Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lack of tact

N takes dance class with two little girls...sisters. This summer it was just the 3 of them in class together, so their mom and I talked a bit. She was expecting a baby with Trisomy 18.

I received an email on Tuesday announcing that she had delivered the baby, a boy, and he lived 9 hours.

When I took N to class last night, the dad was there with his daughters. I hugged him and asked how M was doing, told him I'd like to bring them a meal, asked if their son's name was a family name. Kept my voice low and respectful. But I wanted to acknowledge that I had gotten word and that I felt the deepest sympathy for them.

Now there is a woman who is often in the small waiting area where G and I wait. Her daughter is older and in a different class, but she and I have chatted. She is very friendly. So friendly in fact that you want to put duct tape over her mouth because she simply won't shut up.

While I was talking to T, this woman comes over and says something on the order of, "I didn't mean to eavesdrop but I just want to say I'm sorry." That in itself would have been fine, but she then proceeded to tell him about her miscarriages, thereby taking his grief and turning it into an opportunity to talk about herself. And she just went on and on and on. And her voice really travels. She carried on so much that eventually I heard T offering sympathy to her.

Since this woman doesn't know T and M (and admittedly I don't know them well), she doesn't know that this is, in fact, their second loss of a child. Their first son was stillborn. And they had 5 miscarriages before their oldest daughter was born. And they will not be having anymore children. (I mention this only because she started saying stuff like, "And don't give up. Try again.")

I'm not suggesting that her losses are less important or painful than theirs. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a baby, either through early miscarriage, stillbirth or as a result of a birth defect soon after delivery. But her losses aren't less than 24 hours fresh. T and M's pain is still raw. She has had time to process and heal a bit. She doesn't know them, so saying, "I overheard, and I am so sorry for your loss" is fine, thoughtful, considerate. But yakking the man's head off for 10 minutes about her own experiences when she doesn't know anything about his situation is boorish and awful.

Aside from making me want to avoid this lady like the plague, it also made me wonder whether I have ever done anything like that to someone.... blabbered on about myself when I clearly should have kept my mouth shut. I can only remember one time, and I was 16. I love to talk about myself, but I sincerely hope I have learned some semblance of tact. Seeing its lack really burned me up.

facebook is.....

really interfering with my blog reading.

Prior to this past Monday I had heard of facebook maybe twice, but didn't really have the slightest notion what it was. Then at my moms club banquet, I succumbed to peer pressure and decided to have a go.

And it has been amusing these past couple days, although I am still formulating an opinion on it. I have searched for people I hated in elementary school, former flames, former colleagues, family members. I believe that after 3-4 days, I have "found" basically everyone I care to find or that memory will allow me to find. I have been spending more time than I ought thinking, "Now what was that girl's name??" I will snoop some more, but I think there would be more of a thrill if I was "wookin pa nub" rather than just dorking around instead of doing housework.

Apparently, other people in this city that I went to grade school and high school and college with have better things to do than find social contacts. C'mon, not everyone can be working on a cure for cancer at once.

Ah well, given my issues with the overuse of the word "friend," it is probably for the best I don't find others to pester with emails that say things like, "Do you remember me? I'm the girl you made fun of from 5th-8th grade, which resulted in the wreck that I call my self-esteem. Thanks for that. I hope you aren't the same bee-atch I knew back then. If you have matured, email me back. We can do lunch."

Ok, done with being catty. Moving on to other things.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My dear boy

Dear G,

I know it pains your daddy for me to say this, but my heart was captured by another man twelve months ago, and my love affair with him continues despite his drooling, stinky poops and propensity for destroying my house.

Minutes old

1 day old

1 month old

You have brought me so much joy and laughter with the things you do. Kicking your legs and waving your arms when you see ducks or horses or dogs. Yanking pots, pans and kitchen towels from drawers and splaying them all over the floor. Clicking your tongue to tell me you are hungry. And that wide, beautiful grin of yours that you flash at most everyone you meet.

