Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Me: “I could do with an unlimited supply of Lindt truffles, if you’re ever handing out wishes.”

Tony: “If you waste a wish on that, I swear to God…”


Charles: “Daddy, I don’t like this soup.”

Tony: “Charles, you had two bites five minutes ago and pronounced it ‘delicious.’”

Charles: “Oh, yeah.  I forgot.” Proceeds to eat soup.


Me: “Seriously, though, what should we get your parents for Christmas?”

Tony: …


Charles: “I love you, Jamie.”

Jamie: “I love you, Charles.”

Charles: “I love you, Bamie.”

Jamie: “I love you, Larles.”

Charles: “Ha ha! You love me!”


Charles (angrily): “Mom, I don’t want the house cleaner to come!  When I get old, I’m going to have a dirty house and no house cleaner!”


Jamie (singing):  “Feliz Navi-poop! Feliz Navi-poop!”

Friday, December 12, 2014


It’s 3:30 AM and little man is sitting on my lap.  He’s not screaming.  I consider that an accomplishment.


Here’s the short version: Freddie is not yet ready for me to add dairy back into my diet.


The long version:

Charles used to scream like this, all night long.  Nothing was okay.  I could not make it right.  Eventually, he’d wear himself out and go to sleep for a couple of hours, then wake up screaming again.  We thought it was colic.  We thought some of it was normal.  I sometimes thought that God was punishing me for some unknown infraction.


The truth was that his baby tummy didn’t produce the enzymes to digest the dairy protein in my milk.  When I finally figured it out, after a Google rabbit hole of “What is wrong with my baby?” and cut out dairy from my diet, he got better.  He didn’t sleep much more, but he did stop screaming.  When he was about 6 months old, I started eating dairy again and he handled it fine.


I cut out dairy immediately upon birth of both Jamie and Freddie.


Freddie has only screamed like Charles did a couple of times in his short life, when he was in pain.  Tonight.  Oh, tonight.  My ears hurt.  But right now he’s content to just sit here while I type, so I’ll keep going.  Anything is better than the screaming.


Tony and I attended his office Christmas party this evening and, since Freddie is 5 months old, I thought I’d work some dairy back into my diet.  Seriously, it’s been AGES since I’ve had cheese and I miss it so much.  Forget about the ice cream, not having cheese means no lasagna, no enchiladas, no macaroni and cheese, no quesadillas… the list is long and delicious.  Just take a look at every meal on Pinterest, the devil’s website.  They all have cheese, and I can’t eat any of them.  It’s a tough way to live, especially when you’re trying to come up with new dinner ideas every night. 


TANGENT ALERT: What is up with no one else EVER having an idea for what to make for dinner?  Do your menfolk do this?  I ask for dinner suggestions for the week before I go grocery shopping, and it’s like they’ve never had dinner before in their lives.  Charles can only ever think of “chicken with skin” (rotisserie chicken, not something I’m willing to eat every week) and I get blank looks from Tony and Jamie.  I get into these cooking ruts, especially since most of what I crave right now has cheese or milk (cheeseburgers, nachos, omelets… OH MY GOD, stop it, Amelia!), and I’d like some help coming up with meals we can all enjoy, but I’m coming to realize that my boys don’t actually care.  They just want food.  They might even be content to eat the same thing in a row for a whole week (so long as it’s not quinoa).  Food as only fuel and not a daily enjoyment?  I can’t imagine living that way.


So here’s how tonight’s disaster went down:


Me: “Oh my God, I love cheese so much!”

Tony: Smiles indulgently at his addled wife who actually said that rather loudly at his office Christmas party.

Freddie, much later: “Waaaaaaa!” Repeat, ad infinitum.


Sacrifice, man.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately – namely, that I do a lot of it.  And it is the nature of sacrifice that you get nothing (or very little) in return.  I will sacrifice, for at least another month, cheese and the varied diet provided by dairy.  In return, I will get sleep.  It would seem a small price to pay for something so comforting, so vital, no?  And yet, I grow bitter, because NO ONE ELSE has to sacrifice a damned thing.  We mothers, we sacrifice our bodies, our careers, and our lifestyles for these small people.  Sometimes I look at them and I think, will it all be worth it?  And then I look at my life and wonder, would my mother say it was worth it, given what I’ve become?  I sure hope so.


