Friday, September 23, 2016

Separation Anxiety. (Mine...)

BIG NEWS!  I found All DRESSED CHIPS at Kroger Wednesday.  It even has a big blurb on the front about how it’s Canada’s leading chip flavor and what ‘All Dressed’ means for the Americans.  What a hoot!  A HOOT I say.

Ellie’s new car seat came from Amazon yesterday.  My baby is graduating to the last car seat she will have - good until she moves to a backless booster seat (which this car seat turns into).  

She’s sleeping in a big girl bed and this week I left her at day care AND WENT FOR A WALK.  By myself.  To Kroger to get groceries but still…it was odd.  It was odd to be doing anything by myself, her presence has become a part of me as constant as my own thoughts.  

I literally felt like I was missing a part of myself.  Is this what it’s going to feel like forever?  As she gets older and more independent there will always be this space beside me, inside me where she belongs?  

Her curious eyes and bright chatter and spontaneous hugs.  Her mercurial moods and the way she looks at me when she’s a little nervous that makes me want to scoop her up from anything scary and hold her tight forever and ever in a way that’s totally not healthy for her own development?  Or mine.

I helped raise two kids for seven years before I met Bill, and I think of them every day.  I loved them like they were my own but..they weren’t.  They aren’t.  That was made repeatedly and brutally clear to me in a way that broke my heart many, many times over those seven years.  And although eventually they lived with us they always went to school and I always went to work.  Our relationship was set out from the beginning with me coming in after work, and every other weekend.  Separation was built into our interactions.

I may have helped house them, clothe them, feed them, worry about them, tuck them in at night, and take them to the doctor when they were sick but I wasn’t mom.  I wasn’t dad.  It was both painful and beautiful to be in their lives and it’s still both, even though that little girl is 19 years old and the baby boy is going to high school.

I missed them when I was at work and they were at school but because this was how I met them and grew to love them, it was a normal part of life and nothing I needed to adjust to.  

Not like with Ellie, where I am the primary care giver pretty much 24/7 with Bill playing with her after work for an hour or so before bed and on the weekends when he’s not working outside or on pet projects.  Hmmm, I think I might sound a little bitter here…something to think about…in any case, it is totally different with my ‘own’ child.  

Separation from her is…not built into the relationship but it will be.  It has to be.  For both of us.

Anyway, those two beautiful kids (and their parents) have taught me how to be a better mom and a better person.  

There are a million ways to be a ‘good’ parent and really only one way to be a bad parent - and that’s if you don’t love them.  Even the worst parent out there would tell you they love their children, they just don’t know how to get it out of their own hurt hearts and into theirs.

I’m grateful my love can flow freely for all my kids.  That a little sacrifice comes easily to me.  I’m grateful for the patience I’ve learned and for all of the awful people in my life who have taught me how NOT to be.

And I will list all those awful people here, so I can thank them properly.

Ha ha.  

So, cheers to building a little independence into this mommie-baby relationship and to terrible people who have taught you how you don’t want to live.

“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.  I should not be ungrateful to those teachers.”  Kahlil Gibran
Ah, side note - I think anyone who knows me knows I have not, indeed learned silence from the talkative.  Eh, who wants to be perfect anyway!?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Does Anyone Else Fight Over This?

The fight ends.  I've been fighting on two fronts these past few weeks.  

Front # 1: After fighting with the doctor and talking it over with ANYONE who would listen, I’ve finally come to the realization I can’t avoid having a C section this time around either.  Unless I want to fly to Canada and have the baby there.  Actually…it would save us some money…something to think about.  Either way I've lost the fight for a VBAC in Texas.

For now the nurse called to confirm the time and date of the surgery and I’ve been busy researching how to have as ‘gentle’ a C section as possible.  And to get better as fast as humanly possible.  It isn’t that I HATE hospitals.  

Actually, yeah, I do.  They’re sterile and smelly and joyless.  They’re also hectic and boring and loud and disruptive.  I heal faster at home, surrounded by people I love, eating food that heals and resting in my own (much more comfy) bed.  And cuddling with Toby.  

Not to mention dealing with not fun flashbacks of a few of my teenage years.  Flashbacks both intense and boring at the same time.  Some funny, like the time I was watching a movie with my friends (AND MY BOYFRIEND) when the nurse popped her head in the room and asked me if I had a bowel movement yet today and if I needed to ‘soak my bum’.  I remember staring at her perky but obviously clueless face as the movie played on and my friends (AND MY BOYFRIEND) tried to pretend they didn’t hear that.  And I wished to die, right there, right then, even though I now knew that could very well be possible.  Cancer was one thing but asking a 16 year old girl if she POOPED TODAY in front of her friends AND HER BOYFRIEND was also terrible, horrible, and end of life embarrassing.

