Waiting for Wonder Woman


Photo Credit Incredulous Mom.

Dear Daughter,

Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

Sometimes you wait for something unknowingly. Sometimes you wait so long that you forget what you were waiting for. Sometimes you wait so long that you forget that you were waiting at all. And when it happens – the thing that you forgot you were waiting for, that you didn’t even know you were waiting for – your heart and gut join hands and pull, the motion of their union sends you reeling, and you remember.

I sat with your father in a dark theater this afternoon, sharing popcorn and soda. I leaned into him, settling in as the delicate voice of the film’s protagonist fluttered through the surround sound. Five minutes in, the film took a biting leap, cutting to a scene of warriors training for battle. The action was trenchant and intense, the scene choreographed and captured beautifully, cutting between live action and slow motion – bodies leaping and bounding, strong arms and veined hands knocking bows and wielding swords and shields, fighting hand to hand, armor glinting, faces drawn with ferocity and passion. They were warriors. And they were women.

I won’t say I’ve never cried watching a movie. I have. But I’ve never cried at the very beginning of a movie. There I was, five minutes into a summer blockbuster action movie, subtly dabbing my cheeks with my knuckles in the darkness. My tears quickly dried as I watched the plot unfold. I became engrossed in the way that moviegoers do in the midst of an action-packed plot full of harrowing circumstances and explosive special effects. My tears forgotten, I tucked it away – the feeling. The thing that stung.

The end of the movie drew near. In true super hero, blockbuster fashion, the film culminated with a dazzling, powerful show of explosions, effects, and nail-biting close calls. The last scene ended and it caught in my throat: the thing. It trickled in and squeezed as the credits rolled, and I knew what it was.

For two hours and twenty minutes I watched Diana become Wonder Woman. I saw Wonder Woman take her life into her own hands, while accepting responsibility for others. I saw Wonder Woman – flesh and hair and lips and muscle and power and strength and wit – carry an entire movie, beginning to end. I saw her maneuver uninhibited through love and pain. I saw Wonder Woman outrun, outfight, and outsmart her male counterparts without apology, without withdrawal, without begging pardon. I saw Wonder Woman dismiss cowardice while openly showing strength. She wasn’t a sidekick, an associate, or accomplice. Wonder Woman commanded the screen, the action, and the story with her cuffs, sword, shield, whip, but above all, with her brains and strength.

I left the dark theater stunned. I told your dad I would meet him in the car. I could see the blinding light of the afternoon just beyond the doors. I pushed them open and a gust of wind met my face as I stepped out into the day, a world away from what I had just seen. I got into the car and cried.

I cried for fifteen minutes as we drove around. The tears had nothing to do with the plot, acting, or effects (although all were great). I cried because I felt vindicated for reasons I had no idea I’d had pent up for 30 years.

The waiting is the hardest part.

I had been waiting for this film since I was 8 years old.

I had been waiting since afternoons spent with Legos and Matchbox cars.

I had been waiting since the summer I wanted a red and black dirt bike instead of one with pink handlebar streamers and a banana seat.

I had been waiting since two boys held my hands behind my back and pushed me down on the asphalt.

I had been waiting since summer evenings when I would come inside sweaty, and sticky, and dirty.

I had been waiting since the countless times I saw surprise on the faces of adults who were shocked when I could run faster, throw harder, dribble better, or hit further than their sons.

I had been waiting since the day the woman at JC Penney told my mom, “The girl’s section is over there,” as we shopped for my school clothes in the boys section.

I’ve been waiting.

I’m 37 years old. It’s 2017. For the first time, a female super hero headlined – dominated – a blockbuster movie without the unintentional and unfortunate fallout of prior attempts. Wonder Woman doesn’t use sexual prowess and feminine cunning to overcome obstacles. She certainly could, but she doesn’t. She uses her head. She follows her heart. She holds others accountable. And she absolutely kicks ass doing it.

There’s a reason I shopped for my school clothes in the boy’s department. My identity as a girl – one who dug in the dirt and played with Transformers and knew how to catch a fly ball – was only reflected in the world of boys – boy’s clothing, toys, and entertainment.

