The Department of Ongoing…

I've decided that when I don't have a fitting photo, I'll post a holiday card outtake. In this one, you can see the yellow pants pver which LL and I had a fight. I didn't want her to wear them, because they didn't match the dress and they were covered with chocolate ice cream. So she put them on herself. Take that, mama. Then she was being surly as we tried to take the photo, so we put on the Thomas theme song to cheer her up. But every time we did so, she leaped up as if to say, "This is my jam!" and began dancing wildly around the room.

I’ve decided that when I don’t have a fitting photo, I’ll post a holiday card outtake. In this one, you can see the yellow pants over which LL and I had a fight. I didn’t want her to wear them because they didn’t match the dress and they were covered with chocolate ice cream. So she put them on herself. Take that, mama. Then she was being surly as we tried to take the photo, so we put on the Thomas theme song to cheer her up. But every time we did so, she leaped up as if to say, “This is my jam!” and began dancing wildly around the room.

Efforts: Go read my second book review at Postmodyrn, please. It’s about Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions (Thanks to a dear reader for the suggestion!). A funny, wise memoir about the first year of parenting.

And in ongoing Sagas (in this case, of me and the double stroller): The weather today was luminous, and I decided to pick Das Big Boy up from school on foot. So Little Liebchen and I walked the two miles there in increasingly chilly weather. I got to have a moment of smugsbyness as several parents praised my efforts. Then the skies opened up and no one thought I was so clever anymore and everyone felt bad for me. Thankfully my neighbor was there to pick up her (incredibly kind and lovely) children, and had an umbrella to lend me. And I laughed at myself for pretending it was a good idea to do stuff on foot.

Fortunately, it dried out. And then I ran into not one, but two friends on the way home (also both on foot). So it turns out it was a good idea after all. So there! Smugsbyness regained!


Egads!

“Egads!” said Das Big Boy after deliberately tumbling from his chair after dinner this evening. As in, “Egads,” said Hipster Hausfrau, “I’m so tired that I almost fell asleep with my head on the table during said dinner.”

This nightly blogging isn’t a joke. And I haven’t even been at it a month. If it were four years ago, Das Big Boy still wouldn’t have hit three pounds by this point.

So it seems you’re getting another post for posting’s sake. But here is a movie I made of LL drinking bubbly water. So that’s something.

Sweet dreams, sweet ballerinas.


A Little Mess

Herr Husband is finally home and I want to laze about on my couch and eat Indian food. I’m also in the midst of a battle over the hall light with Das Big Boy. I told him if he got out of bed again, it was going off for the night. He did. And it did. And now we’re enjoying a symphony of whining. So I don’t really want to blog.

But I will share the before and after photos of my car.

Before. What shall be referred to as the chimpanzee era.

Before. What shall be referred to as the chimpanzee era.

The chimps moved out, but they left a mess (this is the cleaning I accomplished myself).

The chimps moved out, but they left a mess (this is the cleaning I accomplished myself).

After the pros cleaned it out.

After the pros cleaned it out.

The pros were Gray Brothers Auto Detailing in Newton. For $23, they vacuumed the car, cleaned the interior surfaces, and washed the interior windows. Money well spent! Preschool drop-off shame be gone!

Oh, except for the part where I dropped and broke a glass bottle of milk right outside the preschool playground while I was supposed to be watching a friend’s son (in addition to my own kids) before school. Add that to the fact that Little Liebchen was sporting a forehead band-aid (Dowl ban-ay (aka, Doll band aid, by which she means Frozen) from an earlier tumble on pavement, and I’m quite sure the mom was wondering why she had entrusted her child to me, and in fact why the universe had entrusted me with my own kids. It was one of those moments where I was feeling like a bad-ass  who could manage everything and do favors for people and then was reminded that I’m not always so awesome at handling my life.

So preschool drop-off shame, don’t go too far…

To be honest, I’m not actually ashamed. I made these two, and I’m doing ok enough at the rest of it:

Awwwww...

Awwwww…


Dating Yourself

Here I am trying to make my usual smug face in a text photo for Herr Husband, but I'm so relaxed from the massage that I look high (NB: that is my first glass of wine featured prominently).

