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Deadline Mommy

I suspect Deadline Mommy will not be Sam's favorite. Deadline Wife is not Matt's favorite either but he knows it's coming and that it'll be over soon. He also knows how to make it smoother: Stay. Away. I get all wigged out and walk around muttering to myself. I'm sitting at the dinner table, maybe even carrying on a conversation, but I'm somewhere else entirely. I get snappy and stressed and wonder why I am working as a writer when there are other perfectly good jobs that don't make me feel like I'm exposing myself, so to speak. It's sort of a manic time, though, because I also get giddy when my pile of Post-it notes and index cards come together and I know I've hit my stride. Now it's just a matter of editing down to the assigned word count. 600 words. Crazy, I know. I have so much more to say! The guilt of not posting while every spare minute I had went to the column finally got to me. Plus, I'm procrastinating.

Mel's Dinner in a Pinch

(adapted from Cooking Light and my ineligible notes from the car)

Ingredients:

Spinach (calls for a bag, use what you have, or less if you want Spinach for tomorrow)

4 cups Broth (calls for chicken, but use what you have)

1 can Great Northern Beans (also called Cannellini)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup sliced carrots (or not - I added some celery too. Mushrooms would be good, too. Unless, of course, you know how disgusting they are.)

some chopped meat if you a) have it and b) feel like it

Directions:

1) figure out what it is you have and what you can substitute

2) saute veggies and chopped meat

3)Add broth, Italian seasonings, pepper/salt to taste

4) Bring to boil. After it's boiling add spinach for one minute to wilt.

5) Serve.

Serve with Chicken Salad Sandwich. Wait. What? Didn't have time to stop at the deli for exorbitantly priced chicken salad? No worries. You can, get this, make your own.

You had time to make the chicken salad? I asked Mel, amazed. She has, after all, twice as many kids as I do!

Well, I had the ingredients on hand.

Yeah but by the time you cook the chicken and ...

No, the chicken is in a can. You know, like tuna.

Genius.

So in case you've never made it like someone we all know and love (or why are you still reading this?!)

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Ingredients:

can of drained chicken (did I mention this is pure genius?!)

mayo/miracle whip/Smart Balance whatever

Splash of Dijon - if you have it

chopped celery, onion, or something else crunchy.

Mel suggested adding almonds - yum.

Directions:

Mix. Serve on bread, bagels, pita, or if all of those are molded, scoop into avocado. Call it dinner.


A baby is born - and with it, a column

MAY 6, 2008 | COMMUNITY


Before I became a mom, I had lots of reasons why I wasn't ready. Long lists of them.

For one thing, I still didn't fold my own clothes. For another, I didn't know nearly enough about nutrition.

The food pyramid? Are you kidding me?

Then there was the fact that I didn't know all my state capitals, or my multiplication table past the 10s. I didn't know any lullabies and couldn't seem to fully swear off swearing.

Besides, I figured I needed a minimum of eight hours of sleep to behave remotely human. And, I'm definitely not a morning person.

Then, on Oct. 7, this 8-pound, 8-ounce bundle of awesome came into my world, and none of that mattered any more.

I do, however, find myself wondering why it is that I have manuals for everything from our washing machine to our weed whacker, but when it comes to the care and feeding of a newborn, all I've got is Google.

During our first week together, I was stunned at how little Sam could do for himself. I wasn't expecting him to make his own bed or anything, but frankly, his neediness was a little overwhelming.

Luckily, as my list of things to worry about grew exponentially longer the moment Sam was born, so did my belief in my ability to take care of him one way or the other. Never in my life have I been so self-conscious and self-confident at the same time.

I figured I couldn't be the only one feeling such see-saw emotions. And since I’m already in the habit of taking notes on everything, I figured I’d combine that with my background in journalism and out of that something else was born: the idea for a monthly column in which I delivered the scoop from the baby beat.

I earned my degree at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Along the way, I did a reporting internship at the News-Register.

I later worked professionally for a paper on the Oregon Coast. And I've done a lot of freelancing.

I write like I live - in full-disclosure mode. And I do it on purpose. I’ve been “keeping it real” since before that was a thing.

I think that if all of us go around acting like everything is OK, keeping all of our angst to ourselves, it makes us feel there must be something wrong with our internal wiring.

Everyone else seems to be coping. Why not me? What's wrong with me?

Sam was 7 weeks old before it occurred to me that we were going to be fine. Better than fine, even. I looked Sam in the eye and I told him I wasn't afraid of him any more.

Up to that moment, I'd entertained occasional fantasies of leaving the baby monitor turned up full blast on my husband's side of the bed with a note stuck to the antenna. But even in my fantasies, I realized I could never follow through.

Would I ever leave my family? No. No, I wouldn't.

That doesn't mean I don't occasionally long for moments all to myself, though, without my Baby Barnacle.

I'd love the time to take a leisurely shower, maybe even do something with my hair. My current beauty regime consists of lip gloss, a rubber band and a wet washcloth to dab at stains.

When I first had Sam, I braced myself for public criticism and judgment. Instead, I've been delighted by helpful, friendly and supportive people.

Well, mostly. The occasional public criticism we'll save for another day.

Parenting can be such a divisive issue. Yet it seems to me we're all driven by a desire to do our best by our children.

Please join me once a month as I explore life with Baby on Board*. I welcome your feedback and - more importantly - your suggestions for issues or ideas to explore.

My intention with this column is to tell the truth about being a new parent, with no apologies.

Nathalie Hardy is a local freelance writer who can be found at random hours, taking notes as she walks Sam in his stroller. She invites your feedback - provided it doesn't include the phrase "unfit mother" - at nathalie@nathaliesnotes.com.

 

*The column first launched with the title “Baby on Board.” 


Column, check.

Since 4th grade it's been a goal of mine to be a columnist. I'm excited to share with you that come Tuesday afternoon, the News-Register launches "Baby on Board" by yours truly. The experience of meeting this deadline brought back this weird thing I do whenever I have a new writing assignment. I get all panicky that maybe I'm all out of good ideas. Forever. And I get nervous that I'm going to be exposed as a sucky writer. Then I come to my senses and get to work. Luckily, my parents helped me with Sammy so I could get through the crazy phase and write my first draft.

Now I'm at the part where I hold my breath and hope people like it. This column thing is a little different than reporting since it's more personal. Plus, I'm writing about the controversial subject of raising children.

Speaking of which, Sam deserves a little credit for sleeping through the night-ish last night. He didn't sleep in our bed and frankly, I prefer that. I am all for the "family bed" deal if it works for you. It does not, however, work for me.   

What a week! Matt's been working a second job in his spare time trying to meet a Memorial Day deadline leaving me and Baby Chi Chi with a lot of one-on-one time. The little darlin' is full of surprises. Every time I turn around he seems to have a new thing. This week his "things" were: pulling himself to a standing position, turning diaper changes into a mother-son wrestling match, blowing raspberries and puking on me mere moments before walking out the door.

We went to our first book signing on Thursday to meet Diana Abu-Jaber. It was awesome! She was beautiful, gracious and just cool to meet. Sam was a little rockstar! I am amazed how good he is in "indoor voice" kinds of places like the bookstore and library. With the exception of the movie fiasco when Amy and I tried to take the babies to "Juno," Sam's been amazing in those environments. There was a (brief) period I wanted to name him "Dewey" as in the Dewey Decimal system. I'll put passing on that on the list of things he can thank me for later.