Friday, December 28, 2007
The sheer amount of colored plastic, loud songs/noises, and moving parts has formed a cacophony that makes The Banker nervous. This is a man who likes things neat, organized, and properly stored. (We had a kid. How he thinks his detest for clutter would survive, I've no idea.) So with three carloads of new stuff and a house that was already pleasantly snug at the seams, the house hunt now goes into high gear. The two lots we were eyeing won't be ready for development for another two years, which is just too long in The Banker's estimate. So one of our goals for 2008 will be to find a new place to roost. Let the craziness begin!
Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
She was just hanging from the molding around one of our windows, quite content to be in from the cold, thank you. But The Banker is not quite at ease with such wild things in his house, and with the fear of rabies, I can't quite blame him. Although I thought her rather cute and pet-able.
At that late of an hour the city's Animal Control office was closed, and it didn't seem worth calling the cops over, though by no uncertain terms would we be sleeping with that thing in the house. Thankfully, we have some incredible neighbors, one of which is a Nature Boy. He delights in catching the mice, ground squirrels, and other such creatures that occasionally end up inside our homes. (He's under continual call by our mutual neighbor--a single mom of two young girls. None of these ladies has much of a penchant for spiders, squirrels, and so on.) With a plastic pitcher and lid, he eased the little bat into a makeshift cage of sorts. After we all marveled at her (most likely a big brown bat from what I can find online, though she wasn't very big at all), we let her go down the block.
First thing to do this morning? Find someone to inspect the house and ensure we don't have any more such bedroom surprises. With Becca in the house, it's not something we can mess around with.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
But Becca was less than enthralled with the train when we first showed it to her. In fact, it scared the shit out of her. Her whole body shook and then she turned and frantically grabbed--for me. She buried her head in my neck and held on for dear life. And while it was heartbreaking that the train scared her, I can't even begin to describe how it felt to be the one she wanted when frightened. Becca knows I'm her mom and that I'm there to protect her, and knowing that she knows that is just incredible.
Monday, December 10, 2007
But then this article on cnn.com caught my eye this morning. It details how Christmas tree light strands are just dripping with lead. Um, you mean the lights we playfully draped over Becca yesterday? Then took photos of?
This pisses me off more than I can adequately express. I am so careful with what I let come in contact with Becca. I researched the safest car seats, the safest crib, we don't let her watch TV, she eats organic when at all possible, we use distilled water in her bottles--which I carefully hand wash instead of throwing into the dishwasher where the heat can expedite the breakdown of the plastic. I get a fair amount of flak because I'm so neurotic. But Becca's our firstborn and until I'm worn down, this is how we'll function. The next kid will no doubt play with rattlesnakes in the middle of a highway, but for now, we're a cautious household. So I'm pissed I didn't know about Christmas lights and lead. I'm pissed that though we've known for decades that lead is bad for us, we continue to crank out products laden with the stuff. And I'm pissed that nothing seems safe anymore.
Maybe we're more paranoid as society. Maybe we just make more cheap junk that's bad for our health. Regardless of the reason, I don't think we should force our children to live in a world where their blood will have to be tested for lead as they grow. Aren't we smart enough to know better?
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
This year the stakes are particularly high, because it's Becca's first Christmas. In my head, this is the perfect time to start making our own family traditions. The perfect time to start saying "no." But here's the hypocrisy: I really only want to cut out the headaches on The Banker's side of the family. Not very charitable or understanding, is it? I know. It's shitty. I can be flexible as Gumby any other time of the year (okay, more or less), but this time of year is SO. DANG. HARD.
Typically, my family has a Christmas Eve brunch, almost the only time of the year I see my dad's brother and his family. Then there's the race to church, and the race to The Banker's uncle's annual Christmas Eve party. (The fact that The Banker is Irish and comes from a HUUUGE family should be kept in mind.) Then we usually spend the night at my parents', followed by Christmas morning there, then on to The Banker's parents' house, then back between the houses two more times for Christmas dinner. (Be thankful The Banker's family finally did away with the Christmas Day movie, which was another three-hour headache!) And this three-ring circus does not include a trip to The Banker's brother's house where his son gets a visit from Santa. The fact we weren't in attendance last year was greatly noted. (Much guilt + Pregnant me = Tears.)
And while this two-day ordeal is insane, I'm just not sure what "fat" can be cut without letting people down. The Banker's mom is particularly sensitive to any such slight and his family doesn't take well to anyone breaking away from the tried-and-true traditions to start their own.
