Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh Baby, Baby

Remember the immortal words of Britney Spears' pop single "Oh Baby Baby, What am I supposed to do?" Who would have thought she'd be taking those lyrics literally as a full-fledged mom of two small children? It's been the talk of Hollywood with the custody battle between Britney and Kevin Federline. I never thought I'd be rooting for Kevin as the better parent but with the recent events surrounding Brit's behavior, he seems to be the lesser of the evils. How sad. Since becoming pregnant with our own little starlet my view of the Hollywood jet-setting parents has become more scrutinizing. I'd like to think these children should be cared for in the same loving manner as any child anywhere would be.

I believe celebrity parents are getting a pass and who is it hurting? After all, they're just kids and they don't care if Mommy is on the cover of magazines and all over television, especially if she's all drugged up at the photo shoot and stealing clothes as in Britney's case. Instead of holding her accountable as an unfit parent, the media decided to make a spectacle of the incident and keep digging deeper for more mistakes. They called her old assistant to get the details of her late night parties. They didn't do this to help her but to sell the story. When is it enough? If this type of woman were your neighbor anywhere else would you not report her to child services? Would you not care what her post-baby abs looked like? It's getting ridiculous the way we're treating celebrity parents such as Nicole Ritchie who will be pregnant in prison and others with kid gloves. No wonder many stars have moved their families outside of Hollywood. Michael Douglas and his family live in the Caribbean. Demi Moore bought a ranch in Idaho and many others have followed that
trend. Is that the answer? Abandon ship? Or is it that we start taking these situations with celebrity parents who are unfit as serious and getting them help. And I'm not talking 30 days in a posh rehab center.

The best punishment for someone like Britney would be that she would be forced out of the media's watchful eye, banned from producing more records and doing more photo shoots until she gets her act together as a mom. I think we as a culture have made a mockery of motherhood when it comes to these careless, party-loving parents in Hollywood. People magazine brags when a new mom is out at a "Club Premier" 3 weeks after giving birth calling her "A Modern Day Glam Mom!" What about the rest of us up at 3:00 AM breastfeeding who haven't showered in 4 days?

As Christians what is our responsibility, if any, to these pop culture nightmares and how we react to them? Do we just pretend Hollywood and all its debacles don't exist and mind our own business? Do we pray for them? Do we believe our prayers would be fruitful to people that seem so lost? I myself am living here in the thick of it and find that I am getting desensitized to the severity of the possible dangers of these "Glam Babies" might face. I pray I can have a more compassionate heart to take time to pray.

I'm not sure what the answer is but I believe it's important that we as Christians pose the question. What do we do?
We're concerned for children in other countries because they're far worse off than we American's are. I hope we can be concerned for children out here in La La land when we find out their parents are on drugs and neglecting their basic needs as well. It's not the charmed life the E Network makes it out to be.

These are real kids not movie characters and for their sake I pray we take that fact seriously.

Friday, January 18, 2008

My thoughts on Lynn Spears' Book

I know how much stress this family has been through in the past few years.

My original thought when you see a child subjected to the sexuality that Brittany was at such a young age with her videos displaying her in baby doll sexually provocative clothing, is to say "What were her parents thinking? Then her follow-up video at the age of 18 was called "I'm Your Slave" and she's wearing almost no clothing and writhing around on the floor I can't chalk it up to anything but bad parenting. She obviously didn't have a parent in her life who would tell her these choices would be wrong for her in the long term and she'd be selling herself short as a real performer by using "sex" to sell videos. If her parents were Christian, why would they not point to Christ and God's love her their daughter as a person not as a sex symbol? Brittany started down that slippery slope and sadly never turned back. It has only led her to heartache, drug use and major upheavals in her personal life.

Now we see lightening has struck again with Lynn letting Jamie and her boyfriend live together in her very own basement sleeping together with no problems. Is Lynn reading a different bible than my mom did? My parents told me I'd go to hell if I had sex..but hey at least it worked! Fear works!

Ok ok, maybe there is a happy medium but I'm really sad for Brittany and Jamie and even more heartbroken for their innocent children. When will the chain be broken? Will the third generation now be brought up in the spotlight learning to crave media attention and material things for happiness? I hope not. I'm sure all these little babies want is their mom and dad's and grandma and grandpa's to love camera. No child asks to be on the fast track to fame and grace the cover of every tabloid in America. I'm a new mom myself of a two month old daughter and yes I think everyone should admire her photos and they are subjected to my constant email updates with every new milestone. I'm guilty, but I'm disheartened to see a parent like Lynn sell out her daughter's childhood so they could be "rich and famous"!

I think Lynn has some serious reconsidering to do if she's thinking she should be giving out parenting advice to others. What would her book possibly say that would help moms out there, especially Christian parents? I can't think of anything unless it was re-titled "I Was Wrong" like the famous autobiography by Jim Baker (fallen pastor of the 1980's).

