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Archive for May, 2012

Goodbye to an Era

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:01 AM
Thursday, May 31, 2012

So I just threw out 2 New Yorkers today.

What’s the big deal? You are obviously thinking. A new New Yorker Magazine comes every week! You’re not one of those crazy pack rats, are you?

No, dear readers. No, I am not.

Nor am I, apparently… an actual New Yorker reader any more.

Because it’s a rare issue that I read more than the letters, a few cartoons, and half of the “About Town” section. More than that? It’s been months. Years? Close to it…

When I was a child, I thought the magazine was ridiculous. Words, words, words… BORING! I’d read each & every cartoon and then toss the thing aside. But once I graduated college and was floating about trying my luck in the City of Angels… I suddenly discovered its value. Words, words, words! Glorious words! Thoughtful words! Pithy words! Funny words! Politically liberal words!

Fiction, interviews, investigative stories, opinion items, profiles, band and movie reviews, and yes… the cartoons. Loved all of it, every week. Gobbled it up. Felt smart, felt fulfilled, felt like I was not alone, felt informed, felt like I was a New Yorker by proxy.

And then.

It happened slowly, over time.

First, I discovered The Week (news crack).

Then, I had three children.

I used to read novels, too, by the way. I would devour them, eat them alive, suck the marrow out of them and they would leave me breathless.

Now?

I did read The Help. And… um… the Harry Potter Books? Which got progressively less awesome. And a few others, here and there…

But mostly, I watched TV and lived life.

Which, dear readers, can be exhausting.

I think I may not renew my New Yorker subscription this fall.

Sniff.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Sheesh, does this mean I need to 'X' out the New Yorker in my artwork? Maybe just show me watching HULU TV on my iPhone with earphones while everyone sleeps around me. Sadly, that is my new reality.

Smell it

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:05 AM
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

EW! You pervert! You know what you were thinking when you read the title of this blog. Well, it’s not about that.

Not… exactly.

Okay, it is SORT OF about smelling your loved one’s nether areas… but I’m talking about those times you don’t WANT to smell something – um – intimate, and yet you unfortunately find yourself doing just that.

I’m talking about laundry, of course.

Ladies, I know you feel me! At least those of you who live with or are married to a man.

Because let’s face it – 99 out of 100 men NEVER LEARNED TO THROW THEIR DIRTY CLOTHES IN THE LAUNDRY BASKET WHEN THEY ARE DONE WEARING THEM.

Oh, sure. They’ll throw SOME of their dirty clothes in there. Just enough, in fact, to lead a woman on and make her thing there is hope that he could learn, he could grow, he could change and evolve and someday learn to put ALL his clothes into the dirty hamper, ALL at one time.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Whew! Thanks, I needed that.

No, no, no, as we all know (we who have lived with a man for more than a couple months at a time), there is no way most men will every learn this. They are too busy falling asleep in front of the TV.

So instead, it is our duty, as loving wives and mothers and protectors of all things domestic, to pick up those clothes strewn on the bed and chair and floor and…

Smell them.

Because who wants to wash clothes that are in perfectly good condition and can be worn again?

Sorry, I may have been channeling someone’s dead Jewish grandmother there.

But Ethyl is right – I don’t want my husband to go without his favorite shorts if they aren’t really dirty. I don’t want to waste the water and the soap and the time it takes to clean something that is already clean.

So I smell.

And boy oh boy, sometimes do I get punished for that action.

I can only say that the universe does have its way of spreading around burdens so that everyone gets his or her fair share.

Because yesterday, when my husband was putting our kids to bed, and our littlest told him she had “poopy in her diaper”? Yeah, he didn’t believe her either.  It was just a ploy to make him stay longer in her bedroom!

Right?

Only one way to find out.

Hee hee hee…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Awww, isn't little Rosalita soooo cute! Honey, I've got my hands full, would you just mind checking for me- KACKACKACKACKACKACKACKACK!!! Payback's a bitch.

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Flashback Friday! (High Heels)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:54 AM
Friday, May 25, 2012

Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – High Heels – the BLOG

My oldest daughter (now four) started wearing my shoes at 12 months, just after she learned to walk. Correction: wearing my heels. She really didn’t have much use for my flats after the first cursory tries. Boots – yes, she liked those too… but the heels were her favorites.

