Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some of the Great Truths of Parenthood...

...as I have learned so far...

*If you give a child a small cup of juice and tell them they can have more when they finish what they have, they won't drink it. They'll exclaim that they're a big boy/girl and demand that you fill the cup. When you cave and pour more in the cup, they will spill EVERY SINGLE DROP on the kitchen or dining room floor you just washed.

*You no longer have any qualms about using the lavatory with an audience. In fact, when you go to a restaurant and lock the stall behind you, it seems odd to take care of your business in peace.

*At some point, you will wake up with a child's face 4 cm from your own and their eyes will be staring at you so intensely that you will recoil in fear.

*It doesn't phase you one bit when a crayon goes through the washing machine and the bits of the wrapper are all over the clothes; it only pisses you off if the crayon isn't discovered before the clothes go into the dryer.

*Once you finally figure out exactly what your child will and will not eat, they will change the lists, without cc'ing you on the memo so you haven't a clue until you've made something that is now on the "I ain't eating that" list.

*There will come a time when you're so desperate to get your errands done that it doesn't matter that your child is dressed in a princess/super hero costume and is carrying a magic wand/thermo-nuclear powered bad guy zapper. You will get your errands done but you'll get stared at...a lot.

*Once in a while, letting a child eat a cupcake for dinner is perfectly acceptable...especially if your mental health/stability depends on it.

*Loud noises don't get you worked up anymore, and blood only gets you upset if it comes from an injury that can be classified as a "gusher." If it is a gusher, then go get a paper towel, some cold water, a few adhesive bandages (the child will invariably find a few other injured body parts that will desperately need bandaging, like a paper cut from 3 weeks prior), anti-bacterial ointment and a few cookies. Give the child the cookies to eat so they'll stop screaming so loudly that they can be heard 3 states away. You can probably figure out what to do with the rest of the stuff, right?

*Once you have a child, you start praying more. Here's an example: O, Dear Lord, In Heaven, please make this child stop screaming and go to sleep before I shove a steak knife in each ear.

In all seriousness, I love my daughter with every cell in my body. I know I was supposed to have that child at that particular point in time. She is funny, smart, sassy as all hell, thoughtful, a bit shy at times, and a good sleeper for the most part (thank heavens!). There are times when she makes me absolutely batty but then she says something that will make me laugh out loud.

This is parenthood.

You have to be able to shift priorities in a nanosecond. You have to pick your battles wisely. You have to be vigilant about the lessons and values you want to instill in your children. You need to know when to leave a child to their tantrum. You need to pass on the little tidbits of information/knowledge to other parents. You need to be able to not sweat the small stuff.

And it also helps if you have a well-developed sense of humor and if you hide your breakables.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard

So, I leaped into the 21st century 2 weeks ago (which is new and exciting for me, since I usually leap in the Century 21 department store) and joined Facebook. I have this gang of girlfriends who all goofed around on myspace so I made a page and then they all jumped to Facebook. Look, I'm a single mom who works full-time, how many of these social networking sites do I need? Apparently, just one more.

So I set up a Facebook page and OMG!! I'm reconnecting with people I went to summer camp, to junior high school with, people I worked with. It's truly amazing.

I chatted with the boy I sat next to in 7th grade homeroom, sent emails to my summer sister, and saw pictures of grown-ups who look an awful lot like the kids of my childhood.

I even reconnected with my first best friend; M and I met the first day of first grade and remained friends for 20 or so years. We dried one another's tears, helped heal broken hearts, discovered the joys of make-up and hair mousse, ate french fries AND onion rings from Roll N'Roaster and laughed our asses off so many times I don't think they can be counted using modern technology.

So we decided to get together with coffee and M invited a few others. G, who I was always friends with too, S, who I met through M and who actually was in my bridal party and J, who is an old boyfriend of mine...and an old boyfriend of M too.

S & J couldn't make it, but G and I went to M's and assumed the position....we gathered around the kitchen table, cups filled with hot caffeinated nectar mixed to our own specifications, and started talking...and talking...and talking. I swear, the last 10 years melted away. M is married with 2 kids and G is in a long-term relationship. We talked about men (ok, boys), finances, friendships, freaks we no longer hang out, my divorce, G's hesitation re: her relationship...and about 84,000 other things too.

Then the doorbell rang. M was babysitting for 4 kids and we just guessed it was one set of parents or the other. But lo and behold, in walks Jason! I haven't seen him in about 10 or 12 years. We went out for about 6 months in '94 and when we broke up, we actually remained friendly.

So, when Jason walks into a room, the party gets kicked up a notch. Within 5 minutes, I was laughing so hard I was honking, I couldn't catch my breath and yet another whole slew of memories were emerging (does anyone know exactly how many are in a slew? I need to know when one slew is complete so another one can get started). He's married and said that his wife would love me. She's got to be made of pretty strong stock to be married to Jason so I think I'll love her too.