2 months old

3 months old

4 months old

I look back at pictures of you from months past and am amazed at how much you have changed and how quickly the time has gone. I try to savor the special times when you crawl over and lay your head in my lap. When I lift you out of the crib in the morning and you cling to my neck, giving me a huge hug. When you say, "Mama or Dada" in a clear voice.

5 months old

6 months old

7 months old

You are such a friendly boy, eager to smile and wave. And mostly easy-going, although there is no doubt when you don't like something. You scream and push the offending object out of your way...and sometimes launch it across the room.

I love to watch you hike your leg over the tub in an attempt to nosedive into the water for your bath. I love to watch you sample every pacifier in your crib, as if they were appetizers on a tray. I love to see you wrap the dining room curtains around your head and play peek-a-boo.

8 months old

9 months old

10 months old

11 months old

There is nothing sweeter than holding your chubby little body, but I know I will forget the feel all too soon because you will grow thin and gangly in a rush of time. But with that bigger body will come even more ways for me to find that I love you.

I am so privileged to have you as my dear, sweet boy.

Happy 1st Birthday love.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not sure if she meant me, but here goes

I have a number of "favorite" blogs that I check everyday. (In addition to changing the template of my blog, I got real crafty and added my blog list over to the right somewhere.) Some of the ladies I know personally, and some of the bloggers are friends of the ladies I know personally.

Ok, so one of the blogs had a meme challenge, and someone named Carrie was specifically challenged along with 4 other women. I am insecure enough to wonder if I am the Carrie she meant, and egotistical to go ahead and do it anyway despite the insecurity that I'll look like an ass if I'm not the Carrie she meant (but Robin, only you and I will know, right?).

First, I had to look of the definition of meme.

Now, onto the business at hand--figuring out how to link to the article from her blog. Hmmmmm. Give me a few minutes.

48 Ways to be Nice


Secondly--my commentary.
I try to be nice, but I am not very successful alot of the time. I do better at being friendly. Nice requires generosity and thoughtfulness of which I don't possess much; friendly is simpler. Most of the time I don't feel I am that much different from say, a 4-year-old, in terms of egocentricity. Perhaps that is why me and the 4-year-old who lives in this house with me often go head-to-head? Anyway, I do like the idea of trying to be nicer and thinking, at least momentarily, not so much about moi.

Now, Robin's additions:
  • Hold the elevator for someone.
  • Leave a treat (Starbucks card, McD gift card, etc.) for the sanitation workers in your neighborhood.
  • Bake a cake for no reason and take it to someone who needs something cheerful. (Store bought cup cakes work too!)
  • Give a gift that involves spending time together, like a card making class for you and a friend as her birthday gift. Then you're spending time together doing something you enjoy, and you're making homemade cards that go to others.
  • Leave a post it note love letter to your honey - even when you don't feel so loving. The simple act of being nice helps extend that feeling back to you.
  • Take used books and leave them at a coffee shop, shelter or someplace where others can enjoy them.
Now, my additions.
  • No matter how upset you are, really, really try not to write a blog that will upset the neighbors who upset you in the first place. (ok, this one is low. I'll try harder on the next one.)
  • When you are snippy with the gas station attendant and realize later you were in the wrong, call the station and offer an apology to her.
  • When a local outfit is collecting used Rx medications for safe disposal or old, junked out computer gadgets to recycle, offer to collect from neighbors so they don't have to make the trip (and thereby help everyone be a little more eco-friendly).
  • When a friend's kid is acting nuts and you can tell she is upset by it, give her a hug.
  • When someone you knew way back when and haven't seen in years suffers a loss (i.e., you see their parent's, husband's, child's obituary in the paper), send him/her a card, even if you doubt he/she will remember you.
  • Tell hubby thank you when he empties the dishwasher without being asked (even though you don't want to because you don't get thanked for doing the other 10,000 jobs around the house). Do it anyway and get over it.
Ok, I'm exhausted. See, even thinking about being nice wears me out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lights out

Our city recently hosted some evacuees from New Orleans after the hurricane, and in one newspaper article, some of the evacuees complained about the food and the refuge amenities. Shortly thereafter, locals wrote letters to the editor slamming the evacuees as ungrateful.

