Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Format

It's occurred to me that I rarely write here anymore and I couldn't figure out why. Until (obviously) now.

I've been trying to be all serious about this blog and analytics (?) and blah, blah, blah. Who am I? I'm not a writer. Not really. This blog is about remembering my life. The ins and outs of my days. It doesn't matter if anyone reads or not.

With this in mind, I've decided to somewhat change my format. I cannot come up with stories to tell every day. I read other, real blogs and think wow, I write nothing like that. So since I can't keep pace with the big girls, I just give up? Eff that.

I am highly logical, analytical, etc. so instead of trying to be creative I'm making (which I know that is creating) a sort of template that I'll basically fill in as often as I want. It'll probably change a lot but for now:

Best part of my day: Getting to sleep in really late. It finally occurred to me this morning that I've had the "early shift" every day of vacation. And that hardly seems fair. So this morning when Maggie woke up I informed R he needed to get his ass up while I slept in. And let me tell you, it was nice.

Worst part of my day: Being a bum and not going to yoga for like the millionth time in a row. Why is it so hard to get back in the swing of things? I guess the trick is to never stop because re-starting is ridiculously hard.

Maggie Moment: Maggie has started signing and it's so stinking cute. It's not hugely useful since she also, you know, speaks but it sure is adorable. When she is hungry she says, "Eat," and points at her mouth. So cute.

Also she was in the kitchen, starting to explore/empty the cabinets and drawers. I walked up to her and very firmly told her "No!" For the next 5 or 10 minutes she walked up and down the kitchen saying, "No, no, no."

Gratitude: My baby, my angel. I love her so much it feels painful sometimes. Who knew?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Intelligence work?


I did a quiz in O magazine and another on Career Builder's website and they both told me I should work in intelligence work. Ok.


What the hell does that mean?


As an aside, if I don't know, does that mean I am not qualified to work in intelligence work?


Career Builder said to look for the words analyst and audit. Even with this helpful hint, I feel at a loss.


O magazine ran a follow up this month with a few ideas. Mine were biomedical research (I freaking hate science so that probably wouldn't work for me), computer programming (not sure how much science that requires; maybe I would like that) and law (hmmm??? how ironic that next fall R will be starting law school).


So basically I'm completely at a loss. I would love to work at a job that I enjoyed. What is the saying? "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life."


I guess the search continues. There must be something out there for me. . .

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My baby. . .


The best part of Thanksgiving was watching Maggie play with her little cousins. They are only 1 and 2 years, respectively, older than her. She was so happy. She would look over at me for encouragement or reassurance maybe and then go back to playing.


At one point they got a little too close and she backed up a little. Other than that she just smiled and laughed. It was wonderful.


And yet, it made me unbelievably sad. It took me a while to figure out why I was so sad about Maggie having such a good time.


All these 15 months of her life, Maggie has been mine. She is my baby. Sure, other people play with her, keep her, what have you. But she is my baby. Seeing her play with those little girls was the first time she was her own little person.


And as her own little person, she will continue doing her own little thing. Part of which will include growing up and no longer being my baby. And while I'm not too bothered (just heartbroken) about her getting older, the reminder hurt.


How can my baby be such a big girl? How can time go so fast?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009


We celebrated Thanksgiving with my grandma, GG, and that whole side of the family. That side of the family includes her 5 brothers and all of their kids and their kids' kids. Lots of family.


But it's great. I love going to Thanksgiving out there. Especially because there are so many kids for Maggie to play with.


We carpooled with Elaine and her husband. We had dinner on the way down there at an awesome Mexican food restaurant that had a Starbucks inside it. How cool is that?


Maggie had a hard time sleeping while we were there. Since R and I sat in the back seat with her on the ride down there, she refused to sleep until the last 30 minutes. But apparently that 30 minutes was all she needs cos she was ready to play, play, play. . . at 10:30pm.


That was absolutely no fun at all. We got home on Friday evening and put Maggie to bed at about 6pm. She woke up at 9:45pm with a poopy diaper. I nursed her, put her back to bed and she slept until noon. And actually we woke her up at noon.


Anyway we had a lot of fun. The best part was watching Maggie play with her cousins, which is a whole other post.


The worst part was being lectured about how R and I need to get married. That was not fun. I knew she was planning this and I warned R. He made a big deal about how he wasn't going to put up with that, blah, blah, blah. But he had nothing to say. At all. But my GG is no joke. You don't mess with her.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Birthday Party

I noticed that I never actually wrote about the fact that I threw a birthday party for Maggie. Well I did. The long-suffering Elaine is probably reading this thinking that she actually threw the party and I guess that's not far off the mark.

I called Elaine the day of the party and totally freaked out. R and I were still cleaning and I hadn't even gone to the grocery store yet. So Elaine went for me while R and I cleaned. I am so ridiculous lame. I promised Elaine I won't throw anymore parties. She told me that, for her part, she's not going to call me or answer her phone before said parties. Ha.

Actually Maggie's party was great. I had the idea to get a poster board and have everyone write something on it for Maya then take pictures with her in front of the board. It was really cute.

We had cupcakes, which Maggie wanted no part of. She cried when I kept trying to get her to eat some so I finally left her alone. She got scared when everyone clapped for her after singing to her. Poor baby.

She wasn't too interested in presents but she did like her cards. She was perplexed with everyone staring at her. She kept running through her "tricks": so big, pretty hair, etc. It was like, "Uh, people this is all I got, what do you want?"

Monday, November 23, 2009

To Do or Not to Do

I've been struggling with the idea of possibly changing careers. I don't really have any idea what I would do if I quit my current job but that's not really all that important. Assuming that finding another, higher-paying job were not an issue, here's my list of pros and cons of leaving my job. Please weigh in. Any and all opinions are quite welcome.

Pros
  • I could make more money. As a teacher I don't make too much money. Unfortunately I have debt including credit card debt, school loans, a car and making more money means I could pay that all off which would help me to eventually be able to work a lot less and spend more time with Maggie.
  • I'm not too thrilled with my job. I love and genuinely care for my students but I freaking hate all the red tape BS that I have go through. I feel like I'm constantly fighting admin (either my principal or the Sp.Ed. department) or dealing with crazy parents. I hate it. Not to mention that I work with defiant, oppositional, violent, aggressive children, meaning I've been hit, kicked, bit, spit on, felt up, you name it.
  • I feel like a job is just a job and no matter what it's just going to be something I do so I might as well make a lot of money doing whatever it is I do.
Cons
  • Less time with Maggie. As a teacher I have a ton of time off. I get a week off for Thanksgiving and Spring Break, a couple of weeks at Christmas AND all of summer. I'm very weary of losing that time with my baby. She's growing up so fast, I just don't know.
So there are my reasons. There are probably about a 1,000 more but this what I got so far. What do you think???

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lady Parts

So Maggie is now very interested in her lady parts. It started off that occasionally while I was changing her diaper she would reach down and do some half-assed exploring. Then every time the diaper came off her hands were going for the gold. Now before I can get her diaper off she's got her ankles by her ears and she's grabbing her soggy diaper.

Wow.

I knew this would happen. I've taken child development classes and read Dr. Spock but wow. I really want to encourage a healthy sexuality in Maggie and yet. . . wow. She's essentially masturbating in front of me and her dad (poor R is so horrified by the whole thing--especially now that he can't deny what she's doing).

When I first heard that babies touch themselves I figured it was just an exploring thing and it didn't really mean anything. Then one professor pointed out that babies/children keep doing it because it feels good. Despite that being completely obvious, it rocked my world.

Babies can feel pleasure? Of the sexual kind? I thought you couldn't feel that until puberty or, you know, 20.

Maggie's doing her best to convince me that, yes, little babies can and do feel that kind of pleasure. WOW. Am I the only one shocked???

I feel so awkward about the whole thing. I don't want to remove her hand but I have to put a diaper on her. What do I do about this? Am I stifling her exploration by putting a diaper on her?

