Thursday, June 30, 2011

This Time . . .

Parenthood is such an unpredictable job. Even the best laid plans get thrown out the window the minute Baby’s born. As someone who researches by nature every thing I do, I’m the first one to admit that books are helpful and handy and yet totally pointless too. I am an information gatherer . . . but no book nor google search is gonna raise a baby. When things got rough and complicated with Amelia, there was no book, video, or even doctor with answers. I had to find my own answers and learn something very valuable—to trust my gut and fight the experts when necessary. I learned early in motherhood that even the most experienced parents and doctors were not the experts on my baby. That, even as a brand new, have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing mother, I was the expert on Amelia. It was a profound realization.

As we get closer (she will be here two weeks from today, no matter what!) to bringing home another baby, I’ve been reflecting  a lot on our experience with Amelia (oof) and how far we’ve come (seriously) and wondering how it will all apply to our new beginning. . . while also realizing that our expertise is likely out the window with this baby too. They’re all different right?!

What I’ll Do Differently

Breast Feeding. I will do a lot about breast feeding differently. The top thing on my list of doing things differently will be to not care what anyone else thinks about it. I won’t cover up, go to another room in my own house, or run to the parking lot to feed my baby in the cramped seat of the car. I had such anxiety about feeding Amelia in front of family members and friends, even when they came over to our house! And why? Because I didn’t want to bother them. I never once fed her in public because of the perception of others. Why?! Why would I censor myself in something as innocent and natural as feeding my child? Why worry so much about other people including strangers that I would make myself and baby uncomfortable in the process? Quite frankly, if someone doesn’t want to see my boob, they shouldn’t look. If they think it’s gross or inappropriate, I dare them to confront me. In a world where Hooters has a children’s menu and Playboy sits on the backs of millions of toilets across the nation as a classy magazine, I refuse to consider my body obscene when using it for its intended purpose.

I will not agonize over stretch marks and the bread-dough belly left behind. As a mother of two in my thirties, it’s not only okay, but totally time to let the hawt, college girl in her twenties go. Since having Amelia and struggling with body issues, I have come to an important realization. I don’t want to be the same person I was in my twenties. I don’t want to wear the same clothes. I don’t have a desire to be a MILF or attract younger men, cougar style. See, I don’t have to be sexy to anyone except the one I actually have sex with. The hell is up with expecting moms to look like they’ve never had babies? Y’all know that’s impossible right? Permanent damages, yo. And you know what? I believe that by getting women to focus and obsess over stupid things like stretch marks and saggy boobs, she doesn’t realize how powerful her body is and how vital its abilities. If she focuses on what everyone else thinks about her body held up to a silly Hollywood standard, she won’t ever acknowledge her own strength in surviving such a grueling process. We’re so weird as a society that we talk more about her getting fat than the amazingness of bringing a whole person into the world. The HELL?!

I will accept help. I may even ask for it if it’s not offered. I can’t do it alone. Justin and I can’t do it alone. I’ve become a believer in the Village necessity in raising babychildren and I can let go of some of the work to let that village take root. With Amelia, she screamed so much that I couldn’t bear to put anyone else in the position to listen to it—and therefore never got a break from it myself. I didn’t think anyone else should have to deal with it/her. Now I realize that it would have just done me wonders to have gotten out for an hour here or there and it wouldn’t have killed anyone to listen to her for an hour or two either. I’ve also learned as my friends and family have had babies that people want to help. They do. When someone offers, they want to be involved. It’s a win-win.

I will try to demand sleep one night a week. With Amelia, I did the night duty. Every night. And when it was 9 months later and I hadn’t slept, I imploded . . . and then exploded. It’s not possible to get by without sleep. It infuriates me when I see mom blogs/boards that say ‘sleep is for the weak.’ No. Sleep is for survival. I very nearly landed myself in the hospital for not sleeping when A was a baby. My body felt like it was crumbling and my brain was just mush. And I wasn’t a good mom when I was exhausted. The biggest problem for us was that we got into the routine of my getting up, no matter what. Learned early on that Justin was useless without sleep so he’d get up early and relieve me so I could sleep for an hour or two. Added to that (and probably more significantly), I was constantly paranoid about my milk supply so even if he by chance got up to feed her, I’d insist on getting up to pump so my body wouldn’t quit producing. (palm to forehead) So in my mind, it was pointless to have anyone else feed her because it was more of a pain than just feeding her myself. My bad on that one. This time, I will try to take one night a week that is for me to sleep through and recharge. I will not feel guilty about how exhausting it will be for my husband because he is a parent too.

I will communicate more with Justin. He is receptive and willing to do his part. With our first child, I think we both struggled to figure out what his part was. It’s really difficult to manage roles with a nursing baby. I mean one person has the milk and the other . . . doesn’t. So yeah, equality in parenting goes right out the window. BUT I could have asked for more help. I could have asked him every once in a while to bring the baby to me and take her away after nursing so I wasn’t up. I should’ve told him how much I was struggling because he wanted to do more and didn’t know where to insert himself. I trust that he’ll be more comfortable and take more initiative this time . . . BUT I can’t expect him to read my mind.

I will trust my body on the milk supply thing. Taking a 3am feeding off once a week will not result in my starving the baby the next night. As long as the baby is on the boob, there will be ample food for her and I shall trust that a whole lot more.

We shall take this baby out more. I had just gotten in the stride of taking Amelia here and there when the screaming set in. We were so consumed by it that we just retreated, shades drawn, phone off, and alone. We didn’t want to be out somewhere and then have her start screaming (which mostly lasted for hours), we were too exhausted to go anywhere, and we were usually already trying to get her to stop screaming. It. Was. Awful.  By nature, I think the second child needs to be more mobile—because you already have a little person who needs to get out of the house. Amelia’s situation definitely stunted and paralyzed us. It would be nice to go on a road trip every once in a while or hit the beach for a day. We will all need it.

We shall take more time for ourselves. Good lord, Justin and I spent maybe one evening alone in the first year of Amelia’s life. And we’ve only spent a weekend away together ONCE since she was born! We don’t have a lot of familial support with watching her and don’t want to take advantage of the one person who does watch her, so we just don’t go anywhere. And when she was a baby, we didn’t want anyone else to have to deal with the difficult baby. But now, even if someone just watches Amelia and we take the newbie out to dinner or to the movies, we need to carve more time out together. It’s a need. More used to leaving Amelia with caregivers, it should be a bit easier this time to get help. Hopefully. We could drop the girls off with my mom for a couple hours to catch a movie and the sky won’t come tumbling down, I’m sure.

