July 29, 2010

the morning after

Thanks for all your comments on my last post.

Yeah, things aren't going well. Not sure how else to put it. I guess it's just a waiting game, which is what it always has been. It seems that every dad update I get just kind of chips away at my soul. Right now I just feel empty. The "D" word hasn't been spoken, but I know it's there waiting, as it is for all of us. I'm not ready to say it yet. I do keep practicing it in my head.

All I ever wanted for him was some dignity and some grace. I don't want to hear that my dad has to use a walker all the time, that he can barely get from sitting to standing any more, that sometimes he can't make it to the bathroom in time, that he has lost so much weight that his dentures don't even fit. I don't want to think about him suffering. I don't want to think of him alone in his bed in his depressing room in that godawful nursing home. I don't want to think that he could be sad or scared or lonely. I don't want to think about never seeing him again. I don't want to think of him not having that dignity that he deserves so much.

I feel so powerless and just busted up and sad. I'm not sure what else to say on the matter.

On another note, I'm not a big fan of myself these days. I've been working on those posts about how my depression changed my life and has made me see the world differently. But in all reality I am still the same old weirdo who feels kind of isolated and like she'll never fit in with the world. It's like I reach a moment of pure enlightenment, and then poof, it's gone and there I am back in the trenches. Not to say that I have reverted back into depression, but life these days is really making me anxious. I did have a rather Zen-like attitude toward our financial situation until the other night, when I saw how much money we really don't have, and then I burst into tears. It's hard to be Zen about it. About anything.

Yes, "it will all be okay." But what does that even mean?

July 28, 2010

In the Belly of the Whale

Today I received word:

It's time to start.
Start, what does that mean
when there is no end?
It's grief; it goes on and on
until we don't anymore.

He weighs less than I did
before I had a baby growing in me,
but the difference is
he's a foot taller.
His top denture falls into his mouth;
it blocks the words that try
to force their way out,
but I knew long ago
those words will never come.

Your brother says
you seem to be living in the distant past,
and I'm not sure what's there,
but I hope it's my mom
and your old camera
and water,
lots and lots of water,
with a footpath
leading to peace.

(Got word today that my dad continues to decline. It's not a big surprise, but still, the tears refuse to stop tonight.)

July 27, 2010

Lucille Clifton

I just found out that one of my favorite poets, Lucille Clifton, died earlier this year. I went to one of her readings back in 2001 and found her to be remarkably down to earth. She signed my copy of Blessing the Boats: "For Leslie ~ Joy!" I feel like I just got punched in the gut. Here's one of her poems that I love, and you'll see it's quite appropriate.


i saw a small moon rise
from the breast of a woman
lying in a hospital hall
and I saw that the moon was me
and I saw that the punctured bag
of a woman body was me
and i saw you sad there in the lobby
waiting to visit and I wanted
to sing to you
go home
i am waiting for you there

—Lucille Clifton

100 Days

Today marks 100 days until my guess date, which is what they call it at the birth center. (I like the term "guess date" much more than "due date.")

There's so much to do, and my blog will probably either be left very neglected or it will become very birthy. I'm sure there's room for other possibilities, though.

Here's my to-do list:

Find a doula.
Figure out insurance/birth center mess.
Go to Bradley class every week.
Do Hypnobabies home study course.
Write birth plan.
Read birth books.
Pack birth center bag.
Pack just-in-case bag for transfer to hospital.
Pack overnight bag for Charlie for his stay with family.
Make quilt for Burt Reynolds.
Make Christmas stocking for Burt Reynolds.
Go through all emails from birth center and print out relevant ones.
Get Charlie's Halloween costume together.
Set up house to accommodate two kiddos.
Go through all baby stuff: wash, sort, and hang up.
Dye Moby wrap.
Finish organizing the house and garage.
Get rid of stuff: have a yard sale, sell big-ticket items on Ebay/craigslist, donate the rest.
Convert all velcro on diaper covers to snaps.
Shred all confidential documents.
Organize computer: photos, documents, bookmarks.
Edit all unedited photos on computer.
Book a photographer for maternity, birth, and newborn photos.
Get finances under control.
Get addresses organized for birth announcements.
Scan in old family photos.
Set up Burt Reynolds with our pediatrician.
Finish babyproofing.
Finish bucket list.
Clean out email inbox.

That's a lot of stuff, and I won't be surprised if most of it doesn't get done. In a perfect world (where insomnia/exhaustion doesn't exist), the entire list would get done with time to spare. As it stands, though, I'm taking applications for personal assistant. I can pay you in cookies and jokes.

