Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"A" For Effort

I was pretty proud of myself today. I actually got everyone fed, dressed and some laundry done, and was on my way out the door, by ten am. That could be a record. I don't think I've been showered before ten am since I've been pregnant. The mornings are usually spent dragging around trying to figure out what to eat that will feel okay once swallowed.
It was even a nice day to be out- not super cold, not windy, the sun was out. My first stop was Kohls, where I had some Christmas gifts I still needed to return (are you seeing how unproductive I've been pretty much since the first of the year?) So that was kind of fun, because even though a shopping spree wasn't exactly in the cards, I could still poke around and look at all the new spring stuff (which I won't be wearing, because I'll be encased in a TENT instead of a sexy little tank top, but...) Then I found out that the store credit available for the item I was returning was one dollar. Yeah, that's what you get when you wait two months to return an item and lose the gift receipt. It goes on a giant clearance rack.
I was so mad, I went to said clearance section and looked around. If pajama pants were marked down to a buck apiece, surely there was some other good stuff to be had! And actually, I did find a really nice Dockers sweater for Jim that was originally like sixty bucks for ten dollars. Pretty good. So I consoled myself that the trip was not in vain. And maybe the present of this sweater will make up for the fact that in the past three years of our marriage I have ruined numerous of his work shirts by somehow shrinking just the sleeves. I still don't know how I manage this, but it is undeniable- the rest of the shirt will fit fine, but the sleeves are halfway to the elbows.
Then it was off to Penney's to return another Christmas gift. I actually did get some store credit there, and went to the housewares dept. to look for new bed pillows. (Did everyone see the Oprah show about the dangers of not replacing pillows and bedding? Ewww...) But on the way there, we got waylaid in the juvenile bedding section, where Addy found a bunch of giant hot pink pillows encased in crinkly plastic. She dragged them all to the disgusting floor, piled them into a nest, and wallowed in them decadently, happy as a clam. I indulged this for a moment, but I was meeting my mom for lunch in about fifteen minutes and needed to wrap up this particular errand, so I tried to help her up so we could go find the actual item I wanted to buy.
And that's when my happy little morning caved in around itself, like a fluffy but all too delicate French pastry. There was tantruming, and it wasn't appeased by distraction or exchange of items ("Here, play with Mommy's keys!") or sympathetic words. I mean, she was on the floor, flailing around, screaming her head off, red-faced, nose running... And of course there were all these nice old people looking at me curiously, but probably thinking in the back of their heads that she needed some good old-fashioned discipline (for more on that topic, check out Mommy Daisy's recent post at
I was sweating under my coat, panicking a little bit. None of the usual tricks were working. Finally I just gave up trying to be inconspicuous, picked up her wriggling, enraged little self, and tried to keep a hold of my little ball of fury while simultaneously grabbing the first two pillows I saw and heading for the register. I sat her on the floor while I paid (well, handed back over my store credit gift card) and tried to act like, "Oh, ha ha, she's having one of those days! Needs to eat lunch, I suppose." All cool and calm and collected. All while there is a wailing bundle of misery and despair and mucus writhing at my feet.
By the time we got to the car- slow going with a sobbing twenty-pound lump in one arm, and a bag full of oversized pillows in your other- she was calming down, and was looking only slightly miserable by the time I got her into the carseat.
"You were so sad, huh?" I chattered as we drove to the restaurant. "You really wanted to look at those other pillows! You didn't know why you couldn't stay and play." I do this thing that I heard is healthy, you know, where you acknowledge and give words for the emotions the kid was experiencing, help them get a handle on the situation and be able to process their own reactions. I don't know that it helps at this age, but I'm trying.
I'm just trying here. I can't control the way my child behaves, much as I might want to sometimes. I can control that I got us out of the house and into the outside world today, though, and in that I feel I succeeded. Also, I did five loads of laundry yesterday, and I have one more load to fold and put away before I can cross "laundry" off my list. As I also cross off, "Buy new pillows!" So, all in all a successful morning, I think.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

To Whom It May Concern

A story my friend told me today about her husband's, shall we say, ineptitude with compliments cracked me up so much I had to retell it, and invite further stories.
This is my friend who is also pregnant, exactly two weeks behind me. Let's just call her Jess. Since that's her name. Now she has had some pretty severe morning sickness, complete with multiple daily vomiting. Therefore, rather than pudging out, as I have been, she has been losing weight through her hips and thighs even as her tummy grows round. It's very lovely and very much makes me jealous, but that's another post. So, one night she's getting ready for bed or out of the shower, or was in some situation involving getting naked (now now, gentle readers, do not let your minds wander to more adventurous nudity-related scenarios!) and her husband was admiring said nakedness. All well and good, right?
Until he says, still admiringly, "You know, since you've lost a little weight, you have much less gristle on your legs!" Gristle!!! What is it, the layman's word for cellulite?! And the man was bewildered when she did not react with pleasure to this "compliment."
This post's alternate title, therefore, is, "To All Men Who May Lack The Gene Which Enables One To Give Actual, Complimentary Compliments." And the point of this post is to urge you to think, before offering a tidbit of praise, "Does the sentence about to cross my lips involve use of words which would in fact criticize a past state of being?" This does not mean you cannot praise one in general for losing weight, if the weight loss was desired. You can admire the effort they put into it, or the results achieved. But you under no circumstances should say such words as "gristle." Just... Nothing which would bring to mind that rubbery edge you trim off your steak. No.
Nor should you mention, for instance, "Wow, your butt is much less jiggly now! Way to go!" This is what is known in the world of people with feelings as a backhanded compliment, and it has a very undesirable effect. You might say instead, "Your butt looks mighty firm today!" But you do not bring up its previous lack of firmness. Are you listening, all you lurking male readers? Stick with the present tense!

Security Fork

Oh, what, your kids don't have one of these? Your kids don't sob and sob when you get them down from their high chair, clinging fiercely to their greasy utensil as though the fork itself were the source of all nourishment? Your kids don't wail and lay prostrate on the (dirty) kitchen floor when you pry the syrup-covered fork from their hand in order that you may load the dishwasher? And you don't then take pity on their neurosis, and rinse the fork off really well and hand it back to them, to be toted triumphantly around the house all day?
No? Just me? Well, what about pudding cups? Your kids do take pudding snack packs with them everywhere they go, right? But not to eat, of course. To hold. To fondle lovingly and then to squeeze around the middle with both hands until you, the mommy, fear an imminent chocolate pudding explosion all over the car. And then at night, you tuck your kids into bed with their snack packs, right? And in the morning, when you come in to find the pudding hurled to the floor, your kid brightens and jumps in the bed, pointing at the pudding and yelling, inexplicably, "Bwenkie! Bwenkie!" when they clearly want that snack pack. And you bend down and retrieve it, and then retrieve the three actual bwenkies which have also been tossed overboard at some point in the night, and then you have to let your kid hold all of these items, blankets and pudding, simultaneously, in order for them to lie still for their morning diaper change.
In a different vein, here is a household hint worthy of Heloise for all of you who are digging yourselves out, Swistle-style: Once you actually get the marbles and Cheerios off the floor and are prepared to vacuum, change the bag and then put a dryer sheet or two in the empty bag before you run it. It will make the whole room smell fresh as a daisy!
If you have a canister to empty instead of a bag, I don't think this will work the same way. Sorry. No daisy freshness for you.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thank You, Sheila Kitzinger

Ha-HA! My crisis of discontent with my previous birth experience is over, thanks to the genius writings of one Sheila Kitzinger, British childbirth expert, whose book I picked up at the library today. Remember how I said I didn't actually want to push with Adelay, and then there was the whole floating feeling and the pulling down of the baby with the horrid vacuum suctioner thing?
Well, Sheila was talking in her book about how often, when a woman reaches full dilation, there is a period of twenty minutes or so when her contractions lessen a little, or even stop, and she may feel no desire at all to push yet, but simply want to rest for a while and gather strength. She said often this may be because, while the cervix has dilated fully, the baby's head is not yet against the perineum, and so the instinct to push is not there yet. She urges women not to be ordered into pushing just because everyone is telling them that "they're ready" if they don't actually feel like pushing yet, or it may reuslt in the doctor's having to remove the baby with suction, and the mother may feel like she didn't actually do the job herself as she wanted.
Yay! I'm not crazy, and I didn't fail. I probably would have felt the urge to push in time if that time had just been given to me- if I had demanded it! But no, when told to push I pushed, even though I wasn't feeling it, and the result was a suction delivery and a lingering feeling of not having done well with this part of birth. When in fact, maybe the doctor was the one who didn't do so well. This time, I will know better, and I will push when I'm good and ready and not before!