I digress.  I want to be at home as soon as possible.  Although the nurse probably WILL ask me if I pooped yet today (because they do that) in front of my husband…that’s actually ok.  Because I probably didn’t.  And Bill knows that because I probably complained about it to him.  (Bill I haven’t pooped in TWO DAYS!)  Because we talk about that stuff with each other.  Because I’m not a 16 year old girl anymore, trying to be cool.  Or as cool as you can be hooked up to an IV and minus any hair on your head.  

I digress yet again.

I have to share this dream with you.  My dreams have been pretty crazy lately and last night’s was no exception.  I was traveling home by plane to visit mom and dad after the birth of my baby GIRL.  (Which is odd because I’m convinced it’s a boy…but apparently dream-me thinks it’s a girl.) 

I didn’t have my baby girl number 2 with me on the plane you know why?  Because Bill had booked the BABY on another flight entirely.  In the cargo hold.  To.  Save.  Money.  

SO.  I sat in that plane seat and I worried and I fretted and finally I jumped up with Ellie and told them I had to leave.  I raced through the airport looking for the other flight my baby girl was on.  I found her.  In the cold cargo hold of the other plane.  With some chickens.  When I scooped her up from the concrete floor she was only wrapped in a thin blanket.  “She’s fine.” The airline employee said, rolling her eyes. 

I found the desk to check her out and the man shook his head and said, “You’ll have to pay the fee for the baby then.  Your husband was trying to save some money.  Now you’ll have to pay the $64 fee for carrying the baby on the plane with you.”  I told him I’d happily pay the fee.  

Boys was I mad at Bill in THAT dream.  And again when I woke up.  “Do you know what you tried to do to save a few bucks!?”  I asked him in the morning.  He thought the dream was hilarious.

I suspect the dream is normal new-baby jitters combined with our recent struggles over the thermostat.  For the first time in my whole life…I need it cooler at night in order to sleep.  We’ve been fighting over 79 vs 76.  3 degrees of extra air conditioning so I can sleep better at night.  At first I was waiting until he got to bed and sneaking out to turn it down.  No, really.  It’s just easier to sneak around to do what I want.  But I got ‘caught’ one day last week.  Which brings me to:

Fight Front # 2:

“Angela!”  He said sternly.  “Did you turn up the air conditioner?”  (He’s stern AND surprised.)  I’m kind of surprised myself.  Normally it isn’t worth the fight.  (Does anyone else fight over this!?)  I have to admit the 'stern' in his voice makes me want to stick my tongue out at him and go get a tattoo of a butterfly on my butt.

“Yessss!”  I said, actually relieved to be caught.  I'm tired of hiding!

“I’m pregnant and I get to decide what temperature it needs to be in here for the next 3 months.”  I’m on the verge of…I don’t know, a revolution, a revolt, a bitter rebellion if he tries to fight me on this.  He must see the crazy in my eyes because he wisely backs down.

Over the weekend he tried to tell me Ellie was too cold.  Don’t be fooled!  This is because he knows I will suffer any hardship to ensure she is not uncomfortable in any way.  His logic breaks down when I remind him he wasn’t worried about her being cold when he set the temperature at 68F at night through the winter.  (Which it does NOT get here in sunny Texas thank goodness).  There were many late-night temperature changes then, too.

It’s nice we can talk about something as intimate (and gross) as bowel movements with each other and yet each sneak behind the other’s back to turn up (or down) the AC.  Back and forth.  Back and forth, neither saying a word about it again.

Until I’m 75 and he’ll be like 87 and too frail to get up every night to turn the heat back down after I turned it back up, again.  Hurray for frail old men being married to slightly less frail, moderately younger women.  We will win in the end girls, yes we will.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Germs are Out to Get me and Other Concerns

I’m pretty sure I found some fox scat around the patio yesterday while I was sweeping.  Then moping with undiluted Lysol…not that I’m a fox scat expert but…google Image search is pretty amazing.  Plus I’ve seen one around.  I used to think they were cute.  What the heck was it doing ON MY PATIO though?

It doesn’t seem to be causing any damage except for my peace of mind - why when I’m pregnant does suddenly every possible disease carrying insect, pest, rodent and mammal suddenly want to get close and cozy with me?  I feel like dangers lurk around every corner, literally.  Every time I lift something off the ground I think…this is it.  The rattle snake that’s under there is going to get me this time for sure.  Right on the exposed under arm.

Toby’s been sick all week we don’t know what with.  He stopped eating and drinking, basically on Sunday night.  I took him to the vet Tuesday and we agreed to give him a pain killer and to try some soft foods for awhile.  Because he wasn’t drinking I had to mix Gaterade and water, pull it into a syringe and force him to drink a few of those a day until he was drinking on his own.  I’m happy to report he is mostly back to his old self, and we will probably never know what it was he ate that made him so sick.

Meanwhile Ellie has abruptly and without fan fare chosen to sleep in her big girl bed from now on.  The crib stands in her room, ready for her to go back and forth if she wants to.  A fine layer of dust is accumulating on the surface.  

