Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Advice for Parents...

Traveling 24 hours to another country (Thailand in this case) with two children under five is not recommended unless you are:

a. Not morally opposed to tranquilizing small children.
b. Insane
c. Self-loathing

I would say that traveling internationally with a one-year-old and a 3 1/2-year-old is akin to repeatedly hitting yourself over the head with a sledgehammer.

Our trip to Thailand this time around included two stops (usually one) -- the first in New York City and the second in Tokyo. The tickets were courtesy of one extremely generous father-in-law. But, I will be the first to say...never again. Never again will I stop twice with two small children on the way to a country on the other side of the world. The trip was more like 36 hours instead of 24.

Hell on earth.

I would compare hour 21 in Tokyo to a really, really, really bad acid trip. Small Japanese women running around with overly-friendly smiles and really red lips...haze of sleeplessness...feet swollen from being stationary for hours... two zombie children first whining in fast-forward and then in slow motion..three carry-on bags that seemed to be growing heavier with each stop until I was convinced my name was Sysyphus and I would never be freed from pushing that goddamn boulder up that hill over and over and over again...the feeling that I wanted to punch that guy (also known as my husband) sitting next to me for no reason at all...

On top of it, we had a two-hour delay in Tokyo that put us in Bangkok at sometime around 2 a.m.

We made it though. And, I am still relatively sane.

But wait...it's not over yet. We still have jetlag.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One is the Loneliest Number...

I can't believe I forgot the candles.

Our baby had his first birthday today and was forced to pretend-blow out (not that he can blow out anything at this point) a Christmas candle. Yes, years from now, Jack will look back at pictures from his first birthday and see his mom standing with his cake on one side and his dad with a short, fat, candy cane-striped candle (with sparkles, no less) on the other.

He'll be laying on his therapist's couch recounting that moment as the moment he knew he was...The Second Kid.

We had lots of pretty legit excuses. We're preparing for a month-long trip to Thailand, holidays winding down, dog passing away, et cetera, et cetera.

But, as I wallow in this pool of mommy guilt, I remember tirelessly and meticulously planning all three of Marley's birthdays. We're talking catered food, drink, homemade food, traveling circus acts (live animals), life-size drawings of her favorite Dragon Tales characters, a homemade beanbag toss made out a huge drawing of, again, her favorite Dragon Tales characters, arts-and-crafts stations...I could go on. I did all of this while running my own business. So, it's not like we haven't been busy all along.

That magical second kid, though...it's not like you get doubly busy. It's like you get quadruply busy. Yes, quadruply. And, your cute little Mommy Brain forgetfulness turns into full-blown I'm-a-moron-and-I-would-forget-to-wipe-my-ass-if-it-wasn't-for-the-toilet-paper-roll-next-to-the-seat idiocy.

Still, that is no excuse for the low-rent Christmas candle for your baby's first birthday.

And, as I sit here beating myself up for the Great Birthday Candle Debacle of '09, I am reminded of a story about a friend-of-a-friend. This guy, who shall remain nameless, was on a group vacation one summer in Connecticut. One night the friends ended up in a rather intense and heated game of Scattergories. The guy was on a team with his girlfriend who was,allegedly, giving sub-par clues. In his increasing frustration with her going-nowhere-fast Scattergories skills, his eyes began to bulge, his face turned beet red, and what started off as slight perspiration on his forehead became angry beads of sweat trickling down the sides of his face.

Before he, or anyone else, knew what was happening, he had screamed out at the top of his lungs(we're talking like a strong gust of wind blowing her hair back) in his girlfriend's face: "TRYYYYY HAAAAARDER!!!!!"

I can't remember how the story ends. Does she dump him right there? Does she try harder? Do they go on to win? The real point is this: I am here to say to you, Jack, that I too will try harder.

Let this first birthday not be indicative of birthdays to come. You will not only have candles, but you will have my birthday blood, sweat and tears...just like your sister.

Happy birthday, my boy.