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Some Days My Life is Like a Bad Lawyer Joke
How can a pregnant woman tell that she's carrying a future lawyer?

She has an uncontrollable craving for baloney.

Now normally I avoid discussing work on my blog. I don't know who's reading and I would prefer to keep my job, thank you very much. But sometimes I am frustrated beyond belief with my colleagues. And no, I'm not talking about my co-workers, I'm talking about my opponents - opposing counsel. I'm a litigator so, yeah, some hostility goes along with the job but some attorneys seem to have raised "scorch and burn" litigation to an art form. (And in case you're wondering, I do not do personal injury law or medical malpractice. You couldn't pay me enough. I specialize in complex contract and commercial disputes.)

Now I'm very tempted to give you several personal examples. Unfortunately, that would probably come back and bite me in the ass. I'd prefer not to have to disguise details on the off chance that a lawyer I know In Real Life wanders in here!

On a good day I love my job. It's challenging and intellectually stimulating. And, very occasionally, I feel like I have made a difference for someone. By far the worst part of my job is dealing with other lawyers. So when I saw that a site I enjoy, JD Bliss, has started a new blog specifically dedicated to civility among lawyer, I was thrilled! I'll be checking it every now and then to see what people post. And maybe I'll share some of my stories there....


Where Can I Buy a Used Stripper Pole?
So I signed up for this nifty little service called Google Analytics. It tells me all sorts of interesting things about the people who visit my site and how often they do it. For instance, I now know that I have two readers in Europe, a reader in the Philippines and one in Mexico. I can now change my name to International Lawyer Mama.

The part of this service that I find so intriguing, tells me the top 5 keyword searches that directed people to my site in the various search engines:
  1. I was mildly surprised to find that "lawyer mama" topped the list, but I guess that can be people who were looking for me and forgot to bookmark my site or people looking for Mr. Mama, a fictional lawyer. (Do people really fall for this shit?)
  2. One intrepid individual found my site by Googling the word "breastfeeding." Now, I just tried that and I got 15,500,000 hits. I browsed through the first 10 pages of hits and didn't see my site, so that woman (I'm assuming here) is a really dedicated reader of breastfeeding information!
  3. Someone else used the search "being a mother is.....you can't move for building blocks, playdoh." Okey dokey. Hope she found what she was looking for.
  4. And finally, someone stumbled across my blog by searching for "mama la pinga." I have no idea what that means. It sounds like a Mexican porn star. I'll have to write more about Pingu and Pinga and see if I can up my porn ranking.

Now on that note, I'm off to grease my pole. (Insert bad 70's music here.)


Confessions from a Slacker Mom/Wife
1. I sometimes let Holden eat Cheerios off of the floor.

2. On weekend mornings I make T take the kids so I can sleep a little longer. (Thanks, T.)

3. Hollis eats Goldfish crackers on the way to daycare every morning. His babysitter feeds him breakfast.

4. The 1 minute 15 second rule for dropped food is in active play in my home!

5. I have been known to take a day off from work, drop the kids at daycare, and go home and sleep. (Sleep is a big thing with me.)

6. I spend far too much on shoes and purses. (Sorry, T.)

7. Before I had them, I swore my kids would never eat sugar. See Exhibit A:

8. I never cook dinner anymore. (Sorry, T.)

9. Before leaving the house in the morning, I have noticed that one of my children has a dirty diaper, ignored it, taken them to daycare & said "So sorry, M, one of the H's pooped in the car." (Sorry, M.)

10. I hate the Wiggles. Well, except for Captain Feathersword. I have a secret Mom crush on him. There's something about that eye patch....

11. I love my children so much, when I look at them it sometimes hurts to breathe.


More on Breastfeeding
I was browsing Much More Than a Mom and ran across a post with a link to what must be *the* most embarrassing breastfeeding moment I've ever seen. Enjoy!

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It's a Good Thing They're So Darn CUTE!
Does anyone else out there want to kill Laurie Berkner? I swear Hollis made me listen to Victor Vito about 25 times in a row today. I mean, I'd rather listen to her music than some sappy lullaby or to Hollis's usual favorite - any bad 80's music we can find on the radio - but does she have to make the tunes so darn catchy? I will be wandering around internally singing about Victor and Freddie and their beans, rice, rutabaga, collard greens combo for the next week.