I will tend to myself. Though I am okay with letting go of the younger, single, skinnier version of myself, I am not okay with just forgetting about myself altogether. I remember taking Amelia on errands when she was a baby. She’d be dressed appropriately, always clean, fed, and cute. I’d be none of those things—walking around in the rain with a t-shirt on, hungry, and unshowered. A majority of the time, I’d be in my car before I realized that I hadn’t even looked at myself in the mirror before walking out the door. I was a mess. A zombie mess. And this made my self esteem piss poor and therefore made it even harder to take any time out for myself. Even if I have to take the baby with me, I will get my toes done once in a while and not wait a year to get my hair cut. I will *try* to buy myself some clothes instead of spending all my money on stuff for the kids, even if it means coming to terms with a new body.

I will pump more. Ack. I hate pumping. I really do. But there has to be a better balance than what I did before. I hated pumping so much that I just did it to make it through work hours. I will try to stock up milk so I can *gasp* maybe grab coffee with a friend every once in a while or just not live by the 2-hour leash every so often. I know it’s just easier to breastfeed, but maybe some space would be good too. On the fence about this one because part of me wants to just avoid bottles and pumping altogether.

I will control more of the hospital situation. If I am tired, hungry, wanting to feed the baby, I will say so and clear out the hospital room. When I think about how many people streamed into that room the day Amelia was born, I can’t believe it. Here I was, just out of surgery, and after having a baby and hosting guests all day AND night. Justin, Amelia, and I were not alone one time until after visiting hours that night. Not once. I can still tell you everyone who saw us while we were there and how special it was for people to visit us and meet her in the hospital, but I didn’t speak up for me or us. Amelia lost a lot of weight in the hospital. I should have been feeding her more, resting more, eating myself (which I didn’t do at all). This time, I’d like to protect our time with the baby more. I know we’ll be so excited to show her to everyone, but we need to pace ourselves and carve out our own space as a family with more urgent tasks at hand than seeing a slew of visitors.

I shall try not to will her first year away by constantly looking forward to the next step.

I will not feel guilty if I don’t spend every second entertaining or stimulating my baby.

I will not feel guilty when I spend every second of a day snuggling and entertaining my baby.

I will not reject pink. Feminine does not equal bad. It took me a while to get that and realize that there’s balance. Pink does not equal making $.75 to the dollar but it’s hard to separate what I know academically sometimes.  I will hold a line at the things proven destructive for girls: Barbie, Disney Princesses, and the like are still out. But now that I’m three years into this girl thing, I’m in. And I love celebrating girlhood while also allowing Amelia to be herself and explore typically boy things too. As a jock tomboy growing up, I rejected all things girly. I don’t want that for my girls because girls are pretty rad and they should know that. Although to be fair, the pink thing is just obnoxious! lol

I will enroll her in preschool at 2. The benefits far outweigh the negatives.

I will try to get more involved with the community, other moms, and in play dates. Not only is it good to have built-in friends for the baby, but Mama needs other mom friends too.


Well that’s what I’ve got rattling around for now. I’m sure there’s a million other things that will be different this time, but we’ll have to follow that story as it unfolds.

Until then, here’s a little pic of my first-born little teacher at school this week.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Random Thoughts

Everything is jumbled and fragmented and misguided in my brain right now.


I woke up yesterday morning, got Amelia ready for preschool, dropped her off, came home. Walked straight to bed and slept for 4 hours. Woke up feeling better but still drained. The flurry of activity that came in the last couple weeks has given way to complete and total exhaustion. At this point, I don’t do much besides being pregnant. Even getting dressed to sit in the pool seemed like a chore today. End stage.

Babygirl is running out of space. Every movement she makes hurts on my end and I can only imagine how it feels for her. Can she (we) make it two more weeks?

Sleeping at night is nearly impossible. Heartburn, sore hips, inflamed crotch (I’ll never get used to this truth), and bouts of cramps keep me up, tossing and turning. Oh and getting up to pee every couple hours. Holy crap! With Amelia, I got up once a night for the last couple months or so, but this baby is just crushing my bladder. I pee a couple drops, stand up and have to pee again. Sit, pee a couple drops. Repeat. It’s like having a UTI without the crazy burn, but with someone sitting on your crotch. Just moving into a different sleep position requires that I run to the bathroom. What the heck?

And every time I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I tread lightly fearing (anticipating) that my water will break.

Amelia is being a real trooper considering how cranky and impatient her mom is these days. Her forgiving and loving spirit makes the guilt that much worse.

We switched her preschool schedule to coincide with Justin’s work week. Her and I are alone on Sundays, but that’s it now. As sad as I am about losing another day with her, I know it’s for the better. Not only am I the mom I’d like to be right now anyway, but when the baby is here, it’ll be a necessity to have that time. I guess I’m most sad not for the days right now that I’m missing, but that our days of being together, just her and I, and off on summer adventures are over altogether. Though, in reality, they were gone a while ago since I don’t have a lot of energy to set off on adventures anyway.

I also think that if I go into labor while Justin’s working, I’d rather be alone than home with Amelia. I’m afraid of going into hard labor while trying to remain calm and focused and not scare her. So that was another reason to change her schedule.

But then I’m totally panicked that she’ll be in school when it happens and I won’t be able to see her before going to the hospital. I won’t be able to tell her that she’ll always be my first baby and that mama’s love won’t change with the new baby. What if something happens in surgery and I didn’t talk to her before I left?

I’ve decided that the very worst part of this whole pregnancy has been the asthma. Even beyond the at least 20 illnesses I’ve had since November, the asthma has made me sicker than anything and still is. I still wheeze until I puke at least once a week. The thought of getting this baby out AND catching my breath is just unfathomable.

Amelia’s new haircut is still taking my breath away. It reveals her face in such a delicate manner, allowing her natural beauty to shine. She’s just beautiful, that kid and I can’t decide if I adore that or fear it, but it’s inescapable at this point.

When Justin’s working, I miss him like crazy. Not just because of all the things he does around the house, but as my friend. I stay up way too late each night just to see and talk with him for a while. On his last night of work for the week, we usually stay up until 2 just catching up on the week. It feels so right when we’re all home together. It’s when I’m happiest.

I’ve gone through a marked shift in my thinking in the last couple weeks. My thoughts are focused more and more on Baby  than pregnancy and preparation. I keep thinking about seeing her face for the first time, smelling her little head, and just holding her on my chest. The fear and anticipation is slowly giving way to the excitement and anticipation.

I learned with Amelia that I’d rather be caring for a newborn than at end stage pregnancy any day. And the switch from one to another is very near.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some People are Jackholes

First things first—nothing new to report here. Still pregnant. Did a little too much today and ended up a little crampy, but otherwise, just plugging along. Ever since I blogged about Amelia’s crazy tantrum monster behavior, she’s been an angel. ha. I shouldn’t even say that! But really, I’ve been paying attention to how helpful and loving she is. She doesn’t want to be a monster, I’ve decided. She is just mandated by her three-ness and by the incessant need to gogogogo all day and wind up an exhausted mess that leads her to to push and push.