I try to smile at her so she doesn't think she's doing something wrong. I don't tell her no or move her hand before I'm actually putting the diaper on.

Good Lord this parenting gig is hard. Already I have to worry about sex stuff???

Wow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where does the time go?

Maya is getting so big. Somewhere I read/heard a saying, "The days are long but the years are short." So true. Some days feel like they take a century to get through. But then I turn around and my little baby can walk. And feed herself. And talk (sort of).

How does that happen?

And I know it's a good thing. As she gets older it just keeps getting better. She's more fun, sweeter, funnier.

I just feel this sense of desperation. Time is running too fast and I can't stop it or even slow it down. She is not mine forever. She will grow up and move out. She will have her own children or career or whatever she chooses.

She will only be a baby once. She will only be little once. One day she won't nurse. She won't cuddle. I'll be Mama, then Mommy, then Mom.

When she was just born, I remember telling R that our job as parents was to prepare Mags to leave us. What a sad truth.

It is the way of the world. The way things have always been. But that knowledge doesn't make it any less sad.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Long time, no write. . .

Holy crap it's been a long time. It's funny how the longer it's been since I've written the harder it is to get back in the swing of things. I'm usually mentally composing posts all the freaking time but lately I rarely thing of writing. Bad sign.

And of course, its NaBloPo or whatever month so everyone else is writing every freaking day. But not me. But no more long silences. I really would like to write regularly.

Ok, so that's it. Sorry for the boring post.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two Stories

Story 1
I have a new student that has major behavior issues probably caused by his cerebral palsy. He goes off often and will tell me, "I'm gonna keeel you." He has a slight speech impediment.

So today he is laying on the ground after destroying my room and yelling and threatening and etc, etc and he's talking to himself.

I heard him say, "Run away, Mommy, I'm gonna kill you." If you don't have chills, let me further explain that this is a 30 or 40 pound first grader with a speech impediment.

Spooky.

Story 2
I have another student, also a first grader, than has a very low IQ. Low enough that he is moderately mentally retarded and functions on about a 3 year old level.

We were sitting at the back table doing his reading lesson. I noticed he kept looking at me. Finally he leaned in close and said, "You have boobies."

"Uh, yeah," I answered, cause actually yeah I do.

He smiled. "So does my Mommy."

Good to know.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Any thoughts, ideas, solutions???

I have something weird happening with some of the food in my fridge. It started with my pasta. Every Sunday I make up 6 days worth of pasta, pasta sauce and fake meat (Morningstar crumbles).Well on the fifth day of eating this batch it tasted bad. Really bad. Like vinegar or alcohol or something. I even had my Dad smell it. He thought it smelled weird but not like it had gone bad. But the taste/smell was so overwhelming I couldn’t eat it.

Then yesterday Maggie finished her first bowl of food and still seemed hungry so I went and made her another bowl of food.

Because it might be important, Maggie eats a kind of puree I make for her. This time it was apples, pears, zucchini, sweet potato, and bananas blended with yogurt and I add cereal to it as she eats it.

Anyway so the second bowl had the exact same smell as my pasta.

My Mom thinks maybe something fermented or there could be a fungus but how could that happen in 2 separate sealed containers? Could it be something else in my fridge? A weird coincidence?

Also so far my pasta this week has been fine. And not all of Maya’s food had that taste. Some of the food is still normal and some isn’t.

Anyone????

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oops. . .

When I got pregnant R and I had been dating for about 2 months.          But that’s misleading because we’ve known each other and had wanted to date for about 5 or 6 years.     Either way we were not married, engaged or planning on being married or engaged. For some people this was a problem.

Because I have raised hell during most of my double-digit years I think some (or maybe all) of my family looked at my pregnancy as one more f**k up in a long line. Of course I think, accident or not, it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

What’s funny (in an ironic sort of way) is that I often forget that some people are embarrassed by the fact that I am not married to, but with, the father of my child. My grandmother told no one that I was pregnant and yelled at my sister-in-law when she spilled the beans (silly her thinking she was sharing good news). But my grandmother told me she didn’t tell anyone because it was my news to tell and she didn’t want to spoil it for me. Uh huh.

This kind of thinking has led to some really funny moments. Made all the funnier by the fact that I usually don’t pick up on the funniness until later.

Story 1. Every year my grandmother’s (the one who didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant)side of the family has a big 4th of July party/family reunion. In 2008 I was 7 months pregnant.

So we’re at the party and my cousin is talking about his work. I’m not sure of a job title but basically he works with a church doing missionary-type work. He works a lot with teen mothers. So he’s talking about this and I can tell he keeps looking at me but I’m not sure why. Then he keeps saying teen mothers (vs. the more common “unwed” mothers). Finally it dawns on me that he’s trying not to offend me because I AM an unwed mother.

Story 2. I’m back at work after Maggie was born and I’m chatting with a co-worker. She makes a comment about her 21 year old niece having a baby (her tone made it clear that was a bad thing). Then says, “Well I had a baby when I was 21. . . but I was married.” I saw it in her face immediately. She was embarrassed. But I had no clue why. Again it took awhile to realize that she thought she had offended me because I am (all together now!) an unwed mother.

The thing is: I don’t care. R and I aren’t married but I don’t feel any shame about it. I mean I don’t think anyone thought at 25 I was a virgin. If they did and I burst that bubble in a big way, sorry about it. Is it ideal? Would it have been better to have gotten married and gotten ready and decided to have a baby? Maybe.

It’s kinda nice to have skipped past all that fretting and trying and counting days and checking temperatures. I honestly think that would drive me crazy. And with R's commitment issues we may never get married.

So instead of all that mess, I have a boyfriend that I’m pretty happy with AND a daughter that I adore more than life itself. Win-win.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Staycation 2009


R and I had a staycation. At the end of last year I got an offer to stay at a big fancy local hotel at a discounted rate because I’m a special education teacher. R and I had agreed we would do it but we weren’t sure when. After school started back and I checked and saw that we only had about 2 weeks before it expired. So we jumped on it.
We went on a Saturday and before we left we were fighting all day. We finally got ready and left and as soon as we got there all was well. The hotel is huge and gorgeous. The inside has a huge glass dome ceiling and gardens so you feel like your outside. If outside were air conditioned.
We didn’t get there until about 6pm and we were having dinner by 8pm. At dinner R announced he wanted to try and stay a second night. This is what happens when you refuse to ever take a vacation. The sad part is that even with the discount the hotel was really expensive (especially since it’s way easier to eat at the super-pricey restaurants in the hotel). If we had used this money more wisely we could have been sipping mojitos in the freaking Caribbean. But, I digress.
Saturday we had dinner at a buffet. A delicious amazing buffet. So good. Unfortunately I could barely walk I was so stuffed. So we went back upstairs, watched The Hangover on Pay per view and fell asleep. Boring.
So the next day, we were determined to be less boring. We first had to go see Maggie. I have never gone more than a day without seeing her (I’m not sure I’ve ever even gone an entire day). So we drove 30-40 minutes to go visit her. I nursed her and loved on her until she needed to take a nap. My baby is so precious.
Then we checked on our pets, packed more stuff and headed back to the hotel. R wanted to go swimming. This might not seem like a big deal but let me explain. Before getting pregnant with Maggie, I was a svelte young woman that only owned bikinis (of course). Since getting pregnant and giving birth I haven’t gone swimming. At all. So all I own are bikinis. Yikes.
Oh, my Lord, it was bad. First there was the tummy. It’s still very saggy and scarred. Then the boobies. Oh the boobies. Before Maggie, I was a full B cup. Now I can barely put them in a D cup. The bikini tops were a joke. Only I was crying instead of laughing. I brought 4 or 5 bikinis and tried them all on. I first found a bottom that wasn’t too skimpy then started trying on tops. After I would show Jake each top he would say, “No you can’t wear that. Your boobs are all over the place.” After vetoing all my tops, I finally just put one on and wore a t-shirt over it. Even in the pool. How sad is that. Oh evil pregnancy/post-partum weight. Go away.
So after my pool humiliation (actually I love the pool so I had a pretty good time), I went upstairs and watched cable. R and I don’t have cable. And I know it’s something you don’t ever really miss. Until you can watch it for a while. Then I think why am I wasting time playing with Maggie when I could be watching Law and Order and Monk re-runs on TNT.
After R got back we went to dinner and got ice cream. Then we proceeded to drink lots and have much more fun than we did the first night.
My Dad brought Maggie to the hotel Monday morning. She was sitting on his trunk and he was talking to her. When they saw us she made this funny woo sound and started bouncing. So cute.
So that was our Staycation. I’m not really sure how to end this. Um, the end.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It was bound to happen