July 24, 2010

For Our Autumn Baby

I bought some fabric to make a quilt for Burt Reynolds!

I love it so much and can't wait to get started.

July 23, 2010


This week I got hit with a major case of the sads.

I realize that I am not a person who can learn from others' mistakes. I am exceedingly stubborn, have always been, about making my own (sometimes very grave) mistakes and not acknowledging when a better choice is literally right in front of my face. Seriously, right there, picking its nose, farting, and vomiting all at once, and yet I will be completely oblivious. I have a knack for it, it seems.

I started reading Husband Coached Childbirth yesterday in preparation for our Bradley classes. My bookmark was still in there from when I was reading it the first time, and I remember why I got it: a poster on The Bump that I respected very much recommended it, saying that it would change the way we viewed childbirth. I remember when I was about this far along in my pregnancy with Charlie, reading it in the waiting room while I was waiting on the results of my glucose tolerance test. I was amazed, absolutely stunned, reading about vaginal deliveries of breech babies - all of the breech babies I'd ever heard of became automatic C-sections. I made a note to ask the nurse who was teaching our childbirth classes (at the hospital) about it.

And I did ask in our next class. I asked why breech babies weren't delivered vaginally anymore, and she said because the uterus could clamp down on the baby's head after the rest of the body came out. Sounded serious to me. I took her word for it, no more questions asked. She was a nurse, after all, and who was I but some clueless pregnant woman?

It turns out the nurse's answer was actually moronic. So moronic that I kind of shudder to think that she's a health care professional. But no more moronic, I suppose, than the OB's reason for breaking my water while I was in labor: "We need to check for meconium." I guess even the slight possibility of the presence of meconium is worth doing a major intervention for?


When I was at the very beginning of my pregnancy with Charlie, I was talking with a couple of friends about homebirth. I have to say that my gut reaction to homebirth was like this: "Hey, you know, that sounds pretty good." But all it took was one of my friends saying, "But what if something bad were to happen?" and all those good feelings just slipped away and I was bound and determined to preserve the safety of myself and my baby by giving birth in a hospital. She was right! What if something went wrong? To me, even entertaining that thought was too scary so I took the whole option of homebirth off the table right away. Hospital birth all the way, baby. That's what The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy recommended. Who was I to question the author? Between her and her friends, they'd had quite a few kids, and who was I but some clueless pregnant woman?

Towards the end of my pregnancy, when I was on the Third Trimester board on the Bump, I noticed an awful lot of the ladies going in to be induced because they were overdue. So many of them came back and told their birth stories about how they'd ended up with emergency C-sections because the baby's heartbeat kept dropping or because they had cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD). Almost all of them said, "Get the epidural! Get it in the parking lot if you can! And don't bother with a birth plan, because these things never go according to plan, so you might as well just go with the flow. And besides, labor and delivery nurses totally make fun of those with birth plans and make things a lot harder for them."

My OB had told me the same thing about birth plans. He said, "Everything that women want from their birth experience is something we already do, so there really is no need." I believed him. He was my OB, for Chrissake! And who was I but some clueless pregnant woman?

I knew that inductions had a greater chance of ending up in a C-section. I actually didn't want to be induced. But I showed up for the induction anyway, convinced that if I waited a day longer Charlie would be dead because the conditions inside my uterus were soooooo unfavorable. I showed up with no birth plan, with no way of dealing with labor. I showed up thinking, "Oh, this will all work out. I'll get the epidural and everything will be just fine." The worst that would happen, I thought, was that the induction would fail and that I'd be sent home.

I had no idea that the induction would fail, that my epidural would fail, that the IV meds would fail, and that I'd be sent to the OR for a C-section under general anesthesia. I really didn't think it would happen to me. But it did. And I have mostly reached a point where I can see all the good shining out from that shitty experience. But for some reason, this week I've been revisiting the sadness and the anger. I am still so heartbroken over what happened. I am so mad at myself for ignoring all those red flags, for never finishing the Bradley book, for not listening to what was going on around me, for ignoring my instincts and giving my birth experience over to some authority figure who I felt surely knew better. I am furious at myself for giving up my power.

Most of all, the sadness comes from missing Charlie's first moments, from not being there to hold him immediately, from not being able to bond right away, from not being able to breastfeed or babywear or do all the things I wanted. I was so fucking hurt. And it hurts even more to know that my baby might have been scared and lonely without either one of his parents to hold him for so long in the first moments of his life.

I don't think it will ever not hurt.

Through the pain, my world shifted, changed in a way that it never had before. I see almost everything differently now, not just things having to do with childbirth and parenting, but life in general: the importance of compassion and kindness, of letting go, of authenticity, of listening to the voice within. It's been a complete paradigm shift, and it was one I needed. So I am grateful.

