Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When The Real Work Begins

I have been a parent for about 10 months and the only thing consistent is that it is always changing. Not that this is always a bad thing, but your child goes from staying put and spitting up everywhere to keeping their lunch down and getting into literally everything they are not supposed to. You give one struggle for another, always. This has me wondering about when he gets older and the parenting becomes more difficult than reading Dr. Seuss & keeping them from electricuting themselves. I wonder about the lessons his father and I will teach him and the beliefs and values we hold as a family.

Alan and I share the same belief about God and organized religion: we prefer the former, thank you very much. We don't go to church or read the bible. My family stopped going to church after a devastating situation with one of the pastors. Alan stopped going because he just did not believe it. I can remember searching myself, reading the bible and practically anything involving religion to find a belief. I felt lost as a teenager, searching for a faith or at least someone that understood my concerns involving most organized religions.

For instance, we are told over and over again that God's love is unconditonal, yet this is a fallacy. We must be constantly repenting for our sins, lest be banished to the firey gates of Hell. There are conditions to experiencing God's love in the afterlife, according to most monotheistic religions. I'm already going to hell for fornication, poisioning my body, tattooing my body, having a child out of wedlock... man the list goes on! I talked down to my parents, for crying out loud, something wholly unforgivable. Isn't eating meat on a Friday during Lent a hell-worthy tresspass? I just get so confused as to which parts to take in and which parts to discard.

I want to tell Connor that he is going to wonderful place after death, regardless of how he's lived his life. Life is all about experience. He is going to be a good person, I do not need to scare him with stories of a hoofed beast to get him to be a better man. I want him to believe in God. I do. I fully believe there is a higher power, greater than ourselves that helped us get here. It's not a man or a woman or even any sort of human. I read a book once called ''Conversations With God'' by Neale Donald Walsch. It changed my life. Whether or not Walsch actually communicated with a higher power is irrelevant once you delve into the theories this book has to offer. We are all merely souls in human bodies, searching and experiencing to figure out Who We Are.

If he wants to go to church to learn about the bible and religion, we will take him. If he wants to say he doesn't believe in a higher power, that's his business, I just want him to be a good person. I want him to believe that good things done bring good things in. That doesn't begin with ink and paper, that begins with our family and the foundation we lay for him. There is always room for bettering, after all... isn't that what this journey is all about??

Monday, July 30, 2012

Receipe for A Better Life

Whenever I mention the fact that for the first 4 months my son ate baby food, I was the one making it, women are always shocked and always say the same thing: ''That must have been time consuming!'' Recently, I spoke to an older woman in Target about this subject. She was buying food for her grandbaby and sparked a conversation by asking which kind my son liked the best. (This happened about a week ago & Connor has since refused any type of baby food) I explained about my making his food for the first few months and she, as if on que, mentions how time consuming it must be and if I bought a Baby Bullet.

Why is this the first question people ask me? To me, making my child's food seemed like the obvious way to go: it would be cheaper, it really doesn't take up too much time and best of all, I know exactly what he is eating. I can remember passing baby food jars and seeing them separate and looking just plain unappealing. So I would just cook and puree fruits and vegetables with an $18 personal smoothie blender from Wal-Mart. It was literally effortless and I felt like a super mom with my fridge full of organic goodness for my son.

So many things are wrong with our bodies, so many diseases are because of our poor diet. I know I am not perfect, I love carbs and fast food hamburgers, but I do try to be conscious and healthy, especially now that my son is refusing to allow me to feed him. I must be vigilant about the food my family consumes. Millions of people claim that autism rates are on the rise because of the vaccinations in early childhood, yet some experts claims it begins in urtero. Pregnant women are notorious for their need for food and in modern day society, a working pregnant woman would hardly have a problem with a quick stop to pick up dinner for the family, rather than stay on her feet.

In my vow of increasing healthiness, we ate baked lemon pepper chicken, black beans, spinach salad, steamed carrots & grapes for dinner last night. It felt good to know that I was eating for fuel rather than gluttony. Tonight, we are having chicken stir fry with brown rice. Making positive changes can only bring out positive experiences! It is often difficult for me to heed my own advice, and the road to absolute health is going to be a long and rugged journey. Yet in the end, after all the hills and valleys, knowing my son will reach for an apple over a bag of chips when he's older will make me feel great.

