Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This Just In & Other Cosas

My horoscope the other day said this: "The final count is in. Your stars are claiming that your obstacles are 90% imagined. Just un-imagine them and you're free to move forward. It's as easy as it sounds." The final count is in, it said. Do you believe the balls of my stars? Why do my stars have to have my exact personality? Why can't I get all nurturing, coddling stars like everyone else. The horoscope is so great, it's now pasted at my desk at home. "This just in from the stars: Get over yo'self. " It's too good.

In Other News . . . When I was young, I wanted five children. I named them all and I practiced caring for that many. I drew pictures of myself with a lot of kids. I babysat a ton. I was psyched to have a huge family especially since I'm an only child. After Maya was born I thought, Whoa, wait a second. I immediately wondered if I had been insane to have wanted five kids. How could I have five children when all I wanted to do was stare at this one? I revised the number of kids to three. I could surely handle three. After Mina was born I though, Uh whoa. How on earth am I supposed to watch after three when I only have two eyes? I decided that enough greatness had passed through my body. I packed up my womb and declared No Mas.

What I feel for my girls and how much they mean to me is a constant hum of energy that gives form to my existence. Duh. But it doesn't mean that I don't remember very clearly how hard parenting was in their youngest years. The worry was much more intense back then. The Brink always seemed nearby. Remembering that particular brand of exhaustion makes me anxious; it is a bottoming-out kind of exhaustion, a cry-along-with-the baby-praying-to-be-knocked-unconscious type. Being a mother is the hardest job I've ever had because I've always wanted to be great at it. The balance to be a whole person, and not just a mami, maybe that's the hardest aspect of all.

Which is why whenever someone asks if Husband and I want another child -- a boy, we must want a boy! -- (and we've been asked this almost every month for nine years since the day Mina was born) Husband and I, in unison, say, "Hell no." Sometimes we bark it. Sometimes we sing it. Sometimes we punctuate it in different ways. Hell. No. Sometimes we Whitney Houston it: Hell to the no.

There was a tiny window when Mina was about two where I told Husband I'd be willing to shoot for a boy if he felt that was important. He kicked off our current resolve with a resounding, "Hell no." The concept of carrying on a family name is lost on us. What does this have to do with our immediate existence and making the most of our lives and raising good people? We don't know. So, Hell No has remained our answer.

This is on our minds as of late because there is an eerie baby boom going on with people we know. Babies are being born all around us. Grown ass women my age are deciding to have another baby when they have kids ten and fifteen already. And Husband and I cower and deflect the incoming "Don't you guys want another" left and right. Our friend Amy had a baby last week. Her sweet angel baby was born on the heels of her year-and-a half old sweet angel of a son. Her oldest is four. I instinctively cringe at those numbers. We visited Amy and them last weekend and as she took a shower I cradled the newborn for over an hour. She fussed once and though I felt rusty handling the fragility of a three day old, instincts dusted themselves off and the baby was a joy to hold. I hardly stared at her, which, back before my own children I would've soaked her in through my eyes, not able to absorb enough. I held this little one and flipped through a magazine. I looked down at her tiny face a few times, mainly hoping she wouldn't cry for the sole reason that I wanted to give her mother a break. When mommy came downstairs refreshed and arms outstretched she asked, "Does it make you yearn for another?" "Not in the least," I said too quickly. Amy seemed surprised and maybe I was too blunt. I added, "She is a sweetheart of a baby, but they grow and soon they're running around like --" I looked back at her son who was being followed by a hawk-eyed nanny. "Like My Little Monster?" she said. "He's hardly a monster." I said. I thought too of all the help she has; nannies and family and friends. I answered solely from my own experience: "If they're good or bad, you are constantly running after them. Nonstop. I just don't have any desire to feel that sense of Red Alert every waking moment, y'know?" Her four year old walked in trailed by Mina who was watching after her. I thought I heard Amy sigh even though she didn't have to have a second set of eyes to track her toddler son. Either way, she's going to be on Red Alert for years to come, and I was doing a happy dance on the inside that I wasn't her.

I have an IUD. It will expire next year, and Husband and I have had many conversations about him going in to get is junk adjusted to No Baby Mode. He's not hesitant in the least, but we're Busy and we're This and That. I say, "If we end up with a surprise, ooo Lord have mercy on our souls . .. " He said, "Oh my god, I know. I'll call. For sure, I'll call the doctor this week. The omens around us are too great." It has dampered our intimate life. Well, that and the fact that he's still sleeping on the goddamn air mattress in the living room.

This just in from the stars: Obstacles Imagined!

I leave for New York on Friday. The girls will be staying with family for a couple weeks and I'm kind of like a shuttle service. I'll hang with family too, but I'll get knocked to the side so everyone can dote over the girls. It's how it should be as far as I'm concerned. After five days in Long Island, I'm going to steal away to spend 3 nights and 4 days in Manhattan by myself. Can someone say Dreamy? I'm gonna take two more classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute. I am taking an Elegant Vegan Cake class, which will be cool, but the class I'm most excited about is the Raw Mexican Fiesta! class. Taking this raw class was a last-minute decision. I've been feeling a lot of conflicted feelings about baking lately, which I'm a little too torn to really express right now. I tend to always gravitate back to raw food. Some say that's a natural progression: Vegan to vegan raw. We'll see. All I know is the thought of mastering some raw chef-ery excites the shit out of me. And check out what we'll be learning:

Creamy Avocado and Chunky Golden Corn Soup; True Mexican-Style Chili with Crunchy Cheddar Nut Cheese and Macadamia Sour Cream; "Grilled" Red and Yellow Peppers, Garlic Spinach, and Summer Squash Fajitas with Guacamole and Pico de Gallo; Flan de Coco with Mango Sauce.

