Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Debating the experts

For the most part I don't read child-rearing books. I am entirely too obedient to authority figures to be able to read these books without killing myself to implement every "do good by your child" strategy.

However, as a way to use up some of D's frequent flier miles, we were able to get a bunch of magazine subscriptions, and 2 of those are Parents and Parenting. So I get little "sound byte" chunks of child-rearing expertise, which is more than enough to drive me bonkers.

Because of my OCD (I suspect), I have gotten a couple little pieces of info related to childrearing stuck in my head. These thoughts circle around on the turntable of my mind so maybe by putting them here (and providing my humble opinion of them), I'll be able to move on to another song.

One of the snippets I read was by some experts who said that it is better NOT to read books based on tv series to your child because the child uses what he/she has seen on tv to create the character in their mind's eye (thereby preventing the child from creating his/her own image of the character).

Another relates to the standby of "too much tv is bad for kids," and the ensuing debate over how much tv is too much.

As best I can tell, what we as parents are supposed to read to children are picture books. So even if we are reading something that has never been on tv, the illustrator has taken the liberty of creating the characters and scenes for the child. The child accepts the image provided by the book, so isn't that the same as getting an image from the tv that is then repeated on the pages of the picture book.

And how are children supposed to develop their imaginations anyway. A child needs fertile soil (experiences) from which to grow a hearty pretend world. Why is it that tv experiences don't count as readily as those from other ways of learning and experiencing? N recognized a humpback whale in a magazine because she saw one on Go, Diego, Go, not because I took her on a whaling expedition in Alaska.

The beef I have with these inane expert views is similar to the problem I have with how we are told (as teachers) to teach kids to write. We aren't supposed to mark up their papers and correct things for them. We are supposed to have them figure it out by marking G for "Grammar Problem" and P for "Punctuation Problem." But how are they supposed to know what to change if they've never actually seen it changed for them? Or if they haven't read enough books in their lives to actually hear how sentences are supposed to sound?

Lord knows I had tons of my papers red-inked to death as a kid, and I think I'm a pretty alright writer now (although a lot of this is innate, I think). But shoot, once I saw it red-inked I didn't make that stupid mistake again. I learned from having my errors pointed out in glaring lights as if off-Broadway.

The rational part of my brain tells me that these "expert" guidelines aren't for moms like me...they are for the ding-dong moms who have no clue how to parent. Just like doctors who say "Don't smoke, drink, eat soft cheese, take OTC medicines while pregnant" have to make blanket statements because of the ding-dongs.

But the problem is the ding-dongs don't listen. It's the people like me, the overly- conscientious folk, who chase our tails trying to follow every experts recommendations and raise perfect children.

Ahh...there it is. Perfect children. Like I get an extra spin at the wheel if I have a kid who "does well." I know I fall prey to that, and it rankles me but I don't have the energy for another rant.

Dollhouse dramas

It took me many hours of therapy and journaling to finally get to the point where I can say without too much guilt: I have a difficult time playing with my kid.

I have only just recently been able to acknowledge that as a 33-year-old woman it is OK to not enjoy playing dollhouse for more than 10 minutes or playing grocery store for more than 15. I am not supposed to find the same things entertaining as what my preschooler does. I suspect I would be in a special home if I felt otherwise.

Despite this recognition, I still feel badly when I zone out 10+ minutes into our playtimes. Like I am wasting our precious quality time. I am not carpe diem(ing) enough.

I suspect some of this perverted view of quality time developed when N was an infant and I was having to perform physical therapy on her. Our playtime was our therapy time, and I was obsessive about doing her therapy (and therefore playing with her). Just being in the same area or house with her and letting her do her own thing wasn't enough. Being in her face all the time was required.

She is at the stage where she wants me to do what she wants me to do. If we are playing dollhouse and I make the daddy doll go work on the computer, if that isn't what she intended daddy doll to do, she lets me know about it and fast. But if I just sit there holding the daddy doll, she gets frustrated because I am not playing (which she fails to understand I was trying to do before she told me I couldn't do what I wanted with daddy doll).

Her latest thing is having her little girl doll swipe toys from the baby and then have me (as mommy doll) resolve the dispute. This would be ok if Goldilocks (what we call the little girl) only did it once. But she is a persistent little shit who continues to steal baby's toys despite mommy doll's reprimands.