Because my birth experience gave me my voice. And with that voice, I am imploring you, those of you out there who are pregnant or ever planning to become pregnant, to please consider your options, to please do lots of reading, research and preparation, and to please acknowledge what a mess our maternal health care system is. (I am obviously hugely in favor of out-of-hospital births but I know those aren't for everyone - nor should they be.) Think about what you want from your birth. Really think about it. Don't try to fool yourself into thinking that it doesn't matter, because it does. It's true that it's only one day out of your life and that a certain method of delivering won't make you a better (or worse) mother. But it's also true that birth matters; it is a hugely transformative experience; and just as your child's birth will be the best day of your life, it can also be the worst. And that dichotomy, my friends, is a hell I would not wish on anyone.

Listen to what your gut is telling you, and ask questions. If you don't get a good answer, don't stop asking. If you feel like your health care provider isn't doing a good job, make the switch. If you feel like you don't have a choice in what happens, remember that most of the time you absolutely do. There is a thing called informed consent, and you have the right to refuse any intervention.

Lastly, believe in yourself and in your body. As the great midwife Ina May Gaskin says, "You are not a lemon." Whether it's your first pregnancy or your fifteenth, you contain all the wisdom you need to make good choices for you and your baby. Only you know what those are, but you can only know if you listen.

I wish like hell I would have acknowledged my own wisdom the first time around. Live and learn, right? I've certainly done a lot of both. In some cases, like this one, it's led to a lot of heartbreak. So much heartbreak that I just might trade all I've learned from this to hold my baby right after he was born.

Somewhere in there, I've got to figure out how to forgive myself.

July 22, 2010

25 Weeks

I am 25 weeks pregnant today.

Typing that out felt weird, because it wasn't all that long ago when I was 25 weeks pregnant the first time. I still sometimes trip out over the fact that I am pregnant again. You'd think after one baby, it all would become easier to believe - but it's not. It still doesn't feel real most of the time.

I guess you've probably noticed the lack of pregnancy posts this time around. Pregnancy is still as interesting as it ever was, but there's less time for navel-gazing when you spend every waking second of every day chasing a child around. I don't have much energy at the end of the day. I feel guilty sometimes, for this lack of introspection regarding this pregnancy, but it's not that the contemplation isn't happening - it's just not really being recorded. I do spend a lot of time thinking about the baby, wondering what he'll be like, wondering who he'll look like, wondering how Charlie will be as a big brother, and so on it goes. Mostly I just think about having two children instead of just one. One kiddo has made my life infinitely more complicated (and rich), so I just know that having two is going to kick my ass, at least for awhile.

I don't know how I will have the space in my heart for two kids. Charlie fills my heart to capacity, and I wonder what will happen when Burt Reynolds is born. Will I love one of them more than the other? Will Burt Reynolds feel that he is less loved/wanted because there is considerably less fanfare this time around?

I worry a lot about second child syndrome , being a second child myself. For years I had it in my head that my mom loved my brother more because he had a baby book and I didn't. Of course, as a child how could I have possibly understood what it is to be a parent? My mom always did her best. She didn't favor my brother over me; she just had more time to work on the damn baby book.

I just want this baby to have all the collected memories/photos/etc. that Charlie's had. I want him to have some things that are his instead of all hand-me-downs. Our living situation is so uncertain right now that I am not sure if he will even get a nursery, much less all the cool artwork that would go in it, and the piggy bank, and the quilt, and ....

This baby's not even born yet, and I already feel guilty.

Actually, I'm okay if he doesn't get a nursery. I am going to be breastfeeding (dammit! it will happen!) this time around, so we could very well end up co-sleeping. We are not buying another crib until we are sure he'll need one. I think we are even going to hold off on purchasing a double stroller as well - although I fear we are going to have to buy one of those eventually. One thing I've realized this past year is that babies really don't need all the stuff we think they do. They don't need tons of toys or clothes or anything like that. But I can't help but want him to have some special and meaningful things that are just for him. I am going to the fabric store this weekend to price some fabrics, as I really do want to make him a quilt like I did for Charlie.

I have really no desire to have a baby shower, at least not a traditional one like I had with Charlie. I loved my shower, but they are really for making sure the family gets some of the things they need for their baby. What I have been thinking about is a blessingway, which is more focused on providing support to the mother as she prepares for birth and for motherhood (again, in my case). The only thing is that it's normally kind of this spiritual thing, and I'm not a very spiritual person. I think that there's a good possibility that I may start telling penis jokes in the middle of this very solemn gathering. (Or what I perceive to be a solemn gathering, anyway.) I think I just want to get together with my friends and hear their words of support, or maybe I could just have them write me letters so I could have a keepsake or something. (Then we can tell penis jokes.) I have been feeling pretty confident about the birth lately, but that extra boost (and let's face it, just a little bit of fanfare) would be nice. Anyway, we'll see about all that.