Warning: Lots of Rambling About Birth

Okay, you all remember the post I wrote a while back about how I am SO over my obsession with having the perfect, euphoric, unmedicated-yet-still-serene birth experience? Well, I lied. I lied to make it be true, but it didn't work. (I suppose I was being a POSER!) My recent dream revealed my still very current preoccupation with how exactly the ideal birth would play out for me. This mental rut is so frustrating that I almost wish, a., a c-section was a medical necessity and I therefore would be freed from any choice in the matter, or b., that we lived in an era when pain meds were not an option and, again, I would not have a choice other than to suck it up!
I believe this overthinking of the subject comes from being almost too educated about birth choices due to my compulsive reading habit, which in my first pregnancy led to my checking out and reading, cover to cover, every single birth book the library offered. These ran the gamut from the ones written by midwives praising the "orgasmic" (hah!) experience of natural, unmedicated childbirth and the resulting endorphine high, to your very traditional ones put out by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which reassure a woman that there is "no failure or shame" in being unable/unwilling to cope with labor pain.
Some books made you feel as though you were giving in to the system and handing over control of your body if you chose to give birth in a hospital, with an iv, laying on your back to push, blah blah blah. It's all a "conspiracy" by the male-dominated medical system to control women and strip away the inherent female power of giving birth. And then there are other authors who make you sense that if you were to seek some sort of homebirth or birthing center experience, you would be selfishly risking the safety of your unborn just so you can maintain a little more dignity and control.
There is really just so much preaching done on this whole subject... It's endless and circular and exhausting. And I know that the baby's the thing, that the birth is only hours (or days, if you're unlucky) of your life, and will not matter so much in the scope of things. On the other hand, if giving birth in a more natural, unmedical setting such as a birthing center, with midwives and doulas instead of nurses and doctors, would actually bring about a hugely powerful, transforming experience, then I don't want to miss out on that. Would I now be a more empowered person if I had given birth in my own nightgown, pushed whenever I felt like it, without sterile drapes and bright lights and flashing steel instruments? If I had felt more in control of the experience, and not vaguely like a spectator at this very formative event in my life?
I will probably never have this answer, because when it comes down to it, I do fear any risk involved for myself or the baby inherent in giving birth away from a hospital setting. This is especially important to me since I gave birth four weeks early last time and am likely to do the same with any following babies, according to the doctor. And in choosing the availability of a special care nursery and respiratory specialists and even an operating room, I am trading quite a bit of control over the birth situation. I know this.
I didn't like having to have an iv and wearing a paper napkin of a nightgown, I didn't enjoy the indignity of having all kinds of people I didn't know parade in and out of my room to check my blood pressure and the state of my cervix. I really hated having my legs in stirrups to push, and I wish there had been a nurse present with me throughout the labor, not just one who stepped in every so often to glance at the contraction readout, glance at my face, and ask, "Did you want something for the pain now?"
But I did enjoy the mental comfort of knowing that there were drugs there if I wanted them. I did feel better knowing there was a crowd of competent nurses to make sure my baby was okay moments after her entrance into the world, at the point when I was still dizzy from blood loss and woozy from shock. I felt better knowing, basically, that these people had all seen and done this lots of times before. I appreciated their cool, detached professionalism as much as I resented it.
What do you all think? What were your birth experiences, and do you have any regrets or wish things had gone differently? Do you think it really matters, in the end?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Repressed Memories

Okay, well, I have apparently moved on from my embarrassingly erotic dreams to your classic something-goes-wrong-during-labor nightmares. Last night, I dreamed that the baby was coming, and at first everything was fine. I was walking around the halls, having contractions, and various friends and relatives seemed to come and go, talking to me and rubbing my back. I even remember walking by the nursery, looking at a tiny baby, and thinking, "Oh, soon mine will be here!"
But then I started to become aware of real pain- and you know how in dreams, you might be mentally aware of pain or hunger or something, but you don't actually feel it physically? Well, I could actually feel it, and it was very real and very intense. I began to stop in the hall during contractions, leaning my head against the wall to breathe. At one point I remember digging my fingernails into the wall, and then thinking, "No, no, I'm going to rip the wallpaper off the wall!"
After that, I found myself in bed, my legs in stirrups (that was fast!) and the doctor was telling me to push. I started to try, and was instantly aware of pain- I mean, it all came back, the specific way it feels to have a HEAD pressing down against your pelvic bones, and the panic that you feel as you think that your hips are surely going to snap apart.
I started shaking my head and crying, saying, "No, I can't, I can't push!" And then everyone was yelling at me, scolding, saying, "Don't yell, hold your breath and push!" Out of the corner of my eye I could see my doctor getting the forceps out, saying to the nurse, "I don't think she can do this. I'll have to pull the baby out."
And then I woke up. Waaaayyy freaked out. At first I thought it was just a dumb dream, but I couldn't seem to shake the terrified, out of control feelings. And then I started remembering things from Addy's birth, things that are usually mostly a blur because I had received some morphine about a half hour before pushing (the epidural window having been closed!) which rendered my mind a little fuzzy.
But I remembered that those exact panic-y, there's-no-escaping-this feelings that came over me in the dream also occurred during Adelay's birth, towards the end when they told me it was time to push. I remember pushing once, realizing in sudden terror that this was a SKULL I was trying to get out of my body, and starting to cry and tremble. I'm sure I said something to the effect of "I can't!" I guess it hadn't occurred to me that the pain of bone against bone was going to feel a lot different than contractions.
And I remember being mildly scolded; my doctor said something like, "Stop yelling, you're just going to waste this contraction. Hold your breath and use this time to push, or it will just last longer." But it was a little late to effectively use that contraction.
I remember then a long blur, in which I stared at the ceiling (while the doctor gave me a numbing shot in a not-fun place and then cut me in a REALLY not fun place) and felt as though I was hovering above my body. I had a contraction, but I grit my teeth and didn't tell anyone so that they wouldn't make me push again! That was probably when the morphine was kicking in, now that I think about it. I was kind of losing focus.
Eventually, of course, I did get the baby out, but I do remember the doctor using a suction thingy to pull her down a little bit. And I think I always felt a little bit let down about that. Like, I was a bad pusher. I failed at crunch time. Or something like that. So I think that's where the dream came from. I must still have negative feelings about that particular aspect of birth: I couldn't get the baby out by myself.
Is that crazy? Anyone ever had vivid dreams like this about a certain incident in your life which you felt badly about, even though you might not have consciously realized that it bothered you?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tagged Again!

Here we go with another meme, from Black Sheep. Forgive me if my answers are short; I have a killer stomachache right now and sitting at the desk is kind of uncomfortable!

1. What is your main cell phone ring-tone?

At the moment, I have no cell phone ringtone because dearest daughter of mine broke my phone. And because my cousin works at Verizon, but our current plan is with Alltel, we have been waffling back and forth between plans for the past week.
Anyways... My old ringtone was this sort of spazzy sounding classical piece which always gave me a mild panic attack, and I would rush to make it stop ASAP.

2. What is your default avatar?

I don't IM as I am a total loser, but I do use Skype. I have never bothered to get a cool customized avatar for that. So I think it's just a generic face.

3. What station is your car radio permanently tuned to?

I listen to CDs in the car. Radio in the kitchen sometimes; there's a talk show in the morning I like to listen to sometimes. The station, which attempts to please everyone and therefore succeeds in pleasing no one, apparently finds nothing incongruous about playing a Snow Patrol song followed by Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," or whatever the crap it is. So I am frequently turning it on, and then off again five minutes later.

4. What is your computer desktop image?

Your basic Microsoft- green fields, blue cloudy sky. No downloaded pictures; in case you haven't yet noticed, I'm not so much with the technical aspects of things. This is my way of apologizing to all of you whom I mention in my blog but have still, still, not learned how to make your name a link to your blog.

5. Is there something you wear every single day?

That would be pajama pants. I spend probably a good half of my day in one of my kazillion pairs of flannel jammie pants. I heart them. I am sad as I consider the fact that my baby bump is soon going to outgrow the elastic waistbands of these pants, some of which I have had since my junior year of high school.

6. I wish I had a tracking device on:

My train of thought, so that when my brain starts wandering mid-sentence, I could actually find it again and not sound like a spaced-out lunatic (i.e., "So yeah, I was reading this fascinating article online about- oh, the bathroom's down the hall, to your right- okay now, what was I saying? So I was reading... I was reading something about...)

