Monday, June 29, 2009

This is Pain with a Purpose!

Since we are on the subject of mommyhood theories and expectations (I said what?), I thought I would share some of my pregnancy ridiculousness. I read a lot of books and websites and articles about giving birth and babies while I was pregnant. A lot. Daily. I asked other mommies questions. I could scan a room and quickly zero in on any mommy or pregnant woman there so I could befriend her, then trap her in a corner and make her want to run away screaming with all my freakoid questions. This is one thing about me that will probably never change. I can't do anything new without first completing a lot of research and asking a gazillion questions. I like to be freakishly prepared. I know a little about a lot, but I'm not an expert on anything. Except bowel movements and the digestive system, but that is a WHOLE other story for another time. Or maybe never.

While I was pregnant, I read a lot about spirituality and the power of positive thinking. I was having a really difficult time with the fact that I couldn't get out of giving birth. It was the first thing I was ever going to do in my life that I could not just decide not to do (someone should add "give birth if you are pregnant and want to keep the baby" to that whole "death and taxes" bit). No matter how bad I wanted to, I couldn't at the last minute say, "You know what? This whole giving birth thing doesn't sound like my bag, so I'm gonna bow out on this one. Peace out."

There was no going back.

I decided if I had to go through with having my legs spread in the air for perfect strangers while a baby emerges in a sea of mystery goo, then I should definitely consider the power of postive thinking. The power of being present in the moment. Be present. Mind over matter.

So, I came up with a list of phrases, or affirmations, to read to myself during labor. I guess I thought I would read them in between contractions. Who knows what I was thinking. My mind was a sea of mystery goo by that point as well.

Here are a few of my mind over matter affirmations:

1. Stay in the present moment
2. This Pain is NOT part of who you are
3. Have an attitude of gratitude - You are having a baby!
4. Choose calm
5. Remain Present and Go No Further
6. Breathe
7. Remember that Maximus is a miracle and a blessing
8. Your need for control is your ego - It is not part of who you really are
9. Let go and trust
10. I am safe and all is well. I trust my body, I trust God, I trust Steve. I give thanks for the easy and joyous birth of my son, Max, who is happy and healthy!
11. This is Pain with a Purpose!
12. Make the present moment your friend - it is not an obstacle to overcome
13. I am a Spiritual Being having a Human Experience

Okay. First of all, I planned on having an epidural during labor and I planned on it working well. I guess I thought I would read my affirmations while I sat watching TV and playing cards with my husband while the epidural took all the nasty pains away. This is what they told us in birthing class - take playing cards because there won't be much to do after the epidural while you are waiting for your precious bundle! I want to slap that birthing class nurse now.

I started talking about my birth experience back in April (The Nothing and Foreshadowing). I guess this is my continuation of those entries.

After my husband and I were finally admitted to a room of our own, the contractions got much worse. Where in the h-e-double toothpicks was the anesthesiologist? I never planned on having natural childbirth. I wanted my epidural!!

All the details of the next few hours are quite blurry to me (unending, excruciating pain can do that to you), so if I get some details incorrect, maybe one of my family members can correct me. I think the anesthesiologist showed up around noon. I had been there since 7 am. At noon, I was dilated to a 6. Great! Moving right along.

I got the epidural. I was hurting so bad I don't even remember feeling the stick of the needle in my lower back. Total pain relief for about 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, rather quickly, the pain returned until I was in agony again. What was wrong? Why wasn't it working?

Someone went to find the anesthesiologist because I think my head was spinning around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. I hated everyone by that point. Especially the unsympathetic nurses who kept poking at me and staring at me and examining my progress (which hurt like a mother scratcher), then giving me the evil news that I hadn't progressed any at all. People came in and out of my room, I have no idea who was there or what was happening outside of the sheer terror I was feeling. During one exam, I let out a howl and a scream until the nurse finally gave up and said she would have the doctor examine me from now on. Thank you!

Thank God, I had an amazing doula who kept me focused. She breathed with me, she massaged my legs, she kept the reiki music playing, she gave me ice chips, she encouraged me. If it hadn't been for her, I think I would have...well, I'm not sure what I would have done, but it probably would have been homicidal-ish. I do remember family members coming in and standing at the end of the bed, just staring at me, not saying a word, looking helpless. I know they wanted to take my suffering away. I remember my husband walking in the room with a slice of pizza in his hand when I hadn't eaten in almost 24 hours. He then asked me if I wanted a slice, forgetting that I was not allowed to eat. Here is where homicide comes to mind. I remember my sister and sister-in-law being in the room and laughing at something they saw on tv. If I had been a super hero, I would have zapped them right then and there with my laser beam eyes. Zapped to dust. And then I would have said, "Now who is laughing?"

