Netflix and *Chillah*

Being a vegetarian is tough when, to be fully satisfied, you really only want to eat caloric pasta and fried rice. In an effort to look after myself more (i.e: lose a couple of el-bees), I’m always searching for ways to up my protein intake, and include as many vegetables as possible. 

Bonus points to this Chillah (Indian Pancake) for a making a quick and nutritious dinner...or breakfast...or lunch. The best thing is, it’s a flexible recipe - perfect for the *less talented chefs* (me) among us. If you add too much water, add some more flour, and vice versa! Traditionally it is cooked in rather a lot of oil, but I use just enough to make it non-depressing, and get it a little crispy around the edges, with a soft, chewy interior. 

TIP: If you’re using vegetables that give off a lot of moisture (spinach, mushrooms, peppers) try sautéing them before adding to the batter, so your Chillah doesn’t steam in the pan. 

ERMAGERRD I ALMOST FORGOT: If you’re nursing, you can make these Chillahs with oat-flour instead of chickpea flour, to boost milk production! If you’re not nursing, pair with a frosty cold IPA and enjoy your perky bosom.  Either way, yay boobs? 



1 cup of chickpea flour

1/2 cup of warm water

Finely chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, chilli

1 clove of finely chopped garlic

1/4 tsp of grated ginger

1/2 tsp of cumin seeds

1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

1-2 tbsps of Coconut Oil



- Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and add water slowly, a few tablespoons at a time. Whisk together and keep adding water until you achieve a thin consistency. 

- Add your aromatics, veggies, and spices (TIP: toast the cumin seeds lightly in a dry pan before adding to the mixture, to really bring out the flavour). 

- Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a skillet, over medium-high heat. 

- Ladle/Pour in some batter, making sure to spread it out with the back of a spoon so it’s of even thickness all around. 

- Once the top of the Chillah looks like it’s drying, lift up with a spatula and add a little oil to the pan, before flipping the pancake to the other side to finish cooking. 

- After a minute or two your Chillah will be ready! 

- I grew up eating this fresh and hot, dipped into cold ketchup, but it’s incredible dipped in cucumber yoghurt or my personal favourite, hot-sauce! 

Absurdly Simple Cucumber Yoghurt: So much so, it’s almost an affront to your intelligence. Add some Greek yoghurt to a bowl, grate a generous amount cucumber into it (skin and all), and mix. Insulting, I know, but also cooling and delicious. 

Did you make this? What vegetables did you add? HMU; I need to know!!! 

This is what happens when you over-zealously delete perfect images from your phone during your kid's school concert, in an effort to capture Do-Re-Me at its finest.

This is what happens when you over-zealously delete perfect images from your phone during your kid's school concert, in an effort to capture Do-Re-Me at its finest.

You Look Good...For Being A Mom

“You Look Good…for having two kids”

For being a mom. For having kids. Much like a rapid-fire disclaimer during an ad for a potentially life-saving drug. Your disease may be cured, but you may lose all your hair, be at risk for a heart attack or stroke, and FYI death could come sooner than planned. But hey, your excessive flatulence will be gone forever, one way or another!

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to look good for having a baby, or having had two kids. I don’t want to be gleefully described as a yummy mummy, MILF, or hot mama.

I just want to look good. Period.

Do I expect to look the same as I did before kids? Of course not. I just grew, literally and figuratively. A human being. Inside my body. I can sense the slightest change in breathing, anticipate the call of hunger, and survive on a torturously small amount of sleep. I’m basically super-woman.

But yes, that comes at a price. And I’m happy to pay it. I know things don’t go back to where they were before. I’m not lamenting the loss of my perky bosom (well, okay maybe), the tautness of my tummy (definitely), and the appearance of stretch marks that I just couldn’t avoid the second time around. Ok, wait. Maybe I am lamenting all of those things, but sort-of passively. They’re all signs of the miracle of childbirth, which is a blessing I don’t take lightly.

But as much as I may appreciate the compliment, that last part always gets me. I look good, for being a mom. I look good, for having had a few kids. I look good…but is it a reminder that I used to look better?

Do you mean I look good for having gone through 10 months of gaining weight in disproportionate amounts all over my body, and consequent months of shrinking in an equally disproportionate manner, ending up like some sort of lumpy “dry-clean only” sweater that was mistakenly put in the wash?

Hmm…that’s actually pretty amazing.

To be honest, I do feel like I look better. I love the curves that motherhood gave me, even if it also gave me 10 extra pounds that, much like unwanted houseguests, keep coming back after I’ve shooed them away.