She did great at ‘school’ this week - didn’t cry once.  Same for swimming - I asked her if she wanted me in with her or if she wanted to be a big girl and go by herself.  Ok so she still asked me to be there but then when I told her I was going to go wait by the door she was fine.  Today I told her I was leaving to go out for a couple hours and you know what she said?  “Bye mom.  See you soon.”  No tears.

I’m here living my life, battling Zitka and sick dogs and curious foxes and imaginary cats pooping in my garden possibly spreading Toxoplasmosis and Ellie is quietly, without bells and whistles, growing up.  

But you know what?  She still wakes up like she did when she was a baby.  Sleepily rolling over, hands playing with her hair, curling her legs into her chest and plopping over to the right.  Most times when I pick her up she still kicks her little feet like she did when she was first born every time I picked her up.  Like she’s trying to help me by gathering momentum to get closer to me as quickly as possible.

I have a tendency to think ahead to the future and think, won’t it be great when the kids are more independent?  (And…in Yeh # 2’s case…born…).  I look ahead to when the kids are (both born….) and at school with hours of free time ahead of me to go back to work or work out or write, or just hang out at Starbucks and drink coffee and pretend I’m writing the next big bestseller.

But here, now, I am watching my sweet little girl laugh hysterically because the banana fell out of the peel, her hair a mess from a long nap and as I catch a glimpse of my HUGE belly in the mirror I have to smile.  Here is good too. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

Why We Should Procrastinate

There are about 15 things I should be doing right now instead of sitting here listening to music and relaxing.  

The problem is, when I start one of them I think…well sure I knocked off this part of my ‘to do’ list but what about all these others?  And it just reminds me that I should have been doing these other things since Ellie went down for her nap (Instead of gorging on watermelon and reading my newest Kindle romance) otherwise how will I ever catch up?  

I should be working on the HOA application for the new fence.  Or weeding the garden.  Or organizing tours of the preschools Ellie may go to next fall.  Or reading my books on how not to procrastinate because they are, after all, due back at the library tomorrow.


I could blame it on the big belly I have to lug around or the fact that my feet are starting to swell by the end of the day but the truth is…I’m kinda lazy.  I don’t see why I should START doing something that will be perfectly happy put off until tomorrow.  Or even better the day after that.  ‘I’ll do it sometime this weekend’ is my favorite lie to myself.

When Bill and I first started dating that was something I really admired about him, his ‘get up and go’.  If something needed to be done he just…did it.  I was stupefied.

I could always find other things I’d rather be doing.  (Cake, ice-cream, a good book.)  Or hot tea and a good book.  Or chips and a B rated horror movie from the 80’s.  Or a good old fashioned nap.  

I would watch him run around all weekend, amazed at his energy and discipline while he knocked off the items on HIS to do list one after the other.  MY to do list?  Well I can always write that out tomorrow.  Or the day after that.  You know, sometime this weekend for sure.

Still, there is something to be said for NOT running around like a total maniac all the time just so you can cross off something on an arbitrary list YOU YOURSELF made.  For instance - Ellie and I came home from grocery shopping and I left the bag on the counter because she had to go potty right away.  

I took her to potty and when she was done she asked me to have a picnic with her in her room.  I thought about the grocery bag full of stuff to put away, and the supper I needed to make, and the dishes I needed to wash and I thought….there is nothing in that grocery bag that will go bad in the next 10 minutes.  So I sat down with her in her room, in a big swath of sunlight pouring through her window, and had a picnic with her.  Toby was there dozing in the sun too.  After a couple of minutes she looked up at me and smiled that beautiful smile and said…”I love you mommy.”

And I thought…to do lists be damned.  THIS is what I would have missed if I had been so attached to ‘getting things done’.  You think you can just pick up a moment with a child ‘when the dishes are done’.  Or ‘after I finish making supper’.  But the truth is you can’t.  Not THAT moment, that ONE moment once it is used can never be retrieved.  It is gone.  

But we live in a practical world do we not?  And bellies need to be fed and backs need to be clothed and life needs to be lived.  I know.

I think if I can remember to stop and slow down and watch for those moments where I can make a real connection with Ellie instead of running around mindlessly doing day to day chores…I will feel like a success as not just a mom but as a human being.  Even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time.

I don’t want to judge my life based on how effective I was, but how connected.  How in tune I was with the hearts that share this space with me.  I don’t have any evidence that this will make me a happier or more peaceful person except that…it does.

And all that was quite a grand and lovely sentiment except…Ellie is sleeping right now.  So.  I guess it’s time to take a look at that To Do List and…ah screw it I’m going to go eat ice cream and finish my book.  

“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow as well.”  Mark Twain.

The Gift Of Nowhere To Go

Hiya my friends – look – I don’t know if anyone other than mom and some uncles and aunts back home read this but, in case you’re out ther...