7. What page does your internet browser open with?


8. This item never leaves my car/purse:

Item which never leaves my purse: lipstick. If I can have some color on my face, even if not a speck else of makeup, I feel better. Item which never leaves my car: trash, frankly. There is always some leftover fast-food cup or crumpled receipt or (ew!) dried up baby wipe from cleaning grubby hands lying around on the floor.

9. What TV show do you never miss?

The Office and Scrubs. Although both are annoying me right now, especially The Office. However, like Black Sheep, I am determined to see it through.
Last year, I watched Big Love like an addict, but we don't get HBO anymore. I am jonesing for it bad.

10. What phrase do you hear yourself repeating too often?

"I don't feel good!" I probably say this at least twice a day. I might as well hang a sign around my neck that reads, "Unless otherwise stated, it is safe to assume that I have a stomachache/backache/nausea. All sympathetic gestures and/or comments are welcome."

Okay, now to tag: this means you, Mommy Daisy!

Night Terrors

I totally forgot to post about this yesterday, but, even though this actually happened two nights ago, it must be shared.
So... It's three in the morning. I am asleep, and have been since- well, since ten, if you must know. I need my twelve hours! I awake to the dog, barking his insane head off, and sit up, feeling wild and disoriented. Also blind, as my contacts are in their case in the bathroom and my glasses are somewhere on the bedside table.
I sit up, rigid, listening as the dog paces around and growls. I should mention here that after Adelay was born, I went through a few months of very intense, irrational fear at night of things like break-ins. I have no idea what triggered it, other than the obvious guess, HORMONES, and eventually I got some help and got past it, but I have to be very careful not to let it rear its ugly head. I can easily slip back into very fearful, paranoid thought patterns when it's dark and I'm sleepy. So that is what was happening here: I was getting really tense, and the more growly and upset the dog got, the less I could think clearly and the further I sank into a frozen panic. There is someone outside our house, I am thinking. Someone who is at this very moment breaking open the lock and is going to come in here and kill us all in our beds.
And then I hear it, this ungodly, hair-raising, blood-chilling shriek like the sound of a small child or animal being tortured. At this point, I am practically shivering with fear, and my alarm has woken Jim, who tends to be a very deep sleeper and was even more disoriented than myself.
"What in the (insert inappropriate word of your choice here) is that?" he demands groggily, as I sit, wide-eyed, my fast, shallow breathing by now very audible.
"I don't know," I whisper. "I think it's a demon." I am being entirely serious.
The yowling continues, and it seems to be circling our house. Jim, not nearly as freaked out as myself and also possessing much better vision, gets up to check things out, as Fonzie growls and trembles and I whimper and tremble. We are a brave pair. At this point, I actually have the covers pulled up around my head. I have lost my mind. Random thoughts float through my head as the creepy noises continue outside: Well, I guess I can just never sleep again. I'll have to keep guard from now on. Also, Tomorrow we will look for a new house. This one is clearly haunted.
Jim returns after what seems like an eternity to announce, "It's that cat again."
A cat? A cat is making that horrific and unbelievably loud sound?
"What cat?" I am unconvinced.
"The cat that keeps prowling around at night scaring the heck out of Fonzie." Apparently this has happened several times and I was simply unaware of it, because I was already asleep back in the bedroom and the cat had been at the other end of the house, outside of the den.
But Jim admits that he has not actually seen the cat tonight. He's just pretty sure that's what it is. I am skeptical, as well as still terrified. Jim goes around again to look out every window, but even though the yowling continues, no cat can be seen. Finally, we pinpoint the sound (which has been moving around) as being directly outside our bedroom window. We push up the sill and listen, and it is most definitely coming from... Our neighbor's basement!
I am by now close to hyperventilation. I snap the light on, unable to tolerate darkness, and Jim yelps and covers his eyes. "There is someone being tortured in that basement!" I hiss.
Jim actually seems to waver- that sound is so horrifying, so inhuman yet not really animalistic, that a torture chamber in the neighbor's basement is beginning to seem like a realistic possibility.
And then, just as we are beginning to think of calling the police, the sound darts off again, around to the back of the house. I nearly faint with relief.
"See?" Jim is cool and calm again. "It's the cat. Calm down."
But how can I be calm when there is a demon-possessed cat running in circles around our house? I lay in the dark, stiff and alert, as Jim tries to go back to sleep despite the obnoxious noises. Finally, after a year or so, the sound fades, and I realize the cat has moved on to terrorize another home. Just as I drift off to sleep, I vow that if I ever see this lunatic cat, I will strangle it myself. (Sorry, all you cat lovers out there.)
The next morning, as I was making breakfast (well, pouring breakfast into bowls, anyways,) I SAW it. There, lurking behind our house in the neighbor's backyard bushes, was the biggest, fattest, scariest black cat ever, and it was still yowling, ever so faintly.
So, did I race out and kill it with my bare hands? Child, please. I actually had fleeting thoughts of leaving food out for it. Perhaps it was yowling in hunger, I thought, using my sane, awake, morning brain. It was probably cold. On the other hand, that's the biggest cat ever. It ain't exactly wasting away.
So, in the end, I took neither pity or vengeance on the devil cat, just watched through the window as it stalked away. But it will be back. I am sure of it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Domestic Diva

Well, in honor of Swistle's "Digging Ourselves Out" project, I thought I would list some of my grand accomplishments this week. I have done about an hour a day of housecleaning, all in all, but probably only in ten minute spurts at a time, so I think it should still count! I am one of "those" people who actually wasn't in too deep of a mess to begin with, but I have definitely been letting things slide lately. So I was happy to take the challenge of getting things back to normal around here.
I had a list of the things I wanted to do each day, and while I am behind (of course) I still have made good progress. My most exciting accomplishment was cleaning the bathroom very thoroughly, which hasn't been done for about a month. I even dusted the baseboards, people. I was proud.
I also did lots of laundry, but it is still sitting in baskets waiting to be put away, and for some reason the longer it sits the more I resist getting to it. But, I dusted and vacuumed both the living room and the den! And I have done much better about keeping the kitchen somewhat clean, as well. My goal today is to put all the stupid clothes away, and then to clean the playroom. This always looks daunting, but is never that time consuming once I actually get to it, so I have hopes of actually accomplishing my goals today.
So... This is a very blah post today, but I couldn't think of anything else to update on. Oh wait! Yes I can. Swistle, I took your advise about keeping the nail clippers on hand and waiting for a low-key moment to spring the process on Addy, and it worked! One morning right before her nap she was all cuddly in my lap, and I just started clipping away and she went with it! I only got the hands done, but I have hope now that I may one day get the toes too!
Oh well. Small triumphs. But I'll take what I can get.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Glowing? Not So Much

Thank you all for the interesting thoughts on blogging. Something Black Sheep said about feeling that her previous blog was too happy and dealt too much with surface issues kind of struck a chord with me. I really try not to do that, and not to gloss over things that are really bothering me, but I think that I have at times fallen into this particular blogging trap. You figure, "Hey, everyone gets sick of being around a whiner, so I need to buck up and put a happy spin on this!" But then you're kind of defeating the whole purpose of the blog, if your original purpose was indeed honesty and openness.
So I am going to tackle today the body image issue which Black Sheep also mentioned. When I was pregnant with Adelay, I couldn't wait to start showing, and got excited over every pound I gained. This time, I am feeling a little horrified at the idea of allowing my body to become even more stretched out than it already is. My stretch marks have just begun fading, and now they're going to return, and probably bring friends. I was back to my pre-baby weight, but have now gained (depending on the time of day I weigh myself, and how much salt I've eaten) five to ten pounds. Let's see, an average of, let's say seven pounds, and the baby weighs as much as a fig... Some of that weight is not strictly the baby, I'm thinking. And I'm only barely three months pregnant!
Sometimes, as my chubby thighs rub together in my sweatpants on my way to the kitchen for yet another snack to calm the queasiness, I begin to feel that my body is now beyond my control and has determined to become a size and shape not of my choosing. So I think that is the real issue. I feel out of control this time, but not in a fun, exciting way, like, "Oh look at my belly, which grows firmer and rounder every day under my cute maternity shirt!"
Now it's like, "Oh look at this belly, hidden beneath my sweatshirt yet growing softer and more protruding every day!" It's no hard, firm uterus I'm feeling as I lovingly run my hand over my abdomen. It's a hard, firm uterus underneath that pouch of saggy skin and fat leftover from when Adelay had her turn permanently altering my body!
I guess I feel more unattractive this time around, and that disturbs me. I don't feel like I'm glowing and blossoming. I feel like I'm perspiring and expanding, and there's nothing beautiful about it. Except that there is, because of what's underneath it all, and I know this in my heart even if I don't feel it when I look in the mirror. And I know that if I breastfeed, all that weight will come off sooner or later just like with Adelay (if this is not true, and the second time breastfeeding does not work like a weight loss pill, DO NOT TELL ME!)
So there. How's that for honesty? I HATE MY THIGHS! But not enough to stop eating.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Something That's Been On My Mind