She walked better than I did in my heels. I am not kidding. Initially, my husband was upset. “Don’t let her take your shoes!” he would admonish. “She’ll ruin them!”

What he didn’t understand is that you can’t get between a girl and her obsession with shoes. I walked in my mother’s shoes, my daughters walk in my shoes, and someday, their daughters too, will walk in their shoes. Right now my four year old has a pair of “heels” (Hannah Montana brand kids’ heels, I’m horrified to admit), and she insists on wearing them every second of every day. I know it’s not “good” for her feet. But I get it…

My whole life, I never really wore heels except to weddings – I’m already 5’10”, and heels just aren’t comfortable, you know? After a night of wearing them my lower back would hurt, my knees would pop, my feet ache… And I never liked towering above everyone else.

Until.

About five months ago. Not sure what changed. I finally lost the remainder of my 3rd pregnancy weight which was a BITCH to lose. My feet had actually grown almost a half size thanks to said 3rd pregnancy, so I needed new shoes. For Christmas, my mother gave me a fat gift certificate to DSW. Not sure what possessed me, but when I went to the store to buy four new pairs of shoes – I walked out with four pairs of heels.

I’ve been wearing them almost daily every since.

Cause now? I get it.

THAT’S why women wear heels! No – they still aren’t comfortable (though somehow my body doesn’t hurt anymore after wearing them, so I guess the pain from wearing them before was ½ mental and ½ me not being in shape). No – it’s not really fun for me to tower over my husband and everyone else around me except my 6 foot 6 friend who no longer seems like a distant image in the sky when I wear my heels; more like a next door neighbor (though it is kind of cool to stand tall above the rest and NOT suffer from a Napoleon complex)…

It’s what my one year old instinctively knew, what every Shoe Dazzle member knows, and what most of my girlfriends and most women of the modern world have known for years…

High heels are fucking sexy.

My girlfriend, whose husband has been a tenured professor of Gender Studies for over 20 years, told me that it has been proven that high heels put women’s bodies in the same position that an orgasm puts them in.

Hmmmmmmm….

Well, with all the pain, misery, and uncertainty in the world… there are worse positions for the body to hang out in, eh?

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

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Wiper, no Wiping! Aw, Man!

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 10:45 AM
Thursday, May 24, 2012

As Monday’s blog may have subtley alluded to, I’ve been a bit tired lately.

TIRED, I TELL YOU!!!

Which is why this week I’ve been a bit off my game, and didn’t deliver the bloggage on time as usual.

Yeah, well, sue me.

Or, conversely, read on, about today’s tantalizing subject!

Baby wipes.

Rock.

For those of you who don’t have kids yet, you are missing out on a lot of things. Sleep may not be one of those things. Cracked nipples may not be another. But one thing you ARE FOR SURE missing out on (until you read this blog), is the wonder and magic that is….. baby wipes!

They clean ANYTHING. Seriously.

Smudges on the wall? Baby wipes.

Stain on your shirt? Baby wipes.

Poop on your butt?

Okay, sorry, but you had to know that was coming. I’m actually a huge proponent of adults using “baby” wipes for their bathroom needs too! (the flushable kind, anyway) – Who said just because we got bigger our poop suddenly is less sticky & disgusting? And let’s face facts: we are not a “bidet society.”

You are welcome.

Oh, and a special shout out to Hugo Schwyzer, who not only had a new baby recently and therefore has a whole new excuse to buy endless boxes of baby wipes, but who also came to my rescue yesterday when I was out and about doing errands with my kids and stuck in his neighborhood with a poopy diaper. Well, not MY poopy diaper, per se, but it basically became “mine” as soon as it landed in my daughter’s diaper and started smelling up the car.

In swoops Captain Hugo, beloved by men, women and children everywhere! He did a drive-by – he actually drove to our location (Beverly Hills mini mall where my older daughter takes karate) and dropped off a small box of wipes.

Now THAT, my friends, is a true hero.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

More precious than gold. Cause let's face it, when your kid's got a poopy diaper, who's going to wipe his ass with a gold bracelet?