Here I am trying to make my usual smug face in a text photo for Herr Husband, but I’m so relaxed from the massage that I look high (NB: that is my first glass of wine featured prominently). Also featured prominently, the salad. I was trying to make myself look responsible.

I’m dating myself. Not in the way in which I make myself look old in front of the babysitter by talking about Thanksgiving pep rallies, but in the way in which I take myself on a date.

And it’s fucking awesome.

I’ve always loved dining in restaurants alone. A book, yummy food, wine, people watching and weird chit chat with strangers. It’s a joy I associate with travel, but something one can do anywhere, even in her hometown.

So yeah. Herr Husband is traveling for work all weekend, and our fantastic babysitter was available tonight. So I decided to take myself out.

I had a ninety minute massage. (Courtney at Lotus is a goddess. She has that sixth sense where she finds all your tension and presses it out of you. See her now. But not while I’m seeing her.)

Then I took myself out to dinner. I first fell in love with dining alone when I lived with a Spanish family in college. I was a newly minted vegetarian, and some nights their garden salad efforts at feeding my weird palate (Estás segura que no quieres probar el cordero?”) just weren’t cutting it. So I would fake a study group and sneak off to the restaurant around the corner with my book and postcards on which to write deeply philosophical and revelatory notes to my high school boyfriend. The restauranteurs found my requests for gazpacho increasingly odd as autumn wore on, but they humored me with their deliciously cold soup and their cozy Rioja and left me to my my late-adolescent musings. The last time I remember dining solo was on a research trip to Germany shortly before I got pregnant with Das Big Boy. And once again, that combination of a book, wine, food, and writing materials was just perfect as I tried to trace my grandmother’s footsteps all over Berlin.

But once you have kids, it’s hard to mark out time to dine alone. I wouldn’t choose it over a date with Herr Husband, because we get so few of those. And when I do ditch him (or when he ditches me) it’s usually for friends. So I’ve inadvertently abandoned one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

I also ate this.

I also ate this.

No more. Tonight it was the wonderful Farmhouse for Montepulciano, kale salad, and cheese plate. And make a note of it people, it is possible to experience Euro-style solo dining fun in suburbia. I walked to dinner. I had a glass of wine paid for by a stranger: a fellow mom (of older kids) whom I’d just met who clearly appreciated my efforts at me-time. [Shout out and big thanks to Charlotte!]. And I ate yummy food including dessert and coffee. I read my book, The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe, because yes, I adore the charming #1 Ladies Detective Agency novels. I thought thoughts and remembered memories and breathed and relaxed and smiled to myself about my sweet family. I chatted with the bartender about his impending baby. I walked home and bumped into my neighbor the life coach and enjoyed his friendly if unsolicited advice. My (amazing) babysitter said all was well. My children slept.

Life was good.

That's NOT my first glass of wine. And I've gotten better at looking smug again.

That’s NOT my first glass of wine. And I’ve gotten better at looking smug again.

So here it is, people. I’m not going to make November 7 international date yourself day, if for no other reason than it would make getting a babysitter really fucking hard. But I insist you all date yourselves. We parents talk about me time but I don’t think we’re good at it. We come home and the kids are awake and we’re right back in the thick of it. We choose to go out with friends or our partners because we don’t get enough time with them as it is. But I insist. Go out by yourself. Dining alone is the best, but if you’re too shy, just go get a cup of coffee alone. Take yourself out. You’ll find you’re excellent company (and if you’re not, I do know a life coach you can call…).


Under My Hat

Hi, Gang!

Adorable snuggling. That's why you read Hipster Hausfrau.

Adorable snuggling. That’s why you read Hipster Hausfrau.

Big news from over here at Hipster Hausfrau. I have a new writing gig! I’m doing book reviews for a new new-mom website. It’s called postmodyrn, and it’s for mothers in the “fourth trimester,” or the first six months of their babies’ lives.

My first review is a recommendation, really, of one of my all-time favorite books: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It’s not a mom book, per se, but I’d say it’s about the task of becoming more fully human, which is something new moms are figuring out how to do in a new way.