What entices someone to check out a blog? How come some bloggers have lots of readers? Do you think that what people write about (when they are describing their lives, daily activities, etc.) the truth or is it all fiction? I think people just want to seem more interesting than they really are.
This is from the first paragraph of Antsy's most recent post, and it was so apropos to what has been on my own mind that I had to quote it here as my conversation starter.
This topic has been on my mind because the other day, I overheard someone say, pretty dismissively, that they felt all bloggers were "posers." I of course bristled a little bit, because I feel I am pretty much the complete opposite of that, (i.e., I will admit to you now, shamelessly, that it is 3pm and I am still in pajamas because I was cleaning and didn't want to shower and then get sweaty. I have also eaten four meals today already. There, don't you think I'm cool?! Don't you think I must be such an awesome and interesting person, leading a life far more exotic and sexy than your own?)
I have been a part of the blogger community for over six months, and I now spend at least an hour a day updating my own blog and reading others. I've viewed hundreds of blogs by now, so I think I can say with some degree of perspective that I have encountered many boring blogs, but never one that I felt existed simply to make the author feel smarter or more interesting than they really were. Now, perhaps this was the case and I just didn't know it, but in general I think the opposite is true of blogs: People are more honest about their shortcomings and feelings of dissatisfaction with themselves because a blog is a far safer venue in which to reveal those feelings than say, a conversation with friends and family. I think some people do blog to look for validation, perhaps, but they are not so much "posers" as simply people who are in need of a little feedback or emotional release.
Now, that said, I do think some people's blogs are unforgivably boring. This is probably often the case of my own. But we soldier on. Are we on an ego trip, thinking anyone would want to read our rambling complaints and tiny triumphs? Maybe a little. But I think the main motivation is that we are looking for community in an increasingly unfriendly and isolated world.
For stay-at-home moms, of which there are a large number who blog or read blogs, this is particularly true. We just want to feel like we're not alone. And, when we've had a bad day, sometimes it's just plain cathartic to write about it. Better medicine than, say, hitting the wine or that old prescription bottle of Percocet, right?
Another comment I heard about blogging is that it's "fake," as in, a phony and surreal sense of community in which there is no real accountability or genuine friendship. Now, this supposition I gave a little more thought to, because I can see the point. Several of my commenters I do know personally, but that is because I made the choice to let friends and family know that I blog. Many bloggers do not do this, and so they have never met or spoken with the people who comment. Does this make the connection less valid? Do you guys feel that there is something lacking, even fake, about the relationship between fellow bloggers and blog readers?

Toddler Angst

Well, wow, thank you everyone for the advise! It seems others before me have had this same problem. My own mother confided that when I was very little and she was afraid of cutting my hands, she gave up on the clippers all together and bit my nails off. I could perhaps do this for the fingernail part of it, after a good washing, but I just don't think I could bring myself to gnaw another person's toenails off, even if that person did emerge from my own body. I can share my water glass, I can extract mucus from her nose, I can even allow her to pinch, pinch, pinch at my delicate chest skin (a sleepy habit she has clung to from her nursing days,) but I just think I draw the line at teeth to toenail action. There is only so much dignity I am ready to sacrifice.
In other news, I am excited today because, according to the baby's measurements at my last ultrasound, I am twelve weeks pregnant! (The due date says not until Sunday, but, I prefer today!) That means morning sickness will magically disappear, as will all possibility of miscarriage, right?! Yeah, I know... A girl can dream.
Also, 'nother question: Is sixteen months a little young to be throwing temper tantrums? Because even my mom, in whose eyes Adelay can do no wrong, has noticed her habit of hurling herself to the floor in a weeping puddle of rage and woundedness when you, say, remove a steak knife from her hands. It's a little frustrating, because there's no disciplinary action for this sort of thing. She's just a baby, unable to handle her own overwhelming emotions, and all you can do is a., ignore her completely, which seems cruel but is sometimes the only recourse, or, b., try to pick her flailing self up and walk her around, patting her back and saying comforting and validating things like, "Did it make you so sad when Mommy had to take away the choking hazard? You feel angry, don't you? It's okay to be mad, but it won't really help, so let's find something else to do!" Et cetera, ad nauseum. All while absorbing various kicks to the stomach and snot streaks on your shirt.
This child of mine sometimes seems foreign to me, confusing and unknown. She is very different from me, which should not really be a shock but sometimes is nonetheless. She is her own self, with a personality far more passionate and fitful and exuberant than my own, and sometimes it's a stretch for me to relate. I think she takes a lot more after Jim in both looks and personality, which means we will probably get along great in a few years, when she's learned to handle (to some extent, anyways) her sudden bursts of temper.
For now, though, the temper still takes me off guard a little- she was such a serene little baby, an old soul of a child who was happy just to stare into your face for hours and then go to bed and sleep all night. I was sure we had a meek and mild-mannered kid on our hands. I have learned an interesting lesson: children change, just like grown-ups!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tough As Nails

Here's a question I've never yet seen answered in any of my baby care books: How the heck do you get your squirmy, angry toddler to hold still in order that you may trim her toenails without in the process removing several of her actual toes? I'm not just venting here, I really, really want the answer to this. Please, if you have any ideas, let me know!
I tried laying her down on the changing table, giving her a toy to look out, and then sneakily trimming away. I didn't get even one little squeeze of the baby clippers in for all the thrashing that ensued the moment I grasped her fat little foot. Then I sat her on my lap and gave her usually forbidden Mommy items like eye cream and lip gloss to examine while I went about my clipping and trimming. Again, I nearly chopped her pinky toe off, but got nowhere with the actual nails, which have gotten so long they are beginning to curl down a little (and how disgusting is that? She looks like a raggedy little homeless baby!)
At last, I took her to the kitchen and strapped her in her high chair, put crackers and a sippy cup on the tray, and then oh-so-casually knelt down to trim the nails while she ate. I was figuring that she couldn't really squirm as much when she was belted into her chair. I was wrong. Kneeling at a person's feet when they're kicking wildly is not the smartest idea I've ever had, I must say. Nor was giving her the hard plastic sippy cup, which she promptly threw at my head.
In the half hour that was filled with all these humiliating antics, I managed to trim off a grand total of one toenail. Addy is now in bed, reading her book, cuddling her beloved "bwenkie," and reveling in the triumph of her still uncut toenails. And me? I am writing The World's Most Pathetic Blog Post To Date and reveling in marked-down Valentine's candy.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mopping (See also, "Exercises in Futility")

Okay, I am officially with all of you who say that mopping is pointless. I was so proud of myself for sweeping and mopping the floor this morning, and then Adelay woke up and lunch was upon us. (Note to self: Ravioli is not a good choice when one is looking to keep spills at a minimum.) Then, the dog had to go out, which meant he had to come back in at some point, wet paws and all. Then, I had to go in and out of the house five times to bring in the groceries, my boots getting wetter and sloppier with each trip. Good-bye, sweet, clean floor! I will think of you fondly.
I am now steadily plowing my way through a bag of Easter edition Reese's peanut butter cups. Happy Monday, everyone!