A different anesthesiologist finally came into the room wearing a hawaiian shirt and looking very vacation-ish and rested. Bastard. Just kidding. He was a VERY nice man who tried to figure out the problem as best he could. Or maybe it was the first anesthesiologist who came in a second time. This is where it gets blurry. I can't remember.

Anyway, one of the two took out the first needle and put it back in, thinking adjusting it would work. Nope.

Then they upped my dosage. Nope.

Then they figured out that my backup dosing wasn't working. They fixed it.

Nope, still in torment.

Then they took out the old needle and inserted a brand new epidural.

Pain relief for about 30 minutes once again...and it returned in full force again.

I didn't know someone could be in that much pain and not die. It was absolutely the worst pain I have ever felt. To make matters worse, I couldn't walk or turn over becauase the only thing the epidural managed to do was completely numb my legs. I was a dying invalid.

I never once looked at those damn affirmations.

Well, anyway, after seventeen hours of wanting someone to kill me, the doctor came in and checked my progress. I was dilated to a 6 1/2.

In the last eight hours, I had only progressed 1/2 centimeter. I fell into complete despair. I couldn't go on. I was going on no sleep, no food, 17 hours of mental and physical SUFFERING. I couldn't go on.

Apparently, my son was head down, but facing sideways and his head was stuck in my birth canal. He wasn't coming out the regular way. I told the doctor I wanted my son out of my body immediately by any means possible. So, a quick shave and I was off to the OR for a c-section. I'll talk about the emotional and physical scarring of that cherry another day.

So, I'm sure I left out lots of details, but I can't remember much outside of the torturous contractions. One on top of another and another, all freaking day long.

And now, I look back at all my theories and expectations, my affirmations, my determination to make my birth experience a joy and a blessing. And I laugh. I roll my eyes. I shake my head. And I look at this poor, unsuspecting woman. Look how happy she is. She had no idea the storm that was comin'.

Ha ha.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Knock Knock Knock...It's 80's MJ...Can I come in?

I had an entry ready for today, written to follow my last entry about expectations, this one about pregnancy expectations, but in the light of today's events, it will be postponed.

I am devastated. I can't believe Michael Jackson AND Farrah Fawcett are dead. I have actually been crying!! Lord, help me.

I never watch the news anymore, or adult television for that matter. If the TV is on, it stays on Sprout, Baby Einstein videos or Elmo's World. My mother knows this, so she called to give me the tragic news. I was in my son's room, filming him while he took a book out of his bookcase, flipped through it, then threw it to the side and pulled another one out, again and again. I think it is so grown-up of him, even if he does look at them upside down.

After I hung up with my mom, I started crying! Although I am in complete shock that Farrah is gone, I am crushed about Michael Jackson. His music was a big chunk of my childhood! He was one of those bigger-than-life people who I never imagined to be mortal. Like my Grandaddy. Or my first dog, Frodo. Those you thought could beat Death at its own game.

MJ's death has brought back so many memories. I had his Bad album and his Thriller album on LP. The Thriller album was my pride and joy (along with Debbie Boone's You Light Up My Life, the Go-Go's Vacation and my Xanadu soundtrack). I thought the cover was sleek and cool with the dramatic black background and that tiger! Very dangerous...

One of my clearest memories of childhood is when the "Thriller" video debuted on MTV. You know, back when MTV played music videos...before the days of Jenny McCarthy and game shows, before the days of reality tv. I even remember the day MTV debuted on television.

I pretty much kept the television on MTV all hours of the day in the '80's.. I would even write down the videos and the artists I watched during the day, in the order I watched them, just so I could go back and reminisce later. I know, weird. I would videotape, on VHS, hours of videos, especially when they had a Bon Jovi marathon. I watched the Headbanger's Ball religiously every weekend. I was in love with the VJ, Adam (I think that was his name? Curly, brown hair?), and I didn't like Downtown Julie Brown. I have no idea why.

The day the "Thriller" video debuted, MTV played it like three times in a row. It scared me so bad that I had to watch it from the bottom of our stairs, peeking around the corner so that I could run upstairs to my mom if need know, if one of the dead people from the video jumped out of the television, or came running out of my laundry room, or anything unforeseen like that.

I remember when his hair caught fire while filming the Pepsi commercial. I remember the Moonwalk and trying to master his moves in my socks around my bedroom floor. I tried to memorize Vincent Price's speaking part in "Thriller" and I thought the girl in the video was sooooo pretty and lucky. And who could forget the video for "Say, Say, Say" with Paul McCartney and "Billie Jean" with the floor tiles that lit up when he walked? The gang dancing in "Beat It" and the hot chick in "The Way You Make Me Feel"? Who didn't want to look like her?