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INSANTITYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:05 AM
Monday, May 21, 2012

I’m tired this morning. And a little crazy.

But you went to sleep last night at 10pm! I know you are thinking. How in the world can you feel tired?

Okay, so you schlepped kids around all day yesterday, attended a pool party in the heat, cleaned the house and went to a barmitzvah party in the night.

Okay, so you drank a really strong vodka drink (after you promised yourself you wouldn’t drink, hello?!) and you ate about four pieces of cake (kids, can you say, sugar crash?) and you woke up at five AM this morning.

So what?

Wait… did you say FIVE? AM???

Ahhhh… now, we’re getting somewhere.

Was it a child who woke you up? Pee pee in the bed, perhaps? A nightmare, like the other morning when Esther woke up telling you “the car floated away and then I got in the car and it came back!” – ?

No.

Gentle readers, I woke up at 5am this morning, and 5am about 4 days out of last week, and about 4 days the week before, and so on, because this week marks my fifth week.

Of Insanity.

INSANITY!!!!

SEAN T!!!!! WHAT’S UP?!!!!

DIG!!! DEEPER!!!!!

Sorry. I think I’ve been brainwashed.

But yes, I’m waking up at 5 a handful of days each week, and most other days I’m fitting it in before lunch, and when I say “it” I mean 45 minutes give or take of the hardest ‘boot camp’ style cardio workout I’ve ever done.

About three weeks into it, I realized I needed to change my diet too, or else all these washboard abs I’m surely creating will never see the light of day from beneath the “is there a baby in your tummy?” fat on my stomach.

Thanks, kids. Thanks a lot.

So I’m kicking sugar and alcohol for a while, too, except for a once-in-a-while cheat day, of which this past entire weekend  melded together and became just that – a Big Fat Cheat Weekend.

So I’m tired. But I’m pushing through.

Dig Deeper!

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I'm telling you guys, SOMEWHERE under my belly fat, my abs SO look like that.

Flashback Friday is BACK! (The Rub)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:13 AM
Friday, May 18, 2012

Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – The Rub – the BLOG

Usually, there are three ways I can put my one year old daughter to sleep.

#1: the easy way. Only happens if her nap is cut short and she’s very tired. In this case, she will nurse and fall asleep almost immediately after (or during) – no matter if her 2 sibs are still making noise (all 3 kids share a bedroom).

#2: the sucky way. Most often, the baby will be wide awake and want to play, nurse me dry, then play some more, then scream her lungs out and try to climb out of her crib, long after the 2 older sibs have passed out from exhaustion & from the sheer hopelessness of getting me to hear what they want to say over baby’s sleepless wails.

#3 the best way – my husband puts her to bed, or a babysitter does, in which case she will usually rest her head on their shoulder and allow them to put her to sleep within a matter of seconds.

But the other day… A 4th way was born!

I was alone with the 3 kids, Husband working late. It was much later than their usual bedtime, but 2 factors were working against me – 1, Baby had taken too long of a nap, I think over two hours, and 2, I had given her a bottle of almond milk to keep her busy while I helped Husband prepare for his meeting, and this milk has so much sugar that it woke her right up.

Brilliant planning, I know…

So as usual, the 2 bigger kids were giving me a bit of trouble, but both dropped off pretty quickly once the requisite hazing period was over. I was just starting to steel my shoulders in preparation for the screaming and crying and flailing from Baby as I refused to let her leave her crib, when I remembered something my mother had said to me once. When we were visiting my parents – not even our most recent trip, but I think it was the trip 1 year ago – my mom told me the baby fell asleep easily with her after she gave her a “baby massage”.

What the hell, right?

I started rubbing and gently kneading Baby’s shoulders and arms.

Holy crap.

Girlfriend lay still, relaxed, and loose, lapping up the feeling it was giving her. Encouraged, I kneaded her little chunky thighs, her calves, those romping stomping feet, back up to the shoulders, the arms, the hands. I even worked on her ears, her eyebrow bones and her chin. I was SO Burke Williams.

After a few quiet murmurs and a roll here and there… she yawned once and fell asleep.

Score!

To sleep , perchance to dream… my turn now.

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

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How do they KNOW?

