Toddlers and Tiaras, Here We Come!

Posted on Jul 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

It was a lovely day.  You know, one of those days that’s around 90 degrees with 100% humidity.  One of those days when a typhoon is forecast, so in addition to the heat and the humidity, it’s overcast with a slow, constant drizzle.  One of those days that no matter how much product you use, your hair will look awful.  Yet there I was, trudging through Japan’s subway maze, dripping in sweat.  I was carrying Elisabeth on my front and her diaper bag on my back, wearing rain boots apparently made of lead that were slowly suffocating my feet.

I wasn’t alone.  My friend Michelle was with me, carrying her daughter Allie on her front.  You see, where we were going there are no elevators.  No elevators means no strollers.  No strollers means wearing your baby pressed against you for hours, radiating body heat, causing perspiration to soak through your already rain-soaked shirt.  Our other friend Gillian was also with us.  Though she had no baby attached to her, she too was wearing feet-suffocating rain boots.  Just in case the typhoon hit during our excursion.

We forged on until we reached our destination in Tokyo, slogged up one final stairway out of the subway and emerged onto a truly terrifying sight: A cluster of Ergo-wearing, Petunia Pickle-carrying, Caucasian moms.  All doing the mom bounce.

Had I entered the twilight zone?  Why is it that the first thing I see when exiting a subway in Japan is a mass of American moms?  And wait!  I was one of them!  What was happening?

Welcome to the world of modeling auditions.  Or rather, Foreign Baby Modeling Auditions.  Before you get all oh no she isn’t! on me for taking my kid to a modeling audition, let me explain.  This is a really, really common thing for foreigners living in Japan to do.  The Japanese love them some white babies!  In fact, twice a year the base hosts a modeling fair where all the agencies come and beg you to let them represent your children.  Well, that may be an exaggeration, since I haven’t actually been to a modeling fair, but you get the drift.  Foreign babies are in high demand.  And here on base, foreign babies happen to be in high supply.

You don’t believe me.  You’re judging me.  I can feel it.  You think I’m one of those moms.  The moms that force their children to live out their unfulfilled childhood fantasies for them.  Well last time I checked, I never had any dreams of being a baby stroller and car seat model in Japan, so there! You can reserve your judgment for my blog post when I reveal that I don’t use cloth diapers or serve my baby exclusively organic food. 

But back to the modeling.  Elisabeth had been asked to attend an audition.  Michelle’s baby Allie had also been invited to the audition.  I assume Gillian tagged along to observe the spectacle of it all.  Or else she just enjoys extended walks through Tokyo in really terrible weather.  This being Elisabeth’s first audition, I didn’t know what to expect.  I certainly wasn’t anticipating being thrust into Dance Moms* right off the subway.  Though the ladies were all politely chatting, you know as well as I do that they were sizing up the competition.

Michelle and I lingered back away from the group.  What have I gotten myself into?  We all made our way to the audition, one big traveling mommy mass, and squeezed into a tiny, cramped, hot room while one by one the babies got taken back to be photographed.  Elisabeth and Allie were definitely the cutest babies in the room.  Even Gillian said so, and she’s not biased at all.  When Elisabeth got taken back, she nailed it.  She was her smiley, giggly self (despite no nap!).  And then this young, blonde wisp of a thing was standing next to her stroller.

Uh, excuse me?  Is that supposed to be her mom?!  The young blonde model girl began posing with the stroller.  Well this is weird.

“Pick her up, please,” the photographer instructed young blonde model girl.

She has to pick her up!? I thought in a panic.

“I have to pick her up!?” young blonde model girl asked, also in a panic.  That was not reassuring.  The model awkwardly picked up my precious baby, and though Elisabeth didn’t seem to mind that she was being held at completely unnatural angles, I hovered big time to make sure young blonde model girl wasn’t going to drop my kid.

And then it was over.  Michelle and I (and Gillian) gathered our things – and babies – and retreated to a Starbucks for some much-needed rest after our exhausting audition day.

Elisabeth didn’t get the job.  (The travesty!  The injustice!  Who do I call about this!?  There must be some mistake!)  Neither did Allie.  (What were the photographers thinking?!)  But there will be more auditions, I’m sure.

In fact, Elisabeth has her first job tomorrow.  She was picked by photo selection, meaning we didn’t have to risk any tropical storms to go to an audition.  And let’s be honest.  After 21 hours of labor (which I have not yet forgotten!) it’s about time she did something to earn her keep.  “We can put the money toward her college fund,” Damon said when I told him the news.