I am sad. I don't like to remember the Michael Jackson of the last decade or so, the one accused of child molestation. Truth be told, I always felt a little sorry for him. I thought he looked very lonely when I saw him in news reports on TV. Fame at that magnitude can't be easy. And yes, he was neurotic and strange and allegedly a pedophile. But, I like to remember the MJ of the 80's, before all that. I loved 80's MJ.

Tonight I sang "Beat It" to my son while I was feeding him dinner. He started clapping in his high chair and giggling. I thought it was an appropriate personal tribute to one of my childhood heroes.

Now I have to go watch endless hours of CNN and Dateline coverage until I have accepted the news and can peacefully go to bed with visions of MJ moonwalking in my head.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I said what?

So, I changed the subtitle of my blog's heading just for this post.

"Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories."

I found the quote in Wayne Dyer's book, "What Do You Really Want for Your Children?" The quote is from John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester from the seventeenth century. Just goes to show it doesn't matter what century you live in, none of us know what we are flippin' doing when it comes to raising our kids. All we can do is dive in and hope we don't screw them up too terribly. Because you do know that you will screw them up in some way. It is inevitable. None of us are perfect parents. Dammit.

So, just let me say that I had oodles of theories about kids before I had one. Oodles and oodles. Oh, and I was silently judgmental of other parents before I had a child, as well. I know. Strike me down. I am now learning my lesson.

One of those "theories" of mine was that babies should not, under any circumstances, be given a pacifier. Never. Never. Never. It was lazy parenting to poke a pacifier in a baby's mouth when they are crying or screaming in public or babbling too loudly. My theory was that the baby would eventually believe his or her need to speak out was unimportant and a nuisance. And it would be a crutch for the child that the parent would have to eventually take away, therefore scarring the poor kid.

Fast forward to day two of my son's life.

He was born on a Thursday evening and this happened on Saturday. My son was breastfeeding for hours at a time in the hospital. If he wasn't breastfeeding, he would cry like he wanted to be breastfeeding. Some of you may know that I hadn't slept since the day before he was born. I was no doubt losing my mind. A nurse comes in and tells me that he is using my breasts as a pacifier and why don't I let her give him an actual pacifier?

For about half a second, I thought, No, we don't believe in pacifiers. Half a second. Then, in desperation, I yelled, "Give him one! Hell, give him five pacifiers! I don't care! Just get him to be quiet!" Ok, I didn't say that exactly, but it was what I was thinking as I said, "Ok, I guess."

Everyday since, he has had that dang pacifier in his mouth...and I can't tell you how many times it has saved my hanging-by-a-thread sanity.

More silly theories of mine? I was not, under any circumstances, going to let my child watch television until he turned two years old. TV bad. Mommy and baby time good. While I still believe this is true, it has not stopped me from sticking him in his jumperoo to watch Baby Einstein or Elmo for thirty minutes while I get some much needed ME time, including activities such as eating, doing the dishes, switching the laundry, sitting on my hands so I don't pull ALL my hair out, staring out the window wondering if I ever brushed my teeth, and looking for my perpetually missing cell phone.

Another theory: no baby of mine was going to eat jar baby food. I was going to cook and steam and puree my little heart out and be the best mommy chef ever. Until I had a child who won't eat anything BUT jarred baby food, who throws up at the first taste of anything that has taste. Now we should take out stock in Gerber, Earth's Best, and Organic Baby.

And a final theory about child rearing: a child should sleep in the same room as his/her parents until the age of three months, at which time he or she should be moved to his or her own room. This promotes bonding and security for the baby and easy access in the overnight feedings. Ha ha. Fast forward to five weeks after my son was born. I couldn't get him in his own room fast enough. He was always grunting and groaning in his sleep which gave me anxiety because I was never sure if he was about to wake up and dash my hopes and dreams for a little shut-eye. So, at five weeks, into his own room and his own crib he went. Anxiety level lowered...aaahhh, much better. So much for bonding and security and easy access.

So, basically, all my child raising theories were silly and shot and not part of my actual experience at all. Every once in a while, I kick my own backside for thinking such silliness. Every child is unique and there is no one size fits all. We, as parents, do whatever it takes to ease our children's pain, dry their tears, keep them happy, healthy, all the while trying to maintain some small piece of who we are outside of our parental roles. What is my lesson in all of this?