Countdown to Second Trimester

Our unborn baby is now the size of a fig, is 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, and weighs... Oh, I forget. Something very minuscule. But a fig! I enjoyed that comparison, received today in my weekly update from Baby Center (and yes, yes, I know Baby Center is just a giant front for Wal-Mart!) I mean, before it was "Your baby is the size of a grain of rice," and then it was "The size of a peanut." But a fig! That's giant!
Also, according to common wisdom, I should be feeling better in a week or two. I sort of remember that being true with Adelay. I think I didn't really feel back to normal until fourteen or fifteen weeks, though, last time. But still, while I don't actually feel all that much better yet, the anticipation that I will soon helps mentally at least.
Pregnancy is so weird. It's like having the flu, or maybe mono, for almost three months, but with less medicine and sympathy. (This does not apply to my husband, who has been unfailingly nice.) Also, with less of that thinned down/sickly look and more of that "someone needs to lay off the Oreos" look.
I have to be honest and say I have felt less excitement and more depression this time around. I think that's probably normal, right? I mean, I always knew I would feel this way about the second baby- I didn't fear one child, but once you've got two, both hands are full all the time, and there's no going back. So these moments of dread (induced when I hear people say things like, "You know, your second pregnancy/birth/child will be totally different than your first, so if you had it easy the first time, look out!") are not unexpected, but they still make me want to freeze time indefinitely, until I feel ready to crawl out of my silent screaming panic attack and rejoin reality.
Why do people say such mean things to new parents? Is it human nature, to try to convince people that, no matter what they've experienced thus far, you've had it worse? It's like with the labor horror stories. I mean, good Lord, the baby's coming out one way or another, so why not try to reassure the new mother about the process instead of terrifying her? People put so much effort into it you'd think they were trying to talk to you out of giving birth altogether: "Just don't go into labor. Keep that baby in there for the next eighteen years. It's much safer in there anyways."
One of my friends who is newly married says that all the women in her workplace harass her constantly with, "Oh, you'll never be able to have a baby with hips like that! Oh, you'll have c-sections for sure, or else have the most awful deliveries ever!" I mean, what the h? Why would you say things like that? (Now, I myself harass her a bit about being so darn skinny, too, but it has nothing to do with her childbearing abilities. It has to do with her thighs being the size of my upper arms. It's a little annoying to watch her scarf down desserts with gusto and never gain a pound. But I am working on this is!)
So, to everyone with labor/birth/childrearing horror stories that you're just itching to pass on: Lie! Lie your pants off! Remember what your mother told you: If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Burritos and Big Plans

I am no longer teetering off the edge of my self-created unfit mother window ledge. Thank you all for talking me down. Thank you also, hubby dearest, for taking me out to dinner (sans Adelay!) and to the grandparents for watching her both last night and this afternoon so that we could get a little couple time in. Because today is the long-awaited couple's massage- a little pampering, plus a reason for my lazy self to shave my furry winter legs (you're welcome for the visual image.)
It is snowing again here, not a blizzard but just a peaceful snowfall, the kind I would have preferred around Christmastime. Then it would have been all "Silent Night"-ish and invoked thoughts of the simpler Christmases of yore, holiday-card style. Today the fresh blanket of snow is just a reminder that even though March is approaching, spring is not fast on its heels, Puxatawnee Phil's unseen shadow notwithstanding.
Also, I have an actual subject to discuss today, rather than my usual long-winded complaint list. Last night at dinner (which was fantastic, with all its limitless baskets of warm tortilla chips, giant burritos, and crispy chimi cheesecake,) Jim and I got to talking about how little we do for others. It was the annual Mission's Festival this week at our church, and there were medical missionaries speaking about their work in an African women's and children's hospital. It made both of us wish that just once in our lives, we could do something that actually mattered to someone besides ourselves and our own little circle.
Now, neither Jim nor I feel that we are anywhere near being ready to go abroad trying to convert anyone to anything (we enjoyed a nice long laugh imagining people's reactions to our hypothetical announcement to become missionaries: "You two? Who still have not curbed your swearing habit and who do not have strong beliefs in any particular doctrine and who enjoy driving everyone in your church group crazy by questioning any and everything?") But I don't happen to believe that you need to have a religious creed set in stone to extend love and compassion to your fellow man, and I was practically drooling, imagining myself tending to orphans and whatnot.
We both agreed, however, that at this point in our family and financial life, we are not ready to go overseas for any length of time. We did agree, however, to look into local volunteer work, possibly with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
So, the point of this post is two-fold: 1., to keep me accountable, so that if in a few weeks I haven't informed you of my work with local underprivileged kids, you can comment and ask me if I'm all talk or if I'm actually going to do it, and 2., because I am curious what you guys feel about charity and volunteer work. Do we have an obligation, as citizens, to reach out to others? For those of you who are religious/spiritual to any degree, do you think you feel a particular responsibility to help others as part of your moral code? Weigh in!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


This is an ammendment to the "Low" post, about twenty minutes after it's publishing. I walked away from the computer and thought about how tidily I had ended everything, on a very Pollyanna note, and I decided to scratch that. I mean, the things I said are true. I am lucky, and have none of the "big" problems.
But I would hate for everyone to think that that's how my actual thought process went down- "Oh, well, so I felt like grabbing my keys and running out the front door and not looking back until I was well into the next state. Time to play the Glad Game and think sunny thoughts!" Because it was more like, "Oh my God. What have I done, thinking I am unselfish and giving enough to be a parent? Look at me, on the verge of tears already, and it's only an hour into the day. My daughter deserves a better mother than this. And yet here I am, rashly bringing another child into my world!"
Probably most parents have days like this. And I am feeling much better already, now that Addy's asleep and I've had some time alone. But I get so overwhelmed sometimes, thinking about when the second baby comes and... What will happen when I don't get any time alone during the day? When one child sleeps or plays quietly, but the next one is needing my undivided attention? Is my brain just going to melt?
I just want to know that I will be given the strength for the job, that I am up to the task. I want to know that I will be able to handle two grumpy kids on a day like today when I feel sick, and that I will not lose it and snap at everyone and make my children feel that they are responsible for my moods. I want to be assured that I am a real grown up, and not just playing a game of house that's turned irreversibly real.


Can postpartum depression strike sixteen months after the baby is born? No, no, I suppose at that point it would just be plain ole' run-of-the-mill depression. How boring of me.
Actually, though, it's not so much depression as an unfortunate combination of cabin fever and a very bad morning with Her Highness. Yesterday, in fact, I was fine. I finally got to leave the house and go have pizza with another couple last night- with baby in tow, as it's rather tricky to secure a last minute sitter on Valentine's Day, but it was still fun. Both of us girls were not feeling exactly up to par, being in our first trimester, but for me it didn't hit until I got home. I got the horrible indigestion which has been plaguing me, it seems, since the second after I conceived, and I was curled in bed nursing my misery by nine pm. (Am I a hot date or what?)
This morning started on a bad note, though, when Addy woke up crying and unhappy, a rarity. She didn't want her diaper changed, cried and stiffed every time I tried to put her in her highchair for breakfast, wouldn't eat, etc. I don't think she's sick, fever-wise, but she's definitely acting weird the last few days.
Today was the worst so far. She moaned and whined and threw her waffle and Cheerios all over the floor while I tried to eat my own breakfast and then face the sink full of dishes. She managed to find my stash of Andes mints and smear them all over herself, dumped my entire water bottle down my back and all over my bed, threw a total hissy fit because I wouldn't let her have my ballpoint pen, and so on and so forth. Just lots of craziness. She's in her bed now, sleeping it off, and I am trying to vent to get rid of the tension headache.
Partly it was my attitude, I'm sure. I came into the kitchen this morning to see that I hadn't done the dishes last night, and they were all piled in the sink, smelling horrid to my nauseous self. I was immediately in a bad mood knowing I had to first unload all the clean dishes, then load the dishwasher right back up and start it again. Not feeling good plus cranky baby plus messy kitchen equals a not so patient mommy.
And yet... I just reread all that, and I realize it's such petty stuff, really. My child isn't seriously ill, isn't autistic or developmentally delayed, isn't physically handicapped. I have nothing to complain about, really. So she was grumpy. So it hurt my feelings a little that she turned magically happy as soon as I put her in her bed and left the room. Big deal. She is a beautiful, bright little girl who was just a little wound up and needed some alone time. She woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So did I. It happens.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Song in My Head

I haven't left the house in three days due to weather, but today I was feeling all, "Okay, I'm gonna shower and get dressed, make the bed, clean things up, be productive. Who cares if we're stuck inside again?" So I did all those things, but it was only eleven o' clock after all that, and Addy was just running in circles whining about everything. She wanted to be simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, doing everything, but also not doing everything. I sat down and stared at the wall and thought calmly, "Oh, well. I guess I am going to lose my mind shortly! It had to happen sometime."
Plus, I put on this really warm and snuggly sweater that had been buried under other things and forgotten, and I was so happy to have found it, only to discover that my baby bump (as well as my love handles) were all lopping out from under the sweater. Also, either I shrunk my new jeans, or my rear end has gotten quite a bit fatter in the last few weeks as well. Maybe it was trying to keep my stomach roll company. That's just great. My body is growing sympathy fat!
Oh yeah, and Happy Valentines' Day! I'm just overflowing with that lovin' feeling, can't you tell? I think it's because we're not really celebrating until Saturday (we had scheduled an hour-long couples massage a while back, and I don't care if we have to toboggan all the way to the spa, we are going!) So, I don't really feel in the mood yet. I do, however, distinctly feel the lack of chocolates.
I also distinctly feel, with every single nerve ending, the shrieking of my child, who is currently furiously with me for thwarting her efforts to play in the trash can. Also for trying to feed her bananas and string cheese bits. Oh the horror! How can a kid overwhelm you with both affection and frustration every other minute? I mean, yes, she's driving me nuts this morning, but she also keeps randomly kissing me, and stopping in her tracks to dance to the radio or throw the dog his ball, and it's just so darn cute!
So anyways, after I finally put Addy down for a nap, I walked through the kitchen and that Shawn Colvin song "Sunny Came Home" was on the radio. I love that song anyways, but today I totally just stood still at the sink and listened to the whole thing, mesmerized. Then I looked up the lyrics so I could give you all a dose of melancholy as well! So here you go. (Also, I forgot to tag someone for the meme, so, Swistle, you're it!)