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 10:21 AM
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can I ask you something?

How do those little buggers just KNOW?

Explanation: kids have an uncanny 6th sense. I’m not talking about remembering their past life, seeing and/or talking to angels, speaking in a language they’ve never been taught, or any number of the other spiritual abilities I’ve heard comes naturally to many kids.

I’m talking about the ability that comes naturally to ALLLL kids.

Knowing just when to bother Mommy.

Por ejemplo. Exactly two minutes into any phone call I make or receive while my kids are at home, one child starts to whine for me. Thirty seconds later, the wailing begins, and three minutes into the call, all three kids are sobbing and/or cage-fighting each other in a manner that not only forces me to end my call abruptly, but also no doubt causes the person I’m on the phone with to consider calling social services.

This never fails. And yet, somehow, I STILL believe “the next call will be different”.

Maybe it’s the fact that they start in two minutes into the call. If they started RIGHT as I received or made the call, I’d know what was going on. But instead, each time, with each new call, I am lulled into a false sense of security, privacy, comfort of personal space and feeling that I will be able to conduct this phone call… with my mom/friend/teacher/client/sister/father/credit card company/PRESIDENTOFTHEUNITEDSTATES,DON’TYOUGETIT,ITDOESN’TMATTERWHOIAMONWITH,THEBUGGERSDON’TLEAVEMEINPEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! –

Ahem.

As I was saying, that first minute of quiet as I conduct each phone call tricks me into thinking that THIS time, THIS phone call, I will be left alone…

In peace.

HA.

Working on my computer/checking emails is exactly the same, with the only added benefit that only I hear the screams, wails, sobs and pleading, whereas the person I am doing work for/emailing is blessedly ignorant of the ruckus my attention to them has caused.

The only interesting sidebar here is that while the kids go completely Cuckoo for CoCo Puffs when I’m involved in a creative, work or communicative endeavor (phone/email/writing), they actually leave me almost completely alone, in peace, when I’m doing dishes, laundry, or otherwise cleaning the house.

Sorry, THEIR house.

Ahhhh, now I get it.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Hey mom! No, it's cool, keep talking on the phone. I'll just wipe all this on the new curtains, k?

Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:53 PM
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sometimes I have trouble getting lost in the moment. Perhaps this is why I don’t like cooking – it’s impossible for me to put food into a pot without already visualizing what it’s going to take to clean that pot later on. Similarly, I like to clean because I like things clean – but I have a hard time sweeping up crumbs, dirt, wood chips and other tiny items from the floor without already bracing myself for the new layer that will surely appear once all three kids descend on the house after school.

A dear friend of mine used to make me laugh, regaling me with stories about how his cleaning-obsessed mother used to scream at him and his brothers if they walked into the living room, since she had inevitably just vacuumed. Then she would chase them back out and re-vacuum her beautiful floor, kids be damned. They’ll be fine outside; it’s not snowing!

Ha. Ha.

I have so become that mom. Back in the good ole “full time cleaning lady” days of yore, I used to snack on rice crackers and chips and challah bread right alongside my husband and children, caring little whether I left a Hansel and Gretel trail behind.

Now?

I still let my kids and husband eat in the living room.  I haven’t yet succumbed to my friend’s mother’s deepest instincts to chase them out with a broomstick, shouting, “Shoo! SHOO!”

But it is hard – nay, impossible, for me to watch them enjoying their snack without already seeing the layer of snack snowdrift that will accumulate once they have satiated their cravings.

This tendency of mine is causing arguments between me and my husband, too. He suggests a new idea, a new venture, and I’m excited! But I also mention all the work that will be involved, manifesting that new idea. This gets him upset – why am I such a buzz kill? Why must I shut him down at the moment he first lets a new idea fly?

Why indeed?

I’d go ponder it over a bowl of cereal. But I hate how the milk always drips onto the tablecloth.

What? This place is like one giant perpetual load of laundry.

Okay, I think I need a vacation. Translation: a maid.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

They SO have the right idea.

