Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I wasn't thinking clearly. I was just writhing and crying in pain. Through my tears I was trying to examine Sadie to be sure she was ok, but Jeff kept telling me she was fine. (I note here that one of Sadie's more enduring hobbies is to bang her head on any surface harder than a pillow, including hard wood, marble and tile. Pediatrician says it will pass. Not fast enough for me.)
So, I am sitting on the edge of the bed letting out a much-needed cry and Sadie starts to cry too, presumably because the whole thing was very upsetting for her, as well as confusing. Jeff started to take her out of the room, but I wanted her to stay with me because I didn't want her to think she was in trouble or being punished. So, we huddled up and cried and I started blubbering incomprehensible statements, such as, "I am a bad mom." It's not easy to get from an accidental nose bang to being a bad mom, but I got there. I got there very quickly, actually. No traffic on that road.
Later this morning when Jeff and I were debriefing the morning's traumas and dramas, he mentioned it was surprising to him that when my nose was hurting I came up with the idea that I am a bad mom. I suppose that was a bit of an exaggeration because it's easy for me to surmise that I am "bad" in some way, but the more I think about it, the more I see something deeper here.
It's a fact (as proven this morning) that Sadie and I will hurt each other. Sometimes it will be an accident. Probably not every time. But, if we are going to be close and part of a functional family, we will trigger each other and bump up against each other's wills and sometimes one of us may get hurt. Maybe both of us will get hurt. I really hate that I can't offer my children pain-free lives. Even knowing that having a pain-free life may not be good for anyone, I still want to give it to them. I certainly hate thinking that sometimes the pain in my children's lives will be caused by me. This morning's nose crusher incident was a giant tangle of all these intersecting wishes and beliefs that I hold very dearly. Specifically, I don't want to hurt my kids; I don't want my kids to hurt me; sometimes pain will be a part of the relationship; I don't want my hurt to upset my kids; I don't want to use pain in my children as an excuse to withdraw or be distant or withhold from them; I don't want to be afraid of intense emotions (mine or theirs), but sometimes I am; I don't want life to be messy, painful, snotty, confusing, and gnarly, but it is.
Thinking about it, I just feel very emotional. Not necessarily sad, though being out of control, which is the essence of being a parent, always makes me a little desparing. I feel awed by the power of emotion and how much it can affect me and Sadie in our young relationship. I feel very humbled by my own ugly thoughts and reactions to things and how I say all the time how much I want an intimate relationship with my family members, but when it's offered, I often times want to run for the nearest hill, which is no easy feat in the Midwest.
I also think that there is a lot of change in the air at my house. We have a nursery almost complete for Meatball. We cleaned out all of Sadie's baby clothes. The techtonic shift is underway and Sadie, no doubt, can feel it. We're headed into the last month of this pregnancy, which will preceed major change at our house. I don't know if Sadie can understand my words, but after particularly emotional exchanges (such as whenever I try to change her diaper), I tell her that it's a very emotional time and that we are all in this together. I remind her that no one is doing anything wrong, we're just experiencing a lot of emotion and intensity.
In the meantime, I have been told to ice my nose and buckle up... it may only get rougher from here.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I didn't realize we were going to go all Milton about this. I remember reading Paradise Lost in college (with 500 of my closest classmates at large agri-college) and reading about how God asked Adam named the beasts in Paradise. As I recall the process this many years later (about 20, but who's counting), I remember the names emanated from the creatures and Adam realized he already knew the names even though he had never seen many of the creatures before. (Wait, should we name you Milton? My beloved judge for whom I clerked is named Milton. What about Adam? We probably can't do Adam as I have a very close friend who's 14-month old son is also named Adam. Damn. Another dead end.)
So, Baby Meatball, do you just need us to draw it out of you? May I remind you that first you have to be drawn out of me? The phrase "sprung from my loins" is suddently in my head right now, and that's not disturbing at all.
All I am saying is the tardy selection of a name is frustrating my monnogramming impulses and preventing me from buying jewelry with your initial on it.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
This is a good thing.
Other good news:
The sun is out.
The sky is blue.
About to hit a three-day weekend.
Sadie slept 12 hours last night.
I am probably going to make the goal of reading 30 books since June 2010.
I am done Christmas shopping.
I am 34 weeks pregnant today.
I would keep going but I need to do some research on the perfect pushing present from Jeff for the Meatball's birth. Tiffany.com here I come!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
"Pregnancy-related deaths on the rise."
Wow. That got my attention. That's definitely "gotcha" journalism. How could I not click on the link to find out why chances of dying during birth are going up? The article was tamer than the headline suggests. Basically, more at-risk and obese women are giving birth. I also noted that increased C-sections have helped the death statistics rise. Sweet.
This isn't helping me with my vow to focus on the positive, which is just flat out not my M.O.
Last night, for example, dear Sadie woke up crying about 5 times during the night. We could tell by 8:00 p.m. it was going to be one of those nights-- up a lot, wondering what is wrong with Sadie, trying to comfort her or medicate her or somehow make it easier for everyone to get some sleep. After her third cry out in her sleep, I felt the cloud of defeat wash over me. "Oh, we are screwed," I said to Jeff. My thinking was that if she was already so uncomfortable after 2 hours of sleep, it was only going to get worse. Jeff, ever my opposite, laughed because he was about to say that she would soon settle down and we'd all have a good night.
The truth was somewhere in between. I got up with Sadie at midnight and she just seemed uncomfortable, but not feverish and I didn't detect any vomit. There were a few more cries in the night, but the back half was better. I accept my often-negative spin on things, though I wish I could have a little more positive energy as my initial go-to. I just don't. I'm a fretter, a perseverator, and I really hate it when I can't tell how the sleep is going to go.