Sunny Came Home
by Shawn Colvin & John Leventhal

Sunny came home to her favorite room
Sunny sat down in the kitchen
She opened a book and a box of tools
Sunny came home with a mission

She says days go by I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire

Sunny came home with a list of names
She didn't believe in transcendence
It's time for a few small repairs she said
Sunny came home with a vengeance

She says days go by I don't know why
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire

Get the kids and bring a sweater
Dry is good and wind is better
Count the years, you always knew it
Strike a match, go on and do it

Days go by I'm hypnotized
I'm walking on a wire
I close my eyes and fly out of my mind
Into the fire
Light the sky and hold on tight
The world is burning down
She's out there on her own and she's alright
Sunny came home
Sunny came home...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

ABC's of Homemaking

Kelli in the Mirror has tagged me with this meme, and I was so excited 'cause the only interesting thing I could claim to have done today is make an apple crisp from scratch. It is blizzarding up a storm here in the ole Midwest and I am bored, bored, bored, so now I have something to do! Here goes...

Aprons- Y/N? Absolutely not. I barely remember to put bibs on the kid!

Baking- Favorite thing to bake? Um, that would be apple crisp, because it is easy and because I love the smell of cinnamon in the house. And did I mention that it's easy? Yeah, I don't usually have the best of luck with baking, so I don't attempt difficult recipes too often (read: maybe twice a year.)

Clothesline- Y/N? That would be a no. Do I really want to have my underpants flapping in the breeze?

Donuts- Ever made them? I refer you to my previous comment on baking, and I'll let you figure out the answer to this one.

Everyday- One homemaking thing you do everyday? I try to make the bed, because our giant dog loves to lay on the warm water bed and nap. I used to fight it, but he loves it so much he has worn me down. So I have to make the bed in order for this situation to be at all tolerable- dog hair on the comforter I can deal with, but if it gets on the sheets we have a problem. Also, I more or less clean the kitchen daily.

Freezer- Do you have a separate deep freezer? Nope. I'm sort of envious of those who do, though, but more because of the potential for endless pizza roll supply than being able to stockpile frozen dinners and sides of beef and whatnot.

Garbage Disposal- Y/N? Uh, yeah! Oh, I just got a shiver remembering my childhood without one, when part of the dish clean up routine involved de-gunking the sink drain thingy. Gag me.

Handbook- Y/N? I guess this refers to whether or not I have some kind of cleaning schedule or something? And I would have to say both yes and no. There are certain things which I try to do at least weekly, like tub cleaning and dusting, but I don't have a checklist or anything, because it would depress me too much to see the empty boxes when things didn't get done according to plan. And lately, there would be more empty boxes than checked ones, I'm afraid.

Ironing- Love it or hate it? Whoa. It's not so much that I hate it as that it isn't even something I consider. I never, ever buy anything that needs to be ironed, and in our house, as soon as the dryer buzzes on the delicates load, it's a mad rush to get them out before they start wrinkling. Because Lord knows once they're wrinkled, they're staying wrinkled.

Junk Drawer- Where is it? It's more of a junk pile on the baker's rack in our kitchen. Now, mind you, the baker's rack has SIX baskets on it, all with specific paper filing purposes, and yet inevitably there are random slips and receipts and bills just thrown all over the place and spilling out of the baskets.

Kitchen- Design and decorating? I used to have a pots and pans border, but my husband had always kinda hated it, so we repainted it a really pretty kind of country blue this year. So... Our design scheme is blue. Blue and white, actually. And there is some greenery stuff on top of the cupboards to add some... Green. I think every room needs a little green.

Love- What is your favorite part of homemaking? Coming home after a long day of errands or traveling or something to a clean house and feeling so happy to be home and to see that there is nothing I need to do and I can just relax and enjoy. Also, I love when you're having company over and you are forced to clean and kind of not thrilled about it, but then when it's done it's such a good feeling to see the whole house clean at one time!

Mop- Y/N? I have a Clorox mopping system thing with the disposable pads, and I try to do it at least once a week. With the dog, our laminate floor gets pretty nasty otherwise.

Nylons- Wash by hand or in the washer? First of all, I hardly ever wear them. But when I do, I just throw them in the washer and then hang them to dry.

Oven- Do you use the window or open it to check? Open it.

Pizza- What do you put on yours? My favorite pizza is one piled with veggies and no meat- tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, red onions... Needless to say, whenever ordering with other people, I usually don't get my way.

Quiet- What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? Hop right on the computer. And, lately, I also nap a lot! This is more of a pregnant thing than my regular habit though.

Recipe card box- Y/N? Yes, but I rarely refer to it. I make a lot of simple dinners that don't require recipes. Or I go online- the last thing I looked for was "really easy meatloaf."

Style of house- Hmm. well, it's a ranch style, nothing exciting or fancy from the outside- tannish siding, dark green roof. Inside it's a little nicer than the outside, I think. I'm pretty into decorating, or at least I was when I had the time/energy/money. (Not "Home Interiors Party" kind of decorating, though, lest you shudder and fear that I'm one of the pod people!) Come to think of it, the house might tend towards being overdecorated. It would probably be better if there were more room to spread the stuff out.

Tablecloths and napkins- Y/N? We used to use cloth napkins every day. Our little effort at not killing trees, I guess. We use paper now most of the time. And tablecloths, never.

Under the kitchen sink- Trash can, dishwasher detergent, kitchen cleaner stuff, vases. The usual.

Vacuum- How many times a week? It used to be twice, when Addy was little. Now, it's usually just once.

Wash- How many loads do you do a week? Um, probably six? If Jim were doing it it would be more. He's much better about not stuffing the washer full.

X's- Do you keep a list of things to do and cross them off? Sometimes. Not every day.

Yard- Who does what? Jim mows, and, to be honest, does everything else as well. I hate outside work with a passion. I sometimes make weak attempts at weeding or mulching, but I basically loathe it and do everything to wriggle out of it. At least this summer I'll have an excuse not to help, what with the giant belly!

ZZZ's- What is your last homemaking task for the day? I try to have the dishes cleaned up, and things basically picked up so I'm not tripping over toys in the morning. Doesn't always happen, though.

Monday, February 12, 2007

My Parenting Report Card

Things Addy Still Refuses Eat:
1. carrots
2. green beans
3. broccoli
4. basically all vegetables
5. almost all fruits

Things Addy Is Now Eating Regularly:
1. tater tots
2. frozen pizza
3. waffles
4. macaroni and cheese
5. ravioli

(Thoughts on these lists: I am fostering the crappiest eating habits of all time, and am really doing my part in contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic sweeping our nation. Pats on the back for me!)

Words Addy Now Says Clearly
1. hi and bye
2. mama and dada
3. ball
4. baba (that's bottle)
5. dog

Words Addy Now Says- Sort Of
1. down
2. blanket
3. more
4. kitty
5. what's that?

(Thoughts on these lists: I will now stop boring you with kid updates which are of interest only to myself and my immediate relatives.)