What we are going to do is set up Charlie's room (which is our old bedroom) to accommodate two kiddos, but the changes won't be huge since there won't be a new crib, etc. I cleaned out the closet and am getting ready to go through the baby clothes and other items we have stored away. Once I know what we have (and in what sizes), then I'll know more about what we may need, and then we can go shopping. But really, with the exception of a few things, I think we'll probably be set.

It's interesting how different this pregnancy is and how my whole view has shifted. I spent a lot of time while I was pregnant with Charlie worrying about having everything we needed, having a stocked nursery, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but the focus is different this time. And I like it. Life takes us all kinds of unexpected places. For that, I am grateful.

For 25 weeks with my baby, I am so very grateful. I love him so much already.

July 21, 2010

I love

...that I found the softest black T-shirt ever in the bottom of Charlie's closet (our old closet) when I was cleaning it out and it smelled so good.

...this video, which made me cry. (It's only 2 minutes, watch it!)

....that our dishwasher is not working well and so we have to wash the dishes by hand. Wait. Just kidding.

...that my husband adores me and that I adore him back and that's just the way it is. I once had a nutter of a boyfriend who told me I was incapable of love, and being as I was young and thought that he knew more about me than I knew about myself, I believed him for awhile. On that note, I love proving other people wrong, especially when they are so clearly, totally, fucked-upedly wrong.

...that I have taught myself how to cut my own bangs so now I can take care of that as soon as they get annoyingly too long and start swooping to the sides.

...that I have begun granting myself the freedom to write in run-on sentences in this blog. F for freedom.

...that our bathing suits are hanging on the shower curtain rod, reminding me that we've been having fun. It's hard to remember the fun stuff sometimes when you're wide awake at 4 AM.

...going to bed with wet hair. It's just a good feeling.

...this blog. I don't think I've ever felt as connected to another blogger as I do to her. I've been reading through her archives for the past couple of days, and in all my unoriginality, all I can say is she inspires me. Her subject matter may not be for everybody, but I think she is brilliant and quirky and a genuinely kind person. Plus, she's pregnant, due about a month after me, and she's naming her daughter Ever, which I love.

...watching the adventures of Charlie and his polar bear unfold each day.

...that ACOG reversed its position on VBAC, hopefully making VBAC more accessible for all. (Fuck yeah!)

...the new assignment (water!) on Pioneer Woman Photography. I submitted this photo and won't be at all surprised if it doesn't make the cut.

still splash

July 20, 2010

An Open Letter to Smug Parents

Dear smug parents,

Oh hai.

Listen, you guys have been awfully loud lately. I mean, loud. Every time I turn around, there's one of you yammering on, all your cronies clucking in agreement.

This is my kind and gentle request to you to STFU.

Because, guess what? I don't care if you breastfed your daughter until she was 3. I don't care if you thought formula was easier and decided to bottle feed. I certainly have no investment in the type of baby food you gave your son, whether it was made by your own martyred hands or bought from the store. Babywearing? Great, I'm glad you enjoy it. Using a stroller? I'm glad you find that useful. Oh, and the sleeping arrangements. And the diapers. And the vaccinations. And the circumcisions. And the birth plans, the epidurals, the birthing tubs! Blah blah blah. Zzzzzzzz.

My head hurts.

I am so tired of the bickering and the sniping. I am all for advocating and educating about the many other parenting options out there (which is what I try to do), but when you begin to berate other parents for making different choices, I begin to not like you. At all.

In the past few days, I have heard circumcision referred to as mutilation. I have heard a mother referred to as selfish because she turned to formula and store-bought baby food. I have heard vaccinations referred to as poison - and sleep training as an equivalent to training animals, because those of us who have done it obviously see our children as animals. W. T. F.

Parents who circumcise their sons are not bloodthirsty savages looking for some kind of thrill. Parents who feed formula and store-bought baby food are not lazy or selfish. Parents who choose to have their children vaccinated are not trying to poison them. This is ridiculous, inflammatory language, and it is offensive.

I do not and will never understand the female tendency to drag others through the mud. It is so childish, so pointless. And so very, very hurtful. I've been on both sides, as I'm sure we all have. But it takes on a whole different meaning when mothers are doing it to other mothers. A mother's path is a difficult one. Why make it harder on her? Why not just accept her as the mother she is?