There’s a scene in Wonder Woman where Diana sets her jaw and runs across a place called “No Man’s Land.” I won’t spoil it for you, other than to say that every blow she endures, fighting her way across a desolate expanse represented – for me – the struggle of women waiting. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

So, my darling mighty girl, it doesn’t matter if you choose pink or blue or both. It doesn’t matter if you can bait a hook or cringe at the sight of worms. I want you to be you. What matters is that the choices are equal and unilaterally acceptable without the asterisk that follows girls wherever they go – that little sub-note that says: You think fast *for a girl. You run fast *for a girl. I hope desperately that the perception of who you and millions of little girls are and will become is portrayed with dignity and decency and respect and strength – a portrayal that has been lacking.

On your behalf, I send heartfelt thanks to Patty Jenkins for doing it right, for making us proud, and most of all, for making us remember what we’ve been waiting for since we were 8 years old.

Moby Dick Lego Activity


I’ve finally made it to the last page of Moby Dick; naturally, I’m wearing a wool blazer adorned with leather elbow patches. Excuse me while I set down my wine goblet and pack my pipe with artisinal tobacco. Can’t you just smell the richness and grandeur? I want to share this literary experience with my 4 year old (minus the wine and tobacco), and I know just how to do it.

If you’re like me, you occasionally search for fun, brain-boosting activities to do with your child. And if you’re like me, you also want those activities to be effortless. I stop and peruse all of the STEM, sensory, and site word activities on Pinterest as often as the next parent, but I rarely pin them and often keep scrolling. Why? Because they typically require me to do one or more of the following:

  • Print a set of cards, labels, or word images
  • Cut out a set of cards, labels, or word images
  • Glue something
  • Create a labyrinthine structure using yarn and blue tape
  • Make a huge mess that I must then clean up

I’m not lazy. Really. But I don’t have time for all of that. Also, I just don’t want to do it. I’d rather hop in the car and take a family trip to the nature preserve, which already exists, than create an intricate sensory scene with water, food coloring, pine cones, and fake plastic crap that ultimately ends up making something wet or stained or sticky. I’m not saying making dioramas isn’t fun. I’d just rather wait until the kids are old enough to cut, glue, and – most importantly – clean up the resulting mess themselves. Go ahead, mom-judge me. I’ll just be over here doing this super FUN and EASY lego activity with my kid that only requires three mess-proof ingredients:

  1. One bin of Legos
  2. One copy of Moby Dick (or any book you like)
  3. A dash of imagination

Before I reveal this simple activity, I must confess: I’m not wearing a smarty-pants jacket or savoring Merlot. Heck, I’m not even wearing smarty pants. I’m actually wearing dollar-store flip-flops and sipping a 4 oz. juice box with Big Bird’s face on it. Also, the version of Moby Dick that I just finished is this one (*SPOILER ALERT* Ishmael floats):


Have you seen these? They’re called “Cozy Classics” and there are plenty of classics to choose from. We also have the “War and Peace” Cozy Classic but I just couldn’t get into that one. I found the plot to be a little untidy if not convoluted.

Anyways, thanks to Hubs, who has actually read Moby Dick Proper, I had a pretty good grasp of the story before reading the Cozy Classic (thanks to his retelling, which included every banal exciting detail). We’ve been reading the board book version to my son since he was about a year old, so he basically needs his own tweed jacket and readers. He gets the basic points of the story and knows it involves a boat, a whale that bit off a guy’s leg, and a crew of sailors that goes in search of the whale. And, really, what more is there to know?

[pause for malevolent glares from Melville aficionados]

So one rainy Saturday morning, the kid wanted to play with legos. I agreed, but I had to suppress a massive eye roll when he said he wanted to build robots.

Robots. Again. For the gajillionth-millionth time.

“Let’s make something else!” I suggested.

I spotted the Moby Dick board book.

“Where’s the lego boat?” I asked.

I set to work constructing the ultimate Moby Dick lego configuration. Soon, we had an ocean made of all the blue and purple legos. We put the Pequod in our “ocean” and before we knew it, Captain Ahab was after that whale, which we also improvised, complete with blow hole foam (in case you were wondering about that white block on his head.) Is Ahab a smiling bear, still in possession of both legs in this scenario? Sure. Does it really matter? Nah.


So, if you’re looking for a simple, fun, and educational activity for your pre-schooler that involves literacy and creative role-play while facilitating dialogue about some pretty complex themes like loyalty, empathy, bravery, and vengeance, it’s time to get out the lego bin and start devising the stage for this really long and monotonous exciting and celebrated tale.


We played for most of the morning and we all had fun. He was so preoccupied with this activity that I actually finished a whole cup of coffee while it was still hot. The best part: cleanup. Just toss the legos back into the bin and Voila! On to the next rainy Saturday exploit.

