Guy on a Buffalo

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm way behind showing images from the past several weeks. There's house news abrewing, posts in my to-do queue, but really, all I want to do, all I can do is share this.

Thank you, internet. Everyone else? You are welcome.

All aboard the sleep train

Monday, September 26, 2011

sleep is for suckers
and on the inside we are crying

The victory of making it through my daughter's first year of life, aside from the obvious not accidentally killing her, is that we learned to trust our gut. We put the books down, googled a lot less, and congratulated ourselves on being parents. The movie image that keeps coming to mind is of me, Caleb and Harlow in a top down convertible, one of us tossing What To Expect: The First Year onto the pavement as we screech our horribly non-babyproofed mobile toward the next adventure.

And cut to today. Different baby, wholly different movie ending.

Last week I had to spend an inordinate amount of time at my car dealership's service department. New tires, oh new tires not here, yes it took us three hours to figure this out, blah blah blah...three trips in one week. This meant hauling the baby over to the service dept, watching Kathie Lee and Divorce Court and nursing and soothing a baby during the very time I was supposed to be putting the baby down (still awake! drowsy!) in his crib so he soothes himself to sleep. See, I'm back on the books. No longer content to listen to the "oh, he'll eventually sleep, it will pass" advice from the well rested, I am a woman desperate to bring some order into the chaos that is bedtime. We have a small house and we sleep in close quarters, so if baby is up, we're all up, and as we are approaching month six of fractured sleep, I am throwing down the gauntlet.

So. The baby sleep books. The I hate working moms Weissbluth, the it's okay to be a wuss Pantley, the Canadian, the sleep trainers to the stars. And the consensus I'm getting from most of these baby sleep books is that I pretty much can never leave my house if I expect to get my child on any kind of sleeping schedule. The baby must nap at regular intervals - in his crib - not in a stroller, not in his carseat - if I'm to expect his long, juicy naps to beget the long, juicy sleep I crave like a junkie craves juice. But see, there's this pesky thing called "life," and "already having a first kid that needs to be picked up from school" that requires a lot of deviation from these rules.

So there I was at the dealership. For weeks I'd been putting off the appointment in the hopes that the baby would start sleeping better and I could schedule an appointment around his nap. But the car was making Very Scary Noises, and then it was me, Hoda and Kathie Lee.

The baby was still in the middle of his morning nap, conked out in his car seat as I wheeled him inside. Kathie Lee was off. At first I was grateful. It was quiet. But then Legs got up to make herself some coffee, the clank of her heels booming as if Paul Bunyan was splitting rails next to the vending machine. I glared at her heels. Sweet grandmother to my left started noshing on peanut butter crackers in the loudest gd wrapper invented by man. I turned the sound machine app on my phone and shoved it by the babies ear. I scribbled in my notebook with my other hand, because free time, you know, not really forthcoming these days. I made eye contact with the lady in the tracksuit seated across from me.

You are motherfucking crazy said Tracksuit's wide eyes.

I went back to scribbling.

How old is your baby? grandmother asked me sweetly.

five months old (DON'TTALKTOME!) I whispered to her.

Oh. Ok she whispered back. She went back to her book.

And quiet reigned. People read. I wrote.

And then the doors blew open. The lady's cackling entered the room before she did, a woman in business suit and heels, doubled over into her cell phone laughing at the funniest. joke. ever.

Declan shot up in his car seat, his arms trembling. Funny, so were mom's.

OH HEY BABY! WHAT A CUTE BABY she screamed into her cell phone. LOOK AT THOSE TOES she said as she wiggled them.

My body went rigid.

CUTE BABY she said to me as she sashayed into the bathroom.

Thank you, I managed through clenched teeth. I couldn't look at her.

Through the door, I could still hear her.

I WAS TALKING TO A CUTE BABY, she said to her phone. WOKE THAT BABY UP, hee hee.

You know in books when the author trots out the cliche of one's blood boiling?

It's a cliche because it is true.

I wanted to kill her. I want to jump her as she sashayed back from the bathroom, Tracksuit and Grandmother hauling us apart as I tried to strangle her with her smart suit jacket.

I rocked Declan's stroller back and forth in a manic fit, my wide awake baby gurgling.

She came out of the bathroom.

How old is your baby? she asked, her cell phone tucked away.

Five months, I said, forcing myself to look at her.

I'm sorry I woke your baby, she said. And I could tell she was sincere. She was going to have to share the next two hours in an enclosed space with this maniac, so what else was she going to say.

I should have done my homework, she continued. Checked to see...

She trailed off, and I looked in her the eye.

You have nothing to apologize for, I said. And I was sincere. Done her homework? Who goes to a public space - a car dealership - prepared to be silent around a stranger's sleeping baby? But there I was, wanting to strangle a lady because I failed to give my son the morning nap he needed.

Because that's how I was looking at it. My failure. Sleep begets sleep! the books trumpet. His non-napping during the day with me has a ripple affect, coming back to bite my family's collective ass at 3 AM when the baby can't find his pacifier or needs to talk it out with his stuffed penguin.

Tracksuit was right. I was crazy. Lack of sleep will make you do and think crazy things. Trying to carve out a schedule for an always changing, ever evolving baby and a part-time working mom is crazy making, too. But I was horrified by myself in that moment. Things have to change, so I'm hopping aboard the sleep train in earnest. As my grandmother was given to saying, Just do something, even if it's wrong.