We should be a sisterhood of mothers.

But instead there is the chattering. The incessant noise. Come on, really? You're saying this stuff because you care SO much about the fate of some internet stranger's child?

No, you're saying this stuff because it makes you feel better about yourself and your choices. But you know, that's the beauty of it all. We have choices as mothers. That's amazing.

Isn't the most important thing that we love our kids? That at the end of the day, whether a child spent the majority of his day at home with mom or in daycare, whether he ate Gerber baby food or peaches right off the tree, that he is asleep in his bed, or his parents' bed, or wherever, and is happy? Isn't that what matters, that we love our children? That we do the best we can?

I certainly think so. Now please, shut it and go tell your kids you love them.

Over and out.

Respectfully yours,

Where I've Been

My inspiration to write comes and goes. Apparently it comes at 3:30 AM...

I've been cleaning. Working on the house. The goal is to visit every nook and cranny and throw out the chaos. This is my summer project, to be completed before October/November. There are random piles of crap everywhere, and it drives me just a little bit round the bend. The piles of crap are this thing both Roy and I seem to do. We like to make spaces so that our stuff has somewhere to go to die. We have too many little graveyards around our house. It's like we can't let go of all that dailyness. We can't send it off to have a swift and peaceful death. No, it's got to linger on, on the top of the bookshelf in our bedroom or one corner of the kitchen counter.

Our house, sometimes I wonder why I'm bothering with it at all. It's in the process of changing owners, and the new ones are family friends. We can stay but we may have to move. Because we may be looking at a rent increase. Which we can't afford, because....

We've been fretting over finances. Our financial situation is pretty bleak right now. I won't go into details, because they are gruesome. I've been trying not to worry. It's just green paper, right? Green paper that we've assigned some huge value to. And while on an existential level I know this is true, on another level, the one that wants to make it and someday be financially comfortable, it's a scary place to be, especially when expecting a new baby.

As long as we stick together, I know we'll be okay. (This is my new and cheesy mantra.)

I'm almost 25 weeks along now. I started a 24-week pregnancy post last week and then didn't get around to finishing it. Because I was tired. Because of the insomnia. Which has led to all kinds of back/neck/shoulder issues. Which have led to these wonderful things called tension headaches. My midwife took me off caffeine entirely, thinking that would help with the insomnia/muscle tension/etc. It hasn't. But fine, whatever, I'm fine with cutting out yet another bad habit. I did order a Prenatal Yoga DVD from Netflix, and I'm hoping that will solve all of my body's complaints. The beauty of Netflix is that I can keep the disc for as long as I want. I'll keep it until the end of my pregnancy, thank you very much.

Despite all that, my pregnancy is going well. Everything is proceeding normally, and we start our Bradley childbirth classes this week. I am getting weirdly excited and optimistic about the birth. It feels good to be here after such a long time in that other place.

I've been reading a lot. I have a whole bookshelf full of unread books, but when those offerings aren't too my liking, I go to the library and get something there. I've also been checking out CDs and then just adding them to my iTunes library. Like those piles of crap, they've just been sitting on my computer, much like all those CDs were hanging out around the house. I've figured out that I am a person who likes options. I like to collect things, like books and movies and CDs and lipgloss and post-its and body butter, so that I will have the freedom to choose something that suits my mood.

I found my engagement ring in a plastic baggie full of pens and pencils and paper clips. I put it back on my hand and instantly felt more glamorous. That is, until I went into Charlie's bedroom the other morning and found him with his diaper partially undone, playing with his own poop. Those glamorous feelings quickly went away as I found myself snatching it away holding my son's poop in my hand. I don't think I will ever really believe that this is my life, that I, who was once so anxiety-ridden about vomit and other bodily fluids, can matter-of-factly take poop out of her kid's hand (or once, when the situation totally called for it, pulled a dried booger out of his nose) and go on about her day as if nothing major has happened.

It's now 4 AM and I am completely starving. I guess poop talk will do that to a person. I have to go back to bed and try to get some sleep so I can function tomorrow. There are many, many things to be done, some of which will surely revolve around poop.

July 17, 2010

This Week's CSA Haul

In our efforts to save money without compromising on the quality of our produce, Roy and I have stopped shopping at our local farmer's market (sadface) and instead have begun getting our fruits and veggies from a CSA.