3:30 AM is kind of a depressing time, y’all.  Commence praying for sleep.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Cards

I LOVE receiving Christmas cards – they feel a little like a “thank you for being a part of our lives” card to me.  Since I’m desperately trying to teach my children the importance of thank-you cards, and I see written correspondence as a dying art form, AND because I was so sick (pregnant) that I didn’t do them last year, AND because I like them and I like sending them and I like telling people “thank you for being a part of our lives,” I’m gearing up to send them this year. 


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Understand, please, that this is MY project.  There is no way that Tony or any of my children would deign to put pen to paper or Holiday Photo Card for what they view as “no reason.”  Christmas cards exist in mom’s world.  But I can make them all pose for photos.


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They go (mostly) merrily along with me because I bribe them with cookies and I let Charles and Jamie wear whatever they want, as long as it’s clean.  Freddie and Tony wear whatever I want, because they’re biddable.  And Tony probably is thinking the whole time, If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, so just go along with this until it’s over.


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Christmas card season, therefore, aligns with family photo season for the Cooks.  And it’s always an adventure.


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Barf Photo! 


This year I briefly considered having our photos taken at the pool.  Charles and Jamie like to go to family swim at the Y and since our lives are fairly packed, I thought we could combine projects.  They could splash around, I could squeeze into a bathing suit and give Freddie his first taste of chlorine.  But Tony and I are not in the best of shape and I’m just not ready to bare my pasty-white bat-wings to the world (curses on the arm flaps of middle age!).  So I opted for photos at a local garden and nursery featuring over 30 Christmas trees all done up for the holidays. 

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Friends, I’m not getting much sleep these days.  My judgment is weak and clouded.  The logical progression of consequences elude me, but maybe you can figure this out: What do you get when you combine two boy-children, ages 6 and 3, with a large room filled to bursting with Christmas trees, porcelain and glass ornaments, gifts, home and garden decor, and the spirit of Christmas?  The correct answer is chaos, anxiety, and a disturbingly high potential for disaster.


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At one point, I was happily posing for photos with Tony and Freddie, reveling in my gorgeous baby squirming in my arms, when I realized that I could no longer see nor hear Charles and Jamie.  Panic!  I called their names, snaked through displays, fearing the worst, only to find them standing at a running garden fountain, tongues out, licking the water off of the burbling urn.


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We got out lucky.  No one crashed into any trees or decorations.  No one spilled any hot apple cider.  No one tackled his brother.  I’ve yet to see any ill effects from the garden fountain incident.  In fact, the most destructive child was Freddie, who spit up on the floor (I wiped it up, of course, and there was no permanent damage).


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We get our family photos done by a good friend who is a fantastic photographer and owner of JB Expressions.  Thank you, Jen!  If you would like to receive a Christmas card from us this year, please send me your address at aintanda at gmail dot com.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

This Is Just A Tribute

I take perverse pleasure in Tony being older than I am.  After all, he’ll be an old man long before I’m an old woman (I often point out that he’s been showing “old man” tendencies since his late 20s, so there’s not really that far to go).  Whatever makes me feel better about my crow’s feet and bat-wings, right?


Today, Tony is 37 years old.  I’d like to point out that 37 is almost 40, which is MIDDLE AGED.  He’s nearly Middle-Aged Man!




I’ve chosen to go through life with this man and I couldn’t be happier with that choice, nearly ten years (and a lot of laugh lines) later.  Tonight, we’re celebrating at a bar WITHOUT CHILDREN (!) and we’d love to see you, if you’re local.  Stop by the Train Wreck, we’ll be there around 6:30.  But we’ll probably go home around 9 because Tony’s getting old.  Also, just because we’re going out without our children doesn’t mean we don’t have any.  Somehow, I can’t see this birthday ending with someone passed out under the pool table.