So, tomorrow we find out the sex of the baby. We are so hoping this baby will allow us to see his or her parts so we will know for sure. I've heard of people not getting to find out the sex because the baby wouldn't uncross the legs! And I am a planner and a researcher. I must know the sex. I couldn't fly by the seat of our baby pants and just go with it.
We are secretly hoping for a girl, although, naturally, either would be fantastic. We just don't have a girl. If we had a girl first, we'd be wanting a boy this time. Steve thinks we need a girl in order to balance out the hormones in the house. He doesn't want me to be the only female in the family, although I have to say it might have its advantages. Maybe he would feel sorry for me more often if I was surrounded by testosterone and he'd just throw the credit card at me for things like pedicures and shoes and girl's night out.
And although it would be fantastic to have a girl, I am a little frightened of having a daughter. I know I would feel more responsible for her self-image than I do with my son. Growing up, I naturally looked to my mother as a model of how to be a successful woman, and I know my daughter would look to me. And that scares me. For many reasons.
One: as a teenager, I had a horrible self-image. I was never very girly and I had no idea how to put on make-up or fix my hair or dress until I was in my early twenties. I never had a bow in my hair and I don't have a clue how to french braid or make pigtails. I was never interested back then. I remember once in elementary school (perhaps 4th or 5th grade?), I looked around at the other girls in the lunch room and realized I looked nothing like them...no bows in my hair, no french braid, no hot-rolled curls... and that I hadn't even brushed my hair that morning before school and I felt so ashamed of my appearance. It was the first time I remember feeling ugly. I would just die if I knew my daughter felt that way about herself. I'm not sure I could handle it.
Two: I feel I am intelligent and emotionally strong, but not all that successful. Not by society's standards anyway. I'm not a career woman and never have been and have never wanted to be. I'm not all that great at housekeeping or decorating. I feel guilty when I go shopping, like I'm taking food out of our mouths and heat out of our home (girls aren't supposed to feel guilty about shopping!!). However, I'm getting much better at cooking. I don't think my husband fears dinner anymore. Perhaps I could teach her how to cook...
My point is that I want to have something I am passionate about, a purpose, to show her and teach her before she gets here, if she is a "she" at all. But, all I have are rows of my favorite books and some life experiences. And a mean coupon clipping system. I'm afraid I would fail miserably at showing her how to be a girl in this world. (Madonna, please help). I was never very good at it, so why would I be able to teach her anything about it?
Well, these are my fears about having a daughter. My only fear about having another son is that the two of them might run me into the ground with their Tazmanian devil energy. My body wasn't built for swinging from trees and it hurts too bad when a Darth Vader doll is thrown at my face and the helmet hits my nose at top speed. Or I get hit in the nose with a croquet mallet. Or my son head butts my face and bruises my nose bone. Or when he pulls my hair until chunks come out in his hand. You get the picture. Frankly, I'm surprised my nose has held out this long.
But these are just my fears. False Evidence Appearing Real. Like I said, I'm emotionally strong and I know what is healthy behavior and what isn't. I could teach either sex, rambunctious boy or girly girl, how to create healthy boundaries and how to have self-respect...how to treat others and how to expect the same treatment for yourself...how to live spiritually and never judge another human being for their sexual orientation or race or religious beliefs...how to accept everyone just as they were put on this earth and hopefully, how to accept yourself. And those are some of the most important lessons, after all. And no child of mine would ever be short on kisses, hugs, and smiles. My children will always know where to go if he, or she, needs a little love and happiness and unconditional acceptance.
A few days ago, I took my son for a walk. It was a beautiful sunny morning, not too hot, not too windy, around 74 degrees. It was perfect.
When we take walks, I usually pick up pine cones, wild flowers, or sticks for him to look at and hold while I push him in his stroller. One day last week, he was pointing and trying to reach for something on the ground. I kept giving him flowers, thinking what else could he possibly want from the ground? Finally I handed him a stick. He was so relieved that I finally figured out what he wanted. He just sat in his stroller, happily playing with his new stick. Sometimes I forget I have a boy and not a girl.