Never, ever judge something you have yet to experience. Have no expectations or theories about how each day should unfold. Cut yourself some slack. No one is a perfect parent. Judging and expecting always come back to bite you, well, you know where.

These are hard to remember when the day gets long, but I'll keep trucking. After all, we do get to start over tomorrow and that fact keeps me jumping out of bed every morning with a renewed sense of hope! Whew, thank God!

(Ok, last one! I believed in exclusive breastfeeding. Fast forward. My son has been on formula since seven weeks. Gotta love it.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ode to my BD (a.k.a. Baby's Daddy)

On the eve of his first Father's Day, I want to give my husband, a.k.a. my Baby's Daddy, a kiss on the lips, a pat on the back, a hug, a flippin' parade! for what a super-daddytastic father he has become to our Peanut.

I don't remember very much about the first month of my son's life, which makes me sad. I was an emotional and physical wreck. I was physically recovering from my unexpected c-section, I was having miserable gastrointestinal problems as a result of my surgery, I was learning to breastfeed, which proved to be unsuccessful thanks to my ever-faltering milk supply. My nipples were sore, my incision hurt, my pride hurt, my expectations had collapsed. Ouchie. The worst was my lack of any kind of workable sanity. I had terrible post-partum depression, the worst of which was in the first six weeks of my son's life, although the depression lasted six months (and still sometimes it comes to haunt me...stupid hormones). I didn't sleep for something like 99 hours straight after he was born, with little dozes here and there, because of my anxiety. I felt like a failure because my milk supply was so low and my son was starving and crying all the time. I was angry because my birth experience was flailing and painful and not beautiful and not natural and definitely not the happiest day of my life.

But, I had a savior through it all.

My husband.

The thing I DO remember about that first month is my husband took over quickly and flawlessly. He did everything I was unable to do because of my physical limitations and almost non-existent sanity. He learned how to change diapers, change onesies, feed, swaddle, bathe, have constant patience with, and love our son much sooner that I was able. He could swaddle with the best of 'em and he is the one who taught ME, THE MOTHER, how to wrap up our little burrito. He was a champ.

He took our son to his first two doctor's appointments by himself. He went to the store and bought nipple pads, nipple soothing cream, nipple guards, nipple medicated cream, and everything else nipple-related for me.

He made me lunch and heated up dinner. He rocked our son. He gave our son his first baths.

He helped me through my serious breakdowns. He suffered through my torrential tirades and night sweats. He told me I looked nice in the weeks after the birth when my clothes didn't fit and I know I still looked fat and five months pregnant.

He covered for me when I was sick. He went to the pharmacy and picked up embarrassing meds for my butt-tastic side effects of pregnancy (you mommies out there know what I'm talking about...).

When our son cried and I couldn't take it anymore or at all, he immediately stepped in. If our son had breakdowns in public, he was the one to calm him down. He knew our son's personality before I did.

He has gone to every single one of our son's doctor's appointments. He's never missed one. He went to all my prenatal appointments.

He was the first one to get peed on when changing a diaper and he just laughed and laughed.

He took our son to Baby Bookworm at the library on Thursday by himself. One of the only dads there.

I love that he can make our son laugh harder than anyone...and he lives to do it.

I love that he goes the extra mile everyday to make sure our son feels safe and secure, that he is cozy and warm, comfortable and happy. I love that when he goes to the store alone, he usually comes home with new clothes for Peanut because he just can't stay out of the baby aisles. When he feeds our son, my husband opens his own mouth with every spoonful, as if he is sharing the eating experience with Peanut or showing our son how to open wide. I love how my husband has to touch our son every night when we go in his room (2 or 3 times a night) to watch him sleeping (all parents do this, right?)...he has to stroke his head, rub his back, touch the bottoms of his feet to see if they are cold, cover him up and tuck him in.

My husband is an amazing father! He is what I believe a father should be: safe, strong, protective, kind, gentle, funny, silly, resourceful, and full of unconditional love. I hope my son someday realizes how lucky he is to have my husband for a daddy. I know how lucky I am to have him as a partner in parenthood. Happy Father's Day, Babe! You have definitely earned this one!

Go BD, Go BD, Go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I Hear the Wheels of Progress!

Today we had some major breakthroughs with the dog-peed-in-the-hallway-again issue and the baby-gag-and-vomit problem.

First, the dog. As you might know, our bull terrier, Meeko, pees in our hallway. A lot. He is marking his territory, even though he is the only one who pees there and it can't possibly smell like anything but his own urine, but anyway. We know he knows it is wrong because if he does the deed while we are out (which he most likely will do), when we come home he is usually hiding with his head down in one of three places...his bed in our bedroom, a completely wide-open corner of the kitchen (does he think we are blind and can't see him?), or under the table behind our couch in the den.