As we ended our Moby Dick adventure, I glimpsed something quivering faintly in the corner of the room. I looked up and Behold! – the ghost of Herman Melville himself. A knowing smile played upon his lips. He winked and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up, as if to say, “Well played, my good marm. Well played.” When I rubbed my eyes to reexamine the specter, he was gone.

And now you have a Melville-approved activity to pin on Pinterest that doesn’t involve wasting half of your day cutting, gluing, and getting sticky or wet. You’re welcome.

If you like birth stories

**Warning: This post contains profanity*

“The second one is so much easier!” they said.

“The second one is so eeeasy, dahling – why, it’ll just be so eeeeeeasy!” they said.

Lies. All lies.

First, I barfed more. A lot more. At one point I thought I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It was the day I couldn’t even keep water down and I was puking yellow stomach acid mixed with a little blood from all prior puking. I didn’t have HG, thankfully. I was prescribed the highest dosage of a certain drug and henceforth only puked one or two times a day instead of all day until finally, around week 20, it went away. Disaster avoided.

Second, I hurt more. My body felt broken and rusted and old. Everything hurt. Perhaps that’s because I was “Advanced Maternal Age.”

Third, I was miserable and had an awful attitude the entire 41 weeks. Actually, that first week or so when I wasn’t sick was pretty cool because I was pregnant and actually wanted to be.

So as my due date approached, armed with the knowledge that second babies just appear out of nowhere, I sat waiting to go into labor while Googling “what to do if you’re pulled over for speeding while on the way to the hospital” because I was infinitely sure that the baby would drop right out of me before we ever arrived this time.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. I had to be induced. Again.

6 p.m. Wednesday

I came in to be induced with Cervidil. I originally thought I was being admitted at 5 p.m. so I ate my last meal, which was very light, at 4 p.m. (Save this vital information for later.)

8 p.m. Wednesday

The nurse inserts the Cervidil. Think of it as a tampon for uncooperative cervixes (cervices?) inserted by a complete stranger. It’s not pleasant. Or maybe my nurse had really long fingernails covered in sandpaper decoupage. Who knows? It was uncomfortable to say the least.

7 a.m. Thursday

After a super fun night of tossing, turning, racing thoughts punctuated by pee breaks, and relatively no sleep, I turned on the lights and made lots of noise so Hubs would wake up and be miserable and exhausted too. Except he slept like a damn baby all night, so he was perky as ever.

8 a.m. Thursday

I was given Pitocin to get my contractions going. I’ll remind you that I had no problems whatsoever being induced with my son four years earlier. They gave me Pitocin, and I was like, “Yeee-haw, let’s have a bay-bayyy!”

12:00 p.m. Thursday

Nothing is happening.

3 p.m. Thursday

I’m starving. I’m fucking starving. I’ve had no food for 24 hours, remember? Unless you count generic jello and broth from a packet served in cheap styrofoam cups.

Meanwhile, Hubs was like:


Have you ever wanted to punch someone in their stupid face?

5 p.m. Thursday

I’m getting worried. The Pitocin is not working. My contractions are mild and inconsistent. Baby’s head will not engage – her head won’t drop down into my pelvis. Every time they come and check my cervix, her stubborn head just floats away. She doesn’t give two poops about coming out, clearly. I’m starting to feel some anxiety.

Please, please, please not a C-section. Please…

Things weren’t looking good.

8 p.m. Thursday

I’d been on Pitocin for 12 hours. My contractions were still small and scattered. Baby’s head was still floating out in la-la womb. Every time they increased the Pitocin, her heart rate showed signs of stress, so they had to dial it back.

Fuck. I’m going to have a C-section. I just know it. 

I’d stopped bouncing on the birth ball, stopped dancing, stopped doing squats, stopped all of the things I’d hoped would engage my stubborn baby’s head. Hopelessness crept in. I was exhausted, hungry, depressed, and all-around super fun to be around for Hubs, who had just finished eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes with cheesecake.

9 p.m. Thursday

Doc comes in to check my cervix.