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How Conveeeeenient

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:03 AM
Monday, May 14, 2012

So my husband’s eyes? Gorgeous. Deep brown, thick lashes, windows to a beautiful soul… But in the “vision” category, not quite a 10 out of 10. I think I remember a time when we first dated (10-ish years ago) when he didn’t squint as he read small text. But we all know what kind of memory I have, so I may just be making that time up altogether.

What matters is now, and now… my husband needs reading glasses.

Mind you, my husband HAS glasses. They just aren’t the right strength.  For years, he argued to me that if he would just do a half hour of eye exercises per day, his eyes would retain their prior eagle’d glory. And I get it – my wrists have never been the same since I was pregnant with my 2nd child, and to this day (6 years later), I am still absolutely convinced that somehow, someday, with the right combination of diet/meditation/doctor treatments/healings/acupuncture/medicine/exercise/denial, they will once again regain their former imperviousness to pain and downward dog.

But for now, my wrists are fragile and my husband’s eyes are not seeing 20/20.

I got so tired of seeing him squinting like crazy as he stooped to read a text or email, that I began badgering him to go to an eye doctor and get a proper prescription months ago. Finally, last month, he went! He got new glasses! He wore them! He stopped squinting!

And then he stepped on his glasses.

He had the lenses refitted to different frames… but the magic was gone, the spell broken. Those frames soon broke too, and as if no eye doctor’s visit had ever been paid, back he went to CVS Drug Store to by the over-the-counter glasses he had used for so long.

The kind that are about 2 points weaker than his actual lens prescription.

Yeah, there’s been a lot of squinting as of late.

But something else… when I brought up the issue of toothpaste stains on the sink that he hadn’t wiped away, he mentioned that he hadn’t seen them.

HADN’T SEEN THEM?

Ahhhhhh…. methinks me understands.

No can see… no need clean.

Pretty sneaky, sis.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

The drawer where hubby's glasses go to die.

The Best Mother’s Day… a Dream in Words

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:36 PM
Friday, May 11, 2012

As I sat down to list the top five or ten things a mother REALLY wants on mother’s day (to be able to sleep all night uninterrupted, all the way until 11am if she wants to, to be given space and time to catch up  on her favorite novel, to be treated by her husband to brunch, to be given flowers, jewelry, taken out to the movies – or allowed to go on her own), something occurred to me.

For our birthdays, we generally want stuff that we need or would love to have, but don’t have or want to spend the funds necessary to buy them for ourselves. Jewelry, new sneakers, a mani/pedi – these and other gifts are perfect for birthdays because they spoil us in a way that we’d like to spoil ourselves were we not so darned frugal.

The funny thing about Mother’s Day gifts is that the actual list looks similar to that of a birthday – mani/pedi or spa day, jewelry, new sneakers, a night out – but the idea behind them is very specific:

On Mother’s Day, we want to be given the exact things we can’t indulge in regularly exactly because we are moms.

Like a spa day. On a birthday, we appreciate a spa day gift certificate because it’s an indulgence we wouldn’t allow ourselves to purchase for ourselves. On Mother’s Day, we appreciate a trip to the spa because WE WANT TO GET THE HELL AWAY FROM OUR KIDS FOR A FEW HOURS.

Let’s get real, moms.

Being a mom is great but it’s hella hard work. “Mother’s Day” is every day for us – what we really want on Mother’s Day, therefore, are “Single Girl” gifts: flowers, jewelry, getting pampered for a day, or a movie night. Perhaps the best example of this is our favorite “Mother’s Day” Single Girl gift (take note, dads): 10 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep. (Single girls – you may protest here – I know you wake up early to go to the gym or work, and stay up late watching TV, partying, or studying, but really, how many of you can say you’ve spent 5 out of 7 nights a week getting woken up and then spending 5 to 120 minutes of those mid-night waking hours trying to soothe a child back to sleep? EVERY week? For SIX years straight? Thoughts not.)

Judge us if you want, but the real desire of every mother, every Mother’s Day, is not crayoned pictures from your little ones or breakfast in bed.

It’s a few hours – nay, let’s be real – 24 hours, of blissful quiet, grownup fun, and peace.

A Grownupgirl can always dream…

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

This was the daughter (tall one in the back who looks exactly like I did when I was 6) who DIDN'T cry her lungs out during their school's most excellent Mother's Day brunch today.

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