So people judge me sometimes. Tell me I am overprotective. Tell me that I am a ''food Nazi,'' strategically crafting each morsel that enters my son's mouth. To me, this definitely is not the case. I do not feel as though I am losing hair over what my son ingests, although I am aware of what I purchase and put in front of him. He has had tastes of ice cream and french fries, but his meals are avocado and chicken, spaghetti with organic, grass-fed beef. Many times, his meals are vegetarian and those are usually vegan, as well, though he does enjoy the occasional grilled cheese sandwich.

Kids have to be kids. My son is going to eat ice cream and candy and he is going to eat fast food (hopefully not for a long while!) and drink soda. Can I help how much of this he gets? Hell yes I can and one of the most important choices I feel a parent can make is what their child ingests. Really, what kind of child do you want? I hear everyone say ''Well I turned out just fine!'' Well, you know what? I have no clue how I am not 500 pounds. I am a carb-addicted salt fiend who developed a sweet tooth after pregnancy. I want my son to crave good food. I want my family to be healthy and thriving and playing sports in the front yard rather than watching television all day. The best part about this dream is that I can make it a reality. And I'm halfway there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pop Grudge

There are few artists I find as repulsive as Lady Gaga. Not musically, though some of her songs are bland and lifeless, others I really do enjoy. I mostly mean as an artist in general. Every other part of her except the part where she sings and helps write music. I find her to be desperate for individuality and attention from the media. It is almost as if she is trying to display herself as some sort of higher being we mortals must struggle to understand. I find it tired and frankly, pathetic.

Her latest publicity stunt is really one of the worst. Upon the release of her perfume, Fame, Lady Gaga stated that it contained blood and semen. I imagine that smelling something like Kevin Spacey's basement. Let's not forget the time she couldn't remember the lie she told and wound up telling different stories of how long she was in that stupid ass egg. We all know you didn't spend 3 days in the egg, Gaga, you didn't poop in there.

This is where music went... to idolizing morons in meat dresses. Remember when Gwen Stefani was the hottest chick in rock music? She was real, down to earth. She sang songs about wanting babies and missing her Middle Eastern ex-boyfriend. I guess I'm beginning to sound like my mother, ''your generation doesn't know what music is!'' I miss instruments other than a synthesizer. Sometimes I feel like hip-hop and indie are the only genres that have remained the same. Pop music just isn't what it used to be. Have you ever read the lyrics to ''Raise Your Glass'' by Pink? By far the most asinine thing I have ever read and that song was in the Billboard Top 40. Maybe it's because I grew up in the 90s, but I just do not understand listening to music if you have to be high on E to enjoy it.

My college history professor  always said it takes 50 years for an event to become history. Until then, they are current events. 50 years from now, the world is going to call this the Gray Age... nothing is new or inspiring. The movies are all remakes or sequels, the music is vapid, and the government actually thinks the best way to gain money is to cut the spending on education. Listen to music with sustanence, watch an artsy movie and read a damn book. I am terrified my son will become unambitious in skinny jeans. I would rather him listen to death metal, at least he will be interested in musical instruments, not getting with the right producer.

Monday, July 23, 2012


''She put on happiness like a loose dress / Over pain I'll never know''

The are few things in the world that impact humans the way music does. From birth, we are predisposed to crave music and harmony. I can remember hearing mewithoutYou for the first time during my freshman year of high school. The songs were grungy and acidic, off of their very first LP, which sounded as if it had been recorded in a basement. I loved it. Who were they?

They're a Christian band from Philidelphia. They were the antithesis of everything else I liked, and were by far more talented. The band's singer/songwriter, Aaron Weiss, had a way with words I deeply loved and envied. Their first EP, [A--->B] = Life, was what really got me. Weiss' lyrics are painfully personal and his raw delivery only compliments the intimacy. As a listener, I became connected with Weiss, transfixed by his shameless acknowledgement of his virginity and inner thoughts. ''No use in saying how I'm sorry, so I'm trying not to speak'' We had a relationship, my thoughts and his beautiful words. While he spoke in biblical rhymes, things I am wholly unfamiliar with, I saw beauty every time I heard his music. Gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh.