Side note: Having your cervix checked isn’t fun, but I can handle it during routine check-ups – you know, when you only have to have it done maybe once a week. When you’re trying to induce labor, and you’ve been laying there for fucking ever over 24 hours, your cervix gets checked. A lot. When I had my son, the Pitocin worked like a dream, and I’d had my epidural by the time they started checking my cervix, so I didn’t feel it. This time, not so much. Having my cervix checked a thousand or so times in one day by multiple people was a real treat. And by “treat” I mean I withered into a pitiful state of misery and despair when they put on “the glove.” Even Hubs looked at me with discernible pity in his eyes when they peeled open the sterilized glove packet. In other news, one of my nurses was a fellow alum from my high school. We chatted pleasantly and gave family updates as she shoved her whole hand up in my business. It wasn’t awkward.

Anyways, Doc checked. And nothing.

This is it. He’s going to prep for a C-section. Why me?

He sighed and put his hand to his chin thinking.

“You know what? Let’s just stop. Let’s take a break. We’ll take you off the Pitocin, give you a rest, give Baby a rest, you can eat a little something. We’ll give it about 5 or 6 hours and start the Pitocin again and give you your best shot at this, OK?”

I decide that I love him, right then and there, for not wheeling me into a C-section when I know many doctors would have.

10 p.m. Thursday

I’m inhaling mashed potatoes, green beans, and grilled chicken from KFC.

I still felt a bit hopeless, but I prayed and prayed and prayed all day for this to happen vaginally. It’s not every day you use the term “vaginal” when praying to God Almighty. I’m sure he’s heard worse. I had one more chance.

Tummy full, I finally fell asleep.

2:30 a.m. Friday

They start the Pitocin again sometime in the wee hours. I barely notice. I’m exhausted and go back to sleep.

6 a.m. Friday

I wake up with cramps. I’m feeling some contractions. I look over and the Pitocin is still on a very low dose.

Holy crap. This might be working. 

7:30 a.m. Friday.

Oh yeah. It’s working all right. 

8 a.m. Friday

Holy shiitake mushrooms, Batman. This is kind of starting to hurt a little. 

8:30 a.m.

Holy fuck balls, Batman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to die! WHERE is my MOMMY???

Ok so here’s the deal. First, all kidding aside (even though he did eat like a raging hog for a majority of our stay), Hubs was amazing. He was so calm and supportive. He held my barf bag(s), held my essential oils under my nose, encouraged me, and tried to help me through the pain and loved me the whole time. (Love ya, babe. You earned that meatloaf. But just so we’re clear, I earned 20 meatloafs. Cuz, I had our baby, sooo…yeah.)

Second, I made a birth plan this time. I had a great experience last time without one, but I’ve learned a few things since then and wanted to advocate for myself a little and make my specific wishes known. I was pretty proud of my little birth plan. It was tidy, brief, and to the point. You see, when I was in labor with my son, after the first two or three contractions I was like, “Ouchy boo-boo! Can I have my epidural now?” But this time I wanted to experience labor and really work through it, so I included the following bullet point in my birth plan [ehem]:

“I would like to wait as long as possible before having an epidural administered, or when the pain is unmanageable to me, whichever is first.”



Bwah hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Do you want to know what it’s like to “experience” labor while on Pitocin? It’s like having the worst cramps of your life, then all of a sudden the walls explode into dust as the Incredible Hulk erupts into your hospital room in the midst of smoke and debris and screams “HULK SMASH!!!” as he takes his massive green hands and shoves them up into your lady biz, grabs your uterus and just squeezes the shit out if it while you sob, and all manner of “breathing through it” while visualizing a beach with palm trees goes flying out the window he just busted.


Meanwhile, during one particularly lively contraction, I felt a pop followed by a gush of what I can only describe as hot vomit exploding from between my legs while half standing, half sitting on the bed trying to endure another sadistic contraction.

That’s right, friends. My water broke au natural. It went everywhere, including all over the nurse’s shoes, mingling with the flow of my tears as I howled, “Oh my God, this is the worst day of my li-hi-hife! This is so gro-ho-ho-sssss! Ewwww!” There may have been some F-bombs sprinkled into my despair and other choice words becoming of a lady. For that, I’m sorry. My poor nurse. My poor poor nurse. I’m a million percent sure I scared her  a little.

Oh! But you guys, I only puked once this time. Well, twice, but the first time was the night before so I’m only counting one.

8:45 a.m. Friday

The anesthesiologist flies in from Abu Dhabi or the Antarctic or wherever the hell he must have been that took for-effing-ever for him to arrive. I wanted to punch his stupid face.

Then he administered this fun shot that made me feel woozy and relaxed.

Then he gave me my epidural.

Then I wanted to marry his stupid face.