Dudes, raw flan de coco?? I'm so all over that.

Obstacles Be Gone! I un-imagine you.

Talk to you later, mi gente.


Maven said...

This is timely. I spent the morning with Willa, wrestling the damn jogging stroller and setting her in the bumbo so I could pee and alla that. It was good, she's amazing, and the love that moves between her and my sister (and brother in law and the boys) is a joy to behold. However. That red alert thing. The more I experience it, the less I want it. Besides which, just listening to my sister describe her driving duties for the week makes my head hurt.

Once you've mastered that dinner, come over here and make it for me.

Also, there's no reason your kids can't carry on your family name, but you knew that.

kristen said...

everyone around me is having no. 3 and no. 4 and you can imagine what happens when they see us with just one.

we're in "hell no" but i've yet to see junk adjustments here, feh.

i know your busy when you visit girl, but if you have free time, i'm very close by. and if not, won't be offended. i totally get glorious alone time.

madness rivera said...

Oh for sho, Maven. I meant we don't subscribe to that notion in the sexist traditional sense. Those girls are carrying on a whole lot more than names.

I'll stop by MN on the way home from NY and whip you up a lil cashew cheese and enchiladas made of zucchini pasta. Hell yes!

Kristen, I may be able to swing that. I'm working out my schedule now. What do you think of lunch on a Tuesday or Wednesday? Email me:

John Mc said...

Know whatca mean. We have 3. 6,4 and 2.5. Its great, my wife would like to have another girl, she was an only girl as is our Maya. I wouldnt mind if it could arrive aged 5. No more babies and the crying and endless feeding, the strollers, the crawling and learning to walk, the endless having to watch. It was great the first (3) times around, but I want to move on. For a Dad the true fun starts when your kids can talk and interact with you.

Rebel Girl said...


Hil The Thrill said...

I'm in the middle of the battle...have a baby with B? Just for the delicious science projectness of it, and because I seem to suddenly be having that instinctual "baby lust" that I swore I'd never have? Or, not have a baby with B, because I've already had two, and very young, and someday I might like to have a life of my own?

Your family seems just right, though, don't you think? Your girls are da bomb.


Rowena said...

My kids are 1 and 3 (ai dios mio!) and I have been thinking about what it means to be a mom lately.

With your perspective of mom with older kids, I was wondering what you thought, particularly since you get how hard babies are.

Plus, I love the balls of your stars. Don't mess with your stars, they know the what for.

madness rivera said...

Hey John, well, all I can say is good luck to you buddy! Oh and you are a fine picker of childrens names.

Hi Hil, I think you're in a different situation than me, y'know. You may have found your True One and I totally get you wanting to make a love baby. I'm just glad it's not me is all I'm saying!

Hi Rowena, I'm gonna come over to your blog to answer that question, 'cause it's deep and it's hard and the drive to be creative and be a great mom are two powerful forces, and it doesn't always seem like there is room for both . . .I'll holla.

Pixielyn said...

Have a GREAT time! Be safe, and tell us ALlllllllllllllll about it when you get back.

Marigoldie said...

On our second date, SSB and I bought a 2-liter of gingerale on our walk home from the restaurant. We stopped in the park and I swung it in the baby swing. It has been all we could do to take care of that gingerale over the years. I get baby lust from time to time, but in the end I just don't think I'm cut out for it. I would happily change my life if I had an accident, but I don't seek it out. Red alert all the time: understood. I don't know if I have the proper mental health for constant red alert. I always think I'd be a bad mother.

Also, I'm so super psyched that you're doing these classes. Perhaps get the focus off the sugary stuff for a while and get the fever for something that makes you feel amazing when you eat it.

ALSO, I love your new Flickr photos from J's family's house! 'Specially the ones of y'all dancing on New Years. XO.

julie hasson said...

I love reading your blog Madness!

I totally get what you're sayin' about babies. I'm in the same space, and was just talking to my husband about it the other day. It's so nice to no longer feel those baby pangs, especially as I look up at my teenage kids.

Have fun in New York! Those baking classes sound like so much fun.

Hil The Thrill said...

Thanks in part to your inspiration, I am working to add much more vegan-ness to my diet. I have a question for you...what do you recommend for easy kids lunches?
I checked out The Vegan Lunchbox, and she is WAAAAY too involved for me. Help me get past the PB and J phase, but not quite to the handrolled california rolls?

madness rivera said...

Oh man Hil, that's so cool of you. I'd say the best investment I made as a lunch-packer was a pair of thermoses. That way you can pack leftovers too -- another way not to break the bank. When I don't have leftovers, I pack them soup or rice. I pack whatever I think they'll like even if it's not so traditional. Like a fruit salad and a tortilla and some nuts. Salads, peanut butter in celery, soy yogurt and trail mix. With cold stuff I put in an ice pack. Hope that's a good start.

Thanks Pixie and Julie. And love you Marigoldie.

Vegyogini said...

I just got caught up on your blog. I was about 9 posts behind and I wanted to tell you that the intense honesty with which you write always moves me. Sometimes, I'm moved to tears (as I was today when I read the post about your 3rd St. movie date and the post about your husband's back injury) and sometimes, I'm moved to laughter (as I was when I read your post about Mama Luz). You give me hope that I'll someday find a relationship as wonderful as yours sounds. You remind me through words and photographs that, even though I've lived in L.A. county my whole life and love it like crazy, I don't know it even 1/1000 as well as you do. I guess what I'm really trying to say is thank you.

madness rivera said...

Hi Vegyoni, Thanks so much for the lovely comment.