Only a handful of times has he dared to pee with us standing next to him. Once, while my husband was petting him in the office, he got so excited or relaxed (I'm not sure which), he just started peeing. Didn't raise his leg or squat or anything. Just peed standing there.

So, early this morning, my husband was in the bathroom peeing with the door open (as men seem to always do) and Meeko was staring at him in the hallway. All of a sudden, Meeko starts peeing! Raised his leg and peed on the wall and the floor, like he wanted to be just like Daddy or he couldn't help it or I don't know what.

Now, keep in mind, Meeko hates to take baths. He loves water, but feels like he is being punished in the bathtub. We have to wash off his feet in the tub EVERYTIME he comes in from outside because he kicks up dirt in the yard with his hind legs, I guess burying his pee and poop. Punishment! I really wish I knew what dogs were thinking.

After he peed in the hallway, Meeko looked scared, knowing he is about to be punished for his compulsive need to mark the hallway. So, I guess he just decided to save us the trouble and punished himself...

He jumped into the bathtub!

He is hanging his head in shame...

He stayed in the tub for about thirty minutes. He eventually stretched out on the bottom and fell asleep. After that, how could we punish him? My husband and I just laughed and laughed. Smart dog. Punish yourself and then your parents will look on you with pity.

Next, as you might know, we haven't been able to get our son to eat anything but Stage 2 jarred baby foods (yackety-yak and oh my pasta stars!) He will be ten months old in six days and hasn't been able to eat anything I puree, yogurt, finger foods, stage 3 foods, without severe gagging and projectile vomiting. Our pediatrician told us that if he wasn't able to eat solids by ten months, then we would have to do a GI tract test to see if something is wrong.

We definitely don't want that. The test doesn't sound too pleasant for an infant or his worried parents.

But, finally, this morning, our son actually ate part of a rice Mum-Mum and he didn't throw up! Last time, we tried the finger foods, he threw up. This time, he gnawed and sucked on the thing till he could swallow it! I was so freaking proud of him! Then, he ate mashed up bananas for breakfast and didn't throw up! The last time I tried to give him mashed bananas, he threw up all over himself and me. I smashed up two chunks with a fork and he ate it like a champ! So, I decided to mash up two more chunks. About halfway through that bowl, he started gagging. I had to resort back to the jar baby food. I didn't want to press my luck and have him puking again.

This afternoon I tried to get him to eat another Mum-Mum and he looked at me like, "What am I supposed to do with this?" He never ate it, he just squished it and threw it on the floor in distress.

But, hey, we gotta start somewhere, right?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't Know Whatcha Got, Till It's Goooone...

My memory is going somewhere fast - in the wrong direction, moving away from me. My ability to remember where I put anything is worse than it was when I was pregnant. During my nine months of prego-ness, I put a box of macaroni and cheese in the dishwasher and washed it. And I left my purse in almost every restaurant. My husband would usually have to drop me off at home because by then I had to pee like a mother scratcher, and he would make the trek back to the restaurant, alone, to retrieve my bag. What a guy, eh?

Now, all of my brain cells are so consumed with my son's well-being that there just isn't room for anything else. When did he eat last? Why won't he eat solid foods without vomiting? Why doesn't he like apple juice? Why will he not hold his dang bottle? It is endless.

Atleast four times a week, my cell phone is missing. Can't be found anywhere in the house. So, my husband calls my phone until we finally hear it ringing in the pocket of my robe or underneath a mountain of laundry on the washing machine. Sometimes, he will see it lying around the house, buried in the bed covers or on one of the shelves in our closet, and he will just go ahead and bring it to me, knowing that sooner or later I will ask him if he has seen it anywhere.

I find half-eaten jars of baby food in the fridge and have no idea if I put them there and how long they have been there. So, I end up throwing them away. So wasteful!

Today I lost my already fading mind. My son and I were running errands - Barnes and Noble, Glo, the bank. We were both in good moods, he was loving the new piggy puppets I bought him at B&N. Smooth.

When we were five to ten minutes from the house, I reached over with my thumb to touch and spin my wedding ring (constant habit) and I realize I'm not wearing it. I panic. Did I put it on this morning? Did I leave it on the kitchen windowsill? Surely I had put it on because I would have noticed earlier if I wasn't wearing it because I am constantly spinning it around my finger. This thought sent me into uber-panic mode.