Since Maggie was born, I have been afraid that someone would think I was still pregnant. And somehow I’ve gone almost a year and it had never happened.
Had.
Until now.
At my brother-in-law’s birthday party, my Memaw (my own grandma) came up to me and asked me if I was pregnant. Oh the pain. The horror. The shame.
It wasn’t quite as humiliating as I guess it could have been. It could have been the grocery clerk with a long line behind me. It was just me and Memaw (although I promptly told Elaine and several friends). But still. . . ouch.
You would think this would have me working out like a fiend. But no. Why is it so hard to work out? My choices are to get up at 5am or to wait until Maggie goes to bed. I think both of these choices suck. Hence the not working out. Hence Memaw thinking I’m pregnant.
*Sob*

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Questions

R has two best friends. BF1 and BF2. We went to BF2’s wedding in June. He married a young woman that he met while I was pregnant with Maggie.

BF1 just got engaged to a woman he met after I had Maggie.

R and I aren’t engaged. R’s not even sure we’ll get married.

How long do you stay with someone who doesn’t know if you’re the one? Two years? Five? Ten?

What if he’s the father of your child?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One

Today my baby turns one year old. One!!! How did that happen? It seems like just yesterday she was a tiny newborn. I guess that parenting cliché about kids growing up so fast is true. My baby is a toddler now, I guess.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I hope to do better. . .

Looking back on my teen years and well into my 20s, it’s easy for me to see that I was completely unprepared for life. I really didn’t have any idea what it meant to be an adult, to make decisions. But because of a lack of parenting, I didn’t realize this at all. Pretty much the only parent I had growing up was Elaine. Most of time I listened to her. But after a while even that fell away and I only listened to me.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I had parents. I had 4 parents. But none of them parented in the nitty gritty, down and dirty way. My Dad would never touch major subjects of any kind. Hell, after he married when I was 12, he didn’t do much parenting at all. And as for our stepmom, she had never had any children and to suddenly be raising a 13 and 12 year old, well, you can imagine. So there wasn’t much help there.


My Mom was my friend. When I was young I called my Mom every day. I considered her my best friend. I thought I was the luckiest kid ever. But my memories of being around my Mom are chatting and giggling and shopping and eating and watching movies. There was never any direction or re-direction or discipline.


And of course, my stepdad stayed out of it all.


As an aside, I want to clarify that I’m not putting down or judging my parents. I’m very much of the school of thought that everyone is doing the best they can and that includes my parents. I know they loved me and believe me none of them came from great functional homes where they might have learned this stuff.


Because of the lack of parenting, I really felt like I was on my own for a long time before I was. Elaine and I did whatever we wanted. If it was necessary to lie, we lied. We drank, did drugs, spent the night out partying (while our Dad and stepmom thought we were at a friend’s house), threw house parties when they took summer vacations for a week or so and left us at the house. In other words, we were bad.


Elaine, of course, moved out first. I stayed at home and continued to do whatever I wanted. When I graduated Elaine and I decided to get our own place in another town to go to school.


A (I was going to write ‘the’ but there were so many problems who could pick one main one?) big problem I had was that I believed that because I had done whatever I wanted for so long with no discernible parenting, I felt completely prepared for life. And being a teen, I thought I knew it all and listened to no one.


The main change between living at home and moving out was that I was free to drink more. And that was very helpful. To this day I might still be a virgin, if weren’t for alcohol. An example, I didn’t kiss a boy until I was 16. 16?!? I had sex for the first time at 18 after drinking a quart of vodka. Alcohol truly was my social lubrication. I’m socially awkward and have trouble interacting with people and making friends. But alcohol made that a thing of the past. Hooray for booze!


The ironic thing about all this is that I was quite vocal about everything I was doing. I wanted every to know how much “fun” I was having. The drinking, the drugs, the partying, the going-to-work-hungover-or still-drunk, the guys that I casually tossed aside (because I was cute and flirty, a real heart-breaker, not at all a dysfunctional, terrified, can’t-date-anyone-that-might-be-good-for-me, love-guys-that-treat-me-like-crap kind of girl. Uh,uh. Not me.) But why?


Looking back I’m sure some part of me wanted to change, wanted help, wanted to understand why I was my own worst enemy. Or even to realize that. I was so dysfunctional in who I picked to be in my life and how I treated them, that when they reacted badly (which is normal), I could play the victim. But as I look back and sort of trace back, I know there were things I should have been taught as a kid that I wasn’t.


Like about sex. I knew the basics from my Mom and my Dad’s girlfriend’s 12 year old daughter but no one ever talked about the emotional aspects of sex. About self respect and honoring your body and your wants and that it’s ok to say no. Since before I even got pregnant with Maggie I’ve been practicing all the things about sex and self respect and love and dating that I want to teach her.


But mostly I want Maggie to always feel loved and valued and adored so that she never feels like she has to go out into the world and find that. I want us to provide a foundation for her of love and support so that she doesn’t desperately need love and attention from others. I want her to stand on her own as a happy and content and loved person who can then share that with someone she chooses.


Can I teach her that?


God, I hope so.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dear Hairy-Backed Neighbor Guy,

I realize that at 6:45 am most people are either not awake or haven’t yet left their homes. But I have. And the old lady who goes on walks wearing a visor despite the fact that the sun hasn’t risen, she’s up too.


So why then you think it’s acceptable to walk around in your front yard shirtless? I will admit that it took me a minute to realize you were shirtless, seeing how your back is grotesquely hairy. (have you ever heard of manscaping? seriously, waxing, shaving, laser. just look into it.)


No one (especially me) wants to see that first thing in the morning (well, really ever but definitely not first thing in the freaking morning). I mean come on. I see that you are smoking and I’m guessing your wife makes you smoke outside. I get that. But if you aren’t going to wear a shirt, you need to take that shit to the backyard.


Your neighbor (who hopes to never to see you shirtless again),


Carrie

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Old Friend Fear

Fear it a very basic emotion. It is, supposedly, one of only 3 emotions animals ever feel (joy and sorrow being the others).


It is a very important emotion. It helps keep us safe and aware.


But sometimes it is only a menace. I have found this to be true my entire life. Fear of rejection causing me not to talk to a cute boy or a new kid that might make a good friend. Fear of failure causing me not to try my hardest.


Never has fear been more of a menace than the fear I feel as a mother. It is all-consuming and it does no good. I’m sure it has a great biological purpose but in my life it feels useless.


I am terrified of Maggie dying. When I was pregnant, I was constantly terrified of miscarrying. Once she was born, I was horrified by the thought of SIDS or some scary baby disease or some regular disease that her fragile little body wouldn’t be able to fight. And now it’s nameless. It’s nothing I can put my finger on but it’s there.


I read two blogs by women who have lost children. And their children died around this time of year because they are both writing about it. I read it and I cannot imagine. I do not think I could continue to live if Maggie died. When I pray for her health, I ask that if she is taken to take me too.


I read an interview of Elizabeth Edwards. She has two “sets” of children. She has an adult daughter and two little kids, maybe 9 and 10. She had a son who was a year older than her now-adult daughter who died when he was 16. The first thing I noticed was that her younger children would have been conceived immediately after her son died.


I hear of this a lot and before I had children I might have thought that was selfish. Bearing your own replacement child. But now I understand it for what it is: a survival mechanism. How much a mother would need a newborn, an all-consuming newborn to concentrate on. I can see how without that she might swim deeper and deeper into herself until she is no more.