But first... I have to tell you that Adelay dances now. She sticks her little duck butt out and does slow, rhythmic knee bends whilst bopping her head and grinning. She is my little pot-bellied, slightly deranged looking dancing queen. She is my favorite thing ever.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Litany of Complaints (Proceed at Your Own Risk)

I wish I were Catherine Newman. I wish on days like these I could yank some clever, odd-but-totally-relatable topic out of my brain and ramble hilariously and eloquently on about it. But no, I am me, and all I can think to say is that still, still, I feel like crap. In other words, I can whine. Whining is my new hobby.
I want to whine about how I wake up thin (well, no fatter than normal, anyways) and by the end of the day cannot sit down without unbuttoning my jeans.
I want to whine about how, when I lift my arms to wash my freaking hair it makes me feel exhausted. (It also sends pains through my once again tender breasts- sorry, but it does, and this is my day to whine.)
I want to whine about how we had some people over today, and, a. I nobly agreed that yes, coffee could be made, but then after a few minutes wanted to flee the house, and b., as I grimaced with said nausea, one of the single guys looked at me with a mixture of concern and bewilderment and asked, "Do you even like being pregnant?"
I stared at him, trying to repress any expression, and said, "Well, most of the time, no." He said, "Then why did you get pregnant again? You already have a kid!" As though it is common assumption that any pregnancy after the first is engaged in for purely recreational purposes. "I want more than one child," I explained, after a pause. "In order to achieve that, I have to be pregnant again. That's why." He shook his head in apparent amazement and finally stated, "That's some devotion right there."
I suppose in the end this little discourse was a compliment to my forbearance in childbearing, but it kind of came off less positively at the moment. I felt a bit like a circus freak, an oddity of a masochist who chooses to put herself through physical discomfort, and then at length physical torture, merely to achieve a completely superfluous second child!
But I'm just being witchy right now and I know it. Ignore me please. Seriously.
Especially since I should be thrilled today! Not only did my little sister clean my house for me, including subjecting herself to my dull how-to seminar on proper dusting, but I got to go see a brand spanking new baby today!
That's right, the baby who was being showered with gifts just last week, whose arrival merited that tasty cake, is now here in the flesh. Welcome, Elliot Lucas! He is beautiful and impossibly tiny and entirely breathtaking. It seems so far away, yet also scarily soon, that I will be heading to the hospital to deliver my own little miracle.

Friday, February 09, 2007

And Now I Shall Stir Up Some Trouble!

I found this article posted in All Dressed Up's blog (I know, I'm a moron and I forgot how to make a link, so just have the kindness to type it in yourself if you'd care to visit her, and I promise to work on my html skills just any day now.) Anyhoo, I thought it was totally fascinating, so if you have any opinions about religion or gay rights whatsoever, or if you just enjoy an intelligent debate (no name calling and/or Bible-thumping here, please,) read on. I'm not giving any opinions yet, but if I get some comments going, I will definitely join in!

When religion loses its credibility
By Oliver "Buzz" Thomas
What if Christian leaders are wrong about homosexuality? I suppose, much as a newspaper maintains its credibility by setting the record straight, church leaders would need to do the same:
Correction: Despite what you might have read, heard or been taught throughout your churchgoing life, homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God's followers.
Based on a few recent headlines, we won't be seeing that admission anytime soon. Last week, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops took the position that homosexual attractions are "disordered" and that gays should live closeted lives of chastity. At the same time, North Carolina's Baptist State Convention was preparing to investigate churches that are too gay-friendly. Even the more liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) had been planning to put a minister on trial for conducting a marriage ceremony for two women before the charges were dismissed on a technicality. All this brings me back to the question: What if we're wrong?
Religion's only real commodity, after all, is its moral authority. Lose that, and we lose our credibility. Lose credibility, and we might as well close up shop.
It's happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo's challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true. For many, especially in the scientific community, Christianity never recovered.
This time, Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice. To the contrary, whether sexual orientation arises as a result of the mother's hormones or the child's brain structure or DNA, it is almost certainly an accident of birth. The point is this: Without choice, there can be no moral culpability.
Answer in Scriptures
So, why are so many church leaders (not to mention Orthodox Jewish and Muslim leaders) persisting in their view that homosexuality is wrong despite a growing stream of scientific evidence that is likely to become a torrent in the coming years? The answer is found in Leviticus 18. "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination."
As a former "the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it" kind of guy, I am sympathetic with any Christian who accepts the Bible at face value. But here's the catch. Leviticus is filled with laws imposing the death penalty for everything from eating catfish to sassing your parents. If you accept one as the absolute, unequivocal word of God, you must accept them all.
For many of gay America's loudest critics, the results are unthinkable. First, no more football. At least not without gloves. Handling a pig skin is an abomination. Second, no more Saturday games even if you can get a new ball. Violating the Sabbath is a capital offense according to Leviticus. For the over-40 crowd, approaching the altar of God with a defect in your sight is taboo, but you'll have plenty of company because those menstruating or with disabilities are also barred.
The truth is that mainstream religion has moved beyond animal sacrifice, slavery and the host of primitive rituals described in Leviticus centuries ago. Selectively hanging onto these ancient proscriptions for gays and lesbians exclusively is unfair according to anybody's standard of ethics. We lawyers call it "selective enforcement," and in civil affairs it's illegal.
A better reading of Scripture starts with the book of Genesis and the grand pronouncement about the world God created and all those who dwelled in it. "And, the Lord saw that it was good." If God created us and if everything he created is good, how can a gay person be guilty of being anything more than what God created him or her to be?
Turning to the New Testament, the writings of the Apostle Paul at first lend credence to the notion that homosexuality is a sin, until you consider that Paul most likely is referring to the Roman practice of pederasty, a form of pedophilia common in the ancient world. Successful older men often took boys into their homes as concubines, lovers or sexual slaves. Today, such sexual exploitation of minors is no longer tolerated. The point is that the sort of long-term, committed, same-sex relationships that are being debated today are not addressed in the New Testament. It distorts the biblical witness to apply verses written in one historical context (i.e. sexual exploitation of children) to contemporary situations between two monogamous partners of the same sex. Sexual promiscuity is condemned by the Bible whether it's between gays or straights. Sexual fidelity is not.
What would Jesus do?
For those who have lingering doubts, dust off your Bibles and take a few hours to reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Jesus. You won't find a single reference to homosexuality. There are teachings on money, lust, revenge, divorce, fasting and a thousand other subjects, but there is nothing on homosexuality. Strange, don't you think, if being gay were such a moral threat?
On the other hand, Jesus spent a lot of time talking about how we should treat others. First, he made clear it is not our role to judge. It is God's. ("Judge not lest you be judged." Matthew 7:1) And, second, he commanded us to love other people as we love ourselves.
So, I ask you. Would you want to be discriminated against? Would you want to lose your job, housing or benefits because of something over which you had no control? Better yet, would you like it if society told you that you couldn't visit your lifelong partner in the hospital or file a claim on his behalf if he were murdered?
The suffering that gay and lesbian people have endured at the hands of religion is incalculable, but they can look expectantly to the future for vindication. Scientific facts, after all, are a stubborn thing. Even our religious beliefs must finally yield to them as the church in its battle with Galileo ultimately realized. But for religion, the future might be ominous. Watching the growing conflict between medical science and religion over homosexuality is like watching a train wreck from a distance. You can see it coming for miles and sense the inevitable conclusion, but you're powerless to stop it. The more church leaders dig in their heels, the worse it's likely to be.
Oliver "Buzz" Thomas is a Baptist minister and author of an upcoming book, 10 Things Your Minister Wants to Tell You (But Can't Because He Needs the Job).
Copyright © 2006 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's For Real (Or Is That Phorreal?)

I am actually still pregnant! I have made it safely thus far. And finally, it's beginning to sink in that maybe everything will be okay. For the first time today, I felt maternal love towards the little jumping bean in my body. Until now, the presence of this baby has been hypothetical to me, and I have really resisted thinking about it in concrete terms too much- it's been more like a medical condition to me, this pregnancy. With Addy, I began journaling and dreaming immediately. This time, I have yet to write a word to the actual baby about my thoughts and feelings towards it, largely because those feelings have been cautious, even ambivalent. But today, to see actual arms and legs squirming around, tiny hands with tiny fingers... It was impossible to resist the swell of love I felt as I watched my tiny child swimming inside me on the sonogram screen. Hi, baby, I thought, the exact same totally inadequate words with which I first greeted Addy. It's me, your mom.
It's so amazing to see something actually jumping around inside your body. I remember the first time I saw Addy moving inside me (also at ten weeks) and I was convinced she was waving at me. I had the same feeling today; it was deja vu combined with a relief which I never experienced quite as intensely with Adelay's pregnancy. Miscarriage seemed like a strange, foreign, and wholly impossible concept then. Now, it is with me every day in the back of my head, and to see my baby, alive and well and growing, measuring at ten weeks one day, was almost a shock. I had been bracing myself for the worst, and it seemed almost surprising to have such a cheerful and reassuring visit.
Besides the important issue of the baby's well being, I also get to stop taking the progesterone this week! I am so excited not to have to plan my evening around my dosing anymore.
So, happy vibes from me today, despite having been so sick this morning that I had to stop and retch in the parking lot after inhaling random car fumes. No one was around, luckily. But I don't mind feeling sick (for today at least!) I can tuck myself back into bed and know that the nausea continues to be a sign of health for my baby.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The One Where Everything Makes Me Gag (Or Act Like A Floozy)