Sad sad sad..that is all this is. The publisher is obviously thinking more about dollar signs than anything right now for them to even consider asking Lynn Spears to write a book on parenting. It's sensationalism and we as Christians can fall prey to that but it's up to us to realize when it happens and hold each other accountable. It's not up to us to make money on someone else's mistakes and publish their memoirs unless there is some serious sense of remorse and a lesson to be learned.

If you want to read a good book about growing up in the business with kids and how the pitfalls can almost ruin a marriage and a family ask Barbara Cameron. Her book "A Full House of Growing Pains" is an honest tale of a Hollywood mom who was just trying to survive. Then when she became a Christian her priorities changed and so did her whole life. Her kids Candace and Kirk have made it through the Hollywood system and grown up into healthy thriving adults.

I think we need to take the entire Spears family and send them back to Louisiana far away from the press and their peering eyes. It must be tough because Mrs. Spears is not alone. Just look at former Pastor Joe Simpson father to Jessica and Ashley. He has had a tough time with some of their career choices such as sexually provocative videos and photo shoots he stands by as just good fun. He's even jokes about his own daughter's cleavage. I don't think that's particularly funny, but rather odd. The point is that it's hard out there for any parent. I just think these parents need to be held accountable if they are calling themselves Christians. They either choose to live by that standard or not. It's not like they can throw it away when there's a lot of money involved. I pray and hope Lynn and her whole family can find some love and support from their friends maybe a home church and get these kids in a stable loving environment.

So my final thought on Lynn Spears book is that if she gets to publish her memoir on parenting. I want to write my "How to balance the National Deficit in Three Easy Steps" by Kerri Pomarolli. Please disregard my own personal finances and anything my husband may tell you. Nordstrom's was having a sale!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What is Joy?

As I was watching Oprah being interviewed in one of her more private moments in 2007 she was asked what she wanted out of her life. She said, "I want more joy!" Then I turned to People magazine and gazed at Nick Lachey divorced from Jessica Simpson with his new girlfriend whom he's living with bi-coastally in NYC and LA and the couple was saying their goals for 2008 included "More peace within themselves."

I find it funny hearing that because from the outside wouldn't you think someone like Oprah Winfrey could have "Joy" picked, purified and delivered to her door? She's so wealthy there is literally nothing she can't buy. But she doesn't have enough joy and neither do most of the Hollywood celebrities we spend our lives obsessing over. Don't pretend you don't do it. We're all guilty to some degree of daydreaming of the lifestyles of the rich and famous. I'm with you. I mean who wouldn't want exotic vacations, lavish homes and staff that caters to their every need? I always seem to think these people have some secret to a more contented life. They always look so happy and thin don't forget thin!

But at the end of the day these "celebs" lay their heads on the pillow and go to sleep in their fancy beds just like we do. Their sheets may just have higher thread count. And here's the revelation folks, "They are no happier than we are in the long run!" I'll take it a step further and say most of them are so caught up in "the Hollywood machine" their anxiety is so high they're actually unhappy. Why do I bring this to your attention now? Why am I bursting your bubble about your favorite stars? Because I think we all need to stop the hero worship just a little bit, and now is the time to make some changes for the New Year.

I don't know what we can do, but if each one of us took a tiny step back and stopped empowering the media I think we'd be better off. Do we really need to encourage entire programs called "Brittany Spears: What Went Wrong?" Listen, I know it's tempting. I watch those shows like a bad train wreck...sometimes I just can't look away. But I'm trying to make myself a promise not to spend my time listening to speculations about celebs trying to figure out "who's the hottest" in 2008. I really don't care. I don't get more joy living vicariously through imperfect although good-looking strangers. I just think I've been brainwashed by too much entertainment news that I just need to know what's going in Justin Timberlake's love life. Do I? Do you? That's just my food for thought as we start out the New Year and think about what real joy means. I think it all boils down to the little poem I learned in 1st grade: Joy=Jesus, then Others, then Myself. (I don't think it means reading all the tabloids in the supermarket line or at the hair salon.) But I'll leave that for you to figure out for yourself.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year to Me...Me and Lucy McGehee

Ok admit it, New Year's Eve is anti-climactic. It's this overrated so-called holiday where most of us just make grandiose plans to compensate for the fact that we're obsessing about all we want to accomplish in the new year and all we didn't get done in the one that's passing. We paint on our "Party Smiles" and go to some crowded place and toast with everyone else while secretly wishing we were somewhere else and in some cases with someone else. I know this because for years I've struggled more on this day than any other. It was the cause of many "break downs" evaluating my life and where I was on the journey or my case "Rat Race". If I was single I wished I was married when I was married I wished for a baby and so on. I made 5 pages of detailed resolutions last year in every category of my life from Spiritual to physical and then I lost the notebook. I know I wanted to have a baby in 2007 and also lose 10lbs among other desires. Well this past year I gained 40lbs and one 10.6 oz baby girl.