OK, so in addition to disciplining my own child in real life, I am also expected to discipline her dolls in pretend. And not just once but 6,7,8 times or more.

The dolls also play hide and seek in the dollhouse, which is enjoyable the first couple times. However, once we start nearing double digits I've about had enough. It is a dollhouse...there are only so many places to hide.

This afternoon N had the mommy doll and daddy doll fighting over who got to sit in the recliner. It went something like this:

Daddy Doll (sitting in the recliner)
Mommy Doll (at the door) -- "Daddy, can I come in the library?"
Daddy Doll (jumps out of the recliner and kicks the door shut) -- "No, you can't come in!"
Mommy Doll (walks outside crying) -- "Boohooo. Boo-hooo-hooo."
Daddy Doll (comes outside) -- "Why are you crying?"
Mommy Doll (turns to him) -- "Because you wouldn't let me sit in the recliner."
Daddy Doll -- "Ok, I'll share."

Then N looks at me and says "Now Mommy sits in the recliner."

Mommy Doll (sitting in the recliner)
Daddy Doll (at the door) -- "Mommy, can I come in the library?"
Mommy Doll (jumps out of the recliner and kicks the door shut) -- "No, you can't come in!"

And over and over and over ad nauseam.

I guess since she doesn't have a sibling she is getting her rivalry out through her dolls. And let the record show D and I have never argued over who got to sit in which chair in the house.

Sometimes I wish I was a bug on the wall in other people's houses so I could see how they play and interact with their kids (and for how long before zoning out or finding something to do around the house to get them out of being a playmate for even a few minutes).

I want to relish this time as her favorite playmate because I know it is short-lived, but I don't know how much more I can handle of the dollhouse dramas.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Vacation...all I ever wanted...had to get away

Ahhh, I love planning me a vacation. There is nothing better, although opening up a brand spanking new jar of peanut butter is pretty high up on my list of favorite things to experience. My mother-in-law usually lets me bust into the new tubs of butter when we eat dinner at her house, which is nice, but it isn't the same as peanut butter. Anyway, we are going to Disney, and I am so excited I could squeal (and I am not a gal who squeals).

How time changes one's state of mind. There was a time, not even 5 years ago, when the prospect of going to Disneyworld was anathema. Something horribly uncool that I feared I would be forced to experience when "one day I had kids." Ok, so now I have a kid, and I am totally stoked to go to Disney. N isn't as excited as I am.

Have I made a Princess Dining Experience reservation? YES!
Have I entertained the thought of having N go to the Bibidi Bobidi Boutique? YES!
Have I already picked out the scrapbook I am going to put all of N's pictures in? YES!
Have I lost my ever loving mind? YES! YES! YES!

So is it Disney itself that I am excited about? Partly. I am excited for N because I know she will lose her 3-year-old mind when she sees Cinderella's castle and the Disney Princesses and the parades. I mean, she went nuts last night when my MIL gave her a 30+ year old Mickey Mouse pillow case that D used when he was a boy.

But I am just excited to go somewhere and have a little adventure. Prior to N that was the one thing I loved to do: travel. In the 6 years before N, D and I took some great trips: Iceland; Italy; Greece; Las Vegas, NV; Death Valley, CA; Assateague Island National Seashore, VA; Savannah, GA; Jeykl Island, GA; Toronto, Canada; Niagara Falls, Canada.

Traveling always made me feel free and smart and alive. The "traveling" part of travel I'm not so great at... I hate flying and get motion sick while sitting on a glider, so long car tricks are not really my cup o'tea. Despite this, I love seeing new places, tasting new foods, learning. You'd recognize me straight away if you saw me while vacationing: I'm the geek with the journal who hangs on every word of the tour guides, jotting notes and asking 8 million questions, laughing in earnest at all their tour-guide jokes.

By the time we visited Iceland, I was ready for our lives to change a in start a family. And voila...the pregnancy test said positive 2 days after our return from Reykjavik. As with anything, even something great like traveling gets old if you do it frequently. Now with this Disney trip, I'm having that same cool feeling of excitement I used to get before we became a family of 3.