If it isn’t exactly a reminder, is it a lower expectation? Do we cease to become women once we become mothers, and are therefore not fully expected to hold the beauty or shape we once did? All while we simultaneously marvel at the ability of celebrities to “bounce back” after giving birth, then look down at our own sagging skin and vow to hit the gym at least 4 times this week (or you know, reach for another chocolate bar…po-tay-to, poh-tah-to).  

It’s funny to talk about beauty standards, considering we only discuss how unattainable women’s beauty standards are. And I’m certainly not encouraging adding more to our list! It’s simply an observation. Once motherhood level is achieved, is it assumed that we will let it all go to shit, forever? Sure, there’s a few months where living in our pajamas and rocking un-brushed teeth might be de rigeur, but you know, eventually we want to look a little more like ourselves. Like the women we used to recognize, even though we are now much, much better, in my opinion.  

Is there really no in-between? You either look good, or you look good for being a mom. Now that I’ve thought it through, maybe it’s a title I should wear proudly, considering everything my body’s gone through. Because it doesn’t end with the pregnancy.

Oh no, there’s recovery, which is as traumatic for your body, the sleepless nights for months (or years) which contribute to puffy eyes, raging hormones (which vary far greatly from the type we experienced before having kids – now it’s more Adult acne and less Adult film), and of course, the uncanny ability for your child to need you just as you’re about to’ll eat later. Probably another bar of chocolate, or a handful of *organic* fish-shaped crackers, scavenged from the baby’s high chair. Or maybe you won’t eat all day, and then you’ll inhale an entire pizza at 9.30p.m. (I call that the New Mom Food Pyramid). 

Am I saying that if you see me out and about, don’t dare compliment me for fear that I’ll throw it back in your face? Hell-to-the-NO! On the contrary, I’ve never met a compliment I didn’t like, even the ones that have disclaimers.

Stretchy skin…check.


Dark circles…check.

Safari striped tummy…check.

All in all, I look good.

For being a mom, I mean. 

Labor Part Un: Dodgy Dim Sum?

I always imagined my pre-hospital beauty ritual and labor to be thus: Luxurious shower, washed hair dried to cascading curl perfection, expertly applied "I just got out of bed" makeup, fabulous  "I'm-about-to-give-birth-yet-I-look-so-amazing-it's-really-not-that-hard" outfit, Loubis (obvi), and simple yet tastefully large diamond studs. I stop to pick up the already perfectly packed hospital bag, which is always ready by the front door, and click-clack down the street to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where I'm already 9 centimeters dilated and don't feel the need for drugs. After a brief session of pushing, with my husband holding my hand and the light perspiration on my brow gleaming attractively, our little Prince/Princess slides out, cooing. Andy and I share this moment of joy with a smile and an "I love you!" before being surrounded by family (of course I have time to reapply my Benetint lip balm first). The baby latches on to my breast and nurses happily, sleeping most of the day. By the time I'm back in the suite, I am able to get up and see my Size 2 figure (that post-partum deflation won't happen to ME!), and hold court by my bedside, in beautiful Natori silk pajamas, receiving well-wishers throughout the stay.

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House rules

Yesterday, I told of how we moved the baby into our bedroom.  This comes with a new set of master suite rules:

1.) If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown...let it mellow

You heard me right.

My environmental science professor at school insisted we practice sustainable human waste disposal, best remembered by her mantra "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down."

If it's brown and the flush is going to disturb the baby's ridiculously short sleep cycle, let that thing disintegrate. You are in trouble if you flush it down.  Just think of the good you're doing for the New York City Waste Management system.

I might also insist you drink coffee only in the mornings. And forget about fiber after 3pm.

2.) Starlight, Star bright...

We will never sleep in true darkness again.

That adorable little star nightlight that was originally in the nursery?  It's plugged into our wall now. I need it so I don’t accidentally step on my glasses or Hudson. Excuse me while I wake up every 2-3 hours.

If you happen to be up in the night, don't even think about turning on the bathroom light.  Use your phone to guide you to safety and to light your passage back to bed.

In fact, no water after 8pm.

3.) Feeling Hot hot hot...

No air conditioning.

The baby might be too cold.  I know I'm the one who likes to sleep through all seasons with the air on, so this is actually worse for me. Now I only have the sounds of garbage trucks and sirens to fall asleep to, without the soothing roar of the AC.

It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. And I'm going to still keep my thick Harrods duvet on the bed, thanks.