Also, I am always taking it off in the car and putting it in my lap to immerse myself in antibacterial lotion, another constant habit since I became a mother -- I am a germ freak geek. Did I forget it was in my lap and then get out of the car at B&N and now my precious wedding ring is in the middle of the parking lot somewhere where someone probably already stole it and can't believe their good fortune because some moron was careless enough to lose it (this is how my mind works when I panic... it is all run-on sentences and no periods) or did I take it off at Glo and leave it on a shelf somewhere among the Philosophy gift sets and over-priced candles?

I was positive that I had been wearing it because I remembered thinking earlier that if the cop I had just passed followed me without my knowledge and noticed I was warning people coming the opposite direction to slow down by flashing my brights, then I would just say that my wedding ring was on my dash and when I reached over the steering wheel to get it, I accidently hit my brights, therefore proving that I was not warning others after all. You are all getting a crash course into how my sicko brain functions. I am always coming up with these little "what if" scenarios. When I was a kid, I had a plan of action in case we were ever robbed in the middle of the night. I would ask the robber if I could have a cup of orange juice and ask him if he would like some also. But, it wouldn't be orange juice. It would really be orange watercolor paints and when he drank it he would choke! I'm not sure what I thought would happen after that, maybe he would die or pass out or vomit. I'm not sure.

Anyway, I called my husband, major panicking. He was calm, tells me everything is going to be okay, the ring is insured, we will buy another one and tells me to call him when I get home. I hang up and start crying. I am thinking about how I don't want another ring. I want THAT ring, the one my husband picked out all by himself, the one that changed my life forever. THAT ring. Another ring wouldn't mean anything. It would just be an expensive ring.

I am bawling now. I am speeding, trying to get home as fast as I can. I hit road construction. YOUV'E GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!! I know my son can hear me sobbing, trying to catch my breath and I wonder what he is thinking.

As soon as I pulled into the driveway, I ran to the house and almost ripped the screen door off trying to get it open. I ran to the kitchen, I look on the windowsill. And there it is. Sitting right where I had left it that morning, sparkling in the sun. Good Golly Miss Molly.

I went back out to the car to get my son out of his car seat. Sweet little peanut, he was just sitting there, spinning his feet round and round, playing with his rubber duckie. I sat down next to him in the back seat of my car and cried. I didn't have the energy to get us both out of the car. So, we sat there playing with his duck and my sunglasses, singing songs and laughing, all the while I am still crying. I think I cried for about twenty minutes. I was so exhausted, so happy, and I never loved my husband so much.

This made me remember that my husband did pick that ring out all by himself. We never went ring shopping while we were dating. He did it all on his own. A total surprise. It made me think about how the night we got engaged changed both of our lives forever. It hasn't been easy or perfect. Nothing worthwhile ever is (ending this sentence with a preposition is killing me...trying to move past it). And now we have a little boy, a home, two dogs, and each other. My ring is so much more than a pretty piece of jewelry. It is a reminder that I now have everything I ever truly wanted. Damn, I am a lucky girl.

Now if I could only remember where I put my cell phone this afternoon.

Seriously. Where is it?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fruit Flies, Vacuums, and Opie Taylor

First of all, thank you Thirtysomethingland for teaching me how to post links!! As you can see, I believe I have mastered it (watch it not work now...haha). Thank you! You should all check out this blog. Thirtysomething is incredibly funny and insightful and she is quite a wonderful writer!

Okay, next order of business. The dang fruit flies are back (Shoo, fly, Shoo ). Except this time, they have evolved into a smaller species who will not fall for my apple cider vinegar and dishwashing liquid brew. I left a blue bowl of the stuff sitting on the counter for 24 hours and when I woke up this morning, not a one was in the pool. Just a bunch of mini-fruit flies lounging around the sides of the bowl, like they were sunbathing on vacation. Our electrician came over on Friday and left the back door open alllll day while he updated our power box thingy and let all of them inside. My husband thinks these fruit flies have been warned already by the relatives of the ones I killed last week. I'm at a loss.

In other news, a discovery! If you put your child in a walker and let them tool around a carpeted area in your home, the path that the wheels leave in the carpet makes it look like you have vacuumed. It's a good tip for when an aquaintance calls and says they are "in the area" and then ask if you mind if they "drop by" in a few minutes. If your house is a mess, then of course you mind, but you can't say that (who wants to be considered rude?), so this is a quick solution. Your child can "vacuum" your living room while you stash dirty dishes under the sink and hide dog toys and piles of old mail under the couch.