She slept until 7:00 a.m., which was a nice treat, and she seems to be suffering from nothing more serious than a common cold. For such a little person, you should see the amount of snot she can produce. I couldn't believe it. We went through about 6 tissues in the first 28 minutes of her day. I actually have no one but myself to blame for this situation. We had a playdate scheduled and other mother responsibly told me that her son was a little sniffly. Jeff and I mulled over the possibilities: stay home or chance the playdate. We went for it. The problem with that reasoning is that now Sadie has to suffer because she's the one who is under the weather. And, to tell you the truth, I was suffering a little last night hearing her cry and wondering if we could go more than 2 hours without a shrill screech from her.
Living and learing is an exhausting process.
Now, back to worrying whether this pregnancy is going to kill me.
Monday, December 20, 2010
I would post a picture, but this is a family-friendly website.
We had a wild weekend and now that I know it's the lunar eclipse, it makes sense why we were all out of line. We did get our mini-van this weekend. It's really fun. I feel like I am driving a barge down the road, but it feels safe and happy and spacious. So far I have driven it about 4 miles without incident, so I am feeling pretty confident I'll be the master of the mini-van in no time. I am a big fan of naming a car so we were trying to think of the right name for our silver Honda Odyssey. My last car was named Sadie, then we named Jeff's car Grady so my offering for this car is "M'lady." It's a long, sleek, classy ride. It can't be just some prosaic 2 syllable name. Of course I want the name to rhyme with our previous cars. I am sold on M'lady, but Jeff does get a vote.
Actually, Jeff observed recently that trading in his old car for the mini-van means we have let go of one of the last vestiges of our pre-marriage lives. He bought Grady (Grady didn't get his name until I came along) in 2005 right before starting as a full-time lawyer. He and Grady had some good times, including a long road trip down South to play in some golf tournaments. (I believe Hooters was a sponsor of one of them....also, before my time.)
So, here we go: deeper we go into Commitment Land and middle age and parenthood and a scores of things I never thought I would see, experience, smell or live through. But here we are. I think alot about that series of studies charting marital satisfaction, which shows that there is a precipitious drop in marital satisfaction upon having children that does not rebound until the first child goes to college. Today, I think Jeff and I are kicking that study in the ass and then running over it with our mini-van on the way to Costco with a screaming baby who is angry we won't let her ride in the van without a seatbelt. Sorry, Study, but it beats the hell out of zooming around to spin class and T.J. Maxx all weekend, allegedly without a care in the world.
Did I have a tighter body then? Yes.
Did I have more freedom then? In some sense, yes.
Did my freedom come with a loneliness and aimlessness that I hope to never face again? Hells yes.
Here's the big deal: There may come a day when your little precious angel is crying during nap time, but you and your devoted husband think she will settle down any second. Well, the seconds will turn into about 10 minutes and you will decide the situation needs some attention.
You will enter Little Precious' room and you will swoon from the stench. You will reach out to grab your little Preciousa/o and you will see that said Angel is covered in poo because the smart, snappy little onsie you bought her was easy to unsnap, allowing for unfettered access to the diaper and all its glory.
It happened. It's not a myth. Sometimes a cry is just a cry; sometimes a cry means, "Mom, I just poo'ed and smeared it all over myself. Can you come here for a sec?"
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I am happy to report that she's very gentle and non-militant about the whole process. She wasn't thrilled that my doctor has said I should come to the hospital the minute I go into labor. Juli's theory is that if I am able to labor at home for a while and stay comfortable in an intimate environment, then I may progress more rapidly. I asked her what we can do at the hospital to try to create an atmosphere that will have the same results. She said that we can huddle up in the bathroom, where she will light special tea lights. In her experience, being in the bathroom is a way to have some privacy and intimacy and to keep the hospitalness of it all at bay.
Then, she offered this tidbit: If all else fails and the doctors and staff aren't "leaving us alone," we can have Jeff take off his shirt.
I wasn't sure I heard her correctly. Did you say Jeff should take off his shirt?
According to Juli, if Jeff takes off his shirt then the staff will leave us alone because they will have no idea what we are doing in there. Honestly, I am still not sure of the purpose of Jeff taking off his shirt, but I love the idea so much we're doing it no matter what happens. Even if I go in for a C-section, I am having Jeff spend some time without his shirt on. Maybe to join me in the very revealing and exposing process of giving birth. Maybe because I happen to enjoy the view when Jeff takes his shirt off. Who cares? It's funny as hell and we are totally doing that. That one suggestion alone is worth the $900.00 we'll pay the doula for her services.
So there's that to look forward to.
In other news, the blurb about being 33 weeks pregnant says at this point, I may have trouble sleeping, breathing and sitting. Well, then, how's my tennis game going to be? I am pretty sure that all I do is sleep, breathe and sit.
Speaking of tennis, we took a very positive step for the family this weekend. We joined a tennis club, which has excellent babysitting for wee ones. I won't lie, I have never picked up a racket in my life so the tennis wasn't the draw. The babysitting? Well, that was a dealmaker for us. Jeff is going to get into tennis, which should play on all the strengths that make him a scratch golfer. (Yes, 2 years and 2 weeks into marriage and I still pretend like I know what a "scratch" golfer is. Sue me.) There's a gym attached to the club where Mommy will do her thing, which, for now, is called "walking gingerly on a treadmill." I haven't broken a sweat since October, except when I got the flu last Friday and almost fainted during group therapy. I try to keep things interesting as I spend my time breathing, walking and sleeping.