So check out my review (Please! I promise it’s fun). And check out the rest of postmodyrn, too. It’s a great site, with lots of fun content on life, health, design, and style. Share it with any new moms that you know! It’s smart and helpful and stylish and not at all didactic. (Meaning you’ll have to keep coming here for smugsbyness about extended breastfeeding).

More about postmodyrn, from postmodyrn:

A lot (by which we mean most) of the messaging around the first few months postpartum revolves around a small number of themes: weight loss, depression, and “getting back” — back into your skinny jeans, back to work, back in the groove.  But we at postmodyrn don’t want to talk about getting back!  We believe that having a baby is the start of something new, and we would much rather focus on who you are becoming than who you were: a person who is moving forward in the world with a changed perspective, new priorities and passions and fears, and so much possibility.  We believe in embracing, or at least accepting, the reality of parenthood, in all its majesty (the love!) and mundacity (the spit-up!).

Hope you enjoy!


Big Win

Remember the craft fair I mentioned in yesterday’s post? Well, I won something at the silent auction. And it was an actual win, because I got the prize for less than market rate.

Das Big Boy and Herr Husband on our impromptu bowling date today. DBB has excellent aim, but his speed seems to defy the laws of physics. It's an incredibly long wait for his ball to get to the pins. But he got two nines and a 10 (three throws candlepin) today, and he was SO excited! It was adorable.

Das Big Boy and Herr Husband on our impromptu bowling date today. DBB has excellent aim, but his speed seems to defy the laws of physics. It’s an incredibly long wait for his ball to get to the pins. But he got two nines and a 10 (three throws candlepin), and he was SO excited! It was adorable.

Here is our imaginary conversation (you’re in italics; I’m in regular print):

What could it be?

What does Hipster Hausfrau need?  I ask you, indulging yet again in that annoying habit of catechizing you and referring to myself in the third person. I do this to my poor children all the time.

Wine? You posit, demonstrating your in-depth knowledge of me.

No, like really need. I always have wine.

A bit of time to herself, maybe with a massage?

Yes, actually. I do. Please mention that to Herr Husband. But that’s not what I won.

To organize her life?

Ding ding ding!

Yes! I won two hours of professional organizational services! People might wonder how it’s so hard for a stay at home mom to keep her house in order. I’m going to steal a line from Rocky: “I’m busy raising people!” And it’s true. That’s my focus. So some days I have a really clean house and most days I don’t, and then there are places like my desk and my pantry which are always terrifying. But I have a million schools and appointments and meetings and errands and play dates to run to, and when I’m home with my kids I like to do projects and play and read. My house has endless laundry (as problematic when it’s clean and waiting to be put away as it is when it’s dirty), dishes galore, and lots of papers to manage. And I’ve always sucked at organization. I was the kid in elementary school whose teachers would finally give up and dump her desk to make her clean it. And we’d always find like four disgusting old sandwiches in there.

Also, I’ve just realized that I should be embarrassed at preschool drop-off, not because of my outfits, but because my car looks like chimpanzees are squatting in it.

Wait, you’re saying, if you don’t know me that well, I thought you were a hipster HAUSFRAU? And you’re right. I do make that claim. But in a sassy ironic way that means I’m a mom and I cook decent food (when I feel like it) and I grocery shop and manage all of our lives, but if you’ve come to this blog looking for tips on home organization, I think you might be as shit-out-of-luck as the folks who come here looking for pictures of women doing unmentionable things with vacuum cleaners.

Another photo from yesterday's day of bliss, intended to demonstrate the cuteness that is LL and distract you from the mess of my house.

Another photo from yesterday’s day of bliss, intended to demonstrate the cuteness that is LL and distract you from the mess of my house.

So anyway: I’ve only got two hours with the organizing lady. Where should I target the assistance? There’s the pantry. There’s the wine glass/kids’ craft supplies storage cabinet (yes, those items currently cohabitate). There are the toys in the kitchen. Then there’s my closet, and the top of my bureau which is littered with costume jewelry and random crap. My desk is scary, but I feel I have to do that myself because it’s a lot of papers, many of which can likely be thrown out, but some of which are essential to that book I’m supposed to be writing.