Instead of going to some lavish party I spent this New Year's Eve with my new daughter. It was me and Lucy McGehee from morning till night. It's actually 5:01AM as I write this. Daddy had to go to Texas so I decided to treat this like a "Snow Day" back when I was a kid. I didn't draw the curtains, I didn't get out of my pj's and Lucy and I had a grand old time watching Lifetime Movies and the Food Channel drifting in and out naps on the couch. It was truly glorious.

Finally at about 4:30 I decided I'd venture out to get us some munchies (ok she's breastfeeding but I didn't want to leave her out of the decision making process. After all she's 9 weeks old). I have to admit most of our trips involved daddy basically doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to car seats, baby slings and strollers. I don't even know how to use our stroller yet unless it's already set up and the baby sling hurts my back. I bought this "wrap" contraption but it's a total mess and when I tried it out it looked like a bad unsafe scarf swaddled around my body and no baby would want to come near it and I don't blame them. I can't believe I spent $70 dollars on that thing just because Tori Spelling had one for her baby! But I was getting hungry so I vowed to myself I could make this trip out alone. I got Lucy in her little "Bear" blanket that I'm sure causes heat rash with all that fur bundled around her in southern California, but I'm a first time mom and I'm obsessed with her being too cold. I got her to the car and with the help of my trusty friend the pacifier she got in her car seat and buckled up and it only took 20 minutes. I'm learning, ok? I spent 10 minutes speculating if the car seat was properly in place before I drove off. Then I realized I didn't bring her sling so I'd have to find a way to carry her in the store. I called my husband in a panic and he told me I could take that car seat thing and put it in the basket. With 10 more minutes of manipulation I got the car seat out and into the shopping cart. I didn't know how I'd fit anything else in there like groceries but I had the baby and we were off. Already I was exhausted. Note to self for first trip out with baby do NOT Venture to the Supermarket at 5:00pm on New Year's eve to fight cart traffic with hundreds of angry savages, I mean shoppers. People were literally jamming the aisles and fighting over the free samples of "Pomegranate Juice" like it was crack cocaine. Ok I was one of them, but that's not the point. I had to show my child the importance of free samples when we shop. It was a mad house and as soon as I'd grab something I'd have to literally stuff it in my purse because her car seat took up the entire cart. This older lady was laughing at me and giving me that "Oh you're new at this " look. She said," Honey, don't you know you can install that car seat on the top of your basket?" I was thinking "Thanks lady, but since you didn't offer to show me how to do it and you're just sitting there smirking I'm going to run you over with my cart and keep stuffing salami in my purse like a shoplifter!" I didn't have time to try to re-install her seat. She was sleeping like a champ through the madness. You'd think these people were preparing for Y2K, whatever that was!

So after an hour of standing in line and $56.00 later I was back in the car driving home. But I kept thinking the car seat wasn't installed correctly so I kept pulling over to make sure the baby wasn't going to fall out of the back seat when I was driving. My cell phone died so I was a nervous wreck. Then I realize it's 7:00pm and my kid hasn't eaten since 3:30. This is a huge no-no and now I was concerned I was starving my child. She's fat as a butterball turkey weighing over 13lbs at 9 weeks but nonetheless, I was convinced she was starving. I, of course, didn't pack any bottles of milk so I was forced to pull into a Fat Burger parking lot and pull the child out of her car seat, which she hated, and into the front passenger seat and breast-feed her in the most awkward of positions. She's so adaptable she fell for it and ate happily for about 5 minutes. I love this kid. She has no idea what she's in for. Then I decided this was ridiculous so I stopped mid-feeding and put her back and drove home to finish feeding her there.

I pulled into my parking garage and realized I had one baby, one diaper bag, one purse and 3 bags of groceries to carry. How did women do this? I don't have a nanny like I always dreamed I would or a personal shopper so it was just me and Lucy and the garage. She was just chillin' in the back seat so I stood back there trying to prioritize what items were refrigerated and needed to be taken inside ASAP. Just then my neighbor Ben pulls in with his friend and I flag him down asking if he can help me. His hands were full of pizza and snacks but he said he'd drop all that off and be right back to help me. I got Lucy out of her seat and began to hold her and sing to her in the garage. I don't know the lyrics to any nursery songs so I usually make something up or revert to something by REO Speed Wagon or Journey because they were comforting to me in my teen years. As I was holding her and Ben was carrying my groceries I started to smell something like burnt popcorn but worse. I didn't know what it was but it was getting worse. Was it Ben? Did something in my bags spoil? The smell became more like bad food and as I examined my bags with my sweet daughter in my hands I felt something warm on the outside of her clothes and I looked down and let's just say "Lucy was expressing herself in free form letting me know her bodily functions were well intact!" This was an intense and large "expression" of her bowel movement abilities and only to be matched when she did the same thing last week on Mommy's new white bed sheets while she was in the middle of diaper changing and talking on the phone. Rookie Mistake.