Anyway, did you know that some people are just total jackholes? Well they are. And when you get into any discussion of the boy versus girl nature, holy hell does the Jackholedness of others come roaring out. I don’t even mean a political discussion about such controversial or heady topics as say, equality or anything. I mean simply telling people that you are expecting your second daughter. . . or hanging out in the sandbox with other moms. Take each of the following scenarios—all of which have occurred in the last couple months.


1. Anonymous ‘friend’ asks me, “Did you find out what you’re having yet?” (Yes, I resisted the urge to respond with a baby, dummy) Me: We’re having another girl! (insert ridiculous beaming and gloating here).  “Well don’t worry. You can borrow (insert ‘friend’s’ son’s name here) anytime you want.” 

So let’s recap. I say we’re having a girl and the response is one of rescue?  As in, ‘don’t worry. As your friend, I will help you through this by offering a boy to you to fit your needs. Or wants? Not quite clear on which this person was getting at. However, what I do know was that the assumption was that I’d obviously be missing something in my life and would therefore would need to fill this need by asking others for help. And by help, I mean their sons. Rewind three years and this is the same person who, when told that we were waiting until birth to find out the sex of our first born, said, “Oh and Justin’s going to be there just WAITING to see a penis, huh?!”  I still don’t know exactly what that meant except that a girl would be a disappointment because every man must just long for a son? I dunno on that one, but here is a simple case of two total jackhole statements by the same perpetrator.


2. At Justin’s work (which is a very masculine-dominated environment), a (male) coworker strikes up some small talk about kids and whatnot. Justin tells Dude that he’s got another daughter on the way.  Response? “Oh Man, you have to try for a third. You gotta get that boy!” Justin: No way Dude. We’re done with two! Trying not to get annoyed and just keeping it light. Dude says, “You’re missing out Bro! My son is the coolest thing that ever happened to me. We have so much fun together. You definitely need to go for a boy, Man.”

Now this is a rather obvious jackhole encounter that doesn’t need a lot of analysis. It’s of the same cloth as the first. You must be sooo disappointed to have another girl. You need a boy to do cool things with your kid. The best (BESTBESTBEST) part about this story was Justin’s response. The conversation continued as follows; Well what do you mean about all the things you do with your son? What kinds of things??  Now this question made Dude very excited, “Oh Man. We play football, work in the yard, I take him to Home Depot and teach him how to use tools. You NAME it, Man and I’ve got my BOY with me.” Justin: Dude. I do all of those things with my daughter NOW. Dude says “Oh. Really? Well. It can’t be the same.”  Conversation over.  (Don’t tell him or anything, but Justin is very well on his way to receiving his Feminist Membership Card.)


3. And my personal favorite. . . Sitting in the sandbox at the local park. A little boy asks Amelia if she could share her sand toys with her. She of course says yes. He’s about the same age, maybe a little older than her, promptly sits down and take a shovel of sand and throws it, sand flying all over the place. His mama comes over and tells him that “this if your ONE warning. No more throwing sand.”  To speed along a lengthy story, little dude continues throwing sand and getting ‘final’ warnings. It becomes apparent fairly quickly that this kid is kind of just a punk—and given all the warnings he was given, I could tell you why too. But that’s neither her nor there. The thrown sand gets pretty close to Amelia but not enough for me to get involved. Anyone with kids knows that the park/playground politik is a little dicey in the way of dealing with punk kids. Amelia, for her part, is glancing over at this kid but mostly just doing her own thing. The picture of the two of them together, along with the mom yelling the same directions over and over is a bit humorous to me and I start to chuckle at the absurdity of it. Mind you, just a little chuckle, nothing dramatic or insulting. It was just a funny picture.  And THEN, the mom, who obviously felt insecure about the situation (as we all do when our kids are being punks and our parenting is on full display), looks at Amelia quietly building a sand castle and sighs. “Boys and girls just play so differently.” And she promptly got up, took her kid’s hand and explained to him that they were going to the other (adjacent) park as a ‘discipline’ I guess.

And it’s a good thing that she left too because her comment enraged me. As much as I found her kid’s behavior amusing, her excuse for it was downright insulting. Soooo ummmm, your child’s penis leads him to throw sand and ignore you? Not the lack of follow-through and discipline? Really? His penis? And how often do you use that as an excuse for his poor behavior? Because that would explain .  .  . A. LOT.  And what are the chances of said child NOT turning into a complete and total asshat as long as everything he does is excused by his CROTCH?! And of course, that’s not even the worst of it. The most insulting part? That she also dismissed Amelia’s sweet demeanor by HER crotch. WTF?! So let me get this straight. Your kid’s balls make him an A-hole and my kid’s uterus just prevents her from misbehaving?! Wow, wouldn’t that make parenting just basically pointless?  And oh-so-easy for parents of daughters, sheesh. And guess what? My babychild is NOT above throwing sand in the freaking sandbox, I can tell you THAT! She actually prefers bark so that the slivers fly all over the place, to be honest. But she also knows that if she gets told not to throw the bark and continues throwing of the slivery mess, she’d find her hiney back in the car and headed home very quickly. Vagina not withstanding. Shocking, I know. Quite frankly, all parents should be offended by such comments and attitudes. There are so many sweet, well-mannered little boys out there that deserve the credit. . . and the chance to live as a person and not a penis.  And there are plenty of misbehaving little girls out there too! And how insulting to say that a child behaving well is simply because of her parts. ARGH. Jackhole.

And while we are speaking of jackholes, I’ll also note that I posted a frustrated status on Facebook, “Please don’t use your kid’s penis as an excuse for his bad behavior or my daughter’s vagina as a reason for her good behavior.” Simple statement. It’s not tricky or accusatory but a general thought. And wouldn’t you know that two people, facebook friends who are also actual real-life friends, said they were offended by this and ‘unfriended’ me, which in the fb world is like cutting someone out of their lives. W.T.F.? I even tried to explain that this statement was a simple defense of all little boys and no response. And while I was frankly shocked at first and even a little hurt, I’ve come to see that this fits in the jackhole category too. Seriously. Don’t be stupid. ((shaking head))


I imagine that people’s stupid comments will only continue as our lives as the parents of little girls progresses. However, I hope that they will come to rely on the fact that I will always stand up for them and never turn my back to jackholery aimed in their direction. Even though I find it odd that in 2011 such archaic thoughts on gender are still so prevalent. Guess we’ve got our work cut out for us. But I say bring it because I can take it, even if it’s only one jackhole at a time. :)


ps—I’m planning on resuming editing of these posts some day. I swear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Amusing Amelia: Quote of the Day


“Mama, stop saying mmmhmmm and just talk to me.”

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photo (26)

I Know What You Did That Summer: 35.5 Week Update

I feel haunted by my uterus’ past. The crazy thing about Amelia’s birth is that it was out of the blue. I never got to the point where I was just waiting for baby or looking for signs. I was frantically putting things together and looking forward to a couple weeks of putting my feet up after a long semester. Even as they were pulling my baby out of me, I was in total disbelief as to the reality of her birth in that moment. And then she was here and that was that. Uterus was off the hook, having produced a healthy baby, albeit in a rather unsettling manner. Ahhh, the bliss of ignorance.