9:15 a.m. Friday

My mom arrives. I’m laying in bed, in and out of sleep, reveling in my newfound numbness below the waist.

10:00 a.m. Friday

I feel nothing. I’m sleeping half the time. My mom makes some comment like, “You don’t feel that?” while looking at the monitor that shows my contractions. “You’re having some big contractions,” she said.

“Huh.” I went back to sleep.

10:30 a.m. Friday

Doc comes in. They’ve readied the room for delivery while I was in my stupor the zone. Doc mentions something about practice pushes while he gowns up. I tell my friend who’s come to watch that it’ll probably be a couple hours and mention that someone should tell my dad he can go home for a while if he wants to. It took nearly two hours to push out my son, after all. Just as my mom is about to tell my dad he can leave, Hubs double-checks with the doc.

“How long do you think it’ll be?”

“Oh, you’ll have a baby in fifteen minutes.”


10:31 a.m. Friday

Suddenly, I’m wide awake.

10: 35 a.m. Friday

We decide to try a few “practice” pushes.

“Can you tell me when to push? I can’t feel anything, not even the contractions.”

“Yep!” Nurse says. I like this nurse. She has good energy.

They tell me to push.

I push.

They tell me to push.

I push.

We wait for a third contraction. Seems to be taking a while. Finally…

They tell me to push.

I push.

This is so eeeasy! I had no idea it would be this eeeasy!

I push again.

10:45 a.m. Friday, July 15th

For the second time, the most beautiful love of my life emerges into the world.

They place her naked, beet-red body upon my chest. It’s hot and sticky and lovely. I hold her close and cry and all of my anxiety splits into a million butterflies.

We’ve been together ever since.


Meeting her for the first time. Last memory for the day, promise. #skintoskin #childbirth #bestthingever

A post shared by Chris Treber (@incredulousmom) on




Have you ever thought you might just hate your baby for making you so miserable during pregnancy, only to have her placed upon your chest in a rush of adrenaline and slimy goo in just such a way that your eyes meet her squished up, pissed off little face and the hate just drains out of you in an instant, and your head and heart and body fill up with so much love that you’re certain you’ll combust?

Yeah. Me neither.

Ok. All kidding aside, that was me. Several folks have inquired about my “birth story” and I promise I will write a post detailing the grueling 48 hours we spent in the hospital (with me starving as my husband had three square hospital meals a day) awaiting her arrival, followed by two more days of the mandatory postpartum stay. I want to get it down before I forget, after all. But not today.

Today is an ode to Sundays. Because I love them. Small moments twinkle on Sundays.

On lactation cookies:

Boy: Can I have a bite?

Me: Oh, buddy, these are special cookies for Mommy to make milk.

Boy: Can I just try one bite?

Me: [gives bite]

Boy: Mmmm, your booby cookies are GOOD!

On birds and bees:

[Out of the blue, in the car]

Boy: Mommy, how did Daddy put the baby in your tummy?

Me: Uhhhhh…well, when mommies and daddies love each other very much sometimes they have a baby.

Boy: Yeah, but how did Daddy put the baby in your tummy?


On losing belly buttons:

Little Squirt’s umbilical cord stump fell off on Sunday. When W’s fell off, I gushed and promptly got a baggie to put it in. I probably cried. I don’t remember. When Squirt’s belly button stump fell off, I grabbed it and tossed it onto the coffee table and went back to changing her diaper. I made a mental note that it looked similar to a dried piece of food and hoped that no one would pick it up and try to eat it.

On flying planes:

Months ago, W went to a nearby market with Hubs. He saw a toy airplane – the dime store kind you shoot with a rubber band. Hubs told him no. When they got home, I told W he’d have to buy it himself (at a whopping $1.50 or so). We figured he’d forget. A few weeks later, Hubs was leaving for the same market.

“Is it the place with the airplane toy?” W asked.

We were shocked he remembered.

A few minutes later we were counting out quarters and dimes from W’s piggy bank. He was  so proud. But his pride quickly became frustration when he came home and couldn’t shoot it properly with the rubber band. The plane has been collecting dust on the buffet cabinet in the dining room ever since.

But on Sunday… on Sunday, it flew. He flew it. All by himself.

“Look Mommy! Look! I did it all by myself!”

PicMonkey Image

Other noteworthy quotes:

Boy: Mommy, is that your tummy where the baby ripped through?

[His words. Not mine.]


We listen to Wilco. We start the day slowly and enjoy what life offers when there’s no cable television. ♥