Someone kill me now.


Eating Sand
We went to the beach last weekend to enjoy the end of Summer weather. The boys had a blast, Hollis got dunked by some waves, and Holden ate about a pound of sand. I'll let you know if we find any diamonds in the diaper. I thought I'd write about our trip, but not just because of the excuse it gives me to post super cute pictures of my kids. Something notable actually happened while we were there.

About 30 minutes into our outing Holden stopped eating sand and insisted that I nurse him. Little H is 8 months old and a stubborn little guy so everyone knows when he is hungry and only Mommy milk will do RIGHT NOW! So, with everyone near us on the beach staring at my shrieking child, I retreated into our beach tent & nursed the baby. Side note here - Nursing Holden is like nursing an octopus lately - the hands and feet are everywhere - and we always engage in a tug of war over the blanket covering my breast. Holden thinks that Mommy should flash the entire world so that he can look around and occasionally stop to chat with and smile at passers-by. I prefer to have the world think that there is actually a sleeping baby under the blanket and not gape at my ta-tas in amazement and horror. Holden always seems to win. This time I actually succeeded in keeping myself covered and was congratulating myself on my victory over the shrieking octopus when the male half of a couple near us came trotting over to see why the screaming had stopped. Then he trotted back to his wife. I braced myself for the nasty comments I've heard oh so often. But then I had a lovely surprise - he told his wife that I was nursing and his wife said "Oh, that's so sweet!" Then they smiled at each other & smiled at me.

I'm sure they didn't realize it, but they made my day. In my 11 months of breastfeeding experience (3 with Big H and 8 with Little H), I have never once heard a nice comment from a stranger. I've had plenty of nasty comments, and even more disapproving stares, but this was the first time I felt supported in breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is pretty common these days so I'd like to think that people have become more accepting of public breastfeeding. Well if they have, I hadn't seen it. The comments and smiles from the beach couple took so little effort but they made me feel great about my decision to breastfeed. So the next time you see an exhausted looking woman out in public nursing, give her a thumbs up or a smile or a "way to go!" I'm sure she'll appreciate it.

Now I've got to go get Holden. He's crawled over to Hollis's sandbox and appears to be eating sand. Again.

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Tickle Me (& Have a Coronary) Elmo
Sorry for the lack of posts this week. It's been super busy at work.

I have this video for your amusement. I laughed so hard I almost peed myself.

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Happy Birthday, Little Man!
Today, my Little Man, Hollis, is 2. His second birthday is making emotional and weepy, so you're all going to have to suffer through a schmaltzy Mommy post.

Hollis was born on September 16, 2004. I had complications throughout the whole pregnancy. You name it, I had it. After several weeks of not so great non stress test results, low amniotic fluid, and intrauterine growth problems, my OB decided that it was time to induce the little guy at 37 weeks. We headed to the hospital with my overflowing bags, 5 thousand pillows, and a list of our final name candidates. The doctor was keeping me in the hospital overnight before beginning pitocin in the morning, so we would have all night to decide on a name.

After the nurses got me set up in my room, hooked up to the fetal monitor, and the intake clerk started asking me more questions than a security clearance for the Department of Defense, we started to relax. And then it happened - a nurse grabbed the strip of paper attached to the fetal heart monitor, ripped it off & ran out of the room. My husband and the other nurses did a very good job of not freaking me out. In fact, I didn't even notice something was wrong until my OB appeared at my bedside 2 minutes later. He told us the baby's heart rate was dropping dangerously low and they had not even begun to induce me. There was no way the baby could handle the stress of labor. They needed to get him out and they needed to get him out now. Everything else is like a dream in slow motion.

My Little Man was born 20 minutes later with a nice healthy scream. In fact, he didn't stop screaming until we were reunited in the recovery room and even then he would scream every time the Loud Nurse came into the room. He was perfectly healthy. Hell, he was perfect in every way. We finally named him 3 hours later.