How dare they?

Ummmm, we lost power on Sunday for 16 hours after hurricane force winds beat the hell out of our city, and I nearly lost my goddamn mind! And I was in my own house, with my family, with my clothes and furniture. We just didn't have electricity. And it was cool enough to open the windows. And it never rained.

At around 6:00 am today, our electricity came back on. At around 5:00 am, I was awake worrying about how we would function without electricity today. The kids can't drink milk. We have no tv. No hot water for baths. We have no tv. Can't wash towels or underwear. Good God, we have no tv!!!!!!!!

I cannot imagine how horrible I would feel being far, far away from my home, living out of a gym or convention center, sharing a bathroom with hundreds of other people. Yes, I would get hot meals. Yes, I would take a hot shower. Yes, I would be with my family and be safe. And I would be grateful for those things, but I would also be fricking MISERABLE and wanting to complain all day long if someone would let me.

And what about people who have lived in refugee camps for YEARS!!!!! They have nothing but the clothes on their backs. They don't have homes or toys or furniture to which to return.

I, like most Americans or anyone who is used to living in what amounts to embarrassing luxury, cannot handle even the slightest inconvenience, which is what 16 hours without electricity amounts to. I've heard plenty of people on radio shows and newscasts lamenting our sad situation.

It makes me feel ashamed of wanting things like new flooring or a new, non-lumpy mattress or all those absolutely unncessary things that I want. It makes me wonder how I would cope if I lost everything but the clothes on my back and my family. It makes me understand how other countries think Americans are a bunch of whiners....because even the poorest among us are rich compared to so many people in other countries.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I never took personal days...and why I still don't

When I was a teacher, I never opted to take personal days unless it was a dire need. I HATED the prospect of getting a sub for one very good reason: too much trouble.

I had to make 8 trillion copies for the sub, write extensive lesson plans and notes for the sub, notify other teachers of the sub (in case all hell broke loose). And then when I returned the following day, I had to parse through the mounds of paperwork, parent notes, and detention slips seemingly thrown all over my desk and workspace (not stacked neatly as I would do).

Actually, I think I only took 1 personal day in 4 years of teaching and that was because I had to have a 3-hour gestational diabetes test that required morning fasting.

My shopping excursion on my birthday reminded me alot of that personal day experience. Not so much on the preparation end....but on the return.

I went to the mall in search of coordinating outfits for our family picture, which I intend to take when G gets his 1-year photos made. So this wasn't just a la-di-da, no purpose except wasting time shopping trip. And bear in mind, I don't really like to shop anyway, even for a la-di-da kind of thing.

So I went to Old Navy. Yuck.
Then I went to The Gap. Yuck.
Nothing but ugly striped rugby shirts for boys. And I figured since I am waaaay picky about what G wears for his pictures I better find his outfit first.

So I went to Gymboree. I found a cute orange/green stripped pant with orange shirt for G, but then I struggled to find something for N. So I left.

I went to Children's Place since I had bought N an outfit there awhile back.
Again, ugly rugby shirts, except these had numbers on them.

Back to Gymboree. After much hemming and hawing, I found a green top for N with cute, fall-colored leggings that coordinate with the original orange outfit I found for G. Spent $60 on their outfits which is ridiculous, but this will be our only family picture for awhile. And every other article of fall/winter clothing I bought for them (save that one Children's Place outfit) was from consignment sales. So I didn't feel too rotten about being a little frivolous.

Now onto mom and dad. Went back to Old Navy and found a green blouse for myself that matches the green in G's outfit and N's leggings, and found a plaid button-down shirt for D that coordinates with everything else. D and I might be wearing nothing but our undies with our shirts cause I wasn't gonna even bother with pants. We'll just have the photographer snap us from the shoulders up.