4.) So I creak, creak, yeah…

No bed creaking.

Once in bed, you have a few minutes to find a comfy position for the night. When you're there and you're cozy, if you could just stay that way until morning, that would be greaaaaat.

Keep in mind my husband is 6'4" and 240 lbs. There is no delicate turning of the midsection for him. When he changes positions in his sleep, the dog and I are both involuntarily bounced around until Andy's rotation is complete. We end up in totally different spots as a result, yet we manage to just stay there.

If Hudson can learn to turn quietly, we all can.

5.) No sighing loudly.

I’m sorry you feel neglected.

I know you do, but your excessively loud sighs don’t really make me feel bad for you.  They just make me want to “Shhhh!” you but I can’t, because we dare not talk.

6.) No talking.

See above.  If you need me, text me, or write a note on your iPhone notepad and show me, or wait until morning.

7.) No coughing.

Ok – have a sip of water before bed.  Put the glass down quietly and nobody gets hurt.

8.) No naughtiness.

This is obvious.  We’re not going to be doing anything for a few years.  Go back to sighing.

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To...

(you would cry too if it happened to you!)


Get your mind out of the gutter! Did you forget my new Pope-y motto “Only for procreation, Not for recreation?”


I don’t think I can do this anymore!  This baby hasn’t stopped crying for the past two hours.  I don’t know what’s wrong.  Why couldn’t he have started this when my house was still full of people?!  My mum just left, Andy has gone to visit his parents, and I’m alone with this tiny creature that just refuses to be happy.

I’ve tried everything.  Rocking him gently, swinging him from side to side (maybe I swung too fast?), jigging him up and down, throwing him in the air (am I even allowed to do that?), and the pacifier, which has been thrown to the ground and washed more times than I care to count today.

And the nursing.

And the baby bjorn.

I’m so tired.

In walks Andy, fresh from a lovely afternoon with his family, outside of the apartment and away from anything remotely baby related.  And the first thing he does is lament his “exhausting” day.


He must not have seen me.  I’m over here, the one with the crumbling face, smudged glasses (de rigueur these days), and look of desperation in my eyes.  The same eyes currently throwing daggers at him and trying SO HARD not to get angry.  Because he really didn’t do anything.  Except for leaving me here.  And then having the gall to complain about his day.

I want to throw the baby at him.  And I do just that, as I grab some foil-wrapped goodness from the take-out bag he brought me.  I can’t even bring myself to leave the kitchen (where I was, due to the drop-wash-repeat pacifier cycle we were going through).  Also, he's with the baby on the sofa now and I have no desire to be anywhere nearby.  I perch on the lid of my garbage can (Thanks, Simple Human for making such sturdy products), and season my sandwich with large, salty tears.

Dramatic, I know.  But so true.

I used to equate the sweet sounds of a newborn crying with the mewling of a tiny, adorable kitten.  No matter how tired I was in the night, once I heard those cries, I would jump up out of bed and happily cradle his swaddled little form and kiss the top of his soft, silky head.

But I was seriously unprepared for these mid-afternoon cryscapades.  After this experience, I understand how stressful it is to hear a constantly crying baby screeching in your ear.  How do these Teen Moms do it?!  How are they mentally mature enough to understand not to take it personally?  Are they better than I am?

All I can say is thank God they made me watch the “Don’t Shake the Baby” video before I left the hospital.  I can understand how frustrated, sleep deprived parents who just don’t know what to do anymore, can make the mistake of taking out their exhaustion on a baby that seems to have a personal vendetta against them.  I thought we had at least 14 years before that happened.

I may have kind of yelled at the baby.

Hence the tears.  Utter guilt for being upset at this small, sweet darling, remorse for feeling angry at him, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This is really, really difficult.

And cue the peanut gallery.  “Ohhh…he’s colicky.”

Shut the fuck up.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that to justify and generalize the state of a baby crying and in discomfort. In fact, if I ever say “Ohh he’s colicky” to you, you have permission to slap the words out of mouth. If course, he could be colicky. But I am soooo tired of calmly explaining “Actually, I believe colic is defined as a period of crying spanning more then three hours a day, three days or more a week. This is not what we were dealing with. So there!“ It doesn’t do anything to make me feel better, and the offensive person doesn’t get it anyway. They just give me that sideways, pouty face smiley-look that screams “Poor thing, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about! Not everything can be learned from a book. With experience, you just know.”

Oh, if I ever give you that look, you know what to do by now. Slap me.

