Friday, July 22, 2011

Darla's First Music Video

My lovely and talented niece, Madeline Follin, started "Cults" with her boyfriend, Brian Oblivion, last year and posted some songs online at Bandcamp.  The songs blew our entire family, media, music industry and New Yorker's minds.

Fast forward to a little over a year later: Cults is huge.  They've signed to Sony.  They're album is a chart topper on iTunes.  They're constantly on tour.  They're in every magazine you open.  They're so totally mega!

Baby Darla was given the opportunity to ride on her cousin's coattails this past Mother's Day when Madeline asked if she could be in the video.  Darla fretted over her thighs and her thinning hair, but ultimately agreed to it.

This is the amazing, haunting video.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Comes Baby, Then comes Marriage

Last July, Greg and I were a young couple drifting through life with barely any responsibilities.  Then, we took a pregnancy test.  In a blink of an eye, our lives had become nothing but responsibilities and we are infinitely better for it.  It opened up a world of challenges and new opportunities, which eventually led to Greg's proposal.

I never knew I wanted a baby.  I always thought my freedom was the only thing of any value in my life.  I thought I would crack under the pressure of having a human be 100% reliant on me.  I thought I wouldn't be able to wake up five times a night to a crying baby. I thought I would never want the blueprints of my life to be laid out before me. To me, this seemed second to death.

Nothing I thought was true.  My freedom was boring. I spent my nights watching TV and fearing any new experiences.  I wake up every morning excited to spend the day with baby Darla and we make it through the day unscathed.  I respond to her cries nightly without much thought because my only concern is to make Darla feel loved.  The rough outline of my life has been presented to me, but there is plenty of room for surprises.  Far from death, I've been given a new life.

Finding out I was pregnant with Darla was an amazing surprise that pushed my life in a beautiful, exciting, wide open direction.  I look at her round, smiling face and feel so much gratitude that she chose me (at least, this is what I would like to think).

This is why I have no regrets about not being married to Greg before we found out we were pregnant.

Since I wanted our baby girl to be in our wedding, we decided to wait until after she was born to tie the knot.  With lack of foresight and clear understanding of what it takes to be a parent, we went forward with these plans.  The following is a list of reasons why one should get married BEFORE the baby is born.

1. The Wedding Dress: Wedding dresses are hardly ready to be worn off the rack.  They are altered to fit the bride's body perfectly.  This requires numerous fittings.  It's no easy feat to do this flying solo. When you add a baby to the mix, it's like walking through quicksand.

I initially didn't care about the dress, but my mom convinced me I needed this Valentino dress.  I had to oblige.  (Poor me!)

This dress isn't allowed to only look "ok" on one's body. It needs to look stunning, which is why I made three 4 to 5 hour trips to Beverly Hills to get the dress altered.  I drove in a frenzied state, with a crying Darla in the backseat and an ever increasing anxiety as traffic inched along on Wilshire Blvd at a snails pace.

Luckily, I knew Darla loved the dress.  How do I know this?  She pooed every time I put it on in the Neiman Marcus fitting room.  It made her feel relaxed.

2. The ever-present danger that the baby will steal the thunder from the couple: In conversations with Greg regarding the wedding, I spoke mostly about Darla's part in it. I wanted her to be my bouquet.  I wanted her dress to be the show stopper. (Unfortunately, mine trumped hers).  I wanted her to shout out when the minister (Greg's dad) asked "Is there anyone who thinks these two should not be married?"

Greg, on the other hand, was afraid she would babble through the ceremony (I hoped she would) and shout out an objection.  Clearly, we weren't on the same page regarding Darla's part in our wedding.

In the end, although we thought it was all about us, it was really all about her.  We thought everyone was clamoring to talk to us, but really they were reaching out for Darla.  All were competing with one another to hold her.  It worked out for us as it freed up our arms to do nothing.

3. Setting up the chapel and reception using one hand: I've gotten adept at typing using one hand or else waiting for her naps.  This is all while maintaining the cleanliness of our house, grocery shopping, checking Facebook (very important) and running errands.  Prior to planning a rushed wedding, there was barely time to keep up with these chores.  All things suffered as I attempted to coordinate with wedding planners and the restaurant.  What should have taken an afternoon got stretched across three weeks.

4. Dying my hair: It's already expensive to get a really good dye job in LA.  Tack on the cost of a sitter that you need to book weeks in advance and you have a monumental cost on your head that's really only going to look good for the next few weeks.

5. Picking up the thirty little things that pop up when you start peeling back the wedding onion layers: Precise strategy is the only way to maneuver out in public with a young baby.  However, when you keep forgetting the minutia, all plans are thrown out the window.  I darted all over Los Angeles, spending too much money and sweating through the guilt.  I continuously apologized to Darla for not singing and reading to her all afternoon like I should have.

This is my list of reasons why one should get married before the baby comes.  At the end of the day, these are high-class problems and I feel ashamed of myself for throwing a pity party for myself during the planning.  I'm incredibly fortunate to have a fantastic wedding and an amazing, new family that I'm absolutely crazy about.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A New Mom Going Back to Work

Erin, myself and Sabrina in the bakery's early days
I'm going back to work in a few days and my anxiety levels are through the roof.  Despite my extensive experience at BabyCakes NYC (I've worked there pretty consistently since 2005.  I know that place like the back of my hand.  I set up it's counter procedures, POS system, Front of the House policies, bookkeeping practices and inventory), I feel as if I'm starting a whole new career.  The reason for this has to be because I've never worked there with a bitty baby strapped to my chest.

I'm lucky.  My sister runs the bakery at which I work and she is giving me a dream mom job.  She's allowing me a trial run of bringing the baby with me and is setting up an incredibly flexible schedule.  This is fantastic; I couldn't ask for a better job!

This doesn't mean, however, that it will be easy to adapt to the new identity of a working mom.

Even as I write that last line, I get upset.  Being a mom has to be one of the most difficult, non-stop, anxiety-inducing jobs I've ever had.  To tag the word "working" to the front of it is a redundancy.  I've worked pretty damn hard.  I guess it might be best to say that I'm taking on a second job.  And I don't know how good I'm going to be at it. 

I never thought going back would be this hard.

Come to think of it, I didn't think much of motherhood before she was born.  I thought hiring a sitter and leaving the baby with her would be simple.  I imagined I would jump at every opportunity to have one.  I wondered, "why in the hell do people lose so much sleep because their babies are crying?  Can't they just easily ignore them for the sake of sleep." I believed that I would be chomping at the bit to go back to work.    

Every one of these assumptions were ludicrous. I hate leaving Darla with the sitter and miss her the entire time I'm gone.  My heart hurts when the baby cries, so I do everything in my power to try and calm her in the middle of the night. 

As far as going back to work is concerned, I don't want to go back for many reasons, many of which I'm sure most moms will understand.

I'm nervous about strapping her to my chest and, basically, having to ignore her babbles as I work.  (She won't know the difference.  She'll probably think I'm talking to her).  I'm scared that bringing her to work isn't going to be successful and I will have to hire a sitter, which will basically mean I'll be working in order to pay for daycare.  I'm afraid I'll get so exhausted from doubling up jobs that I won't be able to be a present mom.   I'm anxious that I won't be able to write at all because all my energy will be expelled.

I guess what it all boils down to is fear.  And, since I can't get around it, I have to go through it.  Only time will tell if my anxieties are founded.