After all this, I was frickin' worn out...not as bad as I would have been had the kids been with me, but still. So I bought myself a mound of food for lunch and had what I think is my 1st meal alone in 4.5 years (as in not having brunch with friends; really and truly eating solo). I told D that, and he looked at me incredulously. Really, the 1st meal alone in 4.5 years? Leisurely. I got to chew and swallow my food without having to get up and get someone milk or water or parmesan cheese or a napkin or a fork. I didn't have to feed anyone else before I took the first bite of my own food. I did enjoy that part of my shopping experience.

As soon as my feet hit the linoleum, I remembered the personal day return to school. G and N pretty much met me at the door and more or less hung on me for the next 4 hours, whining and asking me for various things. There weren't mounds of new crap all over the house....but the mounds that were there when I left were still there, waiting for me to straighten them up. The cats started meowing for food as soon as they saw me....because apparently I must be the only one to shake just the exact amount of kibble into their bowls to satisfy their picky feline selves.

So going out for a couple hours is mostly pointless because I don't get the full benefit of relaxing, as one would if she were gone for a weekend or week like on a vacation, but a couple of hours is just long enough for the kids to miss me and for me to get out of my house groove (which then takes a couple hours to get back into once I am home).

At least I got some well-coordinated outfits. I will look back on this excursion as a victory when I see our lovely faces on our wall, looking dandy and dapper in our new outfits.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anti-feminist statement?

So here I go again with an opinion which will likely piss off even more of my neighbors should they be frequenting my blog.

I am glad that Sarah Palin has a the right/ability/choice to be on the GOP ticket as vice-president.
But I strongly disagree with her choice.

And the reason I think this is because 1. I am a stay-at-home mom, and 2. any career ambitions I had dissipated when I had my children.

There was a time when I really wanted to get a Ph.D. When I felt like this was the be-all/end-all accomplishment. There was a time when I worked my ass off as a teacher, spending late nights grading papers and emailing parents and doing all the diligent work that exceptional teachers do. There was a time when Rank I was a coveted place.

Maybe when my children are older and I am not in full-blown, full-time mommy mode, these aspirations will return. But I don't really care if they do or not. I'm not about ambition right now and maybe won't be ever again. I don't know.

I guess what really bugged me most was seeing Palin's little baby in the convention spotlight. All I could think was, "That baby needs to be...not on stage hearing the roar of the crowd and loud music...but being rocked to sleep at home and then put to bed." The older kids---fine---let them hang out. But the baby shouldn't be part of this. A baby has no place at a political convention (or a rock concert--do you hear me, Matthew McConaughey?).

And I guess it made me question Palin's ambition a little bit. Question her decision-making.

If Palin was a man, I would still disagree with the decision to have an infant at the political convention, but I wouldn't question the decision to be on the ticket at all because I would figure the momma would be handling the childrearing responsibilities. Sexist? Ok. Anti-feminist? Ok. But there is nothing like a momma to a baby.

Yes, there are some very wonderful fathers out there who nurture and parent better than the mothers, but there is still something about a momma. Scientists say babies know their mothers' scent shortly after birth. When people are sick, even as adults, they want their mommas to take care of them. Even though motherhood seemingly gets no respect, it is the most prized position in the world.

I guess I simply can't wrap my head around a woman who would rather be Vice-President than care for her baby, especially when that baby is a special needs child. But, remember, I have no ambition. I don't want to be Vice-President of my neighborhood association, let alone an entire country.

Since I'm so busy being an unambitious SAHM and not boning up on my state governors, had Palin not gotten on the ticket, I never would have known about her. So I wouldn't have ever had a diatribe about her being Alaska's governor and not staying home with her baby. There's something about making that big leap to VP that got my goat.

Birthday weekend

Nope, not G's birthday. His is the 26th of this month. The 13th is my 35th birthday. While in no way as troublesome as 29 was to me, 35 definitely feels a little heavy.