And the best thing about travel is that no matter how badly one's trip SUCKS, it gets better after time passes. it's like parenting. All those material things--tvs and cars and MP3 players and clothing and comforter sets--get old and fall apart, but memories become more fluid and lush and luxuriant over time, and it's because of that that I can't wait for my vacation (although I know as mom, it won't really be a vacation--just a change of scenery, but who cares. I get tired of looking at the 4 walls of my cubicle).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Reality check (sorta)

After watching my 2-month-old nephew today for approximately 7 hours, I have even greater doubts that mothering more than 1 child is a good idea.

Now I realize that watching someone else's child, even when said child is of your blood, isn't the same as caring for a child to whom you gave birth. But aside from knocking me straight on my butt physically, it really taxed me mentally.

The biggest stress was over N....trying to help her understand that I had to tend to A and she had to wait a few minutes, worrying that she was vegging too much in front of the tv (since I was tending to A, plus we didn't have a carseat for him so we were stuck in the house all day), stewing over how guilty I felt not giving her the "normal" amount of attention she gets on a regular basis, fretting over whether she would adapt properly if D and I ever do get pregnant, wondering whether given all the above fretfulness we should even continue with our baby-making efforts.

Yep, today was a pretty big self-induced headache.

I wish I didn't have this yen to be "Mom of a Lifetime." I wish I didn't strive so darn hard to be terrific. But I guess I have spent the last 3 years creating my own monster because N expects certain things of me now. I sometimes complain because she always wants me to do things with her, but I set myself up for this (without realizing it, of course).

Ah well. I think after today I'll be pretty ok to see my period start.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I have kept journals in some form or another since I was around 10 years old (which is also when I began menstruating). There is a connection between writing and being an emotional and psychological basket-case, just ask Virginia Woolf, Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath. Oh yeah, they all committed suicide. I make my point.

Anyway, in college I became very consistent about writing, perhaps because in addition to the hormones I was veering ever closer to adulthood, as in scared shitless by all the responsibility of deciding what I want to be when I grow up and getting my own insurance, etc., etc.

My writing slacked off when I married and became a teacher, but then my nervous breakdown after N's birth resulted in a resurgence. When I started talk therapy, I started writing again, in part to remember things to discuss with my therapist.

Writing with the intention of discussing with my therapist really changed my thought process while journaling. It became less a vent (although sometimes it still was and is that) and more a problem solving exercise. I was able to get a little more perspective because I knew I had to really think my thoughts through in order to explain them to her.

So when my friend G suggested that her friends start blogs (so she could stay in touch with them from up North), I decided to do so with the intent that it would be like hers...about her family. Ever the self-absorbed person, my blog is about me with little snatches of N and D, but primarily me.

I emailed some people with my blog info, but not many. I emailed those people whom I thought might be interested (some who I think are fellow "nutjobs" and others who just might be bored enough to read it once in awhile). Other friends have "confessed" to me that they read my blog (I guess after hearing about it from others). I suspect they are embarrassed because they are reading about the seemingly very personal things I might write here.

So this brings me to a few thoughts I've had related to blogging.

First, there is virtually nothing I won't write or discuss with someone, even disgusting, embarrassing stuff. I figure that what most people feel uncomfortable discussing with others is the type of stuff everyone experiences on some level. It is the stuff that makes people worry that they aren't normal simply because no one ever talks about that stuff (except maybe Cosmo magazine, and the people they tend to interview are idiots or nymphos).

Second, even when I talk about this stuff it still doesn't remove that feeling of isolation, that feeling of "no one really, truly, deeply understands me." No one will ever be me so, despite what I might write, there are still millions of thoughts and feelings swirling around in my head and changing with my experiences. This is simply the human condition and no amount of confession or explanation will ever get to the bottom of it.

Finally, as in therapy, blogging my thoughts makes them concrete...makes the process more cognitive and less emotional, which is good for me because I'm more likely to be rational. From the time I was 10 (as in menstruating), I knew my thoughts were a little crazy, a little irrational, but I thought that was just me. It was only when I got older that I realized that checking the car locks 4 times before walking to class wasn't normal and thinking every little pimple was a cancerous growth wasn't normal and calling someone who wasn't home 15 times and letting the phone ring and ring and ring wasn't normal. And finally by the time I sought treatment, I KNEW that envisioning myself stabbing my baby wasn't normal.