M's husband kinda moved in and out of the room, sometimes listening, sometimes not, just kind of absorbing all that was being said.

It's not the the significant others don't matter, they absolutely do. But we were a group before there were significantly significant others. We had a friendship in place for years and years. M and G saw me through a whole mess of crap I'd rather forget. J knows some of my secrets too. I know I'm safe with this gang. I can be myself and not be judged.

I get all this and people who know how I take my coffee...man, I'm one lucky girl, dontcha think?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What is Beauty?

Anyone who knows the real Laura knows I am a cosmetics whore. I stroll the make-up aisles of drugstores, Macy's and Sephora as if the mother-ship was calling me home. I love trying new formulas, colors and brands.

I wasn't always like this. There was a time in high school when I was scraping the bottom of the tube of Cappuccino Chrome lipstick, trying to get yet one more application out of it. The color was discontinued and I was devastated. HOW COULD THEY? It was the one color that I absolutely adored and then POOF!! it was gone...

Since then, I never got attached to any one lipstick. Matte Fresco, Amande Sucre and I had a 3 year threesome before Lancome shitcanned those shades too.

My beauty routines have waxed and waned over the years.

The summer after I finished junior high school, Mom decreed that I was allowed to wear make-up every day, but never black eyeliner or red lipstick (technically speaking, I still don't have permission to wear black liner or red lipstick, but I always was a rebel!!). My make-up consisted of light blue frosted liner and frosted lavender eye shadow with lipstick that was a shade of pink that I don't think occurs in nature. Thank God I was a little camera shy in those days so there aren't many photographic images of that weird look.

But I was a sleep-away camp girl so I spent 2 solid summer months in t-shirts, ratty cut-offs and sweat socks with holes in the toes. My sneakers were a experiment in mold and mildew (how I never got athlete's foot I'll never know) and I always wore my hair in a pony-tail with a Mack Trucks baseball hat on backwards. If it was cool at night, I threw on a flannel shirt. That was the uniform. The only time it ever wavered was the year I switched from Reeboks to Nikes. Truth be told, I haven't worn a pair of Reeboks since the summer of '85.

Once the school year started, I started primping again. Styling my long feathered hair with a half a can of Aqua Net (that hole in the ozone layer can be attributed to the female residents of Brooklyn in the 1980's) and carefully applying coat after coat of mascara to "Tarantula Eyes" perfection.

When I started college, I was in classes with girls from the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Russia, Brazil and about 50 or 60 other exotic distant lands. My manufactured Brooklyn look seemed so...so manufactured...so Brooklyn. I started wearing clothes that were way out of my comfort zone...like long flowing sundresses and short skirts with black tights with cowboy boots.

Once I got my first real office job, my routine changed again. I wore "classic, sheer" make-up and tailored suits. Yawn...so boring. I wore sheer, matte eye shadow with brown eyeliner and sheer nude lipstick. My mascara was always thick, but I gave up the Tarantula Eyes thing. When I got married in 1998, I wore this same make-up palette, but with slightly darker shades. I looked beautiful, classic...that's what I was aiming for so I guess that's not a bad thing.

Then, I had a baby. Talk about having your simple structured life being thrown for a loop. I went weeks without make-up, even mascara...GASP!! My priorities shifted and my morning routine shifted too. No more spending 15 or 20 minutes beautifying one's self. There were diapers to change, formula to mix, walks to take.

When FRU was 13 months old, I returned to work and she went to day care. I vowed to keep things simple: I would pack the diaper bag/lunch without rushing, I'd lay out our clothes the night before and I would find 10 minutes to consume my 1st cup of coffee sitting down like a normal person (by the way, what makes a person normal? I don't know a single normal person, so I'm not sure exactly what I should be striving for).

Anyway, before I knew it, my morning routine got a little complex, mostly as a result of the debut of about 6 new mascaras, all with different brushes for different effects. Again, I was getting signals from the mother ship that this was the only way to beautify. Pile on the mascara coats and hope it doesn't rain or that I don't walk past a television showing the final scene in Beaches. If either one of those things happens, that mascara was going to form 2 black barcode-like images on my cheeks.

Then I discovered cream eye shadow, shadow primer, Bare Escentuals foundation, Mac Viva Glam V lipstick...and my routine got infinitely more complicated. I was spending almost 40 minutes applying make-up. At a certain point, I had to look at myself in the eye and remind my reflection that I'm not a 70's country & western music star and to put down the applicator brushes and step away from the mirror.

I'm pleased to announce that I listened to myself, for the most part.

Now, my usual routine is an extensive cleansing (I still break out in cystic acne, YEAH...I'm 38 years old, when the hell is that shit gonna stop!), mineral foundation, a little blush, liner and mascara...I just can't give the stuff up. I have blond lashes that need all the help they can get...at least that's what I keep telling myself.