Adventures with Santa

One of the things I most looked forward to while pregnant was Christmas and all of the traditions I planned on continuing from when I was little, as well as new traditions I wanted to implement for Baby E. I absolutely insisted to hubby that we had to take her for pictures with Santa.

I bought her a fancy Christmas dress and tights. I researched which mall had the best Santa. We got her dressed, packed her up, and headed out only to find massive lines that looked hours long. We tried three separate times on different days at different times and still no luck. I found out that some malls let you make a reservation to minimize the wait time, but you have to prepay for a package and it’s nonrefundable. One thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a mother is that infants are unpredictable and paying for anything in advance is a bad idea.

We decided to give it one last chance at a different mall near hubby’s job. I planned to meet him there in the afternoon. If it didn’t work out, then I would go on my own with the baby first thing on a weekday morning.

She woke up from her nap. I fed her. I asked her to please not poop until we got home. She smiled, which I took as agreement. I ended up having to buy her the same dress in a bigger size because she outgrew the other one in the short time we had it. I dressed her, putting a cloth diaper in between her disposable and her dress, just in case she had a poopsplosion in the car.

Everything was fine as we were driving. I could hear her in the back seat playing with her kitty. All of a sudden it got eerily quiet and for a brief second I thought I was fortunate enough that she had nodded off again. My excitement was short-lived, however, when I heard the first tell-tale grunt of a pooping baby. Not long after those brief strains did I hear the explosion of poop and I knew immediately that her outfit was ruined. And to add insult to injury we were stopped in traffic and the car was slowly filling with the stink of dirty diaper.

When we got to the mall, I had to take her out of her car seat and assess the damage in the car. I ended up having to strip her naked in the Macy’s parking lot and essentially bathe her with baby wipes. She had poop all the way up her back, on her legs, on her stomach, everywhere. Her white tights were ruined. The cloth diaper took the brunt of the damage, but her pretty dress was a close second. Luckily I had brought a backup dress with me, although it wasn’t nearly as festive.

Clean and dressed, we made our way to Santa and hubby. Luckily there were only about 5 families in line ahead of us. We waited about 15 minutes and then I had to hand her over to a stranger – what a bizarre feeling. I stood behind the photographer and called her name and waved and tried to get her to smile. Hubby tried the same on the other side. No luck. She refused to smile, but she didn’t cry either, so I’m calling it a win.

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I’m a Woman AND I Can Shovel Snow!

Who woulda thought, right?

We got a dumping of snow the other day — about 12 inches — and I still had to go into work because obviously my job is super important and it is necessary that I physically be in the office even though I could have worked safely from the comfort of home in my jammies (it’s nice I’m not bitter about it). When I got there, my boss commented that he hoped my husband was the one who shoveled us out. I wrinkled my nose at him and said that we both did it and that I am perfectly capable of shoveling a little snow.

Only last month, during our Secret Santa/Yankee Swap afternoon at the office, one of the gifts that was unwrapped was a power drill and my colleague got very upset and announced that she thought we were supposed to buy unisex gifts only. Someone replied that girls can use power tools, too, and she retorted that she didn’t because she “has a husband for that.” She wasn’t joking or trying to be cute, you guys. She was completely serious and offended that someone chose to include an item that was so obviously unusable by women. It was at that moment that I made it my life’s mission to win that drill simply to prove a point.

I was raised by parents who did not believe in gender stereotypes. My mother would frequently rant about the issues of “girls’ toys” and “boys’ toys” and how there was no such thing. If a little girl wanted to play with a truck, then that truck was a girls’ toy. If a little boy played with a doll, then it was a boys’ toy. I still get a little worked up whenever I visit the Toys ‘R’ Us website and see the categories broken into Girls and Boys. I was an only child and I was given a variety of not only toys, but chores as well. I did the dishes. I helped saw the stump off the Christmas tree. I dusted. I BBQed when we went camping. I vacuumed. I emptied the garbage.

My husband and I have an equal partnership: all of the work is shared 50/50 regardless of whether the task is traditionally performed by a man or a woman. Hubby does the laundry, so do I (in fact, he is the one who taught me how!). I wash the dishes, so does he. He mows the lawn, I usually injure myself with the weed whacker, but I have been known to get bored with that and ask to mow for a little while. I can’t imagine a marriage where I was expected to do certain things just because of my gender, nor where I expected certain things of my husband just because he is a man. (I realize every marriage is different and this is just what works for us.)

Although I could have gone home with a heated neck massager, or that nifty little Ninja food chopper, I instead chose to steal the power drill from my boss and defend it to the death just to prove that girls can like things that are “meant” for boys.

Victory:

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ETA: I had lunch with my coworker yesterday and The Drill Incident came up. She said she was surprised I wanted it because it had been stated several times that the gifts should be unisex and she really felt like a tool was more for a man. She asked what I thought and I tried to be very respectful. I told her that I didn’t think so, that I have received tools as gifts, and that I think they can be for men or women. I said that I use tools at home all the time. She thought for a moment and then told me, “I guess you’re right. I guess I just see men using them more so I never thought about it that way.” So, way to go Erin for jumping to conclusions and trying to prove a point that didn’t necessarily need proving. Now I kind of feel like an ass. 

Don’t Think About Pink Elephants

I realized this morning when I opened Facebook that it’s Veterans’ Day, which means it’s November 11, which means that three years ago today is when my mom was rushed to the hospital. As soon as I realized this, I told myself not to think about it. I did pretty well all morning, but the afternoon went downhill quickly. The more I tried NOT to think about it, the more I couldn’t STOP. It’s not that I want to remember this day, in fact I would prefer to have no memory of it whatsoever, but those horrific images still pop into my head against my will.

I went to Target after work to pick up a few things (which of course turned into $152 worth of things, as is common with that store and all it’s wonderful goodies), and I saw the Christmas display. I knew I should avoid it. The little voice inside my head told me to ignore it and go check out. I didn’t listen. I wandered over, almost in slow motion, the whole time knowing that it was a bad idea. I picked up a penguin mug and started to get emotional, so I choked back the tears and hurried out of the store.

I got in the car and turned the radio up to almost full volume, hoping that would drown out the awful memories. It didn’t work. I cried the whole way home. And rather than deal with my emotions in a healthy way like a normal well-adjusted adult, I instead proceeded to eat them in the form of miniature croissants, leftover Halloween candy, and various cookies. And now, rather than drone on and on about the same old things – because what good does it do, really? – I will go on trying to ignore the pink elephant and pretend that everything is fine and I am happy and not dreading the next two months of festive merriment.