Elizabeth Edwards is also dying. She has terminal cancer. She will be leaving behind her 3 children, 2 of whom are still quite young. But she is not scared of death. How could she be? She believes with all of her heart that when she dies, she will be reunited with her son. I hope she is.


I know this is a heavy topic but it’s overwhelming my brain recently. Every time Maggie is quietly sleeping I worry that maybe. . . something’s. . . happened. I hate it so much. But I get the feeling it doesn’t really go away. Maybe it will be better some times that others but it will always be there.
At night. In the dark. My old friend Fear will remind me of all the tragedies that could befall my daughter. And I’ll fight in vain to shut him up. But, truly, why fight?


He always wins.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Plan and throw a house party

Take that 30 before 30 list. Woo hoo! I threw a big party.

A month or so ago I sent out evites for a housewarming party. And every day between then and the actual day of the party I considered cancelling. It was really scary. Especially the planning.

Seeing as how I’m a, uh, I think a pesco-vegetarian, or something. Basically I eat no meat, chicken, turkey, mammals (are chickens and turkey mammals?) but I do eat fish. All that is to say that I had to figure out a menu for a large group of people who are not at all vegetarians (Elaine doesn’t eat cows, pigs, etc. but she does eat chicken, turkey, fish). R was all up in arms about this, saying I was forcing my choices on other people. Which is unfair. I refuse to cook with meat.

Although Elaine’s husband, Bruce, wanted to bring sausage and I said no. This is a tough decision. On the one hand, it’s my house and I would prefer no meat be here. But R has meat here sometimes, although he does make an effort to not eat red meat in the house.

Wow talk about getting off topic.

Anyhoo, so I couldn’t figure out what to serve. And I was totally freaking out. Finally I decided to make several different kinds of veggie and fish burgers. For sides I would make some a pasta salad and potato salad and have chips and dips. In theory this should have been easy. But it turned out like a freaking Ben Stiller movie. Problem after problem but everything works out in the end.

Other than the salmon burgers and sort of the tofu burgers all the burger recipes were disasters. We were sure we wouldn’t have enough food. (At one point Elaine said, "Worse case you order pizzas.") I didn’t know how to do a lot of the prep work (hard boiling eggs? Blanching??). Craziness ensued. But in the end it was great.

We had more than enough food and pretty much everything was good. And we had so much fun. Maggie had to take a couple of naps but she loves being adored by her masses (who wouldn’t?).

Our house is really big with so many areas for entertaining. There were big groups of people all over the place and lots of laughing and conversation.

It was exactly what you hope for in a party.

Fixing my Hooha

Vaginal stretching. It doesn’t sound that bad, does it? Nah. I mean stretching is what you do after a workout. It’s the good part. The easy part. Ha!

Don’t be fooled, my friends. It’s evil and quite painful. The word horrific comes to mind.

I went to my hooha physical therapist last week and she told me that we had pretty much come as far as we could with the easy stuff. I’ve been doing my Kegel’s and pelvic area stretches (not at all the same) and deep, relaxing breathing. But there’s still pain.

She asked me to describe the pain. It’s actually quite easy for me to describe. It hurts on the bottom of my hooha at the entryway (ha!). Oh and it feels like I’m being stabbed. She informed me that’s almost certainly scar tissue that will need to be broken up. With vaginal stretching and massaging.

Massaging? Again, who doesn’t love a massage? And a vaginal massage doesn’t sound so bad. *sob*

At that point my choices were to go there 3 times a week and let her do the “exercises,” try to do them to myself, OR have R come in and her teach him how to do them to me. Guess what I chose?

R, of course, was horrified. And who can blame him? I’m horrified. R told me he wasn’t mature enough to do this sort of thing (good Lord isn’t that the truth!) but I insisted. Especially because she told me that the window for breaking up the scar tissue pretty much closes at a year. Yikes!

So yesterday R and I had the appointment.

First we sat down and Monica explained the whole thing. What the problem was and how this was going to help and what they were going to do. Then she left so I could strip and get on the bed.

When she came back in she did a quick exam to see how things felt (looked?) now. Then she started doing the stretching*. Oh my God. I cannot even. . . awful. . . painful. . . burning. . . tearing. In fact it felt an awful lot like giving birth.

R was great. He did it and he didn’t panic and he promises he’ll do it with me everyday.

Oh I’m so scared. She told us we’ll have to do this for weeks to months. That’s a long time of doing this. It’s amazing that something that takes 5 minutes can be so awful. Just thinking about it makes my stomach hurt. Which is bad. I’m supposed to be as relaxed as possible while he does it so that I’m not fighting him. Great, sure no problem. You beat up my hooha while I do my deep breathing. Yessiree Bob!

*I didn’t give the details of the “exercises” because I didn’t figure anyone would want to read that but if you do, just email me. Assuming you’re a woman interested because of similar issues or just curiosity and not a creepy guy.

Birth Story, Part 3

Click for part 1 and part 2.

Where were we? Ah, yes, the end of transition. So I was in lots of pain. Truly bad pain. And finally I thought I had to go to the bathroom and not to pee. So I kicked everyone but R and Elaine out. And sat down on the toilet and nothing happened. At this point I figured I must be close.

I got naked and got back in the tub. At this point I decided that since nothing much was happening I would speed things along by pushing.

I’m not sure if I did anything or caused anything but I did start pushing. Then about 5 minutes later I told Elaine that I felt a burning sensation in my hooha, which apparently is referred to as the ring of fire and is a sign that the baby is crowning. I didn’t realize that at the time but I figured it was close.

I remember saying to R and Elaine that the baby was coming and jumping up on my feet into a crouching position. Not sure why.

Elaine and R were filling up the bath and I kept telling Elaine that it was too hot and finally I just turned off the hot water and just let the cold fill the bath. (Wow that’s a long sentence.) Then Elaine came back in and asked me if everyone else could come back in and be in there for the actual birth. I so didn’t care at that point. So the room filled back up with my Mom, stepmom, R’s Mom, my other sister and my Dad stood in the doorway (I was naked so he didn’t come all the way in.)

Betty was now back in the room and by the tub with me. And I still had no desire to push but I was pushing. Then the baby really crowned and I started to get an idea of what it was going to feel like to push a child out of my body. And I decided I wasn’t going to push.

If you haven’t had a non-epidural (I’m pretty sure, but not positive, that you can’t really feel if you have an epidural) vaginal delivery, let me paint a picture for you. First of all you feel like your entire bottom half is going to split open. It’s a burning, stretching sensation that is un-Godly painful. And you have to pull your knees back to your ears and hold your breath and let it out slowly and push, push, push. It’s soooo not fun.

But seeing as how I had no can’t-fight-it need to push, I didn’t. I downright refused. Betty would say, “With this next contraction I want you to push big.” And the contraction would come and I would just sit there. Or I would barely push. Or just kinda try to relax and see if maybe the baby would just fall out.

Finally after taking a lot of abuse from various people in the room (mainly Betty who was going the tough love route with me), I started pushing. And everyone was yelling, “Oh, I can see the head, she’s right there.” But not much was happening. So Betty tells me to reach down and feel my baby. This was probably a mistake. For some ridiculous reason I thought I had delivered part of the head (*shrug*), so when I reached down and realized she was still completely inside me. . . oh good Lord. Horror. I was not happy.

But then I figured there was no way out of this thing. That baby was coming out and the only exit, quite unfortunately, was my hooha. So I decided to really push and I did. Twice.
On the second push, she came out. All of her. You know how usually in births they deliver the head and then the top shoulder and then the other shoulder and then the body. We skipped all that and she shot out like a freaking bullet. Which at the time seemed freaking great. You know, like, thank God that’s over. However it turns out shooting out like bullets causes very bad tears which sometimes don’t heal right. But that’s another story.