And finally, on a more serious note, let's discuss my post-mommy emotional response to Opie Taylor. One of my favorite TV shows of all time is The Andy Griffith Show. I grew up watching re-runs with my parents and I now love it as much as the next Fife fan. Some of the best episodes are the ones centered around Opie, especially the episodes that take place when he is very young.

Ok, let me start by saying, as much as I love this show, I have never cried during or after any episode. Never. Well, not quite never. After yesterday, I now have to say I have almost never cried during any episode.

Having my son left me very raw. Any news story, television show, commercial, or movie that involves a little boy, somehow in my warped head, become my little boy. This includes Opie Taylor. Actually, especially Opie Taylor. I'm not sure why Opie and his storylines in tv land affect me more than other made-up kids, but he does. Maybe it is because Ron Howard was so shazam-ing cute wearing plaid button-downs and carrying a fishing pole with a head full of red hair and freckles. I don't know.

Anyway, there was a MARATHON of the show on tv yesterday. I was thrilled! And they were all the black-and-white episodes when Opie was little bitty (not the crappy ones in color when Barney Fife wasn't even on it anymore. I turn up my nose to those). The episode that upset me was the one where Opie is being bullied by a kid from school. The bully takes the nickel that Aunt B gives Opie every morning to buy milk to drink with his peanut butter sandwich. Like Opie says, if you don't have milk then your bones will go soft and "a peanut butter sandwich sure tastes better with milk!"

When Opie is leaving Andy's bedroom to stand up to the bully on his way to school, I lost it. Completely lost it. I was sitting on the couch by myself, eating something probably fattening, and bawling. Opie looked so vulnerable, so frightened. My mommy brain took over and I automatically replaced that red hair with my son's blond locks, inserted my son's blue eyes. I couldn't believe I was crying so hard over an Andy Griffith Show episode. It's not like someone died or discovered they had a disease. It's not like it was "Terms of Endearment" or "Steel Magnolias" or anything. I even started to tear up when I was telling my husband about the Opie episode.

I think the reasons it upset me so much was: 1) Becoming a mother has turned me into a blubbering mess - even worse than I was before, 2) Becoming a mother has turned me into every other child's surrogate mother, even made-up ones, 3) and finally, Opie grows up a little in that episode when he faces his fear and stands up for himself. It reminded me of how my son is growing up so quickly. Before I realize it, he will be walking to school, growing up a little day by day, facing his own fears and situations he will have to go through alone to learn his life lessons. Things I won't be able to go through for him, no matter how badly I want to -- just like I know Andy Taylor would have loved to take care of that bully for Opie -- but he didn't. He let him grow up.

Now I'm crying again. Blubbering mess, I'm tellin' you. Blubbering mess.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thank you, Thirtysomethingland!

It seems I have been given the "One Lovely Blog Award" by a fellow blogger, Thirtysomethingland! I am so very grateful! I haven't won anything since the seventh grade when I won an award for being able to read a poem all the way through without messing up! What a divine accomplishment, hmm? Who said I don't have any talents...

Now, I get to find 15 blogs of my own to give the award and I am thrilled to have an excuse to sit in front of the computer and read! However, since I am about as skillful with a computer as I am doing a back handspring, I will first have to find out how to provide links to all these wonderful blogs. I am clueless. I can't even figure out how to get the picture of the award on my blog. Yes, it's really that bad. So, it might be awhile.

Thanks again, Thirtysomethingland! I appreciate it so much!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What a Hassle

Those of you who know me had to know this post was coming eventually...

I belong to the school of thought that The View was way better when Rosie O'Donnell was host. Magazine sex survey discussions were kept to a minimum, Barbara's doddering interruptions were not as noticeable, and someone put Elisabeth Hasselbeck in her place.

I really can't emphasize enough how much I do not like Hasselbeck as a co-host on a television show. Sure, maybe she is a nice person outside of the TV walls. Maybe I could even hang out with her... talk about mommy stuff, gluten-free recipes (or as she calls them, "G-Free"! Cute.). But, I kind of doubt it. Eventually politics or religion would come up and we would start to argue, she would interrupt me and piss me off, then she would start doing that irritating thing where she doesn't listen at all to what anyone else has to say and she talks really fast so no one else could say anything even if they wanted to, I wouldn't be able to respect her, partly because I believe she is WRONG and ridiculous most of the time, and our courtship would end before I could try her G-free meat sauce.

I try not to watch The View because I know she will piss me off and make me hate myself for watching. But, I like Joy Behar most of the time and Whoopi makes some good points, so I dive in at 10 am almost every morning, then end up turning it off as soon as the Hassle (that's what I am calling her from now on) starts getting defensive, talking fast and interrupting her co-hosts. I can't take it.