This time, I picked dandelions. I was trying to teach him how to blow the whispies off the dandelions. I don't know the proper name for those thingy-jigs that blow off, so I call them "whispies." "Thingy-jigs" and "whispies" are very scientific names, like "tagetes erecta" or "osteospermum x hybrida". Very scientific.
My son hasn't quite figured out how to blow with is mouth yet. He usually either sniffs or blows out with his nose instead. As I blew the whispies off and he watched them float through the air, he got so excited, yanked out his pacifier, and cried, "Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!"
(Yes, he still has a pacifier. Don't judge.)
Isn't that the cutest? Okay, I might be biased. But still.
I love seeing the world through his eyes. I guess those whispies do look like bubbles as they float through the air and disappear into nature. Children see their environments in such fantastical ways, ways that adults have long ago forgotten. My son helps me appreciate things like dandelions, sidewalk chalk, and sticks again. Thank you, Max, for helping me see the fascination in a roly poly again, remembering how fun it is to spin until you are dizzy, and the freedom in throwing handfuls of pebbles into the air and letting them land where they may. All without worrying about getting dirt under my fingernails.
So, more people than we can count have said that my husband looks like Russell Crowe. Not bad, eh? Did I luck out or what? My husband says he looks like the man who ate Russell Crowe, but I don't think he is that much bigger than RC. Especially now that my husband has lost 40 pounds and RC gained a few.
The first Halloween that my husband and I were together, back in 2001, he dressed up as RC's character in Gladiator, Maximus Decimus Meridius (and yes, we named our son Maximus after this character, too). Our costumes didn't really go together. I wore a second-hand Tinkerbell costume that my sister had worn the year before (at least her husband dressed up as Captain Hook and they matched).
Now, my son calls my husband "Daddy" sometimes and "Steve" sometimes. We aren't sure why he started calling his daddy by his first name...he must have picked it up from hearing me call him "Steve." When he is walking around the house looking for his daddy, he yells out, "Seeeeeeve? Seeeeeeve!"
So, yesterday, Russell Crowe was on Oprah and my husband returned home early from work. Not because RC was on Oprah, but because he had to go to his night job in less than an hour.
The three of us were in the den when RC came on the screen. The moment my son saw Russell Crowe, he pointed at the television and said, "Seeeeeeeeve!" and then he turned around and pointed at my husband! Now, if our 20-month old son recognizes the resemblance, then surely my husband must really look like him.
Maybe we should move to Vegas and join a group of impersonators. This could be the break we have been waiting for. My husband could go on stage and throw a telephone at another actor with one hand, do math on a chalkboard with the other, while wearing boxing gloves, a loin cloth and chest armor. You'd pay to see that, right? Sure, he may not be as captivating as a Cher or Joan Rivers impersonator, but he would definitely be less creepy. I mean, come on. Who isn't just a little bit frightened by Joan Rivers?
So, yesterday was one of those days where my son fought me tooth and nail because he didn't want to get into the grocery cart at WalMart and by the time I got him strapped in, I had to look down to make sure I was still dressed and one of my boobs hadn't popped out of my sundress in the struggle.
I felt naked as I walked into the grocery store, like one of those hideous dreams where you show up at highschool buck naked and can't remember why you didn't at least put on some pants.
Lately, since getting pregnant this time, I can't seem to remember anything. I repeat myself constantly, which my husband loooooves to point out, I leave the water running in the kitchen sink at least twice a week, I forget words like...like...well, now I can't remember any of the words that I can't remember. Anyway, it's bad. With my first pregnancy, I don't remember having such a bad memory. Imagine that. Me not remembering something. Hmmm...however, I did wash a box of macaroni and cheese in the dishwasher and put the cereal in the refrigerator with my last bout of pregoness. So, why wouldn't I walk into the grocery store with a boob hanging out? Seems pretty likely.