Anyway, we did our first family run to the club last Sunday. I would say we got some mixed results. I dropped Sadie off in the babysitting room. Of course I was terrified she would not want me to leave and that she would cry and protest at the top of her lungs. However, the minute she walked in to the play area she forgot all about boring old mom and went to play with the other little girl. I was so shocked that we didn't have a scene that I just backed away quietly and went to sit by the fire and read the paper. (Having just gotten over the flu, I wasn't going to visit any treadmill last weekend.)
Jeff reserved a practice lane to hit some tennis balls. When he was done, he came to find me cozily lazing by the fireplace reading the Style Section of the NYT. He looked like hell. I have never seen him so pale and glassy-eyed. What the hell do they do to you in the practice lanes, I wondered? The short ending of the story is that Jeff finally came down with the flu that Sadie and I had been battling and he christened our new tennis club with the contends of his guts.
We're so big time.
While I was waiting for Jeff to get himself together, I looked out over 4 indoor courts as people who looked like good tennis players to me lunged for balls and zigged and zagged all over the court hitting those flourescent balls. I have never given tennis much thought, but I have to hand it to the sport: they have very cute outfits for the ladies (those skirts? are you kidding me? How cute is that?) and it seems very social. As in, you can't play tennis alone. I am beginning to make space in my fantasy future for a few cute outfits and some tennis matches with ladies who will become my gym BFFs. Right now the only person woman I know who belongs to the club is literally an ace tennis player, so I have to work up to her level. I'll play with her when I am in my 60's. Til then, I will plot my maturation from solo marathon runner to congenial tennis player.
Monday, December 13, 2010
PLEASE NOTE: If you do find a job that gives your soul some room to (1) heal and (2) sing, you may want to take it on the theory that (1) you deserve a non-soul-destroying job, (2) it will lead to a better quality of life, (3) it will improve all of your relationships because you will no longer be exposed to a toxic work environment, and (4) you will be that much closer to your professional destiny.
HOWEVER, if you happen to be about 4 weeks and 2 days pregnant when you accept said new job, you should be aware that when it's time to take your maternity leave, you may have to accept that your maternity leave will be UNPAID. As in, during your leave, you will not receive any remuneration for your "services," and you will spend your entire maternity leave watching your bank account dwindle.
All this is the price for not eroding your soul day after day.
The advice? Maybe if you find yourself in this situation, you could negotiate before you take the job to have some sort of payment during maternity leave. That way you can avoid having a conversation at 32.5 weeks pregnant wherein the HR director of your office has to come in and tell you that during your maternity leave, you will receive exactly bubkus for being on "maternity leave."
It's funny, I remember going to pre-natal yoga before Sadie was born and meeting teachers who were telling me that their maternity leaves were unpaid. I thought that sounded so draconian and unjust. I also remember distinctly NOT taking a job at a federal agency because the maternity leave was unpaid. (Ok, there were like 7 other, more important reasons, but the non-paid maternity leave helped seal my rejection of that offer. We'll forget that I still sometimes pine for that job, until I think about what I would have to do as a federal regulator. Another story.)
Anyway, I think there's a good lesson here for myself and my kids and anyone else looking for a morality tale. I could have stayed at BigLaw job (presumably, though not a foregone conclusion) through this second pregnancy, but how small would my soul and my professional life be? Considering half of my former department has gone to greener pastures, I am not sure what it would even feel like to be there. Sure, I could have taken another maternity leave on their dime and gotten some pretty generous bi-weekly checks and probably a bonus. But would it be worth it? Maybe that's not even the right question, since I changed jobs and it's over and done with now.
It would be nice to continue to get paid during my maternity leave. It's not going to happen this time around. I am happier that my day-to-day life is less toxic and more fulfilling in every way. My vision is more about professional fulfillment than about those damn bi-weekly direct deposits.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
"Your baby can now produce sweat."
Why is a baby sweating in the womb, anyway? Another, apparently less headlining-grabbing feats this week is that the baby has a fully functioning digestive system, which he'll need to eat my "cooking."
As for my milestones, I am "supposed" to be gaining a pound per week and looking foward to increased constipation, shortness of breath and moodiness. Without giving the details, let's just say I am on pace for my milestones.
Little Meatball moves all the time and wakes me up at night with his jabs. I love it. The other day he jabbed me so hard when I was walking around that I lost my breath. He's lucky I am a fan of aggression.
We are meeting with a doula on Saturday to go over our birthplan, which includes trying to reach the holy grail of vaginal birth after C-section. My doctor is on board, though she did have a discussion with me about all the things that "are not in my control." She must have sensed I was hoping to exert control over the situation in ways that may not be realistic. I have no idea where she got that idea. Maybe when I told her that I was going to have a pain-free vaginal birth after pushing for approximately 47 minutes.
Oh, Dr. Gupta, you have no idea. You simply have no idea.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Though, to be honest, the real training is for me to learn how to prepare Sadie for who's coming and how to transition from a one-child household to a two-child household. I can say without any shame that I have no idea how to do that, but I am not above asking people with close families how they do it.
This weekend holds big milestone events for our household. I believe the crib will be put together. I have done several loads of laundry for Mr. Meatball and we may pull the trigger on the mini-van. There is still a little issue of the double stroller and a few other pieces of equipment, but we are over the hump and moving fast.
Speaking of equipment, I have done some research on vaginal births after a C-section and I am working on getting my equipment in shape. I talked to a doula today with whom we will have a meeting to talk about our birth plans. I only cried 3 times during our 10 minute conversation, so I am sure she has a very good idea what kind of condition I will be in as this birth gets even closer. She really understood that the C-section was traumatic for me and said that her goal, regardless of what kind of birth I end up having this time, is for me to be safe and NOT traumatized.