Despite that I am technically still 4.5 weeks from this pregnancy’s end date, the ghost of birthing past indicates that we are really looking at arrival much sooner. Because, if we look at the calendar and put this baby’s birth at the same exact day of gestation as Amelia, it would be . . . next Wednesday. You know, a WEEK from today. Um. Yeah.

This knowledge changes everything. I’m constantly looking for signs, waiting in imminence. Every little thing makes me wonder “Is this it? What does this mean? Is it almost time??” And I feel guilty doing anything too physical or tiring or hard thinking I might set something off and actually force myself into labor.

Last weekend, BabyGirl took to major movement, her head switching sides of my uterus, pushing out two feet from my body and causing crazy pain. “HOLY SHIT, She’s MOVING!” The pain was intense and the movement was large enough that I broke out in chills and felt dizzy. I thought I might actually puke except I worried that if I got up to run to the toilet, I’d pass out. Crazy. My best guess now is that maybe she was trying to get head down again and running into the barrier of septum in my babymaker. In any case, I totally freaked out thinking that either labor was beginning or that she would get stuck and rupture the sac. ACK! I sat perfectly still for a couple hours. Now, if I hadn’t had the previous experience, I wouldn’t have even thought about going into labor at 35 weeks. But see . . . haunted.

The good part of having experience is in being prepared. To an extent anyway. I’m going to the doctor each week now and this week, she did an external exam. I never got to the point of going weekly with Amelia and they definitely had no reason to check my cervix for signs of labor. This time, if there are signs, we might know in advance if my body is preparing for labor. Hopefully. Wouldn’t that be nice? The news as of today is that my cervix has begun to thin and soften but is still closed with no dilation. The baby’s butt is still downward but very high—meaning she hasn’t dropped yet.  So labor is coming but nothing of immediate concern. Eep.

The doctor told me today that she expects me to make it to our next appointment—next Wednesday and if things are the same, to the scheduled C-section date! A lot can change in a week, but I am really trying to be positive about it. IthinkIcanIthinkIcanIthinkIcan. The big mystery is if I showed any real signs before Amelia came. There was nothing of note on my end, so who knows if my cervix showed any signs before—since nobody checked. So who knows. WHO KNOWS? It’s all a just  a scary guessing game.

On the daily note, I’ve started scrubbing the house and spending hours putting the Baby’s room together. I even polished the furniture in Amelia’s room for the first time. Ever. ha. And cleaned the mirrored closet doors in her room—the ones covered in her little paw and mouth prints. And yet there are a MILLION things on my list of things to do! It’s killing me! Waking up at the break of dawn each day to get busy on a myriad of tasks just to poop out by 10 in time to hit the pool. Getting in the pool sounds like a luxury, but I believe it’s a medical necessity. As the pregnancy nears its ending, my poor body is just over it. Walking is my biggest chore these days. I’m not being dramatic either. My pelvis is bruised and ridiculously painful. The doctor told me that the cartlidge in the middle of the joint in the pubic bone (yeah, there’s a joint in there. Crazy) gets inflames sometimes and causes crazy pain. The popping I’ve had is a sure sign of that inflammation. :(  It’s painful enough that picking my legs up to say, cross my legs while sitting or just to walk is very painful. The only relief is to not let my belly hang—which means not to stand. Or to hire a team of people to walk around holding it up for me. Because that would be fantastic. My doctor said I can try to ace bandage the belly to lift the uterus off my pelvic area for some relief but it would have to be one mighty ace bandage, let me tell you. A team of people would be far more effective. Or a pulley system. That might work. Otherwise, the pool is my respite. My weightless, cool, amazing respite. I go in every day and I’ve begged Justin to let me sleep there to no avail.

I guess that’s it for this week. Making it through next week will be a really big deal. And as we near Wednesday, my anxiety level may reach a fever pitch. BUT if I make it to Thursday, I’ll officially beat my own personal record on pregnancy. ha. Mind you, since I’ve got bags packed and sitting right by the front door, this baby is sure to beat the odds and wait.

I guess we’ll know soon enough.

Taking a Dive: Or Why Swim Lessons are Ruining My Life

She talks about going to swim lessons all day and night. She tells her preschool teacher about them and brags about how brave she is in the water. She picks out her bathing suit the day before. She gabs it up all the way there. The swim teacher calls her name and she begins to cry. Monday, the teacher just picked her up and took her to the pool with success. Today, no such luck. She started screaming “NO MAMA I WANT TO GO HOME!” Like over and over again. And I had a split second to decide what to do. Take her home? Or push her forward with this harmless activity? And there I was, THAT mom, dragging the kicking, screaming child to the edge of the pool—in front of bleachers packed with parents. And when the teachers couldn’t coax her in, I PUT her in the pool and passed her off . . . still screaming. One of the teachers just took her around the pool all by herself while the class began. I moved my stuff to sit poolside, asking myself how long do I let this go on before I take the kid out of the water??? After she’d warmed up a bit, she was placed on the steps with the other little ones, where she turned to me, wailing and mouthing “mamamamamamamama. IwannagohomeIwannagohome.” I was simultaneously heartbroken and furious. I want to cry at that sad face and at the same time just drop her in so she can learn like those of us who grew up in the 80s. I mean, what the hell? Lessons are four days a week for two weeks. Today is the second to last day of the second week! And every third try or so she’s just fine. So . . . WHAT?! There’s no rhyme or reason about any of it and the worst part is that I never know how it’s going to go, so I worry all day. Never mind that I kill myself getting her ready and there every day just so I can sit in the sweltering heat to watch her cry on the steps. Today, I had to sit on a cement block near the pool so she could see me. Yep. Cement block—quite probably the only thing more uncomfortable than standing at the moment.

By the end, she had the one sweet teacher just totally snowed. When all the other kids were jumping in the water in the big pool, Amelia was comparing toenail polish with the high school lifeguard. And when the class walked back to their parents, she carried Amelia like a little baby saying to me, “I don’t want her feet to get hot. She’s just so cute. SOOOOO CUTE. I just love her to pieces. Soooo cute.”  And I’m like, the hell? So at least she has a friend who doesn’t mind holding a private lesson for my inexplicably uncooperative child.

It’s important to note too, that Amelia comes to me saying, “MAMA! I jumped into the BIG pool! I’m such a BIG girl. I was sooooo brave.” Even though I saw her insist on having her hands held as she just falls into the water. No jumping involved. And then later, “I had good fun at swim lessons Mama.”  Longest eight days ever.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Child With a Death Wish and Misc. Update

I rejected the notion of Terrible Twos and never once used the term for Amelia at that age. I think it’s a terrible thing to project onto little kids when they’re just acting their age and figuring things out. At two, Amelia certainly required more and more parenting than she had since being a newborn. Constant work, I thought, but mostly just emotional meltdowns on her part. She was never the destructive, screaming, tantruming kid that you see in the grocery store.