Luckily, no boobs were in sight...this time. Except for the embarrassing boob cleavage I have obtained with this pregnancy. With my first, my boobs didn't get much bigger. Now, they ache when I get out of bed in the morning and I catch other mothers disapprovingly staring at them at the playground. I can't help it, people! Cut me some slack! (but not too much because a boob might fall out)
And then, after the grocery store, while I was changing my shirt, my son grabbed one of my nipples and said, "Boobie!" I can't wait to find out in which inappropriate situation he will repeat this new addition to his vocabulary. And imagine his horror when he reads this someday and finds out he grabbed one of his mother's nipples. I'll start taking bids from therapists right now.
So, the wonderful thing about life is that some days you are down, but inevitably, eventually, you will be up again. Up, up, up. You can count on it. There will come a day when you can breathe and smile and laugh. It may only last for a day, but that one day can be just what you needed to keep going on whatever path you journey along.
Or maybe, maybe, it is just a moment. A moment that comes when you finally take a deep breath and realize you have been holding your breath for way too long.
For me, this moment came one night this past week while I was lying in bed reading the same book I have been reading for three months, Eat, Pray, Love. For some reason, I cannot get through this book. Actually, I know the reason. I like to learn from the books I read - that is why I rarely read fiction. I like to read about the life lessons other people have learned and hear their true stories of sacrifice and success. The problem with this book is that it is so full of things that are important to me or that I want to learn about (things like karma, yoga, meditation, spirituality, finding one's true self, faith), but I rarely have the mental capacity at the end of the night to absorb any of it. Therefore, I don't read out of my fear of missing something. I watch TV and the book collects dust on my nightstand.
After three long months, I am almost to the end. And one night last week, I read an excerpt from the book that was just what I needed to hear:
"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, ...You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it,..."
Now, these are things I already knew. However, knowing and accepting are two different things. For the first time, I accepted it. I accepted that I am the creator of my own happiness and no other being, living, dead, or heavenly, is going to do it for me. And that night, instead of praying for a job, or more money, or more friends, or a strong sense of my purpose, I prayed to remember this statement. Always. And to be reminded of it constantly lest I forget in a moment of self-pity.
I know this doesn't mean I won't have moments or days of struggle and feelings of hopelessness. But, perhaps now when I do, this statement will miraculously appear in my consciousness. And miraculously, I will have the courage and energy to put it to good use.
And if not, there is always Rocky Road ice cream. With M&Ms mixed in. On top of a brownie.
So, today has been one of those days where I feel as if I have lost all my power. Do you know what I mean? Some days, hopefully most days for your sake, you feel powerful, inspired, confident, hopeful, faithful...you just feel damn good. You drive around with your car windows down, feeling as if you can do anything and no matter what, life is going to work out for you.
Then there are days like today (or weeks in my case) where I feel like the opposite of all of those things. Powerless, stagnant, worthless, hopeless, faithless. And just exhausted with my life. The kind of days where you just feel like you can no longer deal with your everyday and you don't want to go home because there will just be more of the same there waiting for you. Not the people at your home, but the reminders everywhere of your problems. You are tired of dealing with the same lacks, the same longings, the same sadness. Just plain tired. You need a break. You don't want to learn any more hard life lessons. You want, no NEED, someone to come to your door with the solution to all your problems. Need money for groceries, preschool, health insurance, student loans, clothes, furniture for the new baby? Well, here is the way to get it.
My husband is dying to win the lottery. We are both so tired of being broke that it is slowly eating us alive. The stress of years of just surviving is getting inside of us. The jealousy I sometimes feel of people who can afford to eat out (I'm not a fan of my own cooking), go shopping, go on vacations, pay for all their needs AND wants...sometimes it makes my stomach hurt. And then, sometimes, I'm okay with it. We definitely live simple. Which can be nice and easy, and sometimes can be miserable and difficult.