So blogging is for me...and about me...and knowing that someone else might read it makes me think it through and stand back and see what is rational and what is irrational and that helps me feel in control. Because when I read my journals that are just for me, I see only the distorted and sad feelings and there is nothing to balance them out.

And I wonder who might read this and think "That C is REALLY NUTS!" based on what I've just written. But most people, if they are really honest, will recognize that they probably have done or thought some equally bizarre things. I'm just willing to talk about them because, god knows, I didn't feel nearly as strange when I knew I wasn't alone. And that is a big part of surviving life....not feeling alone.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Deep thoughts (from reading too many kids' books and watching too many kids' shows)

One's mind wanders by the time you've read The Little Mermaid 2,000 times to your child. You've long had the book memorized, so your brain starts questioning, wondering, trying to find something to occupy itself while your mouth goes through the motions. Same thing happens after watching the 11th repeated episode of The Doodlebops.

What is wrong with Maleficent that she gets so pissed because she isn't invited to Aurora's party? I know she is an evil witch and all (so she is a little psychologically bent), but isn't there someone she should be turning into a monkey or something? Besides, how much fun could a party be for a newborn baby? I would imagine her evil witch friends could put together a bigger fete than King Stefan.

Ariel still has on her seashell bikini top when she transforms from a mermaid to a human, but does she get a matching bikini bottom or is she commando? One can't tell because Flounder is blocking the view when he's taking her to the water's surface. Do mermaids wear thongs under their fins?

If the Beast has until he turns 21 to find true love, but it has been 10 years since the cutlery and china have been rusting, that means the old crone turned him into a beast when he was 11 (because he was selfish and nasty). Aren't all 11-year-olds selfish and nasty? Why did she single out this particular kid? Where were his parents when he was refusing to give her shelter?

How dense are Rooney Doodle and Moe Doodle that they don't notice Deedee Doodle moving their stuff around? Doodlebops aren't known for their intense concentration, especially Moe, so how is it possible for the wool to be pulled over their eyes?

I've asked it before, and I'll ask it again: What is WRONG with Dora's and Diego's parents? Who in their right minds allows their kids to run all over creation (and with wild animals, no less, a monkey and a jaguar)?

Annoying little side-note: In the Dora book Dance to the Rescue, Dora tells King Juan El Bobo that the bottle (from which she has wished Swiper free) is too small a place for the little dancing man. It's worded something like, "'It's too small in there to dance,' she pointed out." Is it just me or do the words "pointed out" make it seem like Dora thinks no one else has the mental skills to figure out that a bottle is too small a place for anyone to have room to do the cha-cha, twist or electric slide. What is she, like 8 or 9, tops? I mean, I know the monarchy aren't often known for their astounding deductive skills, but come on!!!

How can Emily Elizabeth's family possibly afford to keep Clifford? Especially if he is on specialized dog food, like Science Diet?

Ok, that's all I got. Although with N having now caught my cold, I'm sure I'll have loads more in the days to come.

Don't tell mom the babysitter is catatonic.

I have had a revelation. Today I am totally cool with having N as my only child. I suspect D and I may be "only child type parents," and so god, in her vast knowledge and wisdom, is making conception not occur because our DNA and instinctive desire to breed just don't get the "bigger picture." (Mind you, I might be singing a different tune later this week when Auntie is expected. I'm sure I'll be whining over not-conceiving when she greets me.)

How did I come to this revelation? Simple: I babysat my 2-year-old nephew and my 2-month-old nephew on Saturday night. So there were 2 who is not really adept at dealing with an infant, and me, who has dealing with a cold, so it was brutal.

Overall the kids were good. Nothing out of the ordinary or weird or bad happened. It was just overwhelming.

N had a couple meltdowns because she doesn't go to childcare and is, therefore, simply unused to having to fend for herself over toys. I had to watch R closely (the 2-year-old) because he's a boy and doesn't get it quite like N does that markers and stickers are made for arts & crafts (not foodstuffs). And poor A, the baby. When he wasn't being hoisted into weird laying positions by D, he was in the swing or in the middle of a toddler sandwich (when I had to hold him and wrestle a toy away from R and N as they wrestled each other).

I forgot how much I dislike the "wormy stage" of infancy, which is basically until a baby can roll over or sit up on his or her own. Of course, I adored all stages of N's development, so it could be I dislike the wormy stage of all babies who are not born of my womb.

