Mommy and me massage

While trying to finally clean up my computer I stumbled upon photos from a mom blogger event from 7 years ago.  I use to go things like this a lot.  People with baby products would demonstrate or give stuff away and bloggers mention it on their site if they like it.

At this juncture I was not working outside the home that much, so I strapped on Rex and went to EVERYTHING.   Here I was being taught how to massage my little guy.

SONY DSC

I’m the one with real baby (doll not included)

Long strokes away from the heart I think?

I'm just chillin

I’m just chillin

Here I’m going for the little toes, which 7 years later I still adore.  Even at the time I wasn’t sure if a baby massage technique was so important, but rather that a parent or caregiver strokes, hugs, caresses them.  Studies show an untouched baby is wire monkey.. I know I am.

I look back on this period 1) thinking how cute Rex was and how nice it was to easily take him anywhere.  But, 2) remember who tired I always was.  Well, gee I’m not sure.  Am I tired here or really trying to learn this thing? tired new mommyOh, maybe I’m doing a “happy and you know it clap your hands?”  Oh, warming up the oil?  I’m so geared towards food I think those little plates with oil are in need of some fresh bread to dip into.

The other important part of a ritual like this is that it made ME feel better.. not nessarily doing the perfect massage for Rex ( by the way, never got a tip) but slowing down and spending a few minutes touching your kid feels so good.  Now, it’s rubbing their back at bed time, or when they let me hold their hands walking.
massage babyOh, my look at my pink blackberry!  Gosh, I miss those… I made less typos.  So, I’m out of the mommy blogging, swag party business… I don’t have time and I don’t have a cute little co star to take around with me.   More and more when people would pitch me products I’d say, “you know there are SO many sites that are a better fit.”  I did like experiences, like this, though.   I was a little perplexed by why I’m wearing those white sunglasses.. but I think they were given to me.

grandma’s of bloggers

OH, wait, not grandma’s, mom’s of bloggers.  My grandmas long before the internet was  ready for prime time.   As I was poking around you tube for a video I was hunting I came across this archival gem.  It features my mom!  As well as the moms of my favorite blogger friends, Jessica Gottlieb, Heather Armstrong, and Rebecca Woolf.  I’ve met Rebecca’s mom and she is just as darling in person.  It doesn’t look like it has had many views so I thought I would give it another showing.

Best of all my mom is holding Rex when he was a baby.

 

BYU TV

Since I’m still kind of new to this blog world I haven’t done much press for this aspect of my life. I’ve done interviews and such for my radio, TV or stand-up work. So, I was flattered when I got an email last year from BYU TV to appear as a guest on a show they were doing about mom bloggers. I was also surprised that 1) BYU had their own TV station and 2) that they would want a heathen like me.

Now, I’m a big old agnostic, but I kind of have a soft spot for Mormons. Partly because my husband was raised one, and though he has left the flock, I think he and his siblings are nice people with good values, so not a bad way to grow up. And Utah is my favorite place to ski and frolic in the snow. So, I asked the non-coffee drinkers (right there, I couldn’t join up) if they could get a nice gal to watch Vivien, and I would bring her along and make a fun trip out of it. They said yes.

So many months later and so many emails and phone calls from BYU that I snapped at them, “You have pre-interviewed me more than Oprah did!” we were off. It was the first time Vivien and I have taken a trip just us two since Rex was born. Though I was a tad nervous that there would be icy roads, and my Southern California brain wouldn’t know what to do, what I should have worried about was if my daughter could drive. When I went to pick up the rental car they had reserved for me I couldn’t take possession of the keys because they had rented it under Vivien’s name. They took an hour to straighten out that a 4 year old could not drive the car. Not even if Toyota fixes their pedals. Miraculously during the wait, Vivien was fine jumping around the dark garage, even though I had plied her with the last treat I had.

Sidebar: We avoided disaster when the rental car lady said to me, “Um, that could be a problem.”  I turned to see Vivien putting her tongue on a metal pole! I guess we have to watch A Christmas Story. Fortunately it wasn’t that cold, and I explained why that was a BAD idea.

Off we went into Salt Lake (what a convenient, civilized airport) for a quick nosh. Then off to Provo. It was a modest hotel but fine, and there was a sweet little river running along side it. Any signs of nature is pretty exciting to these LA women.

We drove the minute to the BYU studio where I met the other bloggers on the show. Some local gals and my Momversation friend, Mindy Roberts. I feel like I already knew Mindy from Momversation and from our emails. She is a delight in person. Also present was Kadi of The Girly Gazette. She has 7 kids and a tiny waist (be-atch!). It took us 5 minutes before we bonded. Smart gal and anyone who can be sane with that many kids, well, better man than I!