For $22 per share, we got all this:

1 bunch of celery
1 bunch of green onions
1 pineapple
1 mango
2 oranges
5 peaches
4 squashes
1 head of cabbage
1 package of strawberries
2 avocados
1 bundle of kale
1 bundle of cilantro
1 bunch of carrots
2 tomatoes
1 bag of apricots
1 cucumber
1 head of romaine lettuce

Such great variety! The only problem is figuring out what to do with this much cabbage, kale, and cilantro. Looks like I'll be googling some recipes...

Happy weekending, everyone!

July 14, 2010

As Ever (Three Years)

Three years ago today I married my best friend.

We had no idea what the next three years would have in store for us. I certainly never thought that we'd have our second child on the way at this point. I never anticipated we'd be as broke as we are these days. Never would've considered that Roy would be willingly sleeping on the floor so I could be comfortable at night, or that we'd have no idea where we might be living in the next two months, or that we both would have recently made it through the crippling darkness of depression.

This is our life. And it ain't perfect. Much like our wedding, we've had to make do with what we have, and to most people, it's probably not all that spectacular.

But this is our life. It's a life that I love, because we've built it together and we've made it strong and solid and real. I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.

Happy anniversary, my love. You make it all okay.

So this is what happiness feels like...

July 13, 2010

In Celebration of Shoes

Even though I go through our stuff often, getting rid of it on a pretty regular basis, there are some things that I never get rid of. It just feels too hard, like too much of a betrayal of who I was.

When I was in high school (and still, really), I had a big love for Docs. I started off with a black pair that were too big for me, and soon I had acquired a red pair. After that, I got a pair of brown Doc shoes, and after high school, I bought a green pair and then a pair of Mary Janes I found on sale. I still have the last two pairs I bought, but the others have either been given away or worn into the ground during the many years I waited tables. The green ones and the Mary Janes have not been worn much.

In the past few years, I have put on my green pair every once in awhile. The last time was for Charlie's one year photo session.

They hurt. Oh mah gah, they hurt so bad. And it's no wonder, because my feet did grow some while I was pregnant with Charlie. But for some reason, at the last minute, I decided to wear them. I practically ripped them off my feet the second we got home.

Over the weekend, my blog and Facebook friend Sue posted about her lust for a good pair of bad ass boots, and I thought, "Hmmmm, I may be able to help her out."

So I'm sending Sue my Docs. She's getting a mighty good deal on them, too, because no matter the scuffs, these puppies are in mighty good shape. (It pays to be my friend.) But before I packed them up, there was a little something I had to do. I had to pull out the mighty 40D and photograph them in all their glory, rainbow shoelaces and all.

I've heard that when you're having trouble getting rid of something but know that you should, you should photograph it. And I do feel better, and it does make sense for me to part with these, since they don't even fit anymore.

Besides, nowhere in the rule book does it say that I can't buy myself another pair sometime in the future. I did always want a purple pair...

July 10, 2010

Summer of CDs

It's the morning after the day from hell, and I can't say how today is going to turn out. But I've done my bitchin', so let's talk music.

I've got this handy dandy little contraption called an iPod. Like the internet, I used to think this thing was the best invention ever. All my music in my pocket? Hellz yeah! What's not to like?

They should put on the iPod package that having one can cause ADD. No, seriously, it's true. I have music ADD now, thanks to my iPod. I spend more time clicking through songs than I do actually listening to them.

My brother is a music junkie, and he always gives me CDs. He gave me several (all by local Minnesota artists) for my birthday, and then once he went back to Minneapolis I gathered up all the CDs I've collected in recent years, and I've been listening to them. Because I wasn't listening to them. They were just sitting around in a Trader Joe's bag, which is this thing I do. I collect things and then just let them hang out. Anyway, these days I find it infinitely more satisfying to listen to a CD, start to finish, than I do to listen to my iPod. I suppose it's just a simplicity thing - that, and the fact that the CDs come with artwork, which is so much a part of the experience of music, and I actually forgot about that.

Anyway, it's going to take me forever to listen to what I've got. Which is a good thing because we have no money to keep the new music rolling in. But I love - seriously, LOVE - how I can discover (or re-discover) an album I've had for a long time. Which is what has happened to me this summer with Belle & Sebastian.

I burned a B&S CD from my brother when he came to visit last summer. Like everything else, it ended up in that Trader Joe's bag while I traipsed around scrolling through my iPod and not actually listening to anything. On a whim, this was the album I put in the CD player in Charlie's room one morning last month, and it's stayed there pretty consistently since. It's a fucking fantastic album! When the CD began skipping, I began my earnest search through local record stores to get an actual copy of it. But apparently it's not going to be in stock anytime soon, so I downloaded it.

I love it. It's amazing. It's my album of the summer.

