Lady, you were right

Wally had this great stretch of almost two weeks where he was finally, drum-roll please, at 2 years 8 months, pretty much sleeping through the night. And things felt kind of sane and normal. We weren't always running out of milk and always wandering around in piles or laundry, clean and dirty getting all mixed together. There wasn't play-doh all over the floor, crammed into the carpet. But the past few nights he's been up again, in a cute way I have to admit. Getting out of the crib and padding over to us (me, Alex is always allowed to sleep) and asking to play trains at 1:40, then 2, then 3. Then putting in a good solid two hours before getting up for the day.

So this morning walking with Wally outside I was in that sort of fragile, oversensitive, the tiniest thing is going to push me over mood, and I felt like I should really say something to the wife I never met of a drummer I barely knew. Alex wrote in the comments section recently (on "It's over, let it go") about how a drummer Jon left his band once, with the parting words, "I feel like telling you to go f&ck yourself." Jon had been struggling to manage rehearsals on top of a full-time job and two little kids at home. We found it hilarious to leave in the qualifier, "I feel like telling you", but we thought the guy was kind of an idiot. Back then we were in our easy, carefree, "What are you doing tonight?" "Let's worry about that later" (it's only 9 PM) phase. Meanwhile Jon the drummer could never stay to the end of rehearsals because his wife would interrupt with desperate phones calls, needing help the boys -- a baby and toddler.

In private, Alex and I would put her down for her incompetence and refusal to let Jon prioritize the band even two nights a week. What was so hard about taking care of two toddlers? My nieces were no problem, now that they were out of newborn wailing stage. At that time, Alex was regularly babysitting Eliana and Leah, both under 3. We also laughed at the image Jon also described of having to change diapers while the boys ran around the house. "Who does that?" We'd say to each other. "Those people have no control over their kids!"

If/when we ever had kids, they'd lie down for diaper changes, eat what we put in front of them, and after dinner they'd play independently and let us clean up until it was time for PJs, which they'd probably be able to put on themselves by 1 year or so. It'd be, you know, tiring in certain ways, but nothing one able-bodied adult couldn't easily manage all while writing new songs and keeping up an active social life. All I have to do is go back and read over any single entry of my blog to be hit in the face with a resounding "Lady, you were wrong". Going into it you think -- I've watched babies before, I babysat when I was 12, I've changed diapers, I've read stories to them before they went to sleep. NOT THE SAME THING.

Recently my friend Eli said she told her mom how surprised she was that I'd become such a different person, in just the short time since I started the blog, really, the beginning of the summer. She said I seem to have done a 180 when it comes to motherhood. Her mom told her that you fundamentally change when you become a parent "so if you feel like you are talking to a different person now, you are." It just took me a while longer to change than it takes most people. I think I worried about that for a long time. Becoming a different person, becoming unrecognizable to my friends, the people who had been so valuable and at the center of my life for so long. And now I'd be terrified of not changing, not growing, not adapting to something so enormous coming into my life. Like some anonymous person wrote in the comments a while back, "You've changed (I wonder why)."

If we ever run into that drummer Jon again, or his frantic wife, I'll tell him that now we kinda understand a little bit better. And that if Jon still feels like it, he's welcome to say he feels like telling Alex know.

(My grandmother Miriam used to love to tell stories where the last line was another person telling her, (after doubting that she knew the best way to get across town during a parade down 5th, or where to get the best Challah-French Toast, or whether or not the schlock store was open), "Lady, you were right." So anyway, Alex and my sister and I use the expression a lot, to each other, when someone is vindicated. I don't even know the name of that lady, Jon's wife, but maybe she was a little bit right.)


  1. We had a friend call us when his kids were toddlers to apologize for everything he had said to us and about us before he had kids. It was hysterical.

  2. It's amazing how I used to think my friends with kids would use their children as "an excuse" to rush out or not take on extra work tasks. HA. I definetly will tell myself on their behalf to fuck myself.

  3. I like how you've changed. Isn't this the Jon of the vodka chugging? If so, I didn't know he had a wife and two little kids, and what was he doing out with us late on a Saturday night?

  4. We all tend to attribute our own behavior to external influences and others' behavior to character/personality. This, of course, is the basis for the old saw: "wait till you've walked a mile in his Birkenstocks." It's a clear design flaw that there is no natural connection to understand another's behavior that would parallel empathy's ability to grasp emotion.

  5. Evie -- I like how you've changed too. And that you remembered my litmus test for the end of the honeymoon phase as you commented a few entries ago. Hilarious! (Are you past it? What specific behavior would you identify as reasonable but irritating? Vodka slugger was a different drummer - Christian. He was married, but didn't have kids yet (does now). Drummers need a chart of their own -- especially b/c Alex had his own separate band. That's the one the above-mentioned drummer Jon left so ceremoniously.

  6. I also like Fitzergald's take on it, "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
    'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,' he told me, 'just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.'"

  7. mmmmm....where did Miriam say one can get the best challah french toast?

  8. it was the diner on 30th and 9th that unfortunately got redone into this fancy, cocktail kind of diner (High Line I think it's called) that always seems to be closed for renovation. oh you reminded me that she also claimed to be severely allergic to wheat, but was somehow able to pick and choose when it affected her. for ex, from a bread basket it was always okay to have "just the heel" (not much wheat in there)

  9. Funny...I feel this sort of evolution lately in our friendship. I have known you longer than any non family member and yet I feel like we have come full circle now in our parenthood. Didn't we all change as teenagers/college kids. With distance we certainly grew apart. Somehow, having children of our own and this blog have stirred up all these memories of our Last American Childhood that I want my children to learn, to experience. And so, I feel that much closer to you once again. My evolution as a parent has brought me back to my own childhood (and you) in so many ways. Perhaps I am just regressing.


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