She has no sense of humor. Her jokes are always cutesy, not funny, or inappropriate. They make me uncomfortable and embarrassed for her sometimes. Remember when the Madoff scandal first broke and people lost their life savings, their retirement, their livelihood? The ladies were discussing how these poor people could get revenge on Madoff, what they could do to feel better about their losses, or better yet, get their money back. I wanted to jump through the TV and slap the Hassle when she, while laughing, said something to the effect of, "Maybe they could put Madoff in a dunk tank and everyone could take turns dunking him!" Really? Really. I thought, did she just say that? I had to rewind my DVR to make sure I heard her right. Yes, Elisabeth, I'm sure that would make these people feel like justice was served. After all, dunking a grown man in a dunk tank would surely take away all the pain of losing your home, your savings, your child's college fund, and your retirement. Right? It was such an insensitive and boorish and offensive thing to say, especially while laughing. I see nothing funny in any of it.

When Joy cracks a joke that the Hassle might find tasteless or tacky, she never laughs. She just looks irritated and "better than." Pull the stick out and relax, Hassle.

She is a sneaky lass. When a guest comes on the show who doesn't buy into her ultra-conservative cowplop, she makes a jab at them and then keeps talking so they can't defend themselves. Childish and cowpie-ish, in my opinion.

She will also find fault in EVERY Democrat, NO MATTER the circumstance, the context, or behavior. A man or woman who is typically labeled as belonging to the democratic party could come on the show and say, "I think President Bush was a great president!" (no self-respecting democratic would EVER say that, but let's try really hard to pretend). And she would still find fault with his/her statement. I'm not sure what she would say because my brain doesn't function in close-minded gobblety-gook code, but she would come up with something.

Let me close by saying again, I'm sure she is a nice person. She probably gives her time or money to charity, I know she likes kids because she is having a third one, and I do relate to her in one way...she has celiac and so do I. I even bought her book, The G-Free Diet. It had some good information in it, some things I never would have thought about (like gluten-filled bread crumbs in the toaster contaminating your gluten-free bread), some clever ideas for kids with celiac...I wish she had included more was a little too cutesy for me with all the G-Free talk and referring to spouses with celiac as GFGs (gluten-free gals or gluten-free guys) ... and it did kind of kill me to support her endeavors in any way, but I felt the need to back a fellow gluten-free girl.

I just had a horrible thought. Maybe I don't like her because she reminds me of the things I don't like about myself. Could that be true? Let's put that thought waaaayyy back in the back of my head and never think about it again. Okay, that's better.

Until tomorrow at 10 am.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Shoo, fly, shoo!

So, this is how it goes in my house. If you have more than two legs, have antennae, are smaller than a baby chicken, and can crawl into my food...if you meet all those criteria, then by all means, come on in and welcome to Death Camp, where you can check in, but if I have anything to do about it, you won't be checking out.
My husband thinks I am a homicidal temptress...I lure ants with poisoned sweets, I attract fruit flies into my vinegar brew...but really, I'm just a mom trying to keep bugs out of my son's food.
In the spring, we have ARMYS of ants marching through our kitchen, one line from behind the sink to the stove, another from a not-visible-to-the-naked-eye hole in the floor straight to the dog food bowls. I find ants crawling on my clothes, in the shower, on the bathroom wall, up my arms, in the kitchen sink, my husband even found one in my hair! I had to tell my hairstylist to look out...there is no telling what you might find.
For some reason, this invasion into our not-so-clean-in-the-first-place home doesn't bother my husband. They are harmless, he says. Yeah, right, tell that to my hairstylist.
The latest invasion into our home is fruit flies. We compost all our food and sometimes get a little lazy about taking the food down to the compost pile. Therefore, a pile of decaying strawberries, coffee grinds, banana peels, and tea bags sat in a bowl right outside our back door for a few days, just long enough to attract about eight thousand fruit flies.
My husband, forgetting the pile of crack for fruit flies was sitting outside the door, went out to the patio and left the door wiiiiide open. When I came home from work, it was like a wall-to-wall dance party for fruit flies. They were everywhere.
I had a conniption fit. I dropped my handbag and ran to the internet looking for fruit fly death nectar. I found a recipe of apple cider vineagar and dishwashing liquid. So, I put little blue bowls of the stuff around the house and watched the flies dive in. Sad, but effective.
The picture above was my husband's joke yesterday morning. I came yawning into the kitchen after a nap and saw the advertisement for my Death Camp on the counter, behind it two of my blue bowls filled with dead carcasses and old vinegar. Clever.
But, two days later, my house is fruit fly free. Now say that three times fast.