When my brother and SIL returned, they started cleaning up because my basement looked like downtown Manhattan after 9-11. I nearly said, "Leave it. I'll clean it up next week. Just please get out of my house." Literally, when they walked out the front door, we shut it, locked it, turned off the lights, somehow lugged our aching bodies up the steps and climbed into bed.

It is Monday, and it makes me tired just thinking about Saturday night. I know there are some women who have 3 kids under 3 in their homes ALL THE TIME, and I don't know how they do it (without alot of meds, a nanny, a cleaning crew, and an on-site therapist).

I am supposed to watch A again this week for an entire day. Dear me, whatever have I gotten myself into? I'm sure this will only be the final nail in the "Maybe I don't wanna get pregnant" coffin.

Ah well. I'll let those other laid back women who can handle a big brood birth the babes. My place in life is clearly somewhere else.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I am so PMSing, which in and of itself really pisses me off. Great...more of the same fun evenings in February.

I just wanna have a big old gripe session so here goes:

It really pisses me off that I am the person who pays the bills, deals with health insurance, balances the checkbook, talks with the financial adviser, etc, etc, but if I try to ask a question related to D's "private info," like get info on HIS health claims or find out whether he can access our HSA info with HIS login, I get "Is Mr. L there? Can we please speak with Mr. L? We cannot give out personal, private info to someone who may or may not be Mr. L."

Goddamit!!! I know more about Mr. L's personal info than MR. L EVEN KNOWS! He comes to ME to find out information. I, more or less, run his fricking life. He knows it, and most of the time appreciates that I take care of all this sundry shit. I bet if I had taken his last name I wouldn't have near as much problem. Like just because my last name begins with a V and his with an L, it negates the marriage certificate and the fact that both of our names are on every piece of financial info we have. I am even listed 3rd on our health insurance cards. N is 2nd because her last name is L. Could I feel any more marginalized?

And don't these dimwhits know that I could put my next door MALE neighbor on the phone to impersonate my husband. He likely knows more than D does about our finances, health insurance, etc.

I know D and N appreciate what I do, but sometimes I feel simply useless. And mostly it is because while trying to be useful, I run into stupid roadblocks that require me to shuffle over to my husband to ask for his assistance.

Yesterday I finished watching Pride and Prejudice and almost got sucked into the idealism of the Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett love affair, but then I thought of poor Charlotte, who at 27 is a burden to her family and marries Mr. Collins for security. And today reminds me of it even more....feeling like chattal, like property of my husband. Lord knows D doesn't think this way, but sometimes it yanks my chain that society often does.

Yeah, I know it is because of "fraud" and "identity theft," but a customer service person cannot know with whom they are speaking if that person has all the right info AND the correctly deep or soft-pitched voice. If I had had my brother get on the phone, they would have blabbered all the info to him. They didn't spill because 1. I am the little lady, and 2. because I am honest enough to explain what I need rather than being duplicitous.

Let's see what else is sticking in my craw?????

I think that is about it, but I'm not expected to see Aunt Fran until next week so there will be more to come.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Are we there yet?

Trying to get pregnant is alot like taking a really, really long car ride.

When you first get the car loaded and are on the way, everyone is abuzz with excitement over the prospect of visiting the new locale, imagining what the condo will look like, what attractions and restaurants will be nearby.

Even a couple hours into the drive, though road-weary and a little bored, one can still summon up a little enthusiasm. There have only been 1 or 2 pit stops thus far.

However, there comes a point when you've listened to the same 5 CDs you brought three times each, you've dusted off 2 bags of Doritos, you've made 6 rest-area stops, none of which had an even remotely sanitary toilet, and you realize you should have just depleted the savings account and flown because it would be a hellava lot better than being stuck in a vehicle until the end of time.

This about sums up my experience in the joy ride of conception. The first couple months it was "Ooooo boy, no 'protection.'" It doesn't take too long for that excitement to wear thin. Actually it doesn't take too long for all the excitement associated with baby-making to wear thin, or fall off all together.

D and I both enjoy reading in bed prior to falling asleep, and sex really interferes with that routine. Many times I think, "Maybe we can put off the deed for a half-hour or so because I'd really like to get through the next chapter in my book." Fortunately for him, I shower at night so while I'm cleaning up, he gets to read for a bit. I am left with trying to read while laying absolutely flat in the hopes that his little guys have decent ovum tracking systems in place.