He didn’t have colic. Thank god for that. My heart goes out to all parents who deal with a colicky baby. I see you, in the elevator of my building. With your under-eye bags, pushing the stroller back and forth as if by reflex, on your way to a much-deserved Starbucks run. What our baby had was a mixture of gas, acid reflux, and general discomfort. It lasted awhile, and he cried a lot. Some called it colic. His pediatrician told me to have those people call her (Love you, Dr. Kercher!)

He grew out of it soon enough and returned to being the sweet little vampire baby we knew.

I would venture to say that most parents go through something like this, when they try and try but their baby won’t stop crying. What we need is empathy, not pity! Tell us how you went through it, offer to take him for 5 minutes so we can pee and cry, or just be quiet and stay close in case we need you to wash a pacifier.

The only thing to do in this situation? Check off all the boxes (diaper, hunger, gas, temperature) and remember to find pleasure in the hundreds of little joys in your new life.

Andy had brought me 6 yummy, calorific treats.  And I still had 5 left.

Silver linings, people, silver linings.

pump it up!

I don’t know why Breast Milk isn’t publicly traded.

We have Gold, Orange Juice, Cattle, why not human milk?!  It’s waaay more valuable than Gold.

And yes, I did just capitalize Breast Milk.  It’s that freaking important.  I’ve long envied those who could either produce such a plentiful amount that it seemed as though they were meant to be Brad & Angie’s nursemaids (btw what is UP with having so many kids and going back to your figure in 6 days?  The adopted ones aside, that’s still like 3 or 4 kids, right?!), or those that just couldn’t make enough / didn’t want to nurse, and went straight to formula.  What freedom!  Oh, to be able to pull out your booby on demand, or to pull out that tiny bottle of Similac, anywhere, anytime.

But what about the plight of the mommy who wants to nurse, but also needs the convenience of a bottle?  Why, breast pumps, of course!

And so our saga begins.  Yes, I bought the ultra-expensive top-of-the-range hands-free Medela.  It may even have Bluetooth somewhere.  But wow is pumping a pain in the ass.  It’s stressful, uncomfortable, and highly traumatic for the guys to witness.  Andy would wince every time he’d inadvertently stumble in to me pumping away.  How do you think I felt?!  If you’re thinking “but you’re used to it” I will literally burst through this screen and rip you to shreds.

It’s enough that I’m sagging from everywhere post-delivery, but now there’s a contraption that will make me feel even more like a cow?

Yay, science?

My mother told me about the manual pumps of yesteryear.  I picture something similar to a spinning wheel, where bedraggled mommy has to floor the pedal in order to pump (through a wooden cone?)  I don’t know.  It sounds awfully splintery.  Or is it a rubber cone you attach to your breast and squeeze the bulb at the other end (like the old car horns in cartoons)?  I know manual pumps are still available, I don’t care.  I have enough nightmares about my robotic double-pump, thanks.  And I have never used that “hands-free” strap.  That pump is heavy and I’m not convinced of the strap’s anti-gravity properties.

Growing up on nightmare stories of saggy boobs, I’m always terrified of breasts that will sag later.  So I developed a highly-scientific method to pumping.  I would attach that sucker (how horrible is it that it’s an actual sucker?), holding it up by the bottle, and at the same time pull up my shoulder, so that I was uncomfortable but at least defying gravity.

And I would also squeeze.

I don’t know what the squeezing did.  I like to think it helped move the milk along.  Or that it just held me in one place so that the weight of the pump didn’t bring me down, man.

I never knew or bothered to research how best to pump.  I didn’t know it should be on a schedule.  I would only pump when I knew I had to miss a feed, or before bed, in the hopes that someone else would feed the baby at 2.00am (Please?  Someone?  Anyone?)

I’d pump in front of the TV, while we watched The Borgias at night, with my mom raising the volume and my dad studiously ignoring me, sitting as far away as possible even though I had my nursing cover on.  There’s no mistaking that noise though.  When my brother came to visit the baby, he slept on the sofa (and The Borgias marathon didn’t pause for his sleep either).  One night he woke from his jet-lagged slumber only to demand what the HELL that sound was?!

Sorry.  It’s me.  If I don’t have a baby attached to me, I have a mini-Transformer attached to me.  It’s awesome.

I’ve pumped in the back of a packed car of friends, on the way to a weekend getaway.  I was wearing a rather voluminous blouse.  The kind you start buying while pregnant and never stop wearing.  Pumping in front of my friend and her husband felt kind of awkward, but you know, it had to be done.  My first weekend away from the baby ever, and I still had to wake up twice a night to relieve my uncomfortable boobs with that pump.