My mom had me when she was 35, so as a kid, the age seemed old. I always imagined her looking a little worn and haggard, exactly the way I look desperate need of a haircut, sloppily dressed, sans cosmetics.

And 35 is the magical "advanced maternal age" number, so even though I won't really feel put out to pasture until 40, I can feel my cells aging a little faster than they did even a couple days ago.

My plans for the weekend include going to my mom and dad's tomorrow for a family feast---roast and cupcakes (and a couple side dishes thrown in between). Saturday I have requested a couple hours worth of shopping time by myself to purchase coordinating outfits for a family picture. D and I are going out to dinner on Sunday night to a real restaurant....not Qdoba, not Fazoli's. A restaurant with linen tablecloths, expensive bottles of wine, mood music. The only bad thing about this is I will have to clean up a little bit (which is the one thing I adore about being a stay-at-home mom---I can be a total scrub and nobody questions my hygiene habits---they assume it is lack of time, when in fact it is lack of interest).

So happy birthday to me. Here's to 35 more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Feels like grief

I know D doesn't want any more children. Like most of the dads I know, he is absolutely, totally content with the standard "2 children." I know I am lucky to have the two beautiful, healthy children I have. I know I need to accept these things rather than hang onto a wispy strand of hope that D could possibly (if bribed or following a near-death experience) change his mind in a couple years.

But it hurts my heart to give up that hope, however frayed and fragile it is. However, if I hang on for another couple years, it will only be that much harder to let my dream go.

D loves our kids, but he doesn't really like the chaos of kids (any kids)....the noise, the interruptions, etc. Being around too many people drains him of energy. I, of course, am the opposite. I really enjoy being around people, so even though the kids drive me nuts at times, I get energized from having them around. N spent the night with my parents on Sunday, and the house felt like a mausoleum. Entirely too quiet since G makes noise but nothing on par with his sister.

With having an older girl and a younger boy, I think about my childhood, which was mostly good but unsatisfying in one way I distinctly remember.

My parents are more like D....low-key, perfectly content to be at home, doing their own individual activities (sewing, reading or watching tv). My younger brother was also that way as a child...totally content to stay holed up in his room playing Legos or with his Star Wars figures.

I remember feeling so bored and lonely on holidays because they were off doing their own things, and I wanted/needed action, events, conversation, something. Sure, I would play in my room but I couldn't occupy myself with solitary activities as long as they could. Of course, my friends were all with their own families on these festive days, so I couldn't turn to them for distraction. For years and years, I despised all legal holidays because they reminded me of spending time in the house, stuck with my family of origin. That hatred only abated once I had my own child.

The best holiday memories I have is when my family would get together with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmas, and have a big family party. There was always someone to talk to or play with or something new happening in a different corner of the basement. It felt warm and busy and happy.

Having a family of 4 makes me feel like I am reliving this unsatisfying aspect of my childhood. I envision D and the 2 kids off doing their own things, while I long to play Monopoly or something fun as a group.

Plus, my brother and I get along but were never close as kids, and we were only 2.5 years apart. As I said, he was happy as a clam being left alone, and I was not. Maybe if I'd had a sister, we would have been close if for no other reason than a shared love of dolls or cute older boys. That longing for closeness with a sibling makes me want one of my children to have a same-sex sibling, even though I know it doesn't guarantee a relationship.

So, yes, however wrong it may be, I want to "fix" the things I didn't like about my childhood by making the family I create different. But with 2 children, an older girl and a younger boy, it feels the same, although I know it isn't the same because they are not me or my brother, and D and I are not my parents.

And then there is fear that something will happen to N or G or, god forbid, both. I may be the only person on the planet who worries about this now, but I know this is something all parents for all time (at least prior to the advent of childhood immunizations) have thought about.

But none of this matters if my partner in reproductive crime is adamantly opposed to 1 more child.

So I have to start working on letting all of this go, trying to dispatch my fears about the future and frustrations with my past. And that amounts to letting my hope die and mourning the feelings of loss I have.