Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's a Bird.. It's a Plane... It's Supercrank!

Aaargh!  I have been trying for 3 days now to post, and every night when I have the residual energy, Blogger has taken so long to load that I have given up and gone to bed instead.

Because I am exhausted.  I am so tired each night that I actually dream, and this morning, for the first time in at least 2 years, I did not notice when my husband got up and left for work.  I awoke at 6:04am and looked at the clock in panic, thinking, "OMG I HAVE TO SHOWER BEFORE THE BUG WAKES UP!  OTHERWISE THE DAY IS LOST!!" 

I'm feeling extra tired for a few reasons. 

First of all, the Bug has started to crawl in earnest.  Its still mostly the "arm-y crawl" where he drags himself around by his arms, which we think is much easier here given that we have hardwood floors and he can slide around pretty quick.  He is getting his belly up once in a while, but it seems so much easier to give a good pull and slide along on his tiny Buddha belly.  I spend a lot more time vacuuming now, and peering over to see if that's a dust bunny in his mouth, or what other gross thing he has found under the couch.

Secondly, he's starting to give up his 3rd nap.  This means that around 4:30p or so, he throws off his good baby Clark Kent glasses, grows a cape and boots and becomes SUPERCRANK.  Supercrank's amazing powers include the inability to go sleep, the loss of ability to amuse oneself, and the insistence that one be carried in several different positions while struggling, kicking and smacking mom's head with the flat of his hand while she lovingly coos, "Gentle, Caleb, gentle...".  I LOVE SUPERCRANK!

The bonus of the arrival of Supercrank is that Supercrank crashes by 7pm, head lolling back, arms akimbo, and all is quiet.  This is especially important because....

I have gone back to work.  Sort of.

Its still been super-slow production wise in LA, so my plan of going back to work in January was thwarted by the fact that there really hasn't been any work.  My boss had a couple of reshoots come up, and was willing to let me work from home, so I jumped at the chance to break out my awesome office and phone skills and put some hours into my pension and medical coverage plans.  Unfortunately, the cabana that we set up as my office is freezing in the winter, and was set up as an office for me... not really for me and crawling Supercrank.  So instead, I took over the dining table (yes, that's a second printer, sitting on a dining chair).

Wil has been very patient about the fact that we now eat on the couch with the ottoman serving as a soft table surface, and we no longer eat meals that require a knife and a fork.  Oh, and we usually eat those meals at 9pm.  His patience is due to the fact that he's a loving and understanding husband, and he's been putting in 70 hour work weeks, so he is also usually too tired to eat, much less complain about anything.

My projects will keep me busy through March, and my boss has been kind enough to let me work, even though we will be gone for a week on family trip to Hong Kong.  From the last three weeks I have put in, I have learned the following:
  • Its REALLY REALLY REALLY nice to make a paycheck.
  • You can only get the baby in and out of the car seat X number of times per day.  Planning must be strategic.
  • I can get an awful lot done between the hours of 8pm and midnight.
  • I do like and miss my job.  Somewhat.
  • I am not quite ready to go back to full-time work.
  • You can't have it all, but being really really close is really really fulfilling... not to mention stressful and tiring!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Dad is Cliff Huxtable

I've been thinking a lot lately about how we learn to parent.

In a conversation about television families once, someone remarked that The Cosby Show was an unrealistic portrait of American family life, and that Roseanne was how "real" families interacted.  I remember being annoyed and a little offended at this comment because it was probably mostly true but....

Well, I was a little offended because, well, because my parents sorta were like the Cosbys, and the comment seemed to discount my upbringing as unrealistic and therefore invalid.  The implication was that since our parents were able to give us more, we hadn't worked as hard for what we had.  It had just been given to us (which is untrue, btw).  We were way more like the Cosbys than the Conners, and it had more to do with my Dad than with money.

I was in high school and my father and I were in a grocery store at 11pm one night when I think I realized it.  I had left him to go find something, and when I found him, he was in the cereal aisle by himself, doing what can only be called the Cliff Huxtable dance.  You know, the one in the opening montage, where he bends his knees and juts out his chin and sort of spasms to an internal Count Basie.  Dad was doing this in front of some Raisin Bran, and that's when it hit me:  my dad was a cross between Cliff Huxtable and Howard Cunningham.

When I thought about it, it made sense.  My father immigrated to LA in 1969, leaving his parents behind in Taiwan.  He now likes to give me little mini-lectures now about things like tooth care, as he now deals with the consequence of things he says his parents never taught him (i.e. the importance of good dental hygiene - in fairness, I don't think it was their top priority in China in the 1940's).  When we were kids in the 70's and 80's, my dad didn't have any family in California, much less his own parents, and well... he was in the United States.  My dad learned to be an "American" parent from tv.

