sleepy banana waking up to greet the day then your soul is dead and I’m sorry.

But my favorite part, in terms of Mom reminding ME to be practical, was when the saleslady presented us with baby’s “going home from the hospital” outfit choices. That’s fine, I can get on board with purachsing something cute and special for this moment, but I drew the line when she tried to pair it with a $75 matching blanket.

Me: “Oh, I really don’t need the blanket. I already have some blankets.”

Lady: “Yes, but this one MATCHES the outfit.”

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Mom: “Yeah, it’s cute, I like how it matches. Look how cute that is.”

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Mom: “Why don’t you just get it?”

Me (confused, thinking the plan was to be practical seeing as though SHE TOLD ME THE PLAN WAS TO BE PRACTICAL): “Because, again, I have blankets. Plenty of blankets. And it will be August.”

Saleslady: “But what about for a picture? It’s nice to have a matching blanket and take a nice picture.”

Mom: “Yeah, for a picture, it’ll be cute if it matches. You can put her on the blanket in the matching outfit.”

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I did not get the blanket.

And personally, I feel my mom owes me $75.

But all that minor nonsense aside, the layette was a surprisingly pleasant expereince. I say “surprisingly” because generally I hate shopping and making decisions and being overwhelmed and doing stuff that isn’t on my couch.

But I totally recommend it for all you first time moms out there. Let me be clear, though– I’m not recommending “doing a layette,” I’m recommending what it truly is: “getting some shit for your newborn and letting someone else pay for it.”

I guess “layette” looks better on the Lester’s signage.

P.S. Thanks again Mom I lovvvvvveeeee youuuuuuuu!!!!!!! 2c469354-bcfa-488f-bd41-a860f9f87e38-596-0000001613c064d72c469354-bcfa-488f-bd41-a860f9f87e38-596-0000001613c064d72c469354-bcfa-488f-bd41-a860f9f87e38-596-0000001613c064d7img_8546-5