A nice gal named Mary was put in charge of Vivien. It took Vivien 2 seconds to warm up to her, ’cause hate to generalize, but Mormons are nice people. They fed us all dinner. Sometimes cold chicken Parmesan hits the spot after a day of travel. And Vivien went to the theater next door and saw Princess and the Frog. Perfect.

Now, everyone was very nice, and they had make up and soap opera lighting, but it all took a while. Lots of time hanging out in the makeup room since our call times were not staggered. And the poor makeup gal, how she could work on any of us with only over head fluorescent lights I don’t know. Before we started taping they did ask us to please not say “God” or “Jesus.” Fine, I think I can do that. But I was thrown when one of the producers thought my knee length dress might show my crotch.

Me, ever subtle and polite: “I’ve worked in TV for 14 years, and I’ve never shown my snatch and don’t plan on it.”

For the show, I joined Mindy on the couch, and she moved over in Ed McMahon, Andy Richter fashion. Nice host. Blogging, vlogging, blah, blah. Then we had our View-like segment where we conferred on various blog related subjects. FTC rulings and such. My privates were covered, and I didn’t commit blasphemy.

Everyone was very nice and thanked me for my participation. Vivien had had a great time. Then one of the producers said that this was a pilot, and it might air in September.

WHAAAAA?

I said, Look, this was kind of pain to get here. I left my baby; I trucked out here because I want to get more eyeballs for my site. I’m making it a fun trip with Viv, but the point of the show is too expose coolmom.com to other people. If after all this this never airs, I will be irked. And the part I didn’t say was, “Brother, you LDSers can spend this much money on a show that never airs?”

The senior producer assured me that it would air.

Vivien played for a half an hour in the cold, icy snow piles in front of the studio. I enjoyed seeing her happiness, but kept saying, “Tomorrow I’m going to take you to a place that has way more snow then this.”

But more about that later…

Behind the Scenes

A lot of people (4) ask me how I shoot my videos. It happens two ways. Either I put my little video on a tripod like I did in this vid and wing it solo or about every 5 or 6 weeks a cameraman and a producer, my friend Rob Morhaim, come to my house and we shoot about 12 vids that then I scroll out of a few weeks. Those ones look better; there are nice lights and a bigger camera. I am more physically limited in what I can do with the homemades. Sometimes the content is fine, but I do like to try to make things look a little different when I have my crew. We just did a shoot day, and we had lunch catered. Which means my husband brought us soup and sandwiches from his lunch place in Culver City, their Point. The onion soup is ambrosia!

I am wardrobe and makeup gal. And in this video I should be fired.

Mom of a Mom Blogger

It’s the return of MY MOMMY! If you were coming to this blog a year ago you might have seen my dear mom Morency making a few appearances. To catch up those who haven’t seen her before, she is a Minnesota-born, wise, steady woman who raised three daughters, has 4 grandchildren, and has taught and mentored students in the over 30 years she has run her private school.

I taped four little vlogs with mom the other day. Please note my sterling production value… mic hanging openly, too-large photo distracting between the two of us (which is of my engagement party by the way).

I’ll play the other three soon.

Empathy

I’ll be honest, I’m still a bit rattled by some of the reactions to the vlog, “What to Say.” What got me were the comments that basically went like this, “Hey, former rich lady, quit your crying a lot of people have it worse than you.” The line that really got me was, “I don’t feel sorry for you.”

I have exposed myself more than I had EVER planned to when I started on this blogger path. I think I was a tad naive about the boundaries here. Since there aren’t many. I really only wanted to do amusing videos and help moms feel less isolated. But one can’t always find the humor in life. And after many months of saying nothing, I did decided to reveal on Cool Mom arguably the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me. And NOT just me, but my stepchildren, my husband, some of their relatives, and my own children. As all moms know, it’s one thing to have something happen to you, but when something affects your kids, it hurts much more.

On Momversation, there was recently a discussion about Jon & Kate Plus 8. Some have criticized the parents for exposing their kids to the TV glare, that everyone will have seen their divorce unfold on TV. Well, at least in LA, it was quickly known that my husband was invested through a feeder fun with Bernie Madoff. So, my children will grow up with their friends knowing more details of our personal financial life than most ever share. My stepchildren have had people come up to them, “Sorry about what happened to your family.” etc. And yes, that pisses me off. I’m sorry that will be a part of their personal biography. But as I often tell myself, one can’t control others actions, one can only control how one RESPONDS. So, that is why I thought, well, let’s try to find the silver lining here.  And I don’t mean the obvious, “Hey we have our health.” But all the people who are going through financial turmoil can reach out to each other and not feel alone, not feel isolated. Again, isolation is a theme here.