What would you do if you had minimal physical organizational skills–it should be noted that I am excellent at time management and scheduling–and two hours of a pro helping you? I’d love for her to develop some systems I could keep up, but our expectations of my abilities should be extremely low.

Please note something amusing: years ago when I was a teacher, I was an organizational tutor for a high school student. Much of this work involved helping her manage her time, but I once helped her develop a new organizational system for her bedroom. My mother thought this was the funniest thing ever. So I guess I’m a professional organizer, too. But unlike the one whose services I have won, I am not a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). In fact, I’m pretty sure if I tried to join there would be massive protests. Like sit-ins, with everyone in their own neatly aligned storage bin. Does anyone know anyone in NAPO? I want to go to his or her house. And squat in it. Except they’d notice me right away (unlike the chimps in my car, who could go undetected for months).

I’m not posting pictures of my mess because I fear your judgement. And I can’t post a picture of my outfit because it’s the same one I wore yesterday (you were warned). So you got kid pix instead. Lucky you.


Apastalypse Now

You guys, Herr Husband cleaned our pantry tonight (with an assist from me–seriously. I was the one who found the copy of Are You My Mother? that I’d had to buy from the library because it was lost.). Anyway, he found–no lie–thirty-two boxes of pasta (opened and unopened). Apologies to Nanny Sunshine who once cleaned our pantry. Please know that every time Gigi comes over she says, “Poor Nanny Sunshine, after all the hard work she put into this pantry…”

20140723-212234.jpg

Newsflash from Obvious Town: Organization isn’t my strong suit.

I tried to argue that it made me a good mother because I was prepared for a disaster in which we needed food stores. But really, I know this is insane. Das Big Boy won’t even eat pasta unless it’s macaroni and cheese (NB, Dr. G: I only feed him the organic kind…). We also have six boxes of that (not included in previous pasta totals, which also omitted Asian noodles in what Herr Husband referred to as, “an effort to be generous.”)

Now you could go all #FailedFeminist on me, and point out that I shouldn’t be blamed for this excess, because it’s not my duty to stock our kitchen or clean our pantry. But to that I respond, a) obviously I don’t clean our pantry and b) Herr Husband does a lot of chores. Like all of the laundry. And anything involving cat poop, because like many a smart lady, I’ve ridden that Toxoplasmosis fear straight out of pregnancy and right into the rest of my life. This is particularly unfair as we have a cat with IBS who either can’t or won’t control his bowels. I digress. The truth is, grocery shopping is a chore that I actually love (as evidenced by my apparent uncontrollable glee every time I see organic whole wheat fusilli (6 boxes)), and therefore I do pretty much all of it. So yes, I am to blame here.

And now, because I believe it’s my duty to share my kids’ cuteness once per post, here is a picture of DBB at a recent bowling birthday party.

bowling

Look at those shoes! DBB’s tiny bowling shoes, that is. Not HH’s Birkenstocks. Look away from those, I say, look away! (Photo credit: Neighbor friend/triathlete/birthday party hostess). Location: Needham Bowlaway

I think the pic is adorable, but befouled by HH’s Birkenstocks. Now look, I “rocked” (can you rock Birks?) purple Birkenstocks with wool socks in 1994 as well as the next fake hippie adolescent, but that doesn’t make them ok, right? And then ‘Burban Bestie informed me that I was wrong. That Birkenstocks are indeed in style. Oh my. What a lot of learning I have to do. Still, don’t expect me to bust out a pair anytime soon (Full disclosure: I also had them in blue, and in black clogs, and I only finally got rid of them in 2009 when we moved to Brooklyn). But all of my footwear convos with ‘Burban Bestie have made me yearn for the other shoe of my tortured teen years: the Doc Marten. So perhaps you’ll see me stomping around in those instead. And then I’ll really be ready for the apocalypse, what with my hoarded food and steel toes.

Watch out, zombies/angels of judgement. I’m ready for you.

As always,

Deine Hipster Hausfrau