I hate that word: "trauma." I hate that trauma had anything to do with my experience of birth with Sadie. I don't believe it has affected our relationship negatively, but it's a huge regret that simultaeous to meeting Sadie my guts were splayed out in an operating room, which was all followed by a panic attack. The doula I spoke to today told me about the results of two studies: In one study, they surveyed people living in Manhattan shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and found that 9.5% of experienced being traumatized. In the second study, they found that in sample of women (unrelated to the 9/11 attacks) surveyed about their birth experiences, approximately 9.7% of them reported feeling traumatized.
I feel validated by that data and happy that my there are doulas out there who understand what kind of emotions might be coming with me to the hospital when the time comes.
In other news, I pee about 3 times every hour, which means at all times, I must be wearing comfortable shoes. I saw a friend today during lunch hour and he said my shoes reminded him of the nuns from Catholic schools. Naturally, I took offense and pointed out that my very comfortable shoes (that actually do have a little wedge heel) have a darling little flower near the buckle and told him that if he could find a nun wearing a shoe was cute as mine I would return to the Catholic Church as a full tithing member this Sunday.
Don't EF with me and my shoes.
New cravings have crept in as well. Everyday this week for lunch I had at least one serving of baba ganoush. I can't seem to get enough of its eggplanty goodness. And wheat toast, pita, bagel products. Good lord, if there is something tastier than toasted doughy wheat products with butter then ship it to me C.O.D. I am hungry all the time. Meatball is on pace to gain about 3-5 lbs from here on out so it makes sense that I am going to have to do my part.
Peeing. Eating wheat bagels. Interviewing doulas. Supervising the nursey preparations.
It's a sweet, sweet life.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
- In rural Illinois, the only music on the radio stations is oldies, Christian rock and Glen Beck's radio show.
- In really rural areas, it's just you and Mr. Beck.
- I was sure that listening to Mr. Beck would be better than letting my thoughts run amok for 3 hours.
- Turns out, I was wrong. There really is something worse than my own unstill mind: Glen Beck.
- From my tiny slice of Illinois-Americana, I noted that there was not one single fit person in Springfield out on the streets yesterday. Do rural dwellers not believe in the power (and compulsion) of physical exercise?
- Ironically, the third largest building I saw in Springfield was a gargantuan Gold's Gym.
- If you listen to enough Christian radio (I listened to a segment about how "green" activitists are defying the word of God by proclaiming that population control or protecting the Earth is a good idea, since God himself said Man shall have dominion over the earth), when you finally do get back into the City, you will feel grateful to be back where you belong. Even if you spend about 45 minutes on the parking lot known as 90/94.
God Bless America.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
These students were definitely still kids. It was refreshing to hear some of their honest comments and they seemed pretty respective of each other, of us and of their teacher. Our exercise was called, "No Pets Allowed," and we asked them if that was a fair rule for a landlord to have, generally. Then, we switched up the facts and asked what happens if a blind tenant wants a seeing eye dog? What if a lonely bachelor wants a parrot for company? What if a kid has an ant farm for a science project? And, my personal favorite, what if someone wants some tropical fish to make her living room more interesting?
The kids had hilarious reasons for why pets should or should not be allowed. I appreciated the very rule-oriented little Victoria who said that a "rule was a rule," so there should be no pets, not for the blind lady, the lonely man or the decorating-challenged woman. I asked a little boy what was so wrong with having a few fish, especially since they don't make a mess and they don't hurt anyone. He disagreed. He told me that flying pirranha fish could leap out of the tank and kill tenants. I humored him and told him that was a very good reason to bar fish from the fictional housing complex.
My colleague who conducted the class with me was less humoring of some of the students' answers. We asked if a police officer could bring his drug-sniffing German shephard home for a night because of a kennel closing. This wide-eyed little boy said that would be ok since a police dog would be well-trained and well-behaved. My very liberal colleague was aghast that little Kamilliam thought that police dogs wouldn't hurt anyone. My V.L.C. referred young Kamillian to the 1960's southern race riots when police dogs savagely attached "black" people. I won't lie. I was uncomfortable that my V.L.C. explained this to the only back student in the class. Still recovering from that little "educational" exchange.
Anyway, I am happy I think older kids are cute and endearing. The highlight of the whole exercise came at the end, when we were wrapping up and saying our goodbye's to Miss Hartman's fourth grade class. One little girl raised her hand and said, "Now, what was the point of you coming here today?"
You gotta love a direct question.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
She asked me when I was due.
For as much as I bitch and moan about my size and girth, I am still shocked when someone knows I am pregnant. (Still shocked when someone gives me a seat on the train, and not just because most people are self-absorbed and unintersted in giving up a seat.) It makes no sense that I complain about how pregnant I look and then feel surprised when someone asks me about my pregnancy, but honestly, it makes no sense to push your offspring out of your vagina or have him lifted out of your sliced abdomen, either so we're not exactly dealing with logic.
Once I realized she was talking to me (the only person sitting outside the dressing rooms), I told her my baby was due on February 1st. She asked if we were having a boy or a girl. I told her it's a boy, and when she asked about names, I told her we were still searching for the perfect name. I may have mentioned that I was open for suggestions. In fact, I am pretty sure I told her to give me her best shot of a boy's name.
Without skipping a fetal heartbeat, she said, "I got a name for you."
Excited to hear this perfect name, I said, "What is it?"
She said, "Semaj." (Pronounced "se-ma-jay.")
Wow. Had she been waiting for a pregnant lady to come into her area so she could unfurl the majesty that is Semaj?