The other aspect of the comments that irked me was after having our money stolen and having to lie to my daughter about why we are moving was to have people say, “You don’t have it that bad.” Or in a sense what at least one person said, “I never had that kind of money to lose, so shut your yap.”

In 2001, my friend Nina and I were robbed at gunpoint. The man said, “If you scream, I will kill you.” We gave them what we had and they let us go. We called the police immediately. They arrived and never did catch the guys. But as we stood there shaking, one of the police officers said, “You are lucky they didn’t rape you.” I sort of feel that was what was being said to me again, right here on this site.

When a friend has a parent die of a heart attack, do you say, “Well, my dad lingered in a cancer ward for months; be glad you never had to see you dad whither and die like I saw mine.” No, that wouldn’t be kind. You will have 1) taken the opportunity for your friend to express their grief and 2) made it all about yourself.

But one might say… “I’m so sorry for your loss, at least he went peacefully and wasn’t in pain for long.”

It’s very slight the change in speaking one has to make to say “the right thing.”

At the same party where I said to a stranger, “Well, we lost money with Madoff” who then abruptly replied, “I know.” (slap) Another person handled it more artfully. She knew I had moved out of the ‘hood and asked where we were (indicating she already knew why). She started telling me about how badly some of her families investments have gone recently. I put my hand on her shoulder and said, “It’s very nice of you to share this with me,” knowing she still had her big, pretty house and all. She said, “Well, that’s why I shared it. I didn’t want you to feel it’s only you.”

That’s why I speak about what happened to me. And if you don’t like me or don’t like that Yes, I do mind having to sell my house, lose my retirement, to have the money my husband earned after building a successful business where he worked long hours and stood on his feet for years being stolen from him, then GET LOST. My setbacks, my challenges are mine. If they aren’t good enough for some, well, too bad. I have way too many other things to worry about. My son needed me to nurse him today, my daughter needed me to hear her feelings about her day, I needed to prepare for my TV job the following day. Not to mention I needed to give my husband some love and figure out when I could visit my dad in assisted living. Instead, I was preoccupied by the critical remarks I had read. Sorting this all out.

Please don’t leave me a nasty comment about this. The old axiom if you don’t have something nice to say… then just move on. Go to another blogger. I’m too raw about this issue. I’m trying to hard to move forward and not look in the rear view mirror. I had hoped to to create a forum of sorts for everyone to share stories about what they are going through. This is an unprecedented time in most of our lives.

“Please my friends be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting their own hard battle.”  Plato

Shout Out to My Blogger Pals

Most of my friends have a physical presence. Then there are those that are virtual friends, like many of you who come to Cool Mom or whom I follow on Twitter. Then there are a few who straddle this divide. Bloggers who are friends. Honestly, only one has been made physically manifest before me. Rebecca Woolf Girl’s Gone Child. She is a fellow Momversationer, and we found we lived VERY close to each other. She’s about a quarter of my age, but except for having tattoos where I am terrified of them, we are very sympatico as mothers and people.

I give her a lot of credit for coming to the party I had in January to celebrate the impending birth of my son. She didn’t know a soul.. .well, there was one other person she knew. But she showed up with a gift. Bless her heart. Sometimes I can’t handle going out by myself… so much energy. She didn’t know at the time I was partly throwing the party have a big party while I had a BIG house. Months later, we ran into each other with our babies, and I told her all. Crying (as I am prone to do when nursing) and talking about losing my retirement and home. She is so dear, warm, and positive. Can’t believe how young she is. Very grounded. At her age, I think I was having some kind of affair I would never want my children to know about.

It’s a funny club, mom blogging. It’s kind of like being on a low production scale reality show that you have more control over. We get to do the editing. No slow-motion burns to represent conflict. It’s sort of art. I think if moms who went berserk years ago could have had a safe place to talk about concerns and disappointments, they might not have gone mad.

Another mom blogger who lives too far to meet, but we have had a penpal friendship, is crabmommy. Sometimes I don’t know how these friendships start, but I really like her writing and she recently wrote me a very heartfelt email after I did my Madoff week. The last line of her email brought tears to my eyes. It had her sassy quality and full of heart.

“And luckily although a shitload was taken from you, there’s an awful lot they didn’t get!”

I really loved that. And of course, though I’ve seen the dark side of humanity with Madoff, et al., I have been on the end of the light side as well.  So many dear people.

On Momversation: Politics and Family

I’ve just started a new project in addition to Cool Mom – Momversation, a video show and website for moms. In our first video, I’m gabbing with some other mom-bloggers, including Heather of dooce.com, about politics; specifically, what to do when you and your loved ones disagree on politics.