Once she was out Betty put her on my chest and put a towel over her. Then everyone started yelling, “What is it Carrie? A boy or a girl?” I didn’t even look. This is how sure I was. I just announced, “It’s a girl!” And it was. My precious perfect daughter made her grand entrance in grand style. And it was and is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me.

Back to School

Missed me?

I started back to work. And I’m very conflicted about it. On the one hand I have to admit that I am loving having a set schedule. I have been getting up at 5am and I love it. How crazy is that?

I love getting up early. I’ve been getting so much more done. It’s amazing. I feel like I’ve been more productive this week than the entire summer. Ok so I’m exaggerating but not by much. It’s been great. For me.

For Maggie? Not so much. She hates it. She has twice cried when I handed her over to my Mom. It’s awful. She goes over to my Mom but then turns back to me and cries and reaches for me.

And she’s having trouble sleeping. She doesn’t like sleeping anywhere but in her crib at our house. Plus she doesn’t like getting up early which, of course, we have to get up early. So the combination of her having to get up early, making her extra tired, and not being able to sleep so great at my Mom’s house means she wants to sleep as soon as we get home. But she wants to sleep for a long time and then she gets up at odd times. It’s all and all bad.

The main problem for me is that she wants to sleep here. Which means the only time I’m with her she’s usually wanting to sleep. And that sucks. I’m afraid she’s going to think my Mom is her Mom. I know that’s selfish. I should just be happy that Maggie is taken care of by people she loves and that love her. And I am but still. . .

It sucks. It really sucks. I just hate that I’m losing all this time with her. I hate that this time, this important time of her life, can never be gotten back. And we’re missing it. We’re losing so much time together. I know that there are tons of mommies who do the same thing (and much, much worse) but it’s really hard.

The worst part is that she doesn’t understand. At all. There is no way of explaining the situation to her. How can I get it across to her that I have to leave her for nine hours (at least) a day so I can go spend time with other people’s kids. The way she looks at me is heartbreaking. She looks like I’ve just slapped her.

Does anybody have any advice about this? A ritual or something I can say? Anything?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

(Un)comfortably Numb

Depression must be contagious. I read about a million blogs (I have an addition, ok?) and at least 3 of the authors are suffering from (and blogging about) depression. I'm just now getting over my most recent bout with depression and I guess I'm feeling the need to look back over it.

Now that I have a name for this illness, it's easy for me to look back over my life and see that I have suffered from depression as far back as I can remember. I can remember reading about depression in books and magazines. I can even remember thinking that I did, indeed, have the symptoms listed. And yet, I never really thought I was depressed.

Which isn't to say I didn't think something was wrong. I did. I KNEW something was wrong. I just didn't know what. I took my symptoms and looked for cures. Issues with eating? Nothing a good diet can't fix, right? Right? Hiding out? Social anxiety? Force. And booze. Nothing a little social lubricant can't fix.

But it didn't. I never got better. No matter how books I read, people (sorry Elaine) I talked to, therapists I saw, "traps" I set for myself. Nothing ever got better. Quite the opposite. It got worse. It didn't really occur to me that I was depressed until I started fantasizing about suicide. Not romanticizing it, just thinking about it. Like if I put a gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger, what path through my brain would the bullet take?

And I had those thoughts for a while. Until one day, I woke up. I was thinking about suicide and I just suddenly thought, "What the hell am I thinking?" That day I made an appointment with my doctor to get on medication. And I've been a different person since.

It's taken me all this time to figure out how I missed the glaring fact that I was depressed. It seems fairly hard to miss. But not until after I'd had Maggie did I figure it out.

When I think of depression, I think sad. I imagine constant crying and unexplainable grief. But I never had that. At all. For me, depression means numbness. It means curling up in bed or on a couch and zoning out (reading, watching TV, surfing the Web). It means avoiding friends and family and hiding in my house. It means not getting dressed or showering.

After Maggie was born I had textbook postpartum depression. It started exactly 48 hours after delivery and lasted exactly 48 hours. And it was exactly what I always imagined depression to be. I cried and cried and cried. I would lay on R or Elaine and just weep. Over nothing. Over everything. And it was really hard. I cannot imagine how anyone could deal with that for longer than 48 hours.

But numbness has it's own problems. I've been working on meditation and prayer and the man who's been helping me has noticed the numbness. The other day he said, "You know you're kinda numb. You don't really react to things you should react to. Have you ever noticed that?"

When I changed meds recently I started having bursts of irritation and anger. Something little would happen and I would get so angry. When I went in for my check-up to see how my new medication was working I told the lady about it. She said, "Well last time you were here you told me there was a marked lack of emotion and now you're angry sometimes. Maybe you just aren't used to feeling anything."

And maybe that's true. It's hard to say.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Birth Story, Part 2

To see part 1, click here.

Sure enough the pain woke me up around 2am. Elaine would be getting up at 3am to give me my antibiotics so I decided not to wake anyone up.

Now I am sure that every woman that has ever given birth will laugh at this but I really did not believe that labor could hurt that bad. I know, I know. How stupid. But I just could not imagine that kind of pain. Ha, ha. For anyone else out there harboring this foolish belief, let me be the first to tell you, it really freaking hurts. If someone tells you otherwise, run. They are telling you evil lies.

So, yeah, I was pretty shocked by the pain. And boy did it hurt. Oh, my Lord it hurt. I was trying to breath and walk and whatever but I quickly noticed nothing helped. And I was a little worried.

You see I had decided to have Maggie naturally. As in no epidural, no Petocin (is that right? the stuff that speeds up labor), no nothing. Just me, R, Elaine and Betty. And a bathtub, if I so chose. Oh, and the rest of my family was there too.

Elaine got up and R woke up quickly after that. We all laid in my bed (and R's). Elaine timed contractions, R held and rubbed me and I had contractions. We did this until 5am. At that point I had been contracting long enough and often enough that we decided to call Betty.

Betty was already at the birthing center because she had send home another laboring mother who was far enough along to be there. Elaine told her about the contractions and I think I talked to her too and she told us to come on in.

So Elaine and R got everything together while I did whatever and then we were on our way. Before we could even get going R had to pull over so I could vomit. Seriously why? Why couldn't I have thrown up at home? Why did I have to throw up while contracting and hanging out the car door like an 18 year old partying too hard?

We got to the birthing center around 6 or 7am. We went in and I got up on the little table for Betty to do the vag check. Her rule is less than 4cm, goes home. I was 3cm. I wanted to bawl my freaking eyes out. I'm not sure why but Betty let us stay. And thank goodness, cos we got the good room. The big room with the tub. Betty told us later that was only the 5th time ever that she had had more than 1 laboring mother at a time. She gave me a shot of Tylenol PM (or something) that blissfully knocked me out for a couple of hours. She's a big proponent of taking something in early labor to help you sleep so you can save up your energy for the hard stuff. And God bless her for it.

R, Elaine and I all went into the room and I almost immediately fell asleep. About 5 minutes later I heard the other laboring mommy come in and to the other room. And then like 10 minutes later (with no sounds in between) we hear her baby crying. What the fuck? No yelling, no nothing. Just baby!

So I slept off and on. R and Elaine started calling people and people started showing up. My Dad, stepmom, Mom, stepdad, R's mom, my other sister and a friend of mine all came. R's best friend came by a couple of times and Elaine's husband came by after Maggie was born.

I'm sure to some people that might sound like overkill but I loved it. I loved having all those people there. R and Elaine and I were practically connected on the bed. They were talking to be and massaging me and I don't even know. It was just great. And Rae, my sister, or my Mom would rub my feet or calves. And everyone was quiet but totally rooting for me. I don't know how else to explain it. It just felt like all the energy in the room was going to me and Maggie. It didn't make it hurt any less (I guess) but it truly made it an amazing experience. I'm sure this isn't the right choice for everyone but I would recommend it to anyone that asked. It was a wonderful birth.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Honestly all of this is quite hazy so I'll just try to put in little snippets I remember.