Anyway, back to the lottery. My husband wants to win the lottery. And as strange as it sounds, I don't. I want someone to teach me how to make the money we need. Provide a sure-thing opportunity that I can do from home. A consistent income. Something I can do to help out with our finances while my child (and soon to be children!) naps. Something I can be proud of and passionate about. I don't want a handout. I want to provide my own money. I want to feel like a resourceful parent, a successful adult.
Is this idea too good to be true? Probably. I'm not business minded, I despise selling anything, I know nothing beyond email and blogging about the computer, I don't have the time to throw parties for Pampered Chef. I'm a busy mom who can write and loves to read. And rarely has time for those two things. I've been reading the same book for three months. I'm thinking about throwing it at the ladies in the water department next time they send us a shut-off notice.
SUNDAY, THE 4TH, EASTER:
But then, thank you God for another day. Thank you for the sleep we get at night to revive us. Thank you for the new beginning every morning, the new opportunity to start over. Another day to work on our attitudes and our ability to feel grateful for the things we do have and the people in our lives. Thank you for our children, our husbands and wives, our parents and siblings, our aunts and uncles, and dessert. Did I just throw dessert into the mix? Why yes, I did. Because without dessert, some days I just might not make it. Thank you, Universe, for Easter colored M&Ms with pictures of bunnies on them. And whoever invented Easter egg hunts, thank you to you. I think this might be the cutest thing I have ever seen. Peace!
I haven't written or read anything in a month. I've been busy, distracted, overwhelmed, sick, tired, in pain, out of town, enjoying the weather, cursing the weather, and just in a general funk. I'll explain in another entry...later. But, happy days are here again with warm weather and sunny days. I even got to pull out my old maternity sundresses.
I hope I haven't lost too many readers and I really need to catch up on reading what other blogs I can. All the other responsibilities in my life have overwhelmed me lately and blogging just stopped being very important in the midst of everything else. Too much a-goin' on.
And now, I have a sick toddler. This is his first sickness with a high fever. Mommy hasn't handled it so well on the inside. He has had a 101 degree fever for two days and it kills me to see him moving so slowly and sadly when I am used to him running up the walls and swinging from the ceiling fans.
The doctor thinks it is another bad reaction to a vaccine (he had his polio vaccine yesterday morning - the first was a bad reaction to the DTaP shot when he was 4 months old), in addition to a good ole' fashioned respiratory something or other. The doctor said such a high fever is not a normal reaction to the polio vaccine. So, now I spend a good portion of my day fighting to get him to take his antibiotics, his allergy steroid, his Tylenol and his Motrin. I think I'm losing. He is one determined toddler.
So, here are just a few recent pictures of my baby in his healthier days. May they return again soon. Like tomorrow! Have a great Easter weekend everyone!
This was a bad honey mustard incident which I like to think I have learned my lesson from: Max is not ready for his own bowl of dipping sauce. It just ends up in his hair. But, boy, is he having fun!
The title of my blog was inspired by the Elizabeth Bishop poem, The Moose. "One stop at Bass River. / Then the Economies- / Lower, Middle, Upper; / Five Islands, Five Houses, / where a woman shakes her tablecloth / out after supper."
My dad nicknamed me "Moose" shortly after I was born. Not really related to the poem, just an embarrassing name to follow me throughout my formative teenage years.
the ballerina thing didn't work out...neither did gymnastics (that one REALLY didn't work out), softball, baseball, soccer (the worst!), basketball...nor did my hopes of being an astronomer, a special education teacher, a fashion icon, a piano prodigy, marrying Jon Bon Jovi, or being stinkin' rich. But I'll tell ya what did work out. I am a 36-yr old wife and mom who is learning as I go. I have 2 blonde-haired sons, a dog who pees in the hallway and prefers the toilet to his water dish, and a husband who looks like Russell Crowe (yay! although he says he looks like the man who ATE Russell Crowe). Aaaahhh, my Cinderella Man.