I asked her where she heard that name.
She said, "It's James spelled backwards."
Hmmmm. Of course. Why didn't I think of that? For every name we like, we can also spell it backwards and make an entirely new name. Ffej would be a nice name if we were going to abandon hundreds of years of Jewish tradition and name Meatball after Jeff. ("Come here, Ffej, time for dinner.")
I actually don't know how this backwards naming idea helps me, but it's a great example of a conversation that took place because I am pregnant, and let's face it: people are hilarious around pregnant women. The advice, the gestures, the speculations. I just love it. As long as people keep their hands to themselves they can suggest Semaj's all day long. It's funny. I believe people mean well. We are no closer to a name, but you never know when it might show up.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Lowlight of the day: I had to appear at a hearing in state court, which, for reasons too numerous to name, I hate. One of the most unappealing parts of appearing in state court is trying to get an elevator from the first floor to the 23rd floor. Regardless of time of day, the elevators are jammed with cranky, self-important lawyers, whose definition of "business attire" is so incoherent and diffuse that it honestly seems like some of these people are trying to get sanctioned for fashion crimes. (Should you wear 6-inch high heals with feathers on them to court on a weekday morning? State court no less? In the midwest? With a cotton skirt? Come on!) Seriously, this morning there were no less than 35 lawyers waiting over 3 minutes to get into a 6 foot by 3 foot box to take them to EVERY SINGLE FLOOR BETWEEN 1 and 23. Are you kidding me? My baby son will be 5 before I find the courtroom.
Today's elevator ride was particularly suffocating. I got into the elevator first, because I am pregnant and aggressive and happened to be standing by the one elevator that happened to be working during the court's rush hour. I politely stepped in and walked to the back of the elevator. (Those whole 3 feet.) The next thing I know, a gigantic, 6 foot 4 inch, linebacker of a man gets it right in front of me, clutching his monogrammed leather satchel full of legal pads and files, and pushes his very ample backside right up against my bump.
Oh, sorry, did my unborn child take up too much room for you?
I couldn't move. I was literally boxed in by Big Foot and he was talking about his latest forays into horse racing. Our gigantic horse lover lawyer man was so busy talking about the horse racing odds and his winning gamble that he didn't realize he was cutting off my oxygen and close to racking up a charge for attempted feticide. If I hadn't been with a more senior partner, I think the toxic mix of fatigue and crowded personal space may have given me push to tell him to get out of my way, get to a f*cking Gamblers Anonymous meeting, and learn to talk in a hushed elevator voice when you are surrounded by 15 strangers, all of whom are running late.
This is what's so great about third trimester: As the fatigue takes over and the weigh gain accelerates apparently so does my charm and ability to take life's little challenges in stride. If I keep this up, I will be riding those elevators as a defendant and not a defense lawyer.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Now that I am awake so many more hours per day you would like to think I can pack more into my life. Aside from more complaining and more yawning, there's not much more I have packed into it. This morning, I did make some heartburn-free lemonade out of my early morning lemons when Sadie's battle cry ripped through our house at the pre-dawn hour. I embraced the only upside I could think of: more time with Sadie. I went to her (dark) room, got her out of her crib, and sat with her in the rocking chair for about 45 minutes. I know she was still tired and I was determined to get her back to sleep. Sure enough she was snoring her little piggy snores in about 5 minutes. I sat there meditating on life's meaning, and thinking about how to teach her numbers so we can train her not to cry out until she sees that it's at least 7:00 a.m. I have to say that I could see the sun rise through the slats in her window shades and she was cute as a little ladybug (a ladybug that snores) in my lap. I conceded to my innermost self that getting up an hour earlier isn't the end of the world. I do what I always do in those uncomfortable parenting moments: I project myself about 10 years into the future and remind my current self that these days are numbered and Sadie won't always be in little footie pajamas snoring in my lap smelling like yummy french baby shampoo.
I take a few deep breaths.
And, I remind myself that I probably don't have to wait 10 years to yearn for the days that I got to sleep from 9:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., considering our ladybug piggie has a brother who's on his way.
And, speaking of Meatball. Can I say that yesterday he moved around the womb for about 6 hours straight. It's still the most awe-inspiring and fantastical thing that I have ever experienced. I am a little nervous about what kind of nutritional plan I will have to adopt to keep up with the baby who grows from this very active fetus. Will I be eating seaweed and sawdust instead of Luna Bars? I love him and his summersaulting ways. My sense is that he's going to come bounding into this world with lots of flourish.
Too bad he may not have a name until 2012.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Second, the whole sit-down-and-talk-about-my-problems-or-neuroses is sort of played out. It's boring and also I don't have a lot of problems, which is a good thing, but it cuts down on the attention you get from your therapist when you turn out to be getting happy, healthy and fulfilled. So, I wanted a new venue that was less about "let's fix this about Christie" and more "what can you teach me?" Scrabble seemed easier than showing up to knit a sweater or to learn how to balance my checkbook.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Craving: Mangos, peanut butter and grilled cheese, gluten products served warm with butter
Reading: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (not the best pregnancy book I have never picked up, since it inspires me to run, and that's just plain physically impossible these days)
Looking forward to (short-term): Getting in bed tonight
Looking forward to (long-term): Sitting in my house holding both of my babies and teaching them to fetch me things I need
Highlight of the week: Scrabble game (post to follow)
Lowlight of the week: Feeling under the weather and having bad sleep for 3 nights running. (So cruel is that Mistress of Sleep)
Shock of the week: My wedding ring still fits. (WOOT)
Weepy moment of the week: Sitting quietly with Sadie in the rocking chair this morning, watching the sunrise and feeling Meatball kick.