We got pregnant the first month with N, so D acknowledged that he hoped it would take longer this time so he could "enjoy the practice" more than he had the first go round. Lately I suspect he's ready for nature to get on with it because he is, quite frankly, a little bored and a little exhausted.

I'm not as exhausted as I am bored by the whole thing. Part of me feels like, "Oh why's not gonna happen this month. Just think how far I could get in my book," but I'm still type A enough to not want to slack off. If I have to go to my doctor after a year of not getting pregnant, I want to at least be able to say I put forth some really good effort.

And, dumb me, made the stupid mistake of acknowledging to others that we are trying. Why in god's name did I open the door for such unspoken "pressure?" Even if my friends aren't asking me, they are wondering, suspecting, hoping, dreading?

Last week while in the tub, N looked up at me and said, "Momma, do you have a baby in your belly?" As much as I'd like to say yes, I, of course, had to answer with a no. She said, "I have a baby in my belly, and she is 2 years old." I'm feeling pressure from my kid, who doesn't even know her dad and I are trying to give her a sibling.

Last night she said her dollhouse mommy has a baby in her belly. Jesus, everyone's having an easier time getting pregnant than me!

Oh well. I look at N, and she is such a wonderful kid. Just an easy kid...good temperament over all. Maybe there is something to the saying, "god doesn't give you anymore than you can handle?"

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I feel like I stand on the periphery, typically in conversations, but also more important things too, like friendships and religion. I have likened my state to that of the Fonz on Happy Days. Arthur Fonzarelli was liked by Richie, Ralph, and Potsie, but he was kind of a stand-alone dude, not really a tight part of their circle. Lately I have been thinking about my Fonz status as it concerns friendships and religion.

Even before N came along, I was like this concerning friends or colleagues or acquaintances. I would be in my classroom working and my team members would be sitting across the hall chatting it up and socializing. Occasionally I would join them, but more often than not they would come and interrupt my work, which bothered the heck out of me. When I wanted companionship, I usually found myself seeking out 1 other teacher with whom to converse.

Once N came along and I joined the mom club, I really struggled and still sometimes do with the whole friendship dynamic. It often seems like other moms have much tighter connections that what I have with anyone in particular. And it's not that there aren't lots of gals I think are super; there are almost too many I would love to be more friendly with, but circumstances (as in a small kid, a husband, a house, a busy life) preclude closer friendships. And so I feel on the periphery but I am probably not alone in feeling like this. I simply don't know other women's thoughts.

Maybe I didn't get it out of my system at 11, but a part of me really yearns for a close female attachment, like chit-chatting on the phone or knowing someone else's business like a girlfriend. But the reality is that I don't like talking on the phone all that much, and I rarely have anything of interest to say (and especially if I have to talk to someone multiple times a day). D and I rarely ever talk on the phone. I am always amazed by women who talk to their husbands 2-3 times a day. I guess D and I are totally content with the vacuum of silence that exists between us.

So the weird thing is that lately alot of my mom friends have been "church shopping" and discussing what they've experienced. There is nowhere I feel more on the periphery than with religion. I don't attend services and haven't for many years now, but sometimes I have a strong yearning to just be in a pew in a church. I was brought up Catholic so I was at mass at least 2 times a week for years and years all through elementary/middle school. I don't know that I particularly want the church or just the feeling of home or comfort or routine that it represents. I guess it is kinda like the 11-year-old "I wanna best friend foreva" thing.

After D and I married I attended the most liberal church in our area, and I still left more times than I can count pissed off about some doctrine or another. And despite my issues, I just can't see myself going to a non-Catholic church. Plus, there is D, who made a great sacrifice by agreeing to marry me in a Catholic church, and who would rather have his fingernails pulled out than attend services of any shape, form or fashion. I often "blame" my reluctance to attend services on D, but he is just an easy scapegoat. It's like as a child when a friend called and asked me to do something I didn't want to do. I'd say, "Mom, can I do '"xyz?'" while I spastically nodded my head back and forth so that I wouldn't have to be the "bad guy" to my friends.

So anyway, I'm finding it stranger than fiction to be experiencing the periphery of friendship in combination with the periphery of religion.