Unfortunately I tried to store all my pumped milk from that trip in small Medela ziplocs, which I then put inside a Veuve Clicquot champagne bottle cooler.  The price of desperation and poor planning.  The milk was TOTALLY ruined by the time I got back.  Yes, I may have tried to pass it off to the baby anyway, hoping his evolving palate wasn’t that discerning.

It was.

I think I shed a tear as I watched all that watery, weird off-white breast milk pour down the drain.  Was it even worth going away?!

There comes a point in pumping, when your boobs are parched.  You can hear the whir, whir of the pump but instead of watching streams whiz down into the bottle, you only see droplets.


Then we get to the ungraceful part (Oh, you thought we were there already?  No.)  That moment when you know you’re as dry as can be, but you don’t stop.  The aim of the game is to eke out enough milk to hit that 6oz. mark.  The unbelievable part is when you finally concede that nothing else is coming out, so you detach and perilously shake your boobs over the rim of the funnel, savoring the plink of every last, hard-won drop, as it hits the tiny little reservoir of milk below.  Six...Ounces...Or...Bust.

Phew, I’m exhausted.  We haven’t even gotten to the Nursing portion of our program.  Next week.  I’m off to lovingly gaze at the gallon of whole milk in my refrigerator now that my nursing days are done, and perhaps tighten my bra straps a bit.

Masseuse Does Manhattan - The Postpartum Massage

“Call her, you won’t regret it!” read the text message.

The “her” in question was Anu, a masseuse schooled in the art of post-partum massage.  New moms all over the tri-state area swore by her for themselves and their infants.

This is going to be great! I enthused, envisioning myself blissfully floating on a comfy massage table while a white-coated professional soothed my aches away.  My back and shoulders really needed some platonic lovin'.

On the day of, I excitedly opened the front door to be greeted by a squat, no-nonsense woman, sans folding massage table.  She bustled in and immediately demanded to be shown to my pantry.  Er, okay.  

“Vhere is mush-tard oil?”

“What?  I have olive oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil…truffle oil…?” I helpfully suggested.

“No.  Mush-tard.  Good for the strength” she exclaimed, pounding her chest with vigour.

Huh?  Was she going to use it as a base to diffuse lavender essence?  After much searching through the depths of my cabinets, we finally happened upon a small bottle of totally sealed mustard oil (Where did this oil come from?  Who had brought it?  We'll never know.)

Warming it for a few seconds in the microwave, she shot me a quick glance.



“Naked.  On floor.”

Yeeeah, no.  She must not know how this works.  I slip off my robe and lie down on a comfortable surface, all undergarments intact.  If I actually tried to get a massage without my nursing bra on, it would be madness!  They might fall off me.  And what is all this floor bull?  Does she know how much a new mom's boobs hurt even lying facedown on a soft mattress?!

We negotiated.  Bra?  “No nuthing.”  Lie down on the bed?  “No, floor only.”  A soothing essential oil blend?  “No.” Right, she said that already. 

There I stood shivering in the middle of the nursery, feeling like I had just lost the world's least fun strip-poker game. I suppose the fact that I managed to keep my undies on was a small victory.

Having prepared her materials, the masseuse turned to me.  "Hot HIGH," she said, wriggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Oh! I was disarmed for a moment.  A most unexpected compliment from this stony-faced matron?

No.  A direction to blast the heat in the room.

I timidly lay down on our makeshift massage mat (a yoga mat lined with one of the old towels we use for Hudson), too scared to close my eyes (anytime someone's about to touch you and they take the time to ferociously push their sleeves up to their elbows, be worried.)  She poured the oil into my belly-button, and I calmed.  She MUST know what she's doing.  The actual massage will be fabulous, right?  I waited for the soothing magic her hands were sure to finally bring.


Tears sprung to my eyes.  What the hell was this?! It was like she had a personal vendetta against my uterus and was determined to make it groan in pain.  As her incredibly strong, calloused hands scraped their way across my body, I vowed she wouldn’t be allowed near my baby.

"Um, can you do it with less pressure? It's hurting me," I croaked.


Of course. Why did I even ask?

Sixty excruciating minutes later, the utterly non-sexual, female Christian Grey declared we were done.  Why did she not look satisfied?

“Stomach dark.  Not good.  I DO!”