And there’s three. Holy hell. My babychild has decided that she wants to die by the hands of her mother. I don’t want to (just can’t) get into all of the tantrums, fits, problems one by one. I’ll just give a brief rundown for the sake of record and brevity. And for the sake of not forcing myself to relive any of these events.

Probably the worst day that we’ve had in the longest of times was last week. During the course of the “Four Hour Nap Battle” event that has taken over our household, she pooped her pants. Not once. Not twice. THREE TIMES. In the course of a couple hours. Odd? Um, yeah. Especially if you consider that Amelia has never pooped her pants. Listen—she has NEVER pooped her pants. Not one single time. And she expressed complete and total disgust at pooping in diapers from a very early age. How do you react to that? When you’re 8+ months pregnant, needing a nap yourself and with a bionic sniffer that does not appreciate poop? I gave her the benefit of the doubt the first time, lost my patience a little the second time, and then? The THIRD time? Yeah. Lost my shit.  And when I asked her why (WHY WHY WHY?!) she was pooping her pants, she said “Because I love to” and it is only by the grace of Mother Earth herself that the child is still breathing. I put her in a diaper (for the first time in the day since maybe March of 2010) and sat on the couch and cried wondering what I was going to do if Amelia decided to start shitting herself a couple weeks before bringing a new baby into the house. All I could think was what in the world would I do if the Baby was here right now and screaming for milk or a change? And I am cleaning up shit out of my 3-year-old’s fingernails?! (Yeah, it was like THAT!)

Thankfully, she woke up the next morning and went right back to using the potty. Sparing her life appeared to have been a solid choice. . . This time.

In general, our biggest problems these days are general mischief. That the child doesn’t listen is among the worst. I swear, she’s always been so well behaved and easy to guide. Part of her being three has been about just abandoning rules and whatnots. Or better, hearing me say not to do something and then just doing it for the fun of rejecting her mother’s wishes. And maybe late to the game, she’s become that screaming child in the store/restaurant/restroom/anywhere. Usually after asking the same question 50 times and then finally melting into a screaming fit when the answer doesn’t change. So. Fun. And when it comes to nap? There is no faster route for me to completely lose my sanity than to try to get her to nap. And let me preface with this: I wouldn’t care if she napped if she could make it through the rest of the day. If she just gave up naps and was fine, then you can plan around that and work it into the day (although admittedly, I need the naps way more than ever right now too). However, when nap doesn’t work out (which is a solid 50% of the time), she is a total mess. MESS, I say. As in clumsy and getting hurt easily. And then the emotional meltdowns that eventually run together until she is just screaming and crying all the way through dinner, bath, and bed prep. Or crying the whole time getting dressed for swim lessons and then crying because we say she can’t go to swim lessons and THEN crying AT swim lessons and refusing to go in the pool—on the 4th day. ((shaking head)) So she’s beat by naptime and still refuses to sleep! And when I say refuses, I mean it directly. Amelia has always had to decide to sleep. It never happens to her or without her consent. Never. Happens. So when she wants to stay awake—even if she is exhausted—she stays awake. Awesome. And the whole ritual of my going into her room a million times and making threats, promises, bribes is just humiliating and aggravating.

And then there’s the constant drag on time. Trying to get her dressed and out the door is insane. You can get a shoe on and then she’s off dancing and singing out of the room for 10 minutes. You get the shirt on and she bolts out of her room get involved in some other activity, pantless. You get her to the car and she starts running circles around it while you stand at her door waiting for her to land long enough to throw her in her seat. All of this is only exacerbated that getting up and down is difficult for me and that running after her is just out of the question right now. This behavior is especially challenging for me because in a way, it’s just cute. She’s just a kid finding simple joys in every little thing. She doesn’t need to be in a hurry all the time. Or ever, as the case may be and lucky her! I agree that we should just let kids be kids and dance with one shoe on for as long as possible. BUT sometimes, you just need to get outthefuckingdoor. Sometimes, you don’t feel like sitting there and waiting for the OCD with ADD child to focus long enough to get her hair done because you have SOMEWHERE YOU NEED TO BE.

It really is lucky for all of us that she is ridiculously cute. If a porcupine has sharp quills, Amelia has that smile. Damn it. And the fact that she says, “mama? I love you” about 10 times a day is pretty life-saving too. And when I take her for a potty break in the late-night and she doesn’t even open her eyes, but asks “how’s the baby doing in there?” it definitely gives her some extra time on the planet.

Speaking of cute. Someone got a new do this weekend. I’ve been eyeing a cute little A-line cut for her for a while, but Justin was resistant. . . which of course is ridiculous since he NEVER does her hair! And then when it became more and more of a challenge to get her still enough to pull it off of her face, I got more insistent. THEN on Friday, Justin tried to brush her hair (so I could braid it, naturally), he discovered a huge, syrup-matted nest. “Time for a cut!” I said and that was it. Thankfully, we found a brand new place specializing in kids and CHEAP here in town. Like brand new. We were her first walk-in. Sweet! And half and hour later, we had this:




Soooo cute. And not a knot in sight. Even in the morning. No need for piggies or braids, just a little clip to keep it out of her face. We all LOVE it. It’s so nice to see her pretty little face all the time too. I made the bargain that it was just for summer . . . but we’ll see. . .


In other news, Amelia started swim lessons last week. Lord help us. She was all excited and has spent the last two summers in a pool almost every day. And then we get there. She refused to get in. They finally coaxed her in and she wouldn’t do anything. The next couple of days looked a bit better. She was making improvement, but not doing all of the things that the class was instructed to do. Then Thursday, the 4th day in a row and she absolutely refused to get in. Screaming, crying, etc. No luck. I didn’t know where to go from there. You don’t want to throw her in and make any fears completely worse, but why just stand there with her screaming? So we left. I don’t know if that is the best approach, but it was just a loss that day and she’d already been a mess for hours at that point (see above). Today was the first day of the second and last (thank goodness) day and again, she cried and clung to me. Thankfully, the teacher just walked over and scooped her up and carried her to the pool. She once again, had fun in the water, but didn’t do what the class was doing. Fancy that. Not paying attention. Too distracted to do what’s asked. hm. But otherwise, making some improvement and doing more things in our pool at home too. Though I could do without the death grip she uses on my legs with her pointy little toes and the scratches I get from her desperately clinging to my top.

DSCN3043[1] This is the teacher trying to get her to lean back. Unsuccessfully. Notice that her posture and face are the same in every picture.