I apparently forgot the cardinal rule of superstitious people everywhere: Don't mention the good things that are happening, or they will be promptly snatched away from you. Because me, not feeling sick anymore? Ha ha. Try me, randomly throwing my face into my elbow, hoping nothing comes out as I suddenly and violently dry heave at the horrifying sight of, oh, I don't know, a stray dog hair on the sheets. I swear, it feels like the entire contents of my stomach should have been forced up by now, and maybe a few of the minor organs as well, but no. The food remains stubbornly there, like a rock in my stomach, as I gag and gag and gag.
And in related pregnancy news, there have been more dreams of the not-so-chaste sort. My subconscious libido has unfortunately moved on from random actors to people I actually know quite well, causing me to wake up blushing, and feeling sort of weird and dirty all day long.
Do you ever have that, where a dream will be so vivid you almost want to call a certain person and say, "Um, did I happen to come on to you last night in a totally inappropriate and probably laughable manner? And uh... Did you then tenderly suggest to me that 'the heart wants what it wants'? No? You're sure?" Oh Lord. I cannot believe I am confessing these things. The seeming anonymity of the computer screen causes all kinds of humiliating truths to come forth... Someone better share an embarrassing dream, pronto, to soothe my conscience.
The worst part is that it seems grossly unfair that the majority of this, shall we say, action, is not going to benefit my poor husband, because he really has been a saint the last few days. He cooks, he does dishes, he delivers food and beverage in a steady stream to the couch where I seem to have taken up residence. He changed the sheets last night due to the horrifying dog hair on the pillow incident, and has promised to give the dog a serious trim as soon as he gets home tonight.
And he took a half day at work yesterday, per my request, and took Addy and me to lunch. Then we strolled around the mall for an hour or so (because our stomachs were so bloated I thought we might have to be rolled home) and I even found a couple of not too huge maternity shirts on clearance to get me through this not-really-pregnant-just kind-of-chubby-looking phase which I so loathe.
I am sure I will be looking truly with child soon, though- I will be ten weeks on Sunday! For some reason that seems momentous. Double digits. And tomorrow the wait is finally over and I get another sonogram. I can't wait to see the baby moving, as the books tell me it should be by now. I am not so eager for the actual process of the sonogram, however. I just thought of something... I hope I don't start having erotic dreams about my wand-wielding OB! That would just be too much.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Blogger's Remorse

I have some random questions about blogging for the rest of you out there.
1. Why did you begin blogging/Why do you continue blogging? For me, I just felt the need to stretch my writing muscle before it atrophied irrevocably. If you don't personally have a blog, what brings you to other people's blogs?
2. Who knows about your blog, other than those of us who have randomly found you on the web? Friends, family? I know that some people start blogging specifically to keep long-distance friends and relatives abreast of their lives, and I know other bloggers who write specifically to vent about their friends and family in a safe place!
3. Do you regret telling people about your blog, if you have already done so? Do you worry that one day, your cousin or aunt to whom you casually mentioned, "Oh, I blog!" will find you and be horrified? Do you sometimes restrain yourself from sharing certain hilarious anecdotes (just for example, anecdotes maybe from a baby shower you threw which involved lots of church ladies?) for fear of hurting someone's feelings?
4. Do you obsessively check to see how many people have viewed your profile, read your latest post, etc.? More than once a day?
5. Once you started getting regular commenters, do you now feel slightly obligated to come up with something interesting to say every day? Or do you love reporting on yourself daily, and have to restrain yourself from giving detailed lists of what you ate for lunch? (That would be an entire box of pierogies, fyi.)

My Just Desserts

Oh. My. Gosh. That was a good shower, as showers go, but I ate so much. And it was glorious, I cannot tell a lie. Then, two hours later we went to a Superbowl party, and I ate so much all over again. And again, it was blissful. But payback is a cruel, cruel mistress.
I was basically immobilized in bed for two hours until I fell asleep, not tired, but afraid to even move lest all that cake and frosting and chocolate torte, yogurt pie, chicken sandwiches, spice cookies, and chili, come spewing up from where it hovered precariously, churning in my esophagus. I looked pregnant yesterday for sure, let me tell you. Once the uterus starts growing, your food has nowhere to go but out- when you stuff yourself like a gluttonous pig, that is. I had to wear one of Jim's long sleeved T-shirts and loop a rubber band through the buttonhole of my jeans and then stretch it over to the button to make them fit. Yep, that's me, at two months along. Bursting out of my clothes.
This morning I look normal again, much to my relief. And I feel normal too, which worries me. I am a little queasy, but not overwhelmed with nausea. My back, which has been killing me for the past two days, is momentarily fine. No headaches, not even more tired than usual. Is this okay? I'll think, surreptitiously checking to see if my boobs are still "tender and swollen." (Here's a hint: If you keep poking them long enough, they will be soon! And here's another hint: Maybe don't be checking them in front of your husband all the time, or he might think something a little more, er, recreational is going on.)
Does this happen to anyone else? You wallow in self-pity in the throes of your first trimester misery, but just let the misery abate for a little while and then you're miserable for a whole new reason. What does this mean, if I feel fine? I'm still pregnant, aren't I? I mean, what if something has just, I don't know, stopped working in there?
It drives me insane, this waiting time before you can feel the baby move and aren't constantly on guard for signs of the dreaded "m" word. I'm even more nervous this time since when I miscarried in September, I didn't really know anything was wrong until we had the ultrasound. So it isn't unreasonable to think something could go wrong and I wouldn't know it until my next appointment. Which, thank God, is on Thursday.
I have to go in today, too, in fact, to do my prenatal paperwork and sign stuff. What stuff? I can only speculate. I know there is something called a Vaginal Birth Consent, which I didn't really look at last time, but that I can only imagine reads something like, "I, the undersigned, consent to have an alien life form take over and feed off of my body for the next seven months, then deliver said life form via a seemingly impossibly small canal. And I am thrilled about it."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I'll Try To Be Nicer If You Try To Be Smarter...

Okay.... I know I'm sort of a spelling Nazi and that most people are not (why should anyone be, really, when spell check exists? Spelling is an obsolete skill.) But I ask you: Is "welcome" a really tricky word? Is it not fairly common, an everyday word, even? Is it too much to expect someone who letters cakes for a living to, say, pause and think before they begin? What I'm getting at is, am I unreasonable and intolerant to be irritated when I order a cake and it is presented reading "Weclome Elliot"?
Ah well. What are you going to do? They scraped the two switched letters off and redid them, and it doesn't really look all that terrible. Probably no one will even notice. But geez. Twenty-five dollars for a cake and they do a slap job. Come on!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Winter Of Our Discontent

Okay, I have not actually read this book, but the title went floating through my head today as I realized that I was really whipped up with excitement to be going to- look out!- the orthopedic hospital. It occurred to me at that point that I must be getting pretty darn bored and stir crazy.
Not only did I get to go the hospital and sit with my mom and sister while we waited for my dad to get out of back surgery, I got to eat Arby's for lunch! And then, on the way home, order three apple dumplings from Cracker Barrel for take-out! (These were not all consumed by me, btw.)
I mean, a couple of months ago this would have sounded like a drag (okay, the dumplings would still have been good) : greasy fast food, a hospital waiting room. But today? A real outing! I actually wore pants that did not begin with the word "sweat," and there was a dusting of makeup on my face!
And you want to know the oddest thing? I didn't feel that sick today until this evening, after being home for several hours. Something about being in these four walls, watching the same messes recreate themselves over and over, opening the same refrigerator door a hundred times to stare at food choices which never change, makes me feel worse. I've decided that I need to try harder to get myself out of the house, even when I don't initially feel up to it, because I think in the end being out and about distracts me from just concentrating on how bad I feel, how messy the house is, and how due to the feeling bad the house is not likely to look better anytime soon.
So yeah, I am going to try to beat the winter blues/pregnancy slump by dragging my sorry self to thrilling places like Kohls and the mall and the bakery, just to breathe some fresh air and look at something besides our paint colors, the sight of which are starting to make me even more nauseous. Someone told me once that certain colors made her sick while pregnant and I thought that was crazy, but now I understand. The very sight of the dog is making me sick the last few days too. But we know why that is.
Ooh, random side note: I am so excited for this Sunday's baby shower, even though it means I absolutely must clean tomorrow, because I have ordered a fabulous cake, much larger than we need! Oh, just thinking about eating leftover cake for a week makes me happy. I can practically taste the fluffy, whipped icing- none of that nasty butter cream crap for me, no, this icing I ordered is like slightly thickened whipped cream, and it is heaven in my mouth! (Whoops, does that sound sort of weird?)