I can't even begin to describe how I feel about Hollis now. If you're reading this, you're probably a mother too, so I don't need to explain myself to you. You already know that I didn't really start living until my Little Man screamed his way into this world. You already know that I will move mountains and fight armies to make him happy. For the rest of my life.

Happy Birthday, Little Man. Mommy loves you.


Being an Introverted Mother
My oldest "baby" boy is about to turn two. I'm completely in denial. In fact, sometimes I can't even believe that I have two children. When did I become the grown up? How did that happen? (Well, yes, I do know how that happened, so keep your smart ass comments to yourself!) My friend recently told me that she's pregnant and scared to death. She sent me an email spilling out all of her fears and thoughts about becoming a mother and I would love to post all of it here, but she'd probably kill me. But she brought up something that really resonated with me:

"Will I even be a good mother? I'm always so selfish w/ my time and energy....and I get so in my head and detached from those around me...."

This was probably my biggest fear about becoming a mother - that I would no longer be able to get "in my head" and detach from the world. Now I'm sure that some of you are reading this and shrugging your shoulders in confusion. But some of you, and you know who you are, know exactly what I mean. It's difficult to be an introvert in an extroverted world. And it's not just the discomfort an introvert feels walking into a room full of strangers. Being an introvert affects every aspect of your life. As an introvert, I need time by myself - to read, to take a walk, to take a bubble bath, to be alone with my thoughts - the way others need to breathe. But being a mother requires you to be on 24/7. Time for yourself is hard to find under the best of circumstances, but when you throw work, a husband, and two children into the mix, it can become almost impossible.

So how do I keep from drowning? I'm lucky enough to have the most supportive husband on the planet and that helps. T can tell when I need to be alone. He knows that when I'm beginning to snap at people, when my face looks a little pinched, and when I don't smile and laugh quite as easily, that it's time to take the kids on a Daddy outing so I can have some time. But I also take advantage of the time when I'm at work. I used to be a social butterfly at lunchtime at work. My job is frequently full of solitary research time and I liked to have a little social contact. But now, if I'm not in client meetings, depositions, or court, I frequently grab my lunch, close my office door, and read the paper for an hour. When I'm driving to and from work, I turn off the radio and listen to my thoughts.

I can't say that I'm not frustrated at times, or more stressed because I haven't had as much alone time as I'd like, but what mom does? And I've also discovered something I never expected. When I manage to get my toddler and baby to stop running/crawling around like wild animals and spend some quiet time with me - reading, playing with blocks or play-doh - it's better than spending time by myself.

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It Was a Beautiful Day
9/11 was a beautiful, cloudless day, wasn't it?

I was at work when the first plane hit. The conference room TV was on CNN and I remember thinking that it was a horrible accident. Then the second plane hit as we watched. That's when I realized that it wasn't an accident. And when the towers fell I was horrified and scared.

When the Pentagon was hit my panic became more immediate - I had worked at the Pentagon for the Department of the Army while I was in law school. I had friends and former co-workers in that building. T somehow managed to get through to me at work and told me that he was going in to the Navy Yard (he is a Naval Intelligence reservist). I left work and went to a friend's home so I wouldn't be alone. T later told me that he drove past the smoking Pentagon and people were stopped on the side of the interstate, just watching in horror.

I did not yet have children on September 11, 2001. In fact, T and I weren't even considering it yet at that time. But I do remember wondering how we could bring a child into this world - a world where planes fell from the sky. But we got over our fear and then we became determined to live our lives. Less than two years later, we decided we were ready for a baby. Three years after 9/11, on September 16, 2004, my oldest son came into the world screaming. On September 19th, T and I brought him home from the hospital.

It was a beautiful, cloudless day...just like 9/11.


Torn Between Two Children

I have two children under two. Well, Hollis is almost two - his birthday is in one week. Holden, our 8 month old, was an oops. We didn't plan to have our kids this closely together. In fact, I think my husband's exact words when I told him I was pregnant were "Oh, fuck." But now that they're here, we're doing the best that we can. Of course, everyone tells us the same BS about how they'll play together when they're older, we'll get diapers out of the way all at once, blah, blah, blah. The reality has been 3 years of raging hormones, sleepless nights, and countless hours of PBS Sprout. (Am I the only one totally annoyed by the Bernstain Bears?)