The best part is that when lessons are over, she tells me all about how brave she was and how she was swimming, etc. Today, when I asked her why she won’t put her face in the water like the other kids, she said, “I DID!” Oh. Right. So we’ll call what Amelia does “swimming.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Don't Judge

That's an ice pack. And it's already spent time with my hands. It sizzled on contact.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Month

Baby Girl 2 will be here one month from now, one way or another. If all goes as planned, we will have showed up at the hospital by 530 am and would have met the baby by around 8. Seems so nice and clean that way. Wake up, get ready, show up, have baby. Of course, the big question is—will we make it there? July 12 is 38 weeks and Amelia arrived at 36w2d. That would put us more likely around June 28-30. Eep. We are essentially hoping (beyond hope) to make it to the 12th and preparing ourselves for arrival in a couple weeks. In effect, the next two weeks are packed! Probably the busiest weeks of summer for us—because we haven’t planned anything after 36 weeks. There is at least something and mostly multiple somethings going on every day until the 26th and then . . . nothing.

And I have to confess that I keep reminding myself that making it to the scheduled section would be a million times easier than going into labor (seriously. so. much. easier.), but I’ve definitely got the any-day-now look, puffiness, waddle, discomfort, and temperament about me. One more month seems impossibly far away.

Sausage fingers. I can’t bear to take a pic of my feet. I can just tell you that when I take my flip-flops off, the indent of the straps remains behind.

sausage fingers

And in the end, the most important thing that I have to remember is that ultimately, I can’t control how the next few weeks will roll out. I can set the 12th up as a goal of sorts, but it’s out of my hands whether we get there. I shall continue searching the sky for shooting stars in the meantime. And if I was a betting woman, well, I’d be a little more . . . skeptical.  My symptoms right now scream (BABY WILL BE HERE SOON!) or at least make me wonder how it’ll be possible to longer than a couple more weeks. Namely, I really worrying about my back. What started as little spasms a couple times a day have begun earlier in the day and recurred far more often. Besides that, it just aches in general and punishes me if I’m on my feet for too long. If it’s not my back, it’s my crotch killing me the most. Yeah, have you ever had your crotch POP?! Well I have. Every time I roll over in bed or try to get up. Turns out the pubic bone actually has a joint! Who KNEW?! But it does and it loosens up as you near birth—and for some women—it loosens too much and causes pain. ((Raising hand!)) Not to mention that every time I stand up, the baby just plops onto this loose crotch joint and make it feel like it’s about to snap. SNAP. You know, it actually feels like there’s a human sitting on my pubic bone. . . but wait. . . And the worst part? I don’t need that stupid joint to loosen at all! See, my baby is going to get ripped out of my abdomen, so not need for the loose crotch thing, thanks! Forget about the pressure this all causes on my bladder. . . Then the worst symptoms are the tiny ones that plague me all day. Like the heat that radiates my hands and feet ALL. DAY. LONG. Imagine your feet and hands 20 degrees hotter than the rest of your body. Makes sleeping a pleasure. Lastly, my belly is big. As in OUT there. It’s like I’ve grown an entire patio right off my front. Everyone thinks this is so great (“Lucky!” they say), but my babies tend to straight out front. And since they don’t lie up and down like they should, I think that makes this even more apparent. In any case, my poor belly has a perpetual bruise across the equator from my running into things or just scraping the corners of drawers, counters, etc. For example, washing dishes is almost impossible at this point. Bending over the sink to reach the dishes is not working out. And forget bending over. Amelia saw me struggling to put my underwear on the other day and ran over to help. She held one side up so I could sling my foot into the hole to pull them up! ha. She’s so sweet, I swear.

Alright. Sorry for the rant. I wanted to list my symptoms only for posterity. It’s hard to imagine, but I will someday forget about all these annoyances and therefore erase my own struggle. Although I don’t plan on forgetting the crotch-breaking thing.

If we end up with some ‘extra’ time into July, we will definitely be grateful. The Baby’s room won’t be together in two weeks. It just won’t, although I am hoping that by the end of this week, it will be much more livable than it is now. There have been delays because 1) the room is awkward and tiny and 2) there was a paint debacle that required the room be painted and then um, repainted. So that set us back a little time. Now we just have some last-minute projects to pull together. I wish we could do a grand reveal of the whole thing, but it will likely be a work in progress for a while after Baby is here. Largely because we want to do so much of it ourselves. Almost her entire room will be handmade. :)

Besides all things baby, we actually had a really busy weekend and a couple weeks ahead planned for Amelia. Here are some pics from the last couple days.


Amelia and snake Thanks Babe for including my belly in this shot! :0


pool kid

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Making of a Big Girl

Amelia’s hit some serious milestones lately. (I almost said she’s ‘passed’ some serious milestones lately until I realized that made it sound like she had some kind of gastrointestinal problems. ha) They’ve gone undocumented largely because I only take pictures with my phone anymore. But they were the last steps away from toddlerhood and towards full-blown preschooler so require a mention.

After Amelia potty-trained last winter/spring, there were really only two more big bumps outta babyhood—moving out of the crib and then sleeping through the night without a diaper. These are both huge transitions for sure and required some timing and planning. With us moving in February, we decided that both of these transitions might just be more successful once we’d settled. Not only that, they kind of needed to go in order. I didn’t see the point in moving her out of the nighttime diaper if she was still in her crib—and therefore unable to go to the toilet in the night. Not fair, right? Luckily, we were able to make these moves on our own decision because Amelia never once expressed an interest in climbing out of her crib. I’m pretty sure that she’d still be sleeping in that thing just fine until her legs couldn’t fit any longer. I think in the end, she enjoyed having someone come get her every morning. and was fairly content being locked in. Her little OCD personality finds comfort in rigidity and narrow options. I honestly don’t know where she comes from.

In any case, we didn’t wait long after we moved to get her into the Big Girl Bed. She slept fine in the new house from the first night so there wasn’t much of a transition there. We just decided to go for it one Saturday. We’d been hyping it up to her for months. She could have a Big Girl Bed like her friends at preschool and THEN she’d be able to sleep in panties! Exciting stuff! Of course, we also braced for the worst. It seems like the real sleep horror stories always start with the Big Kid bed. . .


Of course she HAD to get her tool set out to help Daddy with the change. (Justin is amazing at letting her get in there and ‘help’ him even though it makes everything take longer and requires more patience than he carries in his skin. She loves using those tools and LOVES doing things just like her Daddy.)

making big girl bed



big girl bed

“Take my picture on the Big Goil Bed Mama!”

And wouldn’t you know that she went to bed that night and slept until the next morning! I figured she didn’t quite grasp the reality of her own freedom that night and expected her to lie in bed yelling for us in the morning. That would be the only explanation to her staying put all night, right? Until she came into our room the next morning saying, “Mamamama, I got out of bed and came to see you all by myself!” She was so proud. And apparently aware of her own freedom . . . and still stayed in bed all night?! Is it possible?