Ready for: A vacation (16 days and counting)
Anxious about: DELIVERING THIS BABY
Sad about: The Republicans winning so many seats on Tuesday
Proud about: My commitment to public transportation even when the blue line takes FOREVER to come and I need to get home to relieve Zenia because Jeff is out of town.
Monday, November 1, 2010
We just passed Halloween and I am feeling a mix of pride and dismay that I have not had one single piece of Halloween candy. How can that be? I think it's because 1. We didn't buy any candy for trick-or-treaters, which made it tricky indeed when the doorbell rang last night. (Jeff put some Welch's fruit chews in one of Sadie's porta-potties and gave them out. Trick! and Treat!). 2. Also, when your child is only 15-months old and doesn't really know what candy is, then you really can skip the candy parts of the holiday. We had a blast this weekend though. Saturday I insisted we suit up and go to a pumpkin patch in the City, but I didn't read the fine print that said the Pumpkin Patch activities were over by 2. Thus, we we arrived looking for some pumpkin loving at 3:30 p.m., there was not much left other than some sad, scarred old pumpkin hunks and some hay bales. Luckily, again, Sadie had no idea what we thought we were going to find, so finding a swing and some kids to play with at the playground was just fine for her.
Sunday we dressed our first-born up as a chicken and went to a party. I am still dismayed that Sadie let us dress her up in a funky fleece costume that she gamely sported for several hours. The party was a nice break from the joint nesting project that Jeff and I engaged in on Sunday morning. It's called CLEANING OUT THE CLOSETS so we can move the office to the fourth floor loft and give the third-floor office to Meatball. Oh lord, the stuff that Jeff and I have held on to. Man, if I got a dollar for every stupid thing I bought at Ann Taylor Loft I would be able to buy a farm full of chickens. That's the thing about my former BigLaw job: at almost every single second I felt entitled to BUY whatever I wanted, because often, the ONLY perk of the job was the ample paycheck. (Don't ask me what my excuse is now, because I left BigLaw and rate myself as a 7.5 on a scale of 10 for job satisfaction, but believe me, I do have an excuse.)
Anyway, somebody who's lucky to find my load at the Salvation Army could seriously put together about 50 different outfits all from 2007-2009 Ann Taylor Loft Collection. There is also a hot pair of hot Citizen For All Mankind jeans that I am certain will never fit again. And, believe me when I say, "fine by me." Or, believe me mostly.
Ok, you know I am lying, but who needs jeans sitting upstairs in a perfectly nice office mocking me when I am busy building a brain and raising my little chicken daughter? In the spirit of full disclosure, here's a slice of my particular insanity around my body that is a totally true story:
Me: Hey, guess what I did today when Sadie was napping?
Me: I tried on some pre-pregnancy jeans. [REMINDER: I am 26 weeks pregnant. Almost to third trimester. That makes me officially INSANE and probably in my eating disorder.]
Jeff: How'd that work out for you?
Me: Um. It worked about halfway up my leg.
What's going to happen to my children with a mother this vain?
In my defense, that is not all I did when Sadie was napping. I also took a shower (nice to have a clean mommy) and I organized the growing pile of clothes for Meatball (nice to have a mom looking after your sartorial needs) and I read some of my latest book (nice to have a mommy model literacy for you).
On a completely unrelated note (is there any better kind of note?), today is the 29th anniversary of my paternal grandfather's death. John Callaway Tate of Forreston, Texas. His death was my first great loss and I was so upset by his passing when I was in 3rd grade. It was upsetting to see my dad cry and to worry about my grandmother living in this big farm house all by herself. It wasn't my last loss, but it was the first and there something about the first one. I had never really been to a funeral before and it was simultaneously so sad and so stimulating-- riding in a limo with my grandmother from the funeral home to the graveside and all those people all around for days. I remember sitting on my grandmother's lap and all her friends from the farming community were around her talking about my grandfather. I thought it was great to have everyone around telling these funny and happy stories. I just wished my grandfather didn't have to die for us to be together eating Ona June's cherry cheesecake and sharing so many good things. I remember telling my cousin, Susan, who is a few months older than I am, that Grandaddy's passing was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I think I remember she had a lawn chair on her head when I was trying to engage her in this conversation. She and my brother were playing a game on my grandmother's porch and my philosophical musings were not exactly part of the game.
Frankly, I was dying for someone to talk with me (no pun intended) about death and loss and grief, but I didn't know how or who to ask. I would get my chance later in life, but it makes me think of something very important now that I am a parent: I want to give Sadie and Meatball a chance to talk about anything they want or need to as they are growing up. Especially the hard stuff that I actually may not want to talk about. I want to give them space and language and signals that it's ok to ask questions or have feelings or wonder where people go when they die and what happens to the people they leave behind.
Let's see: We started with happy pumpkins and ended on a morbid note. That sounds about right.
Happy All Saint's Day.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Me: Ok. What?
Jeff: Zenia says she thinks she saw a <<<<<<<******>>>>>>>>>>>> (too muffled to hear).
Me: She saw a what?
Jeff: A mouse?
Me: In our house?
Me: Where in our house?
Jeff: In the kitchen.
Me: Is she sure? Was she drinking heavily or taking 'shrooms? Might she be hallucinating?
Jeff: I am pretty sure she saw it. She came to tell me right after she saw it.
Me: Ok. Well. We're moving.
(He thinks I am kidding. I am not. It's either me and my babies or the mouse, I don't care how freaking cute Ratatouille was.)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I am SO tired. It defies logic that I could hardly hold my eyes open after routinely getting about 9 hours of sleep at night, but here I am, and I am tired.