We thought the one benefit to having children 15 months apart was that Hollis wouldn't be old enough to resent the baby or remember a time when he didn't have to share his Mommy and Daddy. Oh were we wrong.....

Two nights ago Hollis was having a Daddy night. Daddy had to give him a bath. Daddy had to read to him. Daddy had to play with him. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. (I only carried him for 9 months and made myself into a human pincushion for him. No biggy. I'm just Mommy.) Anyway, I settled myself on the loveseat while T & Hollis had their love fest on the couch. T & Hollis read some books and then it was time for Pingu on PBS Sprout. For those of you that have never seen Pingu, it's a claymation cartoon about a naughty but sweet little penguin, his family and friends. There are no words to the cartoon, but you can always tell exactly what the penguins are "talking" about in their little pingu penguin language. In that night's episode, Pingu was feeling neglected while his mother cared for his little sister, Pinga. He intentionally woke her up and then desperately tried to get his mother's attention while she fed, rocked, and played with Pinga. Pingu ends up hiding in the toy box in tears when his mother finally notices & comes over to hold him. Hollis watched the cartoon intently. This is pretty rare for him - he usually watches the cartoon for a minute or two and then plays with his Legos while half watching the rest. But not this time. He watched the entire cartoon with rapt attention and pointed and said "oh no" several times when Pingu was upset. When it ended, he waited a moment and seemed to be thinking. Then he climbed down, ran over & threw himself at me. Awwwwww. Then we had a little snuggle on the couch before he went to bed. Clearly Hollis identified with Pingu....

I don't know why it surprises me so when I discover what's going on in that little head of his. I just know that I felt guilty, guilty, guilty after I put Hollis to bed that night. I like to think that I make lots of special time for him, but I know that he's upset when he wants Mommy to hold/play with/read to him and I'm nursing/changing/rocking the baby. Now that Holden is more mobile it's actually becoming worse as I chase my little crawling H-man around the house. I discussed it with T that night and he reassured me that I'm as egalitarian as I can be with my time, love and attention. I know that parents of singletons have this same problem. Toddlers are, after all, black holes of parental attention who will suck every last ounce of energy out of us if given the chance. I'm just overwhelmed with the thought that I will never be able to give either of my boys as much attention as they would like. I'd love to know how all you moms out there make it work!



My brother called me with sad news yesterday afternoon. A dear friend of his died this weekend. Staff Sergeant Eugene Alex was shot in Iraq and died in a military hospital in Germany over the weekend. Eugene was 32 and left behind a wife and 3 children. Eugene should have been back in the U.S. more than a month ago. As a result of the troop buildup in Iraq, he was still there.

Now I understand that soldiers know and accept the risks when they join the military. My father was a career Air Force officer. My brother was in the Army (where he met Eugene) until very shortly before the Iraq stop loss orders began, preventing soldiers from leaving when enlistments were over. B is now a reservist in the Ohio National Guard. My husband was in the Navy and is still in the Reserves. I understand the risk they take. This is not a post about our president or misguided U.S. foreign policy. As much as I disagree with our president, soldiers know that their lives are subject to the whims of politicians and presidents. They know that. And I understand it too. But I must admit that some small part of me has felt guilty for the relief I've felt because my brother and husband have been kept out of harm's way. The part of me that admires the sacrifices made by soldiers past. The part of me that loves to fly the flag. The part of me that is so proud of my father, my brother, and my husband for their military service. I feel guilty when I hear about men and women like Eugene who loved their country, loved their jobs as soldiers and died, while my loved ones are safe....

First Lady Laura Bush is speaking at a hotel about 1/2 a block from my office this afternoon at a fundraiser for Republican Congresswoman, Thelma Drake. It was notable to me because of the protestors I passed on my way to work this morning. One protestor in particular caught my eye. A woman stood with a handwritten sign that read "2,452 Americans dead. Not one more." All I could think was that she was wrong. The number should be 2,453.