But then there's this one. It's one of the CDs my brother gave me for my birthday, and out of the whole stack, it was the last one I listened to. The artwork is awesome:

Contrary to what I originally thought, this CD is also a fun summer album. Really quirky but simple at the same time. I wake up every morning with this song in my head, and it really is a nice way to start the day.

My iPod is going to stick around, this I know. I have all my music from my old piece of crap computer on it. But I like how I've come to reclaim the experience of listening to music because I've turned back to the CD. The only thing that would make me happier is a record player and some vinyl. Lots and lots of vinyl.

July 9, 2010

Desperate Housewife

Today I feel like this:

I'm the orange guy. And the pink one, too. (from here)

Disclaimer: Lest someone think that I am some ungrateful hag, allow me to point you to the explosion of happiness that has invaded my posts lately. I don't even recognize this blog with all its recent annoying happiness.

But now it's time for something completely different.

I have insomnia. It's just a thing with me, apparently. I had the most godawful insomnia (about 20 weeks worth) when I was pregnant with Charlie. I thought I'd gotten lucky this time, because I made it through the first trimester without the horrible sleep issues. The second trimester rolled around, which apparently cued the insomnia. So let's see, I'm 23 weeks pregnant. That means I've been dealing with awful, stupid, mega soul-sucking insomnia for at least 8 weeks. But more like 10.

It's a good thing that such a thing as naptime exists. What sucks, though, is that I am apparently co-dependent and can't sleep without Roy anymore. My last two successful naps were when he was at home one weekend, napping in bed next to me.

But now things have progressed to the point where I can't sleep with him, either. It feels like this is way too early for this to be happening already, but I am really uncomfortable in bed now. I just can't find a position that works for me. So last night Roy slept on the floor. I got a five hour stretch of sleep, which is the best I've done in quite awhile.

But today I was still so exhausted that I could barely think. And then it was like a world of shit exploded on me. I got an email letting me know that my credit limit on one of my cards has been decreased because the payment is late - for the first time EVER. I decided to take a nice relaxing bath during Charlie's afternoon nap, and the shower curtain rod collapsed on me. Roy came home from work and told me that his car needs about $350 worth of work done to it, in addition to the $200 worth that my car needs.

We decided that we needed to get out of the house, so we hopped in the car to take Charlie to the park to do his 13 month photos. But I was hungry. So we drove around aimlessly, while I talked about all the food that Texas has and that California is sorely lacking. I was in the middle of telling Roy about a memory I had associated with Sonic Drive-In when we heard the alarming sound of Charlie gagging in the backseat. We took a quick, fervent look, and there he was with his whole hand in his mouth making himself gag. He did this off and on the whole drive home. (Little bulimic baby.) I never did get to finish telling Roy about how I used to get paid every week back in my freshman year of college, and one of the first things I would do was go to KMart and buy a carton of cigarettes. Then I would go to Sonic Drive-In and order a cheeseburger and some chili-cheese tater tots and a big ol' cherry limeade. I sure did enjoy my vices. I didn't have a lot of money back then either, but I had the luxury of time. And the freedom to sleep in every weekend and go shopping when I wanted. Ahh, to be 18 again.

So we got home and I put Charlie in his highchair. Our planned dinner had not thawed out completely, so I gave him some cheese melted on bread, along with some milk and Cheerios, and called it done. Meanwhile, Kerwin threw up three times, which is always a wonderful thing for a pregnant woman to witness. And now Charlie has been in his crib for the last hour, and he's still rolling around, wide awake. I have no idea what Roy or I are going to eat for dinner, but I am in such a state of insanity right now that I may just eat a whole carton of ice cream.

More than anything right now, I want to walk into a bar, order a beer, and sit and listen to some live music. I hate beer, and I'm not a bar person, but I feel so trapped right now that all I can do is laugh about it. Just laugh at the absurdity that is being broke, being a parent, being pregnant, being so fucking tired that my eyes might fall out of my head and roll down the street. I imagine that the one simple act of drinking a beer will make me feel human again. Maybe take away some of the desperation.

This week I read The Hours for the third or fourth time. (I was actually on the verge of finishing it when the shower curtain rod collapsed on me earlier today.) I think it's a brilliant and heartbreaking book, but this time reading it felt like a completely different experience. I was struck by each woman's deep desire to make herself believe that she was enough, that her life was enough, that what she was doing with her time was enough; each of them, desperate in her own way.