Sometimes it's not enough for me to just feel. I have to make the feelings tangible, to create an atmosphere for them all. If you want to know what it feels like to live in slow motion, go for a night drive, one of those nights when the air is electric, roll down the windows and play their first album from start to finish. Magnificent.

For The Sake of Sanity

There are few things in the world as terrifying as becoming a new mom. A lifetime of responsibilities placed on your shoulders only minutes after the most traumatic experience any human can have. It's baffling to me why women didn't just come together and say, ''we have the ability to bring life into the world, we're all awesome!'' No. No, women are caddy, so there are Breastfeeding Nazis and crunchy mamas who laugh in your face for doing what you feel is the right thing and vaccinating your child. Women are vicious. Some women will openly bash you for using formula, and at the same time, their child goes from breast to chili cheese fries. Veggies are best, too, Mom.

It is frustrating. Who are we to judge? I attempted to breastfeed my son. Two days after we left the hospital, he went 24 hours without pooping and had ulric acid in his diaper, which is a terrifying experience, consider the acid from his dehydrated urine turned red when mixed with the gel of the diaper, resembling blood. I broke down and fed formula until my milk came in the next day. That third day, however, we were returning to the hospital for a jaundice test. His lack of nutrition from the past days had skyrocketted his jaundice levels and we were in the hospital for the weekend. When my milk came in, I tried vigoriously to get my son to latch. My sister-in-law had one had on my breast and one on his head, my mother-in-law showed me how to stimulate milk production. The nurse was telling me breastfeeding, not breast milk from a bottle, was the only way.

I cried and cried trying to get him to latch. Finally, I said screw it. I pumped every 2-3 hours (5 hours at night) for almost 4 months. My pump had broken and so had my pocketbook. I was not working and my boyfriend was working part time. We tried vigoriously for 2 days to get him to latch, though of course, by now it was almost impossible. He pulled off after a few seconds, upset and annoyed it wasn't coming out fast enough. I cried for those 2 days, feeling guilty for giving in.

Now? Now I know better. Now I know I did the best that I could and next time, I will try again and do everything I can to breastfeed, just like I did this time. I did the best that I could for my son, and I will be damned if I let a woman talk down to me for using formula. Breast is best, but things happen that you will never, ever be able to control. This isn't the middle ages, there aren't a bevy of wet nurses available for hire. Now Connor is beyond happy and thriving. He has such a quirky personality and I love watching him bloom. Do I still get a twinge of sadness while preparing his bottle? Not even the slightest. I feel happy. I feel blessed that I was able to give my son what I did give him, and blessed we live in a age where I could feed him regardless of my production or his funky upper lip.

So maybe we should all just realize that shit happens that no one can control. New moms need support, not judgment and guilt. Especially when she may already be feeling that way about her newly inadequte body. For the sake of every new mom's sanity, let's celebrate the fact we accomplished a great feat, instead of hating the fact that we don't all do things the same.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Survivng The First Seven Days

It's been ten days since Alan, Connor & I have moved away from our familiar desert to begin our new lives here in the city. The differences are unexpected. Connor is much happier with carpet, Alan is much happier with a shorter drive, and I am enjoying the house and Target.

Leaving my mother was no easy task. Connor loves his Oma, his face lighting up so bright every time he sees her. I'll miss eating tuna or Pie for The People and watching The Real Housewives. Yet I know I am a soul which seeks change. I can remember being little & wanting to move, not realize how lucky my family was to own their own home. After my parents got divorced, my mother & I moved almost every year until I finally left home at age 17.

Since then, the Hi-Desert has been the place I've resided the longest, though I have lived in 5 different houses in the 5 years I resided there. It's never easy to leave, never easy to get started in a new place, but change blossoms creativity and inspiration. I am a happier person with change, finding the joy around me sparkling that is normally so demure due to my pessimistic attitude. As much as I will forever cherish those silhouettes of Joshua trees amongst the vibrant, rose-hued sky, my family needed change and progression. The desert is not progress, it's where you begin or end your life.

They say life is like a play -- Act I & Act II. Act I is wild, you make mistakes, you blow money frivolously, stay drunk for three days straight... Then there is a nine month interval, and Act II begins with a bang.

Here's to my Act II