I remember laying on the exercise ball and not liking it. I remember getting in the tub and not really liking it. I mostly just liked laying in the bed. I remember saying over and over that I couldn't do this and everyone saying, "But you are. You are doing it." I remember everyone supporting me and talking to me. I remember Elaine telling me not to fight the pain. She said to just let it wash over me. She told me I couldn't stop it so don't try to. And she would touch where ever I was tensing up and tell me to relax. That helped more than anything else.

To be continued. . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Riding with the Windows Down

Yesterday when I was getting out of my car the lid of my chai tea latte came off and it spilled all over my car. This was bad. First it completely pissed me off. Second it was about 9 million degrees outside. Third I had a pounding headache. Fourth I had to get inside to put Maggie down for a nap. So I just went inside and was pissy for a few minutes. Then I promptly forgot about the whole thing.

Today I was putting everything in the car and R was putting Maggie in her seat. He was kind enough to inform me that my car reeked like something had died. Ah, spoiled milk.

So I had to drive with the windows down. I never drive with the windows down and I don't think Maya's ever been in a car with the windows down. About 2 minutes into the drive I looked back at her and she was laughing and smiling and reaching her little head up to be in the wind. It was too freaking cute. Who knew?

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Birth Story, Part 1

Ever since I started this blog I have wanted to write Maggie's birth story. I have it written in a few places but what's one more?

My due date was September 17, 2008. Around 3am on September 15, I woke up wet. Despite having never experienced incontinence (in my pregnancy or otherwise), I was sure I had wet the bed. So I got up and went to the bathroom and changed clothes. And immediately was wet again. Now I was a little pissed. So I changed again and went back to bed.

When my alarm went off I got up and got dressed. I had to change my clothes again due to my sudden incontinence problem. On the way to work I remembered reading that waters don't always break in a big way. Sometimes it's a slow leak. Hmm. . . (psst, this is foreshadowing)

As soon as I got to work I texted Elaine (she is a former labor and delivery nurse and currently a women's health nurse practitioner--ie OBGYN) and told her what happened. She didn't think it was that big of a deal and told me to just keep an eye on it. Now that I standing up (and the baby's head was blocking the cervix), I was no longer having issues with leakage. So on I went.

When I told my aide (I'm a special ed. teacher), she flipped. She had the exact same thing happen to her and insisted that I leave immediately. Which I didn't do. But I start to notice that I felt the baby move in a while (by the way, we didn't know whether we were having a boy or a girl even though everybody was sure it was a girl).

After a little back and forth with Elaine I decided to err on the side of caution and just have everything checked out. I was so embarrassed leaving work. I kept telling everyone I was just being silly and I'd be right back.

When I got to Elaine's work she gave me a strip of litmus paper and told me to go get some of the fluid on the paper and bring it back to her. I brought it back and she looked at it and said, "I'll be damned. You're water is definitely broken." Which, holy cow. She also hooked me up to the machine thingy to check the baby's movement and everything was fine.

I delivered with a midwife, Betty, and her rule was if your water breaks but you aren't in labor, just wait it out and DON'T PUT ANYTHING IN THE VAGINA. No fingers, no nothing. Well, I just couldn't do that. I had Elaine's partner do a vag check and found out I wasn't dialated or effaced (God, I can't even remember if that's the right word--amazing) practically at all.

After that I started making phone calls to let everyone know that the countdown had begun and the baby would be born within 72 hours (the longest Betty would let me go on my own without inducing). Yowzer! I was having a baby. For real.

I fessed up to Betty what I'd had done with my hooha and she was less than thrilled. She insisted that I take antibiotics every 6 hours until I delivered. That sucked. Really badly. Luckily Elaine can do all that so we were able to just take the supplies home and Elaine did it. But still. Not worth finding out your so not about to have a baby. Well, except I was.

And for the next couple (yes, couple) of days, nothing really happened. I slept, got a pedicure and eyebrow wax, went to dinner with Elaine (where I added red pepper flakes to my pasta at the insistence of my GG, who swore it would start labor, and I did go into labor about 3 hours later). Nothing too exciting.

After dinner on Tuesday evening Elaine, R, Bruce (Elaine's husband) and I sat in the living room and I realized labor was starting. This entire time I'd had no contractions and when they started I knew I was starting labor. And this time I did exactly what Betty told me to: I went to bed. I told R to be ready cos it coming soon.

To be continued. . .

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why are you a vegetarian?

I get asked this question a lot. Which is fine, I'm more than happy to share my reasons. What surprises me is how often my answer is met with belittling sarcasm. I guess it shouldn't surprise me too much since this how I used to react to my sister's decision to stop eating beef, lamb, basically cute animals (not a judgment). But I'm pretty sure I reacted like this because deep down I felt guilty in my own decision to continue to eat animals. Maybe that's why people do it to me now.

So, why am I a vegetarian? It's 100% for ethical reasons. I do not believe there is anything wrong with animals eating animals. My problem is with factory farming. The way these animals are treated is disgusting. It's beyond disgusting. And it's just not ok.

I'm not sure why I'm writing about this since this is a really charged topic for me. I get really upset when I think about what these animals go through before being slaughtered. Their living conditions are truly horrifying. I won't get into any specifics because it's horrid. But I think that anyone who chooses to eat meat should watch the videos of what happens. Or maybe not, I don't know.

I feel guilty if we're gone from the house too long and the dogs are in the house. Because they may not be smart but they can feel the discomfort of needing to go to the bathroom, of being lonely or bored. And that is enough of a reason to do my best to not put them through that.

I'm always a little disturbed when people tell me that it's ok for them to eat meat because animals are stupid. Perhaps but they are also aware. And, after all, humans are animals. Humans can have IQs the same or lower as a pig or cow and also be aware of what is happening. I have read that pigs have the intelligence of a 3 to 5 year old. Following this logic, does that mean it would be ok to treat a 3 year old in the same manner as a factory farm pig?

Or that the food chain dictates our right to slaughter and eat meat. I know of no other animal in the food chain that tortures its prey, by say systematically burning the beaks off of baby chicks so that more can be stuffed into cages, until it is cruelly killed.

I'm sorry. I promised no details. I shouldn't even be writing this. It will only make me and maybe you upset. No more.

You will be rich, gorgeous and happy! That’ll be a $500.


On my life list (not on my 30 before 30) I have the goal (?) of going to see a real (not sure how to determine this) psychic. I have always wanted to go to a psychic and be amazed. The problem is how the hell do you know whether you are seeing a quack or the real thing.


Now, it's only fair to say that it's possible there is no real thing but I don't believe that. Evidence: My stepmom went to a psychic when she was 24 who told her she had a sickness in her belly that would prevent her from having any children (years later she was diagnosed with ovarian or cervical cancer and had to have a total hysterectomy) but that she would marry a man and raise his children (she married my Dad when she was 40 and my sister and I lived with them until we went to college). Seriously you can't guess that kind of stuff.


While we were in Maine I went to a psychic. We just happened to see a shop and I insisted that I must go. She told me that I will live a very long life (Thank God, I'm terrified of death). She said I will experience some kind of change in my work that will be very profitable. Woohoo! She told me that I'll have 2, maybe 3 kids (you should have seen the look on her face when I told her I want way more than that). She told me that R is insecure (You think?) and had to break up with his first love (kind of true). She said I will meet another man, with dark hair, in the next 9 months and will have to choose between R and this other man. She said I will have a marriage opportunity in 3 years. So this is my future.


I have decided that if I meet a dark-haired man and feel that I must choose between him and R in the next year or so, I can safely say she was right and mark seeing a psychic off my life list. If not, she was clearly a fake and it stays on the list.


PS I told R about it and now he asks me constantly if I have seen any dark-haired men. When I was mad at him the other day, I told him that this dark-haired man was looking better all the time. ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Damn you, Sonic!


I gained weight in Maine. More than I care to admit. I also gained weight while we were moving into our new home. And, seeing as how I was still trying to lose weight before all this happened, this isn't good. Since getting home I decided to recommit and really be purposeful about the fact that I am sort of dieting and being healthy and trying to lose weight.