What?  Please...please don’t come near me again, especially not my stomach, I begged inwardly, too frightened to move in case one of her muscular arms shot out to hold me in place.  I didn’t think I could handle being pummeled any further.

There was no point in arguing.  I was to stay put until she was happy with my belly, the color of which was the very least of my problems with this particular body part.  She disappeared into the kitchen for some time, no doubt perplexing my mother with her culinary requests for chickpea flour and yet more oil. Returning with a doughy mixture of the two, she proceeded to scrub my belly with this dough, pausing every so often wonder at the difference it was making to my skin color.

“See?” She proudly held up a darkened dough ball for me to examine.  It was amazing.  My stomach, which since the delivery had been a few shades darker than the rest of me, was returning to its normal skin tone!

This was wonderful…almost worth going through an hour of pain and discomfort!  When she was satisfied she looked at me and queried, “Head?” before grabbing my skull in between her palms and vigourously rubbing our seemingly never-ending supply of mustard oil into it. I closed my eyes and tried to distract myself with quadratic equations (No, not solving them...wondering what they were, did I ever learn them in school?  How come we were always told that we would need these math skills and I've never used them?  Have you?  Kiss my x, you liars).

Finally, reeking of fried food, greased up, and exhausted, we were finished.  Remember that Kim Kardashian shoot that almost broke the internet?  The one where she was drenched in oil?  Yeah, she probably got that look from me.  It was like, the same, except for the lack of makeup, a very rounded belly instead of toned abs, and in lieu of champagne we had breast-milk dripping everywhere.  You're welcome, world (and Kim K).

I couldn’t wait to jump into the shower and wash this crap off me.  I couldn't possibly get any less attractive; thank God Andy was at the office.  My skin, the rag that used to be a decent pair of Victoria's Secrets, and my towel were all stained an unseemly shade of dirty yellow (dog pee on old snow kind of yellow).  Sigh, it was not to be.

The masseuse glared at me disapprovingly.

“No.  No bath.”

What?!  Apparently one is supposed to let the oil's "strength" sink into the skin for an undetermined period of time.  At this rate I’d never be able to scrub the stench off me.  Hmm, this might be the best ever form of birth control.  As I reluctantly put on my robe, wondering if I should just stand on the yoga mat for 20 minutes until I could shower, since I couldn't bear to contaminate any other surface of my apartment, the door opened and in walked Andy.


Hit by the heat of the room and the mustardy fumes, he took in the strange tableau before him and whispered a bemused "Hello" to the masseuse.

She held his gaze and declared slowly,

“I. Do. You. Now.”

No I'm Not Still Pregnant, I Just Look Like This Now.

"HEY! So did you have the baby yet...or not?"

Errrr.....Not the question anyone wants to hear.  Especially not as it's shouted from across the street.  I looked at him in embarrassment and horror.  He looked at me in horror and embarrassment.   My mind went blank.  Responding with a smile and a "Yes, 3 months ago, actually," would make me feel waaay worse, so I said nothing.  There was no saving the situation.  So we just kept staring at each other until he tried to dig himself out of the hole he'd created.

"Err...I mean, of course!  Of course you had the baby!  I didn't see you when you turned around, that's all!"

Where's a convenient pothole when you need one?  I needed to disappear, stat!  I looked down at my turd-brown puffer coat, referred to affectionately (or maybe derisively) by my husband as my "dog-walking coat," which really means it's only aesthetically fit for walking a dog, in the dead of night, far away from the well-lit buildings all over the Upper East Side.

I was on dog-related business that late afternoon.  Hudson's poo got stuck to his swishy tail the night before and I had to give him a bath at 10pm.  So I thought I'd better give him a short cat-like haircut before I had to spend another cold winter's evening hunched over the bathtub, being sprayed with loose, flying dog shit every time he shook out his fur.  That brings us to this fateful day, when I was picking him up from his grooming appointment, innocently wearing my dog-walking coat.  Notice how I've spent a lot of time subliminally blaming this coat for the whole are-you-still-pregnant-or-what comment.

Because that's really what it had to be.  An unflattering cut.

What's worse is the guy who made the comment was one of the owners of the establishment.

"Jeez, she probably wants to kill me!" he half-joked to his partner, who was behind the counter, a safe distance away.  He looked pretty amused but said nothing.  Smart.

"You know, my wife's pregnant," said the perpetrator, as if that was to make it better.  "You're kinda chubby but don't worry, so is my wife," is what I heard.

Ah...I can't wait until he has sympathy cravings and packs on the man-pounds.