I guess that is really life though. I guess it is the human condition to feel like people don't really know you or understand you or that you don't understand your feelings or that you don't understand life and the world and the hereafter. Hence, this is why we seek out friendships and religion. So I seek out those things that should make me feel less alone only to find that in seeking them out they remind me of how alone I am.

Ahhhh, fuck it.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

This is why she don't need preschool

When I feel like a not-so-great mom, there are 2 things I can do that boost my self-confidence and make me feel like THE MOST WONDERFUL MOM ON THE PLANET.

And those 2 things are:
1. crawling through the McDonald's Playland with N
2. letting her do crafts involving paint, glue, glitter or play-dough in my home.

These 2 activities involve sacrifice in the forms of physical pain (specifically the knees) while twisting myself into fleshy pretzel pieces at Mickey D's and emotional pain from seeing my linoleum, carpet, and N's clothing become canvases on which my little artiste' expresses her creativity.

So, after last night, I feel rejuvenated. And I feel better about holding off on preschool. I mean, how many preschool teachers tackle foot-paint ice-skating????

Monday, January 8, 2007


Today was my day to babysit for the mom club meeting, but I wanted to make a quick 2-minute announcement prior to the start. Of course, when I told N I had to step out of the room for just a second, she had a complete meltdown. The one child who's mom is staying in the childcare room is the one going ape-shit.

So what does this tell me? It tells me nothing. Being a mom isn't about being told something. It is about guess-work. It is about nothing being certain, only suggested.

I always feel strange whenever someone asks me whether N is going to preschool in the fall. She is not. And I'm not really interested in sending her to a parents' day out program.

I know, I know. I "should" socialize her better. I "should" get her used to being with other adults and not around me. I have always been especially good at listening to what I "should" do, but my instincts and my heart tell me it's not time. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows?

I like to think that N's internal clock knows what it's ready for and if I read her signs well enough, I'll know how to make my decisions. I'm much more afraid of pushing her too soon and too fast than maybe holding her back a little. Yes, the pacifier drives me a little nuts but it's not her thumb (which I think would be worse) and she'll eventually get over it (although it might require orthodontia to do it). And the potty-training.... she will eventually decide diapers suck and she's sick of having poop caked to her butt.

Maybe some of my hesitation is just the overwhelming push by "society" to make kids grow up. My niece and nephew are in daycare, and I know that decisions about what they can do, should do and will do are predetermined by the daycare based on the kids' ages. Not their abilities, not their temperaments, not their likes or dislikes....just their ages. The same thing applies in school. At certain ages, they learn to do certain things, so what about the kid who's "intuitive internal engine" doesn't operate on that same schedule? She isn't yet 3. And even when she turns 3 in a couple months, she will only be 3.

But I know myself , and I know I'm being selfish too. I want her with me. I don't want her being ready to go off into the world. She will eventually fly, but I'm not going to nudge her out of the nest prematurely because I savor my time with her (even when I'm about up to HERE with her whining or just tired of having to be "on" all the time). I keep telling myself I want to enjoy my now time with her because she will spend most of her life NOT wanting to be around me. I relish this time when she thinks I am the coolest thing on earth because 1. I know I'm not cool and 2. she will soon discover the same.

Plus, I am only just now feeling comfortable in this "mom" skin, and despite these 3 years, every second my self-concept as mom is changing. It is a daily flux. So what am I going to be in 2 years when she starts kindergarten? I'll still be mom, but differently. And radically differently because she'll be not with me for 7+ hours of the day. I'm not ready to start on that slippery slope by having her go to preschool or PDO for 3 hours. I'm simply not ready psychologically for that process to begin.

So for now, it's just me and N, and I'm just going to have to hope that that is perfectly ok.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


I often do not understand why I decided to keep my maiden name because in so many ways I am not at all like the people who bore me or the sibling who shares my genetic history. Of course, I am not like my husband's family either so taking his name upon our marriage wouldn't have worked.

My family (mom, dad, and brother) all share a common behavior: indecisiveness. I do not know that I am inherently decisive or that living with 3 equally annoying indecisive people for 24 years made me determined to be the opposite.

So my quick decision-making and their inability to act quickly is coming into play as I have begun planning this year's vacation.