I looked up the stats on being 26-weeks pregnant and found out that the fatigue is because of all the weight gain. I laughed at that one. Sounds a little simplistic to me. How about the hormones? How about the creeping anxiety about having a little baby around to keep alive for the rest of my life? How about the potential C-section anxiety? It definitely is exhausting carrying myself and Meatball around, which is why when I go home from work I play with Sadie on the carpet, then I rock her to sleep in her cozy chair (and usually doze off with her) and then lay on the couch until it's time for bed. I don't even cross the street on the yellow lights anymore because it might require me to pick up the pace. Forget it. Mama surrenders to the SLOW DOWN.
I know you have been wondering what celebrities are also pregnant right now. I have been trying to keep track of the celebriety bump watch so that in the future I can remember to feel smug when my kids turn out better than, say, Celine Dion's, even though I am not a Las Vegas hot shot with a headlining show of my own. And the Divine Ms. Dion just had twin boys, who are 2 days old, and yet unnamed. Apparently, she's having trouble deciding between French and English names. Um, they are twins, how about one of each? The report I read said she gained 40lbs and didn't care about losing it before she returns to Sin City in March. I don't believe a word of any of it, but I am waiting to see what she names her boys.
Also currently pregnant:
Mariah Carey (maybe)
Oh, and Dr. Julia Ray, our pediatrician is probably pregnant, because I saw her reading labels on cereal at Trader Joe's looking impossibly DARLING like one of those women who happened to swallow a basketball. Sadie's 15-month appointment is tomorrow so I'll find out if that was her checking out the Puffins on Saturday.
I have to rest up because Meatball's crib and dresser are showing up on Friday. To prepare for this furniture onslaught, Jeff and I sold my old bed and nightstands (Pottery Barn sleigh bed) on Craig's List last weekend. (Ok, Jeff did the selling, but I contributed because I bought them in the first place.) Now, we have room to move the office furniture out of Meatball's room so we can go into full SOCK MONKEY overload. I can't wait to see it all come together. The room is a disaster right now, so we have our work cut out for us. And what, with me sleeping 9-10 hours a night, I see lots of overtime in Jeff's future.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Let's talk about that.
We all know you can actually date anyone you damn well please. Eventually. While under my roof, both of my children can date either boys or girls, hopefully within a 5 year age range while still under the age of 18.
Let me be explicit: this is not an episode of Glee. I DON'T CARE WHETHER YOU ARE STRAIGHT OR GAY OR BI-SEXUAL. I don't need my kids to be happy all the time, or popular or straight. I don't care if you are gay for one second. By the time you are figuring out your sexuality, Don't Ask Don't Tell will be repealed (hopefully) and "coming out" will not be such a big freaking deal. I can't wait until sexual preference is as bland a fact about someone as his or her height. I hope the next Supreme Court Justice is gay, and I hope there is absolutely no press about it, because really, WHO CARES who about the genitals of Justice's partner? I care about the Justice's mind, his or her experience, his or her politics, and his or her position on the issues that I really care about. It be nice of there were no allegations of sexual harassment lodged against the putative new Justice, as this country doesn't need that again.
On the one hand, my children's sexuality is really none of my business. On the other hand, I love them and something being none of my business has NEVER stopped me before. It's certainly not stopping me during motherhood.
Also, it's 2010 and whether they are gay or straight I only hope my children can date people who can teach them lessons (the fun kind and the hard kind) and who make them laugh (and cry) and who add to their life stories, which, at the center is THEM, though I may try to stick my head in the frame more than they will like.
This is all on my mind because today there is a nationwide movement to recognize how bullying gay teens has led to devastating consequences, including an alarming increase of teen suicides. We were supposed to wear purple today to support anti-bullying efforts and to commemorate the lives of young people who's pain over their sexual preference led them to their deaths. I already know from watching Sadie get hurt over and over again in hundreds of small ways, that I can't prevent my kids from hurting. And, after a few playdates where Sadie bit another child or stole toys from other children, it's clear I can't entirely prevent my kids from hurting others. I wish I could. I can't. All I can do is make it clear in any way I know how that I accept my kids' and their choices and I love them and I hope to create a home full of tolerance and joy and celebration of all kinds of different people. Regardless of what happens to them as they venture forth to school, or chess matches or gymnastics or knitting circles, they will have a home that is free from bullying and shame around sexuality and expressions of "difference."
So, to sum up:
My kids are still not allowed to date David Hasselhoff, but same sex dating will be cherished and respected just like opposite sex dating.
AND NO TEXTING WHILE DRIVING to anyone of any gender.
What does it mean?
I am pretty sure it would scare a child if he was hung in his room, right?
It makes me laugh, but I am not sure I am getting the joke.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Oh, I have worked hard to take the sting out of this mistake. It's been cardio justification.
I tell myself it was a clerical error; that there are MUCH worse mistakes for a lawyer to make; I am new to this job; my former job had a whole department to catch these kind of mistakes; I am a good person; even if I get fired for this mistake, I have been honest about my time and never sent any personal packages on the firm dime; I am still a good mom; I look both ways before I cross the street; I didn't know any better.
None of this is helping. I still stew about it. I had a glorious fall weekend with Sadie spending time with friends and taking walks. Every now and again I would have a spasm of anxiety when I would think about my mistake. Then I would wonder what the colleagues who will inevitably discover my mistake will think. Before I knew it, more than 3 minutes of reverie about this mistake had passed, which was 3 minutes less of my time with Sadie.