Yesterday I went to lunch with my Mom, stepdad, Elaine and her husband and their neighbors. And of course the precious Maggie. I didn't eat. I ate a healthy lunch before I went and abstained from the food. The delicious-looking food. My sister got a gourmet grilled cheese that looked amazing. But I was good. I know that I want to lose weight.


(I need to lose weight. I only bought a few pieces of maternity clothes and refused to accommodate in most ways for my huge size. And now I have no big clothes for my bigger size. I have very, very few clothes that aren't in my pre-pregnancy size (4-6--*giant, pathetic sob*). Ipso facto I can't fit into the vast majority of my clothes.)


With me, any time I try to lose weight or to be healthier, my downfall is always restaurants. I love eating out (probably because it was such a treat as a child). I love being with friends and family and eating great food and someone waiting on us. So anytime I try to lose weight I try to steer clear of going out to eat. But I hate having to miss out on seeing people so I try to balance it out (especially since losing the HUGE amount of weight I need to lose probably isn't going to happen over night).

So when my Mom invited me to lunch I decided to go but not eat. And I did it! Which is totally awesome. I was strong. I didn't even glance at the menu and I didn't feel deprived and I had a really good time with everyone. I was so proud of myself.


BUT. . . I was pissed off at R for not coming to lunch (he doesn't understand why my family socializes by eating out; he thinks it's a waste of money) and for being a huge lazy bum and not helping out. When I got home he kept apologizing and trying to be all cute but I was staying strong. Then he decides to go get some food for himself.


And what does he come back with???? Sonic for him. . . and for me. He got my favorite drink and tater tots for me. Uh!!!! Why?!? And what could I do? I can't throw it away. Can I? So I told him thank you (and ate it. *big, big, sad sob*) but that I'm on a diet and not to bring home bad food anymore please.
But I ate it. Damn you, Sonic! And your damn delicious tater tots and addictive-almost-certainly-laced-with-crack Java Chillers. Damn you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Label me this


When I was in Maine I saw a personalized license plate that read, "KWLTR." It took me a second to discern quilter from that. And I thought it was kinda odd. I mean to feel so defined by your hobby (or I guess, possibly, profession) to consider it a label that encompasses who you are. And then I wondered what I would define myself as. I guess I see myself first and foremost as a mother.


But when I thought that it immediately brought up the millions of times I have heard women complain about being defined as a mother. "I'm so much more than that," they say. And I can see that. Truly aren't we all? But I can't think of anything more important than being a good mother. So why is the knee jerk reaction to be insulted?


The answer is obvious. Motherhood is so looked down upon. According to Linda Hirschman monkeys could raise children. She doesn't understand why highly educated women would rather raise children than argue court cases or cure sick people. (I would say "teach children" but my guess is that if she thinks mothering is worthless she probably has a similarly low opinion of teachers--Those who can't do, teach.)


When I think of the dilemma as my own I immediately know that nothing is more worthy of my time and abilities than to raise Maggie (and all the other future kids I'll hopefully end up with) to be a compassionate and intelligent person. But am I raising Maggie to be a mother? Or rather, if I look at it not as being my choice but Maggie's choice. Would I be ok with Maggie wanting to be a wife and mother?
And even if I were, truly, what would I say if she told me her life aspirations were to be a mother? My first thought is that it's not that easy; one must have a mate and preferably an education and an ability to stay home. But it's not so easy to be most things. You can't just decide to be a lawyer either; you must get a bachelor's degree and take the LSATS and get into law school, etc. Would I encourage Maggie (or anyone) to approach becoming a mother in the same way?


I remember a (female) friend telling me once that she thought women who were in school to get their M-R-S "degree" were so presumptive to think that it was ok for them to stay home and raise children rather than working (because we all know raising children isn't real work). And yet, traditionally that's been women's role in life. I know, I know. Women can do anything and should have no limitations. And I completely agree with that. Obviously. But still the first generation to be raised in the atmosphere that women can do anything they want and be whomever they want is the generation that "opted-out."
But I guess my point isn't whether or not women should or should not be SAHMs (in fact that's not point at all—to each her own), but rather why do we have such a low opinion of mothers in the first place. Why do we live in a society where is completely acceptable (and encouraged) to openly discuss and criticize mothers and the way they. . . well everything, interact with their children, talk to their children, deal with their careers/jobs/homes/spouses?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I’m Back!!!


I'm sure you're probably thinking, "Uh, I didn't know you went anywhere." But I did. I took Maggie on her first vacation. We went with my Dad and stepmom and sister and brother-in-law to Maine. It was really beautiful. I mean really, really gorgeous. The mountains and the forests and the ocean and the boulders and moose (I saw 2 moose!). It was amazing.


Ok I have to interrupt myself to tell a story about my sister. On the day we were going moose hunting (not like actual hunting, we just wanted to see them) someone says something about moose and Elaine corrects them and says that the plural of moose is meese. And we all laugh at her but she refuses to believe (this is the sister with the master's degree). So I get out the laptop and go to Webster and show her that moose is both the singular and plural form. And still she won't believe. Her response: Look it up on Google. Ha! We were able to find many logical arguments for why it should be meese on the Urban Dictionary. Basically we had to shame her into believing.


Maggie was so good. How did I get so lucky? On the flight up there she slept for about 45 minutes to an hour and was awake the rest of the flight. She was quiet and sweet. Never cried, nothing. It was amazing. She was pretty pissed about the sleeping arrangements. I got like no sleep on "vacation." It actually occurred to me in Maine that I would do well to just redefine vacation for myself. Because as far as I can tell it's a whole new ballgame with little ones in tow. And Maggie was great. Better than I possibly could have hoped for. But it's still very different from a kid-free vacation.


One thing I noticed on vacation that I've heard about but never really noticed for myself is how when you are around you're family you revert back to your old self. Like I'm the baby and Elaine is older (she's not the oldest but you wouldn't know it by her ;). Now I consider myself to be pretty adult and grown-up but not so much when we're all together. I guess usually when I'm with my Dad and Elaine we're at my house or I have Maggie and those things kind of keep me grounded but when I'm in a different state and don't have my baby, I feel like I'm 13 again. Dad was yelling at me not to get in trouble and my sister called me "whiny and kinda demanding." Yikes! It's such a weird feeling. And I gotta say I can do without it. I much prefer being an adult. I guess you spend umpteen years establishing your family roles and then the kids grow up and become adults and it's always easy to slip back into those old roles.


So I'm back now. It's pretty crazy here trying to get back on track. Trying to eat right again (oy vey!), work out, clean, organize the house, take care of lots of crap, and what else? What am I missing? Oh yes, write. This post was so hard to write. Which is why it sucks. Hey they can't all be gold.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ready to get off the rollercoaster

Perhaps if you read my blog you have noticed a bit of inconsistency. A little bit up one day, down the next. Ah, clinical depression and the drugs that fix/help/heal/? it.

I wrote a while ago about realizing that the medicine I was taking wasn't working anymore. I immediately went to my doctor who put me on a program to wean off my Effexor and start taking a new medicine, Pristiq. The thing is, according to my doc, Effexor is the most difficult pill on Earth (her words) to wean off. Ha, ha! I thought, I'll be fine.

And some days I'm great. And some days holy shit. I know that this will get better but jeez. I feel like I'm horribly hungover. I feel nauseous. But that really icky hungover/10 weeks pregnant (one or the other, not both) nauseous where the only thing that makes you feel better is to eat (which is really helping with the whole dieting thing).

I feel confused like I've never felt confused in my life. I walked around the grocery store in a complete fog. I couldn't really discern the difference between all the products. Even with my list in hand I felt unsure, confused and embarrassed like everyone could tell I didn't know what I was doing.

And the mood swings, oy vey. One second I'm laughing my head off, the next I'm yelling at R or chastising Maggie for not opening her mouth fast enough to take a bite. What a meanie I am.