Not to say that we haven’t had to chase her back to bed a million times since then, but once asleep, the kid stays in bed. (Yikes, should I even say that out loud?) And instead of really getting up, she’ll stand at her door yelling “peeeepeeeee” waiting for an escort—which is actually annoying. However, all said, the big transition that Justin and I were dreading for over a year turned out to be mostly a non-issue. Phew. Finally a sleep transition that wasn’t a complete and total horror. And it turns out that all that hard work we’ve put into her sleeping over the years has paid off! Paid off, people! It’s not easy to draw those hard lines, but heaven knows it’s worth it when your babychild sleeps fairly reliably.

Of course, we’ll see how this all goes when Baby is here. I shudder to even consider the sleep problems of having TWO. gah.

And then it was decided that she needed new, Big Girl Bedding to make it official and special.

new bedding

Rainbow and yellow dot reversible duvet cover, rainbow and yellow dot pillowcase, and crazy red stripe sheet. Made by moi, using various patterns I found online. The comforter is from Ikea (read: CHEAP) and I spent a fraction of what I would’ve paid for a crappy store-bought set. Turns out that the only options for girls’ bedding is pink, purple, and more pink. It’s not the color necessarily that is so annoying as much as the narrow option of two colors that are meant for girls. Really?! She loves, loves, LOVES her new bedding and it’s even been an incentive for her to go to bed. She picks each night which side of the comforter she wants touching her and the night it was all done (see pic), she asked to go to bed early! (And so began my obsession with all things home decor and DIY.)

Not long after she’d moved to the whole big bed thing, we decided to go for the nighttime diaper deal. This one is tricky. While Amelia has been in undies since she was about 20 months or so and completely potty trained by around 2. (That is, except for a stint last summer when she suddenly reverted back to serial accidents. This occurred when she was with the effing ex-nanny 4 days a week. Amazingly enough, two weeks into preschool and away from said useless nanny, she was miraculously potty trained again. pshhaw) Despite her early success without diapers, Amelia still woke up with a full diaper every morning until about a month ago. I never really pushed the night thing because everyone told me she’d eventually just wake up dry. I struggled to identify is she was just peeing in her sleep or if she didn’t bother holding it because she was in a diaper. We’d tried to go cold turkey before but she ended up in tears worried about peeing on her new, pretty sheets. So we decided to finish out the last pack of nighttime diapers (she’s been a super pee-er at night since before she was a year old and has had to use the nighttime dipes because she’d pee right through regular ones. eek) and go from there. Every night, I’d have her get a diaper out of her closet and count how many were left and then we’d say make a big deal about when they were gone, she’d get to sleep in panties. Oh and wouldn’t panties be more comfortable? Wouldn’t she feel like such a big girl going to bed in panties?? The problem? She was still not waking up with a dry diaper so I didn’t know what the deal was. Then, we had a conversation that went like this, “Sweetie, why don’t you try to keep your diaper dry tonight?”

“Because I pee in it.”

“But you don’t have to pee in it.”

“But it’s a diaper.”

“Do you want to just wear panties to bed.”

“No because then I can’t pee.”

“Well why don’t you try to not pee in your diaper?”

“Because it’s a diaper mama.”

So then I knew that she was never going to wake up in a dry diaper. As long as she had the diaper on, she’d pee. After all, isn’t that what a diaper is for?? She’d outsmarted the system. Cold turkey was the only option.

When the diapers were gone, she put panties on and went to bed. I think she had one accident that night and woke up terribly distraught. We changed her and the bed and then she made it till morning. Since then, it’s been a month of hit or miss. She has more successful, dry nights than not, but still a couple accidents a week probably. There’s no going back to diapers because, again, there’s no reason for her to stay dry in them. But I also think that she sleeps hard enough to not wake up sometimes when she has to pee. So onward we trudge. We’ve figured out that if we ‘wake’ her and take her for a potty break before we go to bed (around midnight or so), she stumbles like a drunk into the bathroom, pees, and runs back to bed. Typically, that’s enough to get her through the morning. It has been our trick for success so far. However, I wonder if it’s not helping her learn to hold it? I don’t know, but for now it works and I trust that she’ll figure it out. Either to hold it all night or to wake up and go on her own. . . Mostly successful, but ultimately still in the air for now.

THEN just after her birthday, Amelia promoted out of the 2-year-old class and into the 3-year-old room at school! A new teacher, routine, and classmates! Since she is slow to warm to new people, we were worried about this transition, but she appears to be doing well so far. I hear she’s a little clingy with her new teacher, but still doing just fine—even as she goes three days a week now instead of two! Such a big girl.

First day of her new class!

3 year old class

And just like that—Amelia Jane is a little kid. All traces of the baby are gone. There of course are still many a transition ahead, but in the last few months, all of those last baby to child steps have been taken. They were big steps, but she’s taken them smoothly and without too much ado. Funny how that happens.

Monday, June 6, 2011


It was our anniversary yesterday. Six years since vowing to laugh at his jokes and make his favorite brownies as we watched the sunset behind us. And now we can finally say that we've been married for as long as we were together before marriage. And in very stereotypical married-with-kids fashion, we had no sitter and did essentially nothing to commemorate the occasion. It was our most uneventful anniversary yet, but fairly understandable. It was raining, I felt terrible, and we was Munchkin nipping on our heels too. However, after my meltdown and general down day Saturday, Justin--after spending the day RE-painting the baby's room--told me that he was going to stay home from work Sunday. I told him that it wasn't a big deal, our anniversary, and that it wouldn't kill me if we didn't do anything to celebrate. To which he said, "well, maybe it will kill me."

And that made me cry. Again. Har.

I spent yesterday thanking my lucky stars for my partner in this life. He has stood by my complete and total lunacy (see previous post on donuts) and handled the messiest of situations with grace. He is not a perfect person, but he is perfect for me, in about a million ways.

This past year of our marriage has been about all the "or" scenarios that traditional vows offer. . . in sickness, for poorer, in bad times.  .  , but we're still here and standing tall . . . enough anyway. So here's to a new  year of recovery and arriving at our happiness by this time next year.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Losing It

In honor of National Donut Day, which was yesterday but whatever, I promised Amelia we’d get donuts for breakfast this morning. She was so excited this morning that I was able to get her to get herself dressed, including putting pants on—which never happens. Granted, they were two inches too short and a might snug around the middle, but she was so proud, I just let it go. She had on shoes and even a sweater before I got out of bed. I loaded her into the car and off we went. There is only one donut shop in town and I decided to head there rather than settle for second-class grocery store varieties. We don’t get donuts but maybe twice a year so you may as well make it right. As we were driving, I realized I’d made a wrong turn. No big, we’ll just keep going. The thing about this new town of ours is that it is small. Everything is just a few miles a way at most . . . BUT it’s intertwined by two highways and a series of interconnected but not through streets. It’s a mess and for whatever reason, I haven’t figured it out yet. I am usually pretty directionally inclined, but since we’ve moved here, I’ve gotten lost more times than I can count. Not necessarily lost as much as taken a very long route to get somewhere relatively close. And the weird thing is that sometimes I get exactly where I’m going without a problem. Other times, I can’t find my way down the street. Well, today was one of those days. It didn’t help that it was pouring outside, already greying my mood. So we drove and turned around and turned around and drove. The excited chatter behind me stopped asking if we were close to the donut shop and when I looked back at Amelia, she was driving an imaginary steering wheel into a u-turn.