No single one of these books is right. But I'm going to find a plan and stick with it, consistency being my tough loving friend at 4:30 AM. So as long as the baby isn't teething, or meeting a major milestone, or being a baby, we'll start tonight.

Wish me luck.


Monday, September 19, 2011


So a few weeks back, it was a hell of morning, wakeup come way too early. Harlow came thudding into the room and jumped onto the bed, or namely me, her hand just uncanny in its way of finding my boob that had just been in service to the munchkin to our right. She pinched my nipple. I wanted to grab the pillow and bite it and hide underneath it.

Tuh, she said.

What? I muttered

Tuh, she repeated. Ah.

Tuh. Ah.

I looked to where she was looking.

Tuh - Ah - G.

She was staring at Declan's onesie. The one that read TAG.

She was reading.

And just like that, it was a beautiful morning.

Marathon weekend

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Some things I learned during my three shoots in 24 hours:

Never tuck your car keys into your pocket on your way to squat down in a soccer field to photograph children running. They will be lost. You will have to call your husband to come pick you up all the way out on the suburbs just as he has started sipping that well deserved glass of wine and you will feel badly. But you didn't leave the spare in your locked car, so maybe there is a god who pities you.

Moving your Saturday morning shoot to 8:30 AM will pretty much ensure that the famous rapper that was to be the star of the shoot will cancel.

Googling xanax and breastfeeding has been done by at least one other person than me.

Opera Memphis has a really, really cool secret warehouse full of crazy shit.

Sears Crosstown is also full of really crazy shit. And just shit.

Of the girls given the choice to arrive to the birthday party as a mermaid or a pirate, most of the girls chose pirate. Interesting. My daughter went as Barbie mermaid.

Merlia Summer

I love what I do. I will freak the hell out leading up and tear myself apart afterwards, but in the midst, I find the joy.

Baby Tommy: sneak

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This is Tommy. Tommy is one of the dangers of my profession. He makes me forget that I've publicly declared I'm only having two babies because he is soft and new and sweet and makes the most insanely adorable sounds you've ever heard.

He is dangerous, the Tommy. And so, so cute. Mommy is rather stunning, too, don't you think?

The lady in the Ganges

Saturday, September 10, 2011


This photo has nothing to do with this post. But it makes me happy. So there.

My child is not sleeping much. This fact dominates my walking hours and plagues the sleeping ones. It's causing a toll on my mental health, my appearance, my marriage, and my overall well being. I've been wanting to open up about it here, as it is what I do,complain blog, but then I think about the woman in the Ganges River and I close up my laptop in shame.

We all have the woman in the Ganges River. She is the person who has it worse than you. She is the woman who brings her five children down to the fetid river to bathe and drink and she would curse her horrific, cosmic joke of an existence if only she had the time to do it because one of her kids just tried to drown another and she has to walk the six miles back to her shared hut barefoot before sundown.

So how dare I complain that the defining drama in my life is a baby who is still getting up 2-3 times a night (and napping only 30 minutes a time)? Hell, other moms in my circle have older kids who still don't sleep through the night, and D is only five months old.

I shouldn't complain.

But I was at birthday party this morning, chatting with parents as our kiddos bounced and ate cupcakes, and one dad, tellingly referring to his cherub of a 10 month old as The Beast, said he is still up 2-3 times a night and then raring to go at 5 AM.

5 fucking AM. It's supposed to get better from here, right?

It was the most depressing thing I ever heard.

I know. Ganges, right? She is hobbling after her four kids (she just lost one somewhere in the market), and she's all, you want depressing? I'll take your 4 hours of sleep, lady, and make you a g*ddamn rainbow out of it.

But it's bringing me down low. I can't help it.

I've been reading books and downloading pdfs and consulting online sleep gurus, getting one school of thought here and the complete opposite there. Some assure me that exclusively breastfed kids can sleep from 7 to 7, while friends swear that formula is what set them free. A lot advocate crying it out, and none offer answers as to what to do if said baby then wakes up the 4 year old, the only sound sleeper in the house. But I have been trying arm myself with knowledge, a plan, something to try and change this current situation as my family is having a hard time functioning. I'm having serious memory problems and trouble staying patient with the 4 year old. I know things will eventually get better, but eventually makes me feel powerless and dumb and so, so tired.

So my apologies to the lady in the Ganges for bitching about my big fucking deal.

I just want some sleep.

Sears Crosstown

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This past week I had the opportunity to location scout the Sears Crosstown building, a million square feet of rambling, dessicated factory space that dominates the landscape in my midtown neighborhood. It's been considered for an arts program makeover, currently hosts artists' networking events and most recently, hosted a kinda lame music video featuring Justin Timberlake. But last Friday it was mine to explore. The day was a scorcher. The building has no air conditioning, and I did not have a babysitter, so after I climbed andclimbedandclimbed my way up to the tippy top of the that sucker, wearing the baby, a purse and my Nikon slung around my shoulder, I was dripping with sweat but rewarded with some amazingly cool spaces to potentially use in an upcoming photo shoot.

This was once the Sears cafeteria. Does this not look like something leftover from those 1950s atomic bomb test films?

nuclear winter

Some great, sprawling factory space:


This room looked like Tesla's workshop to me. I don't know what the hell was going on in here, but it looked difficult, mysterious, oily and very photogenic.


Twilight hour

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In D's nursery (where maybe 16% of his nursing actually takes place) there is a mod sleeper couch, scored from Craigslist, that offers the loveliest spot to soak up that pocket of light when the sun stretches long in the western sky. Because I have a captive model, impromptu photo shoot!

Declan 4