Last year wasn't a vacation year. It was D's fun spending money year, which means we purchased stuff (which is what he likes) instead of experiences (which is what I like). We bought a leather couch to suit his complex "lounging" needs. Now I would have been ok with something cheaper, but D goes into passive-aggressive mode when we get something that isn't quite up to his particular standards. I believe I had to listen to under-the-breath mutters about our old couch for exactly 8.5 years (give or take a week or so). This fall he bought his big 50" tv, and I bought him an on-sale tv stand because I was tired of tripping over all of his receivers and dvd players and speakers and whatever else he hooks up in our basement to make the walls shake when he watches Star Wars.

Originally I hadn't intended to go to DisneyWorld. Whenever I thought about it, which wasn't often, I thought, "Well, I'll wait till I have all my kids and then I'll take all of them to Florida." However, the fun "Adventures in Not-Conceiving" ride got me thinking that
1. N may be "all my kids" I ever end up having
2. You better just do whatever the heck you want in life when you want (because life don't always go your way). If I ain't gotta save for a new baby, I might as well blow a chunk o' change at Disney.

So in a fit of insanity, thinking it might be fun for the whole gang to go, I invited my brother and his family, my mom and dad, and my MIL. Now my brother just had his 2nd kid, and both are under 2. My SIL will go back to work from maternity leave in mid-February. They want to put their house up for sale and buy a new one since they are busting at the seams of their current residence. As much as I'd like for them to go, I think they would be a little insane to try to undertake their current lives, a real estate switcheroo, and a 12 hour jaunt to central Florida. In 2005, all of us went to AL for a vacation and it was alot of fun. However, that was pre-new nephew, and there is a big difference between a relaxing beach vacation and Disney.

Maybe I'm lazy or just mean but I don't feel like doing tons of work and research and calling and planning for folks who aren't really serious about going. I guess since I've made up my mind, I'm ready to go. Let's plan this baby and roll. Anyone who works with me on the board of the moms club knows this about my personality. I don't like waiting around for people to think or contemplate. I'm using toes now to count the number of times I think something is a good idea and run with it, only to find a reasonable person who comes up with a far better idea or a suggestion that makes my idea seem rash.

I think my Aunt Sis was this way...she had mood problems too, so I'll blame her. Regardless, now I am in neutral....sit-around-and-wait-for-other-people-to-decide mode. Ahhh, the joys of my own personal purgatory.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

An alright day

I don't really have good days. Not that my days don't have moments of good or even consecutive hours of good, but there is always a little bummer associated with every day, and I am the kind of person who pays more attention to the bummer part than the 14 hours that preceded or surrounded it.

But I do recognize the good in the day, although anyone who reads my blog would beg to differ after having read any of my previous posts. I remind myself sometimes of the big headed robot Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the paranoid android, suicidally depressed and just a great big morose ball of fun.

So instead of having good days, I have alright days. Today was an alright day. N and I went to our neighbor's house for a playdate, and N was mostly happy and content, especially when she got to dress up in Sleeping Beauty costumes. When she took her nap, I walked on the treadmill.

She awoke in a clingy mood, and I was, by this time, right smack in the middle of getting everything off the basement Christmas tree. We had a snack and she walked Pinky Lee, her favorite baby doll, in the stroller, while she ate 3 baby carrots on our way to visit Jack, Diane and Jessie, the resident donkeys who live right outside our neighborhood.

But after we got home from the walk, perhaps because she was tuckered out from the jaunt, her mood soured, and mine did likewise. I told D I was going to change my name to Ethel because I was sick of hearing N yell "Mommy....mommy...mommy." She couldn't play by herself for 2 minutes so I could reheat leftovers in the microwave. When N gets in a funk, I follow shortly thereafter. I catch bad moods like hookers catch the clap.

Suffice it to say, the Christmas decorations got put away, the floor got vacuumed, N got a bubble bath and stories read to her and nobody got hurt.

Before I had N I taught middle school, and even when I was dealing some tough little shits, I could shake a negative event a heck of a lot faster than I can now. Did the pregnancy hormones blow my mind? Yep. Do the mommy hormones continue to blow my mind. You bet. And having some kid who is not your child give you lip is a HELL OF A lot different than having your own flesh and blood give you lip.

That funny blend of "I love you to the core of my being" and "I hate you at this moment" all wrapped into one I'm sure has something to do with it.

So today was alright, as most days are.