I’m not proud of it, but it took us almost 40 minutes to get there. The donut shop is probably about 7 miles away. I can’t explain it and it’s ridiculous, but that’s it. My kid, thankfully, is a cheery soul who was just happy to be on a fun outing. It seemed like forever for such a silly errand. Donuts shouldn’t be an hour-long adventure.  We run out of the car and into the packed shop, getting soaked along the way. The line was wrapped around the store and to the front entrance, where we waited with anticipation. Amelia peered into the cases, carefully picking out the donut she wanted best. I couldn’t decide what to get or what Justin wanted, so I made the executive—and ridiculous—decision to just get a mixed dozen instead of 3. We finally got to the front of the line and the lady appeared miffed that we wanted a variety. The line was still long behind us and I had a 3-year-old on my hip helping me choose. This all included her going to the back for fresh maple bars (J’s favorite) and the line growing longer. With 12 donuts finally and neatly stacked in the lovely pink box, I reached for my wallet.

And it wasn’t in my purse.

I’d left it out last night after registering Amelia for swim lessons. I knew exactly where it was and it was not available to pay for the donuts. I looked at the donut lady and told her I didn’t have my wallet. She was visibly pissed. I asked her if I could come right back (even though it took me almost an hour to get there to begin with) to pick up the box. She said no because then other customers couldn’t have those donuts to choose from.

I grabbed Amelia’s hand and walked out of the teeny-tiny-packed shop with my head down. Just as we reached the door, Amelia asked, “What about my donut?!” and started crying as we walked to the car. She cried all the way to the car and when I picked her up to buckle her in, I saw her huge, crocodile tears. The sadness after such anticipation and excitement. I tried to tell her that I didn’t have my wallet to pay for them and that we’d have to come back, but she’s 3. And she’d watched the lady put her donut in the box and then we left—without it.

I got into the driver seat, put my face in my hands and just cried. Sobbing, choking, snot-bubbling tears. And Amelia cried right along in the back seat. It’d taken us so long to get there and she was so excited we waited in that line and picked out the perfect assortment and it was so humiliating and I’m so tired and this stupid cold won’t go away and I’m so goddamn pregnant and the stupid rain is ruining everything and it just . . . sucked. And I knew that she was just crying about a stupid donut, but I felt so bad for her because she was excited in a way that only a preschooler could be about something as simple as a chocolate sprinkled donut. And I thought it was such a heartbreaking scene, taking her by the hand out through that line of people as she cried after she’d been so patient with my stupidity in getting us there. I just fell apart.

Sometimes it really sucks to be the mommy.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I grew up in a hyper/overly-masculine house.  ESPN played on our television like a broken record, even when the whole family was sitting to watch and half the family had no interest. The females did the cooking and cleaning and the males did the . . . well, lounging. Or playing. While Mom had the biggest influence and presence in parenting, dad dominated for no other reason than possessing maleness. I grew up with the distinct understanding that to be strong meant to adopt masculine traits and yet those traits made you a freak of a female. I was always classified as the Smart One while my brother was the Jock. Even though I was far more athletic than academic, I was a girl and therefore not a serious athlete. I remember feeling meek and insignificant and confused by all of these messages. I can’t identify exactly when the confusion confounded into resentment, but it did. I can still remember the day I was asked what class I was taking in summer school at the university. When I responded with “Women’s History,” there was a sneer and then a question, “Why would you wanna take a class like that? What could there possibly be to talk about?” And there it was. My whole life of confusion in one simple statement.


Of course, if you know me, you know that bringing value, life, and significance to women through history has become my life’s work since that fateful summer. But I digress.


My whole point is that it was a very male house. Femaleness was a curse, an insult, and something to endure. Not something to celebrate or find value in or enjoy. And I always wanted a sister. Desperately longed for a sisterhood. I wanted a little sister to teach and guide and love and a older sister to help me navigate my way. As I grew older, that feeling never went away. If anything, I grew to envy even more the relationships of my friends and their now-adult sisters. They have this built-in companion, one who knows them better than anyone and who unfailingly supports . . . in sisterhood. I always know that no matter how close to get to some of my friends, they will always have their sisters and therefore friends are just . . . not their sisters. That desire I had as a child to find comfort in other females only intensified in womanhood. Heaven knows it only gets harder to figure it all out.

As a result of my childhood, I always assumed I’d be the mother of boys. I felt that I’d be better at raising boys and certainly more comfortable, having shoved (or been shoved?) into the world of boys since I was very young. And as I evaluated my own desires, I came to realize that I didn’t necessarily desire sons as much as I just figured that’s what I would get. The thought of having a daughter only creeped into my consciousness when I was pregnant with Amelia and when it did, I came to the frightening epiphany that I wanted a girl. Desperately, longingly wanted a daughter. I wanted to have that relationship with my daughter like the one I had with my mom, even if it would be more difficult for me to navigate. I also assumed by then that there was NO way we’d have a girl. Just not possible. I even (confession alert)bought boy clothes while pregnant and never even went into the girls’ section. I planned for a son.

And then with this pregnancy, I thought for sure AGAIN that it was boy. It had to be. Just had to. Isn’t that how it goes? You get one of each. A perfect set? Not only that, but I also figured that since I am only just now getting used to the idea of having and raising a daughter that I’d be thrown for a loop with a boy. Not that I even think they need to be raised differently because of course I don’t. But by now, I’ve got the girl thing in motion and feel confident with it. Change in any way just would make it complicated. I once again, began picking out boy clothes and getting my mind set on having a son. It’s really not bad having a son and I would have been excited about it. . . however, with the possibility in front of us, I couldn’t help but wonder . . . hope . . . that we’d have another girl.

And now here we are. Probably about a  month away (maybe less??) from having our second daughter. Daughters. Sisters. I never got to have a sister but Amelia and this baby will. I’m so happy for them. And maybe even a little envious. Except that I get to be their mama and live within and then probably later, just outside of their sisterhood. I will, at the very least, get to observe it up close and foster it as much as possible. And for me, I find complete and total joy in having a home and family that will be almost exactly the opposite of the one I had in terms of gender identification.  Where my girls (I love, love, love that we will have ‘the girls’) will be free to be whomever they want and tackle the world without boundaries. Where Daddy gets roped into dance parties and plays model for makeup practice because he doesn’t see any of it as beneath him. And where female is synonymous with strength and happiness and possibility. And where athletic and wise and confident are not considered masculine but human and where loving, kindness, and feeling are not considered weaknesses.  I love that we shall have giggly slumber parties and screaming emotional meltdowns. That we’ll share openly “I love yous” and hugs and kisses . . . into their adulthoods.


And I love that our girls will be sisters.