I'm not going to feel guilty anymore.


Did Katie Look Fat?
It was a big day in broadcast journalism yesterday. Katie Couric made history in her debut as the first woman solo news anchor. I have to admit that I only saw portions of the broadcast. I did not watch the entire 30 minutes. It was certainly a different format for the evening news and yes, it was a little light on actual news. But what concerns me more are the reactions from the pundits today.

Someone please explain to me why it is necessary to comment about what Ms. Couric was wearing? Tom Shales, had this to say - "Couric, who began the newscast standing up and promoting what was to come, oddly wore a white blazer over a black top and skirt, the blazer buttoned in such a way as to make her look chubby, bursting at the button, which we know she isn't." Please, Tom, stick to writing your column and leave fashion to, well, anyone who has purchased new eyewear since 1986. The Associated Press was a little more restrained, but still felt it necessary to include this comment, "As the end credits rolled, Couric, wearing a white jacket over a black shirt and skirt, was leaning against the edge of her desk, showing her famous legs."

Again, why is this necessary? Yes, she's a woman. Get over it! I can't recall anyone ever even mentioning Dan Rather's legs - at least not in connection with his broadcast. I don't remember any comments about Bob Schieffer's red tie making him look fat either. Why is this somehow relevant when a woman takes over the anchor desk? It certainly says a lot about how our society really views women, doesn't it? Katie Couric may be a highly accomplished interviewer and now one of the most powerful women in the broadcast news industry, but, according to the critics, at the end of the day she's still a chick in a skirt with great legs and a jacket that makes her look fat.

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Football Orphans?

We've all heard the women who describe themselves as "Football Widows" when their husbands glue themselves to the couch with chips, beer, and a port-a-potty nearby for the entire Fall. But we never hear much about the Football Orphans. If a neglected wife is a football widow, what happens when both parents are football fanatics?

On Saturday afternoon my husband watched the Nebraska season opener and I found myself chastising him for ignoring Hollis, who clearly wanted to play with Daddy. I said "T, the world does not end when football is on. Play with your son!" I don't want to paint T as a neglectful father. He's anything but that, but I felt he was unreasonably caught up in the game. I like football as much as the next gal, but our kids don't understand that.

Fast forward to Monday night - my team is now playing. It's pre game for the Miami - FSU game on ESPN and Mommy keeps shushing Hollis while trying to hear Lee Corso's prediction on the outcome of the game. Hollis even went so far as to dig his junior football out of his toy box and repeatedly toss it at my feet to try to get my attention. I barely noticed when T took Hollis up to bed. Hmmmm.... Maybe I understand now, T!

Right now I'm taking a break from the game b/c I was yelling so loudly at the TV I was afraid I would wake the kids up. I found myself thanking the Gods of ESPN for not starting the game until 8pm when I started adding my own expletives as Miami's coach chewed out his new special teams coach on national TV. I'm sure Hollis would have enjoyed the vocabulary lesson if he'd been awake! Obviously, I tend to get a little too caught up in football. So does my husband. I guess H&H will be Football Orphans for the next few years until we can indoctrinate them in to the Football Cult. Once H&H can sing the Monday Night Football theme song or hum the music to Sportscenter, I will consider the job done. In the meantime, maybe T and I will have to alternate games....

Oh, and GO CANES!


The other day after admonishing Hollis to SHARE his legos with Holden for the 5000th time, I started to think about sharing a bit more. I mean, I can understand why it's such a hard concept for toddlers to grasp. Most of the adults I know still haven't figured out how to share. When was the last time you had some random stranger sitting next to you in the movie theater reach over & take your popcorn away? Never happened to you? So can you get why a toddler would be slightly peeved when some kid on the playground comes over & wants to use your toddler's favorite truck? I totally get it.

So if we're going to insist that our toddlers share with everyone, let's apply the same rules to ourselves. We could start with Israel and Palestine and make them sit down and figure out how to share. Maybe that's too controversial to start out, so let's try this - the next time a pan handler on the street asks you for some money, bust out your wallet and give him a few bucks. Sharing's not so hard, is it?

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