“Ummm, what about my amazon.com fund?”  I asked.

How this audition goes and what we’ll do with her earnings are to be determined.  I’ll keep you updated.  It’s sure to be entertaining.

*I kid.  These ladies are not Dance Moms.  As far as I can tell, most of them are very well-adjusted, loving mothers with all equally cute babies.  Except Elisabeth.  She’s definitely the cutest.

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The Crib Conundrum

Posted on Jul 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

For you longer-term readers, you might remember how… detailed I was when it came to planning Elisabeth’s nursery.  I read and re-read and then read again all the books, blogs, reviews, and what have you to determine the safest yet still aesthetically pleasing products out there.  Oh yeah, I didn’t want to break the bank either.  This especially held true when it came to nursery furniture.  Knowing we would be moving outside the United States a few short months after Elisabeth’s birth – and knowing that oftentimes furniture does not survive the long ocean voyage in tact – Damon and I opted to buy an inexpensive (but of course still highly rated) crib. We specifically said, “Let’s not spend a lot of money on a crib in case it breaks in the move.”   It was nothing fancy, just a Graco crib from Target.  But I loved this crib, and so I tricked myself into believing it would be just fine. By the time our house was available to move into (around three weeks after arriving in Japan), I was so ready to get the baby into her real, solid crib with a real, solid mattress.  It had been two months in and out of hotel cribs and her pack n play.  I don’t know exactly how, but I’m sure sleeping in a pack n play for so long must be damaging.  So move in day arrived, and what was the one thing that was broken in the entire shipment? You guessed it, the crib.  Well, okay, not the one thing.  A drinking glass broke.  And our television “disappeared”, but who cares about a television.  TVs are replaceable. “So what?” You say. “Cribs are replaceable, too.” Au contraire, my friend.  Not when you have a FPO address, they aren’t!  After the shock wore off, I immediately set about ordering a new crib.  Elisabeth could survive a few more days in that blasted pack n play, I supposed.  I went to Target’s website.  They wouldn’t ship the crib to a FPO address.  WTF!?  Why not!?  Don’t they realize my daughter’s...

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Minivan: Update

Posted on Jun 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

My, my.  My minivan post seemed to strike a chord with others who equally abhor their mode of transportation.  While some readers commiserated, others reveled in my new minivan-mom status.  Take this email I received from a friend and former co-worker: So, I was having a pretty amazing weekend […] It was one of those weekends where you think things can’t get any better…and then I read that you bought a minivan […] High-end, high-fashion, high-heeled Diana – the same lady who once mocked my purchase of a minivan and swore to the sweet heavens above that she would buy her entire wardrobe at Salvation Army before being caught dead behind the wheel of a minivan – was now a card-carrying Minivan Mom. Thank you, Diana. Thank you for that precious gift. I would like the record to show that I never swore I would buy my entire wardrobe at Salvation Army before driving a minivan.  I don’t think. But I digress. Some people (namely my mother) insisted I would grow to love my minivan.  I have my doubts.  Yet others requested photos – I think in order to suspend their disbelief.  I can still hardly believe it myself, but photos don’t lie.  So here you go: my minivan montage.  Just so we’re clear – I have a smile on my face, but that is only because I look truly, truly awful frowning  And for those of you really detail-oriented, I am wearing very tall shoes and painted my nails (er, had my nails painted) mint green, a decidedly un-soccer mom color, in my opinion.  I must rebel against the minivan and all it represents any way I can! But Oh!  Lest I forget, I must wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!  To the best Dad in the world, I love you but I’m still not going to let Lucy call you “Boss”.  And to Damon, thanks for being a great Dad to little E.  We miss you! Now, the pictures.  Feel free to mock me. Share...