So how can I possibly teach my kids that making mistakes is part of life and not the end of the right to live as a free citizen? I can't imagine how I could truly impart a lesson that I have yet to internalize. Can I show them what it's like to be a lifelong reader? Sure, I am almost always reading a book. Can I show them how wonderful exercise is if done in moderation? For the most part I can model this. But kids are smart and I know that no matter what I say about mistakes, and lessons, and building character, they are still going to see me stewing about mistakes and they will probably get the idea that they should too unless I change.
Here's the mistake I made: We filed a brief (a court paper, for those lucky enough NOT to know what a brief is) in state court here in Chicago. Easy enough. The partners on the case work in NY and were looking to me as their "expert" on local procedure. (The wisdom of that choice is a subject for THEIR blogs, not mine.) As the expert, I was asked if there was a page limit on the brief we filed. I remember looking in the state court rules and even logging on to Westlaw to verify that the state court rules do not have a page limit for the brief we were filing. "Fire away."
Well, thanks to footnote 1 to the brief filed by the other side, I learned that I was wrong. Apparently, the Judge has her very own set of rules that says parties may NOT file briefs in excess of 15 pages without permission.
Really? The other side had to put that into a footnote?
In addition to hating the fact that I make mistakes, some of them public and some of them the subject of a footnote in a brief, I also hate this part of the law: the picayune, rigid formal rules. Is it the end of the world that our brief was an extra 4 pages? No. Is the rule there for a reason? Presumably. Does it make me stupid that I didn't know to the look at the Judge's local rules, considering I never practiced in state court before July 2010? Certainly not. (As a sidenote, I will say that I hate that there are so many platforms in legal proceedings for parties to shame one another, not to mention how Judges often abuse their positions of authority to shame litigants.)
Anyway, the whole point of this is to examine yet another way in which being a parent of children I really love has magnified little character "quirks" (or "defects") that are miserable enough for me to deal with, but seem like poison when I think of passing them on to my kids.
Here's how I would want my kids to think of and feel about a mistake they made:
- available to learn the lessons from the mistake;
- feel grateful for the chance to learn from a mistake;
- understand they just because they make mistakes, it doesn't mean they ARE mistakes;
- happy that they are not as perfectionistic as their mother;
- able to let it go and enjoy the rest of their big lives;
- find supportive friends and family (THEIR MOTHER) who can help them get perspective on the scope of the mistake and the process of correction, if applicable.
I assume it's got to start with me. I am almost over this mistake. Jeff says I will make many more mistakes before it's all over. Part of me honestly thinks that I wouldn't make mistakes at work if I didn't have a job, but that's probably part of a longer conversation. Jeff seems much better at keeping perspective when he misses something at work. Maybe my kids will get his genes if there is a genetic component to this process. If not, they'll have some good company with me. We'll pour some organic milk, talk about our mistakes, write them in a leather-bound book we'll call the MISTAKE BOOK so that we never EVER forget our errors, and vow to read the book together every night until we no longer make mistakes. Instead of reading Harry Potter and Charlott's Web at night, we will read about our mistakes over and over again hoping the memory will keep us from making more mistakes and adding to the book.
I know. I know what you are thinking: You're jealous I am not your mother.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Wow, look at me being all positive and gooey about the birth of my son.
I have paperwork from my doctor that I am supposed to fill out indicating that I would like to try to have a vaginal birth, even though my first pregnancy ended in a C-section. I can't fill it out. I am too scared. I really would love to have a vaginal birth for lots of reasons I can't explain, and some that I can, such as shorter recovery time, more natural, safer in some respects, and less drama. Or so I tell myself. But, because I had Sadie in the very recent past and she was born via C-section, there are added risks, such as the aforementioned ruptured uterus. And, if my uterus ruptured, the real danger could be to the baby. If all I was confronting was the potential loss of my uterus, I might be game for that, since I don't imagine I will birth any more children. But, the thought of jeopardizing Meatball's health because I want to chase the elusive dream of a vaginal birth sounds kind of Mommie Dearest to me.
I keep thinking that science will come up with a third alternative between now and February 2, 2011. I mean, what the hell is going on in all those labs across the country? Isn't someone figuring out an alternative to vaginal and C-section births? Isn't there a think tank somewhere devising a way for a woman to get an 8ish lbs baby out of her body with out any unpleasantness such as ruptures, espisiotomies, stitches, blood loss, and other capital R risks?
Someone should start a 5K to raise money for this cause.
In the meantime, I think it might be a good use of my time to (1) stop perusing my friends' friends on facebook looking for a boy's name and to (2) start thinking of a way to embrace the birth experience EVEN IF I have a C-section. The farthest I have gotten with this is finding some very cute flannel pajamas at Garnet Hill to lounge in for the 5 days in the hospital after the C-section. I have some vague ideas about how to make the operation itself more palatable, including NOT having it at 3:00 a.m. after 25 hours of labor and maybe having more support in there. Jeff was amazing when Sadie was born, but I won't lie, I was a freaking handful that morning-- screaming that I was going to get up off the table to see my baby and being admonished by the anesthesiologist that I had to wait until my uterus was BACK IN MY BODY before I could leave. It's a lot for Jeff to handle, while also obeying my commands to check on the baby, and bring the baby to me, and be sure they don't mix up our baby with someone else's and to be sure they don't sew me up with extra surgical instruments left inside my womb.
Is it wrong to invite your therapist to come to your C-section? I'm just saying, I should get something out of this long-term and EXPENSIVE relationship and he's a freaking medical doctor.
Also, do they have to strap my arms down like I am being crucified? I am Catholic; having restrained arms has very somber connotations for me.
Yes, this is going to be a major test of my ability to let go, to trust, to surrender, to focus on the positives and to embrace all the wonderful narcotics given to post-birth mothers.