Is it really that bad when you think about it?  I mean, he could have had worse role models.  If we're looking to tv now for guidance, who is there?  I'm seriously asking, I don't know.  My television habits are now extremely adult (Criminal Minds, Fringe) or Ni Hao Kai-Lan and Yo Gabba Gabba.  Sitcoms aren't the same anymore, so what family role models do we and our kids have?  Reality television?  The Hills and Gossip Girl?  God forbid, The Jersey Shore?!?!  Here's my other question - chicken or egg?  Is reality tv a reflection of how kids are really growing up, or are kids trying to be what they see on tv?  These are things I think about as I try to limit the amount of psycho therapy my kid might need in the future to a year or two, instead of a lifetime of Prozac.

Granted my Dad wasn't always camera perfect.  After all, I never saw Cliff slam his fist into the wall next to Theo's head, and Dad's "sex talk" (yes, I got it from my dad, not my mom) basically consisted of three sentences: Don't get pregnant.  Don't get any diseases.  If you don't, come to me; don't tell your mother.

But given the choices we seem to have these days... I'll watch reruns all day long.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cart Cover Giveaway!

Note: those without kids babies... this post is probably not for you...  For those who just want to know how to win and don't care why Kozy Pal sucks... skip to the bottom!

I was soooo excited in December, when I started looking for a shopping cart cover (dorky, I know).  CJ was starting to sit up (stably) on his own, and I hate trying to use the car seat.  You can either put the seat in the basket and buy 5 items (he usually holds the bread in his lap), or you can put him in the top section so you can't see where you're going, thereby knocking over display stacks of Pringles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  The exception is the Costco shopping carts, which are large enough to hold baby rhinos, but sometimes you don't want 4,872 rolls of toilet paper, or 8 lbs of edamame.

After looking at them on Etsy and doing a Google search, I settled on an animal design from Kozy Pal Cart Covers.  The animals were print on a black background and the back of the cover was red, neutral enough, I thought, to use again if we have another child and its a girl.  I ordered it on December 26th, and received a confirmation email from their website that my order had been received, along with an order number.  $60 was charged to my credit card.   According to the website, the item was "In Stock and Ready to Ship!"  Also per their website, as long as it is not a custom order, they ship within two business days.  I thought I'd have my cover in a week and be leisurely tooling the aisles at Target in my Jimmy Choo's Crocs , with my kid regally waving to others like the Rose Queen.

One week went by.  Then two weeks went by.  I tried calling the 866 number on the website, and got a message that the party I was calling could not take my call.  No voicemail.  I tried the number again two days later, same message.  A day later, I used the "Contact Us" link on their website, and sent them a message, asking about my order and for someone to please contact me.  I even threatened to cancel the order.  Nada.  At the end of the third week, with still not response from Kozy Pal, I called the bank and disputed the charge.  They returned my $60 and began trying to contact the company themselves.

I went back to Etsy and bought another cart cover from Canadian Cozy.  I received a confirmation email, and then a day later, confirmation (with tracking number) that my cover had been shipped.  A week later, it arrived.  Its adorable and super soft, made with bamboo and cotton (no polyester).  I'm a little bummed it doesn't have a front pocket (it does have a side pocket on the inside left), but it does have a tiny loop up front I can hook a toy to.  And the company did actually send it when promised, and they were easy to reach, so I really have no complaints.

Unfortunately, two days after I disputed the charge, I received an email from Kozy Pal notifying me that my cover had shipped.  By this time, I was pretty mad, and sent them an email telling them so, which still elicited.... surprise surprise, no response!

So now I had two cart covers and was faced with the choice of which to keep and what to do with the other.  I kept the cover from Canadian Cozy, since, as my husband argued, the colors match everything else CJ has.  I left the Kozy Pal in the box, intending to refuse shipment and send it back, but curiosity got the better of me, and I opened it.  It is beautiful, the fabric is soft and the pattern pretty and neutral enough if you like a modern print.  While I'm not happy with their customer service (or lack thereof), the construction of this cover is quality.

So I decided to keep it and use it here as my very first giveaway!

You, dear readers (or anyone you know), can benefit from my poor experience with Kozy Pal and enter to win this lovely cart cover.  It fits any shopping cart or highchair,  is 100% washable and cotton (no polyester either), and comes with 2 convenient toy loops and a mom-pocket in front.  Installation is easy, and you can download directions for storing and installation here.  In addition, they no longer make this print, so this particular kart cover is truly unique.  It is brand new, unused, and did arrive wrapped securely in plastic.  I opened it and took it out only to take these pictures, I didn't even unroll it to get a good shot of the print, since I figured I would never get it rolled back so nice again.  Since they no longer make this print, I was unable to download a photo from their site.

There are three ways to enter the giveaway:
  • Leave a comment on this post.  If you have nothing to say, just type in ENTER ME!!! and maybe a :) and I will.
  • Shoot me an email at with "kozy pal" in the subject line (no other shout out is necessary if you don't wanna)  
  • Go to and check out the newsletter.  Subscribe by joining our mailing list, and not only will you receive the newsletter every Thursday, you'll automatically be entered in the giveaway!  For the month of February, every new reader will be automatically entered.
The contest deadline is February 28th.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced in the first week of March.

Spread the word, and let me know what you think!