How many times have you seen someone and whispered to the person next to you, "Is she pregnant?! I can't tell whether to say congratulations or just ignore it!"

And now it was actually happening.  To me.

The three things I've learnt from this skin-melting experience:

It's NEVER okay to ask this question!

I need a new coat.  For this I need to lose weight so I can fit into my regular size.  You see my conundrum.

Hudson is throwing major shade at me from the corner of my bed (where he's taken up residence since the incident.  Not sure if he's silently protesting with me, or if he's pissed he looks like a pussy. Cat.)

In other news, when I went for my pedicure today, the nail technician leaned forward as I was in the midst of unzipping my coat (yes, same stupid coat!) and ogled my stomach while rubbing it (tummy, not coat).  All her Korean cronies started Oohing.  I think the time for rubbing my belly ended a few months ago, when the baby CAME OUT.  Now it's just molestation.

Perverts.  Or should I be kind of flattered?

Sleep Regression: Babies Is Pimps Too (Go On Brush Your Shoulders Off)

Where have I been for the past 2 weeks?

In New Baby Purgatory, otherwise known as 4-Month Sleep Regression, otherwise known as the Land of the Barely Living.  Our anthems? "Stayin' Alive" and "I Will Survive."  Maybe a little Aretha, if I'm feeling sassy (and really, when am I not?)

What is sleep regression?  It's when your adorable, chubby, sweet little bundle of eyelashes and spit bubbles basically acts like a bit of an asshole.  For weeks.

He won't nap, but he'll be super pissy and cry for an hour.  This doesn't mean I can sit in the glider and scroll through BuzzFeed's latest must-read list (15 Ways You Know You Went To Boarding School in England).  Oh, no.  It's an hour of standing up, bouncing, swaying, praying, shushing, rocking.  His little baby-radar goes off as soon as I try to get comfortable (how does he KNOW when I'm sitting down?)  I swear, my butt-cheeks start to quiver as they approach the couch.  Feed and repeat at the next naptime.  Long walks in the stroller?  Nope.  Wide-eyed and full of wonder, he'll happily stare at every freaking branch we pass, but God forbid he closes his eyes for longer than a blink.  Actually, is he mocking me?  I swear he didn't even blink.  It was like his eyes just took turns blinking, so yeah, a series of winks.  Lest he actually fall asleep.  When he does deign to sit, it won't be in his bouncer, rocker, or any of the baby accoutrements we were suckered into buying, instead insisting on sitting upright on my lap, just so, mind you.  A degree off here and there will Set. Him. Off.

So what is the big deal?  Well, naptime is when I eat breakfast - shower - write - take a full breath - think. It's when I collect sanity for the next few hours.  Especially for bedtime.

Bedtime. It used to be so simple.  We had a whole bedtime routine.  Bath, feed, sit in bouncer, swaddle, sleep.  Now it's Bath, feed, moderately successful burping effort, and the second his sleepy, heavy body touches the bouncer he is up again.  With a vengeance.  As I helplessly watch his placid, sweet little face turn bright red with anger and his eyes glower with rage, it's kind of hard not to take this personally.  When he starts to roar at me for DARING to put him down, and punishes me for the next hour by continuously crying ("See? I'm rocking you a maniac...doesn't this make you happy with me?" "Bitch I'll teach you to put me down like that again...") all he needs is a tiny little PimpCup and a cane.  I'm in uber-exhausted mode.  We're both crying and screaming.

Right now I'd settle for the lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T to get some S-L-E-E-E-E-P.

When he finally does suddenly fall asleep I'm such a bag of nerves that all I can do is zone out for an hour and then fall into my bed, teeth unbrushed (I know, it's so awful, don't judge), living in fear of when he will next wake.  The nightmare isn't over.  He'll be up multiple times, at which point I'll cycle through patting&shushing (squinting without my glasses in the dark, to ascertain whether we are about to enter the "feed me now or you'll regret it" phase), rushing to the living room with a sleep-sacked baby over my shoulder, while simultaneously popping buttons on my pajama shirt, desperate to pull out the boobs before the shit hits the fan, and then sitting in the dark for 45 minutes until he digests.  Because if I put him down to sleep too soon, I'll have a crib full of congealed breastmilk to deal with.  And even though I seem to bathe in it, I do not like congealed breastmilk.

I know I owe you recipes, a Favourite Thing, and a story...but have pity patience.  I'm working on it!

Oh, how did we get through the sleep regression?  I'll let you know when we get there.  Still cursing about 16 hours a day, sleeping about 4 hours a day, and somehow eating cookies 24 hours a day. 