I just want to be normal again and be done with this. How much longer?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ignore the Wallpaper

When I was 17 or 18 and started having guy friends I started hearing stories about "psycho ex-girlfriends." Oh the things these girls did. And every story was always liberally sprinkled with accounts of how crazy this ex-girlfriend was. And being 17 I thought wow who knew there were so many psychos out there. And then I listened a little closer to the stories. Hmmm. . . you blew her off on her birthday to go a party without her and she got mad? Yes, what a psycho indeed.

And as I started dating I started noting the things I wasn't allowed to do if I wanted to avoid the dreaded psycho title. Let's see you can't get mad. Big one. No anger. Didn't you know only psychos get angry. So your guy lied to you about where he was going or blew you off or didn't return your calls. If you get angry, you're the psycho. So just laugh it off. Ha, ha, I don't mind. And if something is in your face at that very moment and you explode, oh dear. Every guy there (and every girl that is also trying to avoid said title, see: psycho) will attest to your psychosis. And when they retell the story, believe you me there will be no mention of the cheating or the lying or the disrespect. No, just that you blew up.

Society has really progressed if women don't even have to be threatened with actually being locked up (see: The Yellow Wallpaper) in the summer rental but just accused of being psycho is enough to keep us in line. But I digress.

When lightening strikes a person there is always an exit point as well as a entry point. You see the body cannot contain all that angry violent electricity and it must be released. Fury is no different. The fury that women endure must come out. And when you scare women into not releasing it as anger how does it come out? Well if anger is shouting and life is a library, we must turn our need to communicate into whispering or give up on communication.

Yes, the Stepford wife. Push it down. Never stop smiling. Take up a speed habit or fuck the gardener but try to keep up appearances. Carry your own weight by working full time and also take care of the kids and cook and clean. Why do you spend so much time online? Why do you relate to these women you can't see but can hear and don't relate to women you can see but can only hear the wah, wah, wah? Why doesn't someone else have to ask you these questions? Why are they in your head because you are so well trained that you self-regulate?

And for the things that must be communicated, there is always the whisper. The quiet sneaking pull of manipulation. If you cheat or lie or disrespect I'll laugh it off but I also might sleep with your best friend. Or casually mention that you aren't so great in bed. Or subtly suggest that you are weak or stupid or less than or whatever I know will hurt you the deepest. Push me and I'll push back. But of course then you'll tell everyone how evil and cold I am. But it'll take more than that to hurt me, I was only 16 the first time I was called a cold bitch and that was by my Dad.

And if it's evil and cold you want, oh I can do that. I know that role like the back of my hand. I know how to push down the worst pain and disrespect with a cold smile. And I know when tears will best serve what I want or need. I know how to inflict pain in all the right places. Yes, I know this role. So well that I'm quite sure my daughter will learn it too at my knee. My own precious Estella.

This is what makes my blood turn cold. My Maggie, my baby. I want to teach her to shout. Fuck inside voices, shout, my girl. Never whisper or give up.

But how do I teach what I cannot do? Learn. I will learn to stand up. Learn to be like Elaine who stopped whispering before we had gotten to high school and never looked back (even when her "friends," including me, tried to school her). Like my stepmom. I'll take the remedial classes that I somehow missed. Not only because I think my way is bad for me (it is) but because I don't ever want my baby to be like this. I always want her to take care of herself first. I want her to stand up and demand to be treated respectfully. I want her to know that it is ok to say no. I want her to shout.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Thing about R

First this post is totally a response to Becca who wrote a comment on my post about R being a commitment-phobe. (Becca, you have no email address on your page. How can I respond and tell you how great you are if I can't email you???)

So, R is an odd guy. (I just remembered that he told me he didn't want me to ever write about him on my blog. Hmm. . . I'm almost completely positive that he doesn't read it so. . . ) He loves me. He does. Sometimes he shows it in interesting ways but he does love me. He also sees us as being in an extremely committed relationship. He just doesn't know if it will last forever. He said to me, "How can I know how I'll feel in 10 years or 50?" Which almost exactly what my sister said to me right before she married her husband. Together we (me and Elaine) decided that you can't know but you have a pretty damn good idea and it feels ok and you go for it. Right? It's worked out well for Elaine so far.

But R doesn't know. Which leaves me a weird place. I say that if we didn't have Maggie I wouldn't put up with this but I don't know if that's true. This is what is so fucking confusing. On the one hand, I want to get married. It's important to me. But I realize that there is not so much difference in married life and living-together-committed-non-married life (at least I think). And R isn't so bad. He's silly. He dances a lot and then asks if I like what I see in a cheesy voice that always cracks me up.

In fact when we're together we're always laughing. It is really hard (although God knows I succeed when I need to) to be mad at R because he's so silly. He hammer dances. He bends over seductively :) in front of me. He bought like 5 pounds of candy so that he could sift through it to find the kind I like for Mother's Day. He crawls all over me in bed and refuses to let me read my book some nights because he needs attention. He calls me Mama Bear. He sings Who's that lady? occasionally for me. And that doesn't even cover our daughter, that he adores and plays with and hold and rocks and brings to me in the morning so I can nurse while I'm still waking up.

When I think about all of this it leaves me wondering why I would ever leave. Is a ceremony and marriage certificate worth missing out on hearing R sing,"Your my (clap, clap) la-dy!" I don't know. I really don't. Well that's not true. Tomorrow and the day after that, I don't know. But today I know.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Semantics

Dad: What's this on the floor?

Me: Water. Well, regurgitated water. . .

Dad: . . .

Warning: Ranting Ahead!!!

Although I'm super late to the game I have decided that I am going to put in my 2 (holy shit, there's no cents sign. who knew?) cents about the whole mommy wars/staying at home vs. working mom stuff. Why? Because I can. Because this is my blog.

I think the fact that are sides at all is fucking ridiculous. I mean seriously, you have one side saying mothers owe it to their children to stay home and be mothers and the other side saying we worked too goddamn hard getting out of the kitchen for you to go back of your own will. Why? Why are we fighting amongst ourselves? The whole idea of feminism was choice. It used to be that women's "choice" was to get married, pop out kids and raise them and take care of the house. Then feminism came along and said no more, if she wants to be an astronaut or a doctor then she can and will.

So now there's this huge deal about opting out. And I get it. I mean to someone who fought for women's rights and to liberate women from the home, I could see how it could seem like a waste. Like you free a caged monkey and then she goes back in. But here's the thing I'm not a caged monkey. I have a degree and a career and I would still rather give it up and stay home and raise my daughter (and all the other babies I want) and cook and clean and all that. Nothing has brought me more joy than my daughter and I want to give her the best. And the best thing I can give her is time. Time to tell how beautiful and smart she is. To show her that she is special and worth my time. To love her.

This mindset of being feminist means doing x, y and z is the problem. Like thinking men are the enemy so to be a real feminist you have to be a lesbian. Or you can't wear make-up or dresses. And you shouldn't love being a mother. Feminism is about leveling the playing field. The right to vote, the ERA, affirmative action, Discrimination act, etc. The point was to raise women to an equal status to men.

But to me all of this is irrelevant. I have to work outside the home. No one pays me to stay home and raise my kids. Ipso facto raising kids is worthless. Mmmm. . .

Follow me for a minute. I can stay home for a whopping 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave (and getting this passed was a fucking miracle). There are very few programs that offer assistance in daycare and if you get that assistance it comes with a massive stigma. And what about insurance for kiddos? A child born with medical problems can be denied insurance and there's no safety net. No law saying someone must help this child.

And we fight amongst ourselves? Divide and conquer, eh? Call me a femi-nazi. Call me a socialist. Call me late for lunch. I'm just saying what's the real problem? Who's the real enemy?

And now that I'm good and riled (is that a word? is it spelled correctly? hmm. . . ) up I'm thinking about all the things that piss me off about the state (hah!) of this country and I'm getting tired thinking about all those things and how they never seem to get better and now I'm sad and I'm no longer in the mood to rant. So off I go. Thanks for listening.