I feel desperate sometimes. Like I'm trying to convince myself that this life is enough. That it's okay that I've had to clean Charlie's highchair five times today and now there is food all over the floor. That it's okay that I suspect I may never sleep through the night again. That I may never amount to anything other than some frumpy mom, that my education might go to waste as I pop out another kid and perhaps end up depressed again because kids, while they make life so wonderful, also make it so. damn. difficult. I love being a mom; I really feel that it's the best thing I've ever done; but each and every cell of my body is tired. I need a vacation that we cannot afford; I need a beer that I cannot drink; and I need a good night's sleep like I have never needed anything before.

More than anything, I just need to keep it all in perspective, knowing that this is one day out of many, that the bills will get paid (maybe not always on time), that I will sleep again, and that I won't always feel this desperate. Some day I won't have to convince myself that I am enough. I will just know it.

July 8, 2010

Charlie at 13 Months

Charlie is 13 months old today.

This kid has changed a lot in the past month. Aside from rockin' the new haircut, that is.

He's developed a LOT of opinions. Diaper changes? Forget it! He doesn't have the time for that shit (literally). Being calm and patient in public (or at home)? Nah, too much work! He'd rather just scream to let you know that he's right there, waiting for you to turn your adoring eyes on him. Going to sleep with little fuss? That'd just be too easy! Instead, he tosses his bottle out of his crib, sends his polar bear on a rescue mission, and then screams when neither bottle nor polar bear cooperate.

It's been a challenge, adjusting to this new, opinionated boy. As usual, I'm always the last to figure out that the rules have changed. For a week or so, I listened to Charlie howl and scream, as if in terrible pain, while I tried to change his diaper. He became so agitated that he would end up on his hands and knees on top of the changing table. I thought for sure there was some invisible ailment that was just eating him up inside, so loud and desperate were his screams.

But no, it was just him throwing a tantrum.

The doctor pronounced him a master manipulator at his one year well baby appointment. Charlie screamed and screamed through the whole appointment, so much so that the nurse couldn't even get him measured for height. And we all know how his first haircut turned out:

We've got some fun times ahead!

Despite the challenges, this age is seriously so much fun. He rolls around with his polar bear, sucking on his nose. He pushes his trike across the living room so proudly and he laughs in glee while riding it around the neighborhood. He tackles us, gives us kisses, crawls at the speed of light, scrunches up his nose when he's assessing a situation, shoves his hands in my mouth to check my teeth, and is so close to really walking that we can taste it. He cracks himself up while sitting in his car seat and laughs constantly at our antics. He is just so wonderful, screaming and tantrums and diaper rash and all, and we are having such a fantastic summer, just the three of us - it could not be a more perfect way for us to enjoy our last few months together before we welcome his little brother into our growing family.

I love him, my little blonde-headed pixie boy. I love him so much.

July 7, 2010

How to Have a Kick Ass Holiday Weekend

First of all, you take your kid to get his first haircut. Because even though his longish, rockin' hair was awesome, I will admit that I was getting really annoyed with people calling him "she."

(I'll let the pictures do the talking.)

What an experience. I had spoken with a hairstylist friend the night before who told me that the first haircut would be fine - it was the second we had to watch out for.

Obviously, she doesn't know Charlie. Damn, my kid can tantrum. I wanted to take more photos but he was such a basket case that I had to put down the camera and take over the chair-sitting duty. It took the two of us to "subdue" him while the hairstylist tried her best to give Charlie a somewhat decent-looking haircut. At one point, Charlie was screaming in my face, and Roy and I were cracking up. What else were we supposed to do?

Poor Chuckles! Mean ol' parents! (Next time we'll slip a little Valium in his sippy cup, methinks.)

For the 4th of July, we went to a little get-together at my friend Becki's house. Her whole block had pulled out their kiddie pools and water slides, so we walked and watched and played. Then we had dinner and cupcakes and fun family revelry. I so wanted a beer. Instead I ate copious amounts of Becki's kick ass potato salad, along with three cupcakes and a piece of some mighty tasty Snickers cake. And watermelon. And kebabs.

Before we left, we had a mini photo session in the front yard. The light was too gorgeous to pass up.

These two little girls were pretty much the cutest thing ever. Photographers in training!

This year I really wanted to set up my tripod and try to catch some fireworks, but you know, kids tend to make those decisions for their parents. We put Charlie to bed, but he woke up once the fireworks starting going off. We decided to get him out of bed to watch with us. We had a great view from our bedroom window, so we all got to watch in our pajamas. I took some shaky, handheld photos.

It was the best 4th of July I've had in quite some time, maybe even since I was a kid. It's funny how having a child really brings the magic back into things that kind of lose their luster and excitement as we grow into adults.

And that, my friends, is how you have a kick ass holiday weekend. A first haircut, some fireworks, and some friends; add a 13-month-old and you've got a great recipe for unforgettable happiness.