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And Then I Bought a Minivan

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Remember when I swore I would never, NEVER drive a minivan?  I didn’t care if I had 12 kids – you were never going to find me behind the wheel of a minivan.  I repeat: Never. And then I moved to Japan. Where on base, minivans are so prolific, I often can’t distinguish my car from the next.  (Yes, I have tried to get into the wrong car before.)  Where on base, minivans cost about half a month’s rent.  (Yes, you read that correctly.) Before moving here, we sold Damon’s faithful Camry.  We were not allowed to transport a car to Japan, and we could only store one car in the states.  Damon has a pick-up truck that he loves more than me, so that we stored.  In the meantime, we planned on buying a small, cheap beater from someone leaving base around when we arrived.  We’d get our 30 months out of it, and sell it cheap to the next fellow when that time came.  With people constantly moving to and from Atsugi, that’s just how things go. And what do you know, that’s just how things went.  The family leaving Damon’s squadron as we arrived were looking to sell their car, and we were looking to buy.  Their car happened to be a minivan.  Damon jumped on the opportunity.  “It’s perfect timing!  It’s so cheap!  And look how much room there is!  It’ll be great for road trips! And if we have another kid while we’re here, we’ll need the space!” HOLD UP.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. “But it’s a MINIVAN.  Driving a minivan goes against my religious beliefs.  I can’t do it.” “Diana.  It’s only for a couple of years.” “You’re telling me there are no other non-minivans we can buy right now?” “Yes, that is what I am telling you.” “How am I supposed to be the cool, young mom if I’m driving a minivan? Answer me that!” He couldn’t answer me that, but it didn’t matter.  For once, my powers of persuasion were rendered useless.  Given the timing and the price and...

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Let the Countdown Begin!

Posted on May 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Damon left for deployment yesterday – so yeah, that sucks.  In the pandemonium that has been our lives recently, I didn’t really have much opportunity to dwell on his inevitable departure.  A good thing, I think.  After all, it is what it is.  Damon deploys.  We go visit him at port calls. He comes home.  I totally got this! So how did our first night of deployment go ? A little wired, I stayed up way past my bedtime.  I should know better.  At around 1:30 AM I was jolted awake  by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake.  Are you freaking kidding me?  An earthquake to kick off deployment for me?  I’m from Southern California.  Earthquakes don’t faze me.  At least, they didn’t until I was home alone in the middle of the night with a baby to worry about.  Panicked, I sprinted a whole 10 feet into the nursery to find Elisabeth sleeping, naturally.  It took me about an hour to calm down enough to go back to sleep (What if there are aftershocks!?!?), but just as I was drifting off, an extremely loud, extremely high-pitched beeping shocked me awake, heart a-racing.  The smoke detector. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!?The detector’s battery is going to die at me in the middle of the night after an earthquake the first night my husband is gone!?  Of course, I can handle removing a battery from a smoke detector.  Sort of.  At our last house, this happened while Damon was away, and I failed to properly put the detector back together again.  I just left wires hanging from the ceiling, hoping we didn’t have a fire, until Damon came home.  I know, I know, I’m setting feminism back 50 years.  Whatever. So in the spirit of last night, I give you the Top 5 Reasons Deployment Sucks (in no particular order): 1) I’ll miss my husband.  Duh. 2) My husband will miss watching and experiencing little Elisabeth grow over the next several months.  This is also an obvious one.  But now we’re getting a little too sentimental for this blog, so let’s move on....

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Profound Thoughts on Mother’s Day

Posted on May 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

HA!  As if I have any profound thoughts of any kind anymore. Most of my thoughts these days are as follows: 1) I need a nap. 2) I wonder if anyone can smell the spit-up in my hair. 3) I need a nap. 4) Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat. Awhile back a group I belonged to posed the question, “What most surprised you about motherhood?”  I joined in with a chorus of other women who all agreed how surprising it is that we can function on so little sleep. I’d like to issue a retraction.  I am most certainly not functioning.  At least not on any level that could be considered normal.  The very fact that I even suggested I was functioning is proof that I am not lucid.  How could I be?  I haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep in almost six months.  Scratch that.  I haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep since my third trimester!  This baby was keeping me up well before her 3 AM feedings. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  At around three months old Elisabeth gave me a few nights of 6 or 7 hours of consecutive sleep.  It was glorious!  But it was all a tease.  Since spending the last few months traveling all over the states – and the world! – poor Baby has been waking up around 17,000 times a night.  And surprise, surprise – if Baby is up 17,000 times a night, so am I.  Hence the lack of brain function and general zombie-like state. My most oft-used phrases now include “I forgot” and “I’m losing my mind.”  It’s a shame, too.  It once was a pretty decent mind. But Seriously – I say “I’m losing my mind” at least three times a day.  Most of the time to Elisabeth, as she is the person I spend most of my time with.  And who wouldn’t lose their mind when they spend the majority of their hours babbling to a little person who doesn’t understand or respond to them? Not the I’m complaining.  I’m now mildly amused...

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