Sleep Regression: Insane In The Membrane

As a continuation of my enviable state these days, let me invite you into a night in my life...

8-9.20 pm:  Crying.  In my ear.  WHY won't he sleep?!

9.30 pm - THANKS BE TO GOD all is well! I must reward myself with some reality television (Hey there, Real Housewives of Melbourne!  You and your Australian accents will remain my dirty little secret.  Dirty because that's what I am.  And not in a fun way.  I mean, I used to be, in a fun way.  Now I'm just actually dirty.  He spat up down my chest and inside my shirt.  It was warm and kind of lumpy.  And now it's so, sooo cold.  I couldn't put him down because, shitfit, and so I just let it pool in my bra, and dry.  This is why I need you, Real Housewives.) And dinner. I'm so hungry.  Wait, there's only a spoonful left of the food I made yesterday.  After facing the reality that I might eat my own arm by the time Seamless gets here, I'll just have peanut butter on toast.

11.00 pm - BED.  Is there any feeling more wonderful than cool, freshly laundered sheets underneath my aching limbs? I do a little starfish dance to luxuriate in this pleasure before I pass out.  I'm so tired. I secretly hope hubs doesn't want to "cuddle."

12.00 am - WAAAAAAAHHHHH!  What. The. Fuuuuuck.  Shush/pat doesn't work. He wants to nurse; off the living room we go.  Shitshitshit! I forgot the nursing pillow in my toddler's room! I can't go in there! I proceed to nurse on stacked couch cushions, one hand preventing the baby from slipping off and the other holding a boob in place. I can practically feel them sagging with every suckle. Stupid stupid me!

1 am: He must have digested by now. I'll wrap him and put him back in his crib. He's asleep. I'm awesome. I hear an angel's chorus as I get back into my welcoming bed.

42 minutes later: Crying. Again! WHAT is going on?  He spat up! Thank god it's not on him though.  Perhaps he'll be more comfortable out of the crib. I throw him over my shoulder, and we go to fetch the Rock'n'Play.  BURP! A little cottage cheese on my tee shirt; no biggie...EWwww! It's in my HAIR!!! Like a bird poo in a tangled nest! That shit'll brush right out, right? (It won't. I'm currently mustering up the energy for a shower).

When I reswaddle him I notice parts of it are wet with spit up. Whatever, I'm sure he won't even notice. Except now he's awake and gurgling at me in the dark. I can feel him staring. Ignoring him, I poke one foot out from under my duvet and rock him. Once. Because I've fallen asleep. Not to worry though because a few minutes later...

1.52 am: A door creaks. That ominous sound is my toddler's calling card. Suddenly he appears at the foot of my bed, a tiny shadow staring at me and pointing to my bed, wanting permission to sleep with us.  I get up to take him back to him room.  "But I eurgh lebyrch" What?? He says it louder. Nope. Whatever it is, I can assure you it's a nope. I scoop him up just as his face starts to crumble into that high-pitched, elongated wail only 3 year olds can master, and run with him back to his room.  I plop him back into his bed.

Wait, why is there a wet spot on his pajama pants? It's too large to be from tears, but it's in such an odd place that it couldn't possibly be pee, could it??? Mystery wetness be damned! Let's cuddle and sleep. I tuck him in and head back to my room after a few hugs.

4.00 am: Loud lip smacking. Baby is happily chewing away at his chubby little fingers, loud enough to wake the dog up.  But I got 2 solid hours of sleep! I can do this. He wants to eat.

We go.

5.00 am: Guess who's back, back again? Mommy's back, back in bed...I practically faint into a deep sleep.

6.00 am: WHY? WHY IS HE AWAKE? Why is this happening to me?!  This can't be happening! He can't be hungry. I pick him up and try desperately to rock him back to sleep. IT WORKS! Hallelujah!

As I'm putting him down...the toddler comes back in. Oh. My. God.

Defeated, I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. I send him to my bed and get in. Only I can't sleep because his tiny little feet are burrowing into my butt crack. How? Why? What the hell? I'm losing my temper. Hubs wakes up and tries to cuddle him (by putting him in a headlock).  Now I'm worried and can't sleep. I get up to reposition him. I fall back down and try to sleep. Andy feels my seething anger and quietly takes him to the living room.

7.00 am: Baby is awake for the day.  I want to shoot myself.

Today I have subsisted on a diet of chocolate biscuits and a bottle of wine.