This foul-smelling explosion was all over the place and I didn't know what to do. Of course then the phone rings and it's Ron and I'm panicking because she always chooses to do these things when he's not home. He calmly told me to take Lucy out of her clothes and get her in the bath. But I hadn't fed her enough. She wasn't bothered by any of this. She's just laying there with the same grin that lady had in the grocery store as if this was somehow funny to her. Ron's telling me" Kerri you can't feed her first. That's gross. You have to wash her off!" I'm saying "Are you sure? Can't I call a neighbor to do this for me? I can't handle this type of clean up alone!" So now I've got the wet slippery baby fully clothed in one hand, phone in the other, on my way to the bathroom but stopping off to warm a bottle of breast milk in the kitchen. I get her in the bathroom and lay her down on the floor on a towel. I realize the bottle is burning in the warmer so I go to leave her and get that. I run back and Ron's talking me through this as if it's a 911 call. He's saying "Kerri, first you need to undress the child. Then you run the water in the baby tub. Then you put the baby in the baby tub using both hands." I got flustered and hung up on him. Where was my mother when I needed her? Georgia, that's way across the country because she thinks California is going to fall into the sea.

So it was just me and Lucy McGehee. I got her bottle and placed it on the counter and it was now scalding hot. I ran the cold water in the sink and dropped it in there. Then I got the tub water all nice and ready and it became readily apparent that I myself had to use the bathroom facilities in a huge way and if I didn't do that immediately we'd both be in trouble. I was after all in a bathroom so this was no problem. Then I realized that the toilet in this bathroom had been broken and was unusable until Ron came home to fix it. Of all days the toilet had to malfunction today! I was like a little kid about to have an "Accident!" I know how Lucy felt but she luckily had a diaper and the luxury of knowing someone would be there to clean her up. I was on my own and it was getting worse. I made a choice and left my laughing child on the towel and bolted like OJ Simpson in the airport to the other bathroom for the fastest trip of my life. I know, I know. Never leave the child, bad parenting 101. I was desperate and she luckily isn't old enough to roll yet. I came back relieved to see her still lying there in all her glory and the smell was so bad it was probably offending all my neighbors. I took off her clothes trying not to get too nauseous at the site and odor. I couldn't stand it so I again took her outfit and hurled it towards our washer next door because I didn't want it in the same room with us. She being the trooper that she is was calm through all of this. The Lord has blessed me with a mellow child because it was the only way we'd both survive. I got her in the tub and did the best I could bathing her and making sure she was all cleaned up. It was quite the scene because my sweater was soaked so I ended up tossing that off as well. So it's me in my sweat pants and nursing bra and her in her bath splashing up a storm kicking like Esther Williams. I tell her she's obviously gifted and already learning to swim. I picture her college scholarship in swimming and allow her to continue soaking me. I take her out finally and drop her all bundled up on the couch and realize she still hasn't eaten enough and now it's 8:10pm.

I managed to find the strength to get a diaper on her and collapse onto the couch and got her to breast-feed with the sounds of "Bobby Flay's Boy Meets Grill" on the TV in the background. Within 5 minutes little Miss Lucy fell fast asleep. I couldn't help but smile. She had a big fat grin on her chubby little face. None of this had phased her at all why should I be surprised? She's just like her daddy "If you feed her and cuddle her she's good to go!" Life is simple when you're 9 weeks old. I could learn a lesson from this girl. We spent the rest of the evening sleeping and watching a Food Channel Marathon. At about 10:00pm when she was done with another feeding, instead of drifting off to sleep as she should have, Lucy decided to perk up and play because she knew mommy needed to laugh and have someone to celebrate with at midnight. I've had a lot of "Midnight celebrations and New Year's kisses", but this one topped them all. We called Daddy on the cell phone and sang and laughed together and Me and Lucy McGehee rang in the New Year just the two of us. Yes, it would have been better if her daddy was with us but he was out making a living for our family so I could enjoy more nights of pure joy and real simple celebration like this one. Not once did I make any resolutions or think about the size of my checkbook or waistline. Me and Lucy McGehee laid on the couch as I munched on peanut butter pretzels and ice cream and soda and she with her breast milk. We were both truly undoubtedly content. Me with my hair frazzled in a sloppy bun and no make up to speak of looked like the most beautiful thing in the world to one young lady and I knew it. Thank you God for miracles like this and giving me hope in all the New Year's past that you know you had a plan for me and it was beyond what I could imagine. You're good God, you're really good! Please help me to remember that as my one real resolution in 2008! You ARE GOOD! Thank you so much!