Thus far we've decided to spend the night at our own home, with our own Christmas morning. But then there's still this insane back-and-forth between homes after that. To complicate matters, Christmas is my dad's birthday, so we've always tried to celebrate a bit on Christmas Eve (the man has spent almost 60 years getting screwed out of his b-day). We used to sneak that in between the Irish Christmas Eve party and an exhausted drop into bed at my parents' house. The new schedule has no time for this little added extra.
I do have this dangerous dream of reclaiming Christmas Eve from the Irish. When I was growing up, it was the perfect time to cuddle in with the family around the tree, put out cookies for Santa, and unwrap a new pair of pajamas. With the family's standing party, there's no room for this sort of thing. And I've seen how The Banker's cousins trudge into the party, make a beeline for the TV, and hunker down with some food. These kids don't enjoy the shindig at all. Why would I want to put Becca through that? But this is a sacred tradition and I could be risking life and limb to dare suggest that we not attend.
This is Becca's first Christmas, and I want it to be an enjoyable one. (Freudian typing: I originally typed "run." Yikes.) Juggling flaming clubs is something I've come to hate--and with it the entire holiday season. I just don't know how to reclaim the day and make it what it was intended to be: a time to celebrate, give thanks, and enjoy the love of family and friends.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"Ooohh--you did it too fast! The machine didn't read the coupon."
"The coupon was for FIVE BUCKS."
So as we waited for a human to lend us a hand, I turned to apologize to the woman waiting behind us. She gave me a stoned-looking smile and exclaimed, "Take all the time you need. This is like a vacation for me--my newborn is at home with my husband and I'm in the store by myself."
Then, I only vaguely could appreciate what this woman had to say. Today, I TOTALLY GET IT.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Right now, I want to be somewhere else. Someone else. Ugh.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
In Becca's room, we have an antique brass bed. It's my childhood bed, our only place for visiting guests, and a functioning changing station for diapers and baby clothes--saving both the expense and space a proper changing station would have cost. As with most antique beds, it's a good three feet or so off the ground, and as Becca has become more mobile, it's become a bit more of a challenge. And a danger.
Since she's rolling now and can go from a sitting position through her legs onto her stomach, I never stray more than a foot or two from the bed while she's on it. But this morning, even that was too much. I'd moved Becca to the center of the bed, putting her a good two feet from the edge. I took two steps to retrieve a pair of socks, keeping an eye on her tired, sitting form. Suddenly, she sprung forward with such force that she was on the edge. She'd never before covered so much ground so quickly. And just like that, she rolled headfirst off the bed.
What happened next felt like it played out slowly, like trying to move against a strong tide. I took the two steps to the bed, catching Becca mid-air, cradling her around her middle with my arms, and before the momentum brought her face-first into the hardwood floors, flipping her so that in a split second she was standing on the floor supported by my arms. It was the most graceful acrobatic maneuver I've ever accomplished. And I firmly believe it wasn't really my doing. I lack the grace and talent to pull off such a move--Someone was looking out for me.
Becca looked at me and gave a small whimper, as if to say, "What the fuck?!" I stood there stunned, holding her until my entire body began to shake with the implications of just what could have happened. At best, Becca would have been bloodied, screaming, and we would have had to rush to the emergency room. At worst? Well, I can't even begin to think about that.
Every experienced mother knowingly warns you. And every new mother tries to be so careful, remembering the warnings, dreading what could happen. But in a split second what once worked no longer does. I should have known better. But the lull of routine made me careless. Guilt and fear sit like a rock in my stomach as I try to figure out a new routine that will keep this from every happening again.
I'm so sorry, baby girl.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Medically, there's little that can be done. Recent recommendations by the AAP and FDA translate to no cold medicine for children under the age of 2. We can spray saline up Becca's nose, but doing that is akin to brushing a cat's teeth--it ain't pretty and it takes at least two people. In fact, our pediatrician gave me a look of utter shock when she tried to look in Becca's throat yesterday. "My God, she's so strong, so determined, and she's only eight months old!" This sort of reaction makes me dread the terrible twos, because temperament-wise, my kid already acts like one. And she's not been happy lately.
From the looks of it, tonight will be a repeat of last night. I can't wait till Becca can learn to blow her nose. I can't wait till she's old enough for medicine to help knock this sort of thing out of her system. Because until then, there's not much recourse, and I hate seeing her so miserable. Oh, and I hate trying to function on three-and-a-half hours of sleep, too.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Seems I, too, am acutely aware that time is marching on. Yesterday we returned many of the borrowed "baby" items to my brother- and sister-in-law...the sleeping "bumpers," the extra padding for the car seat, the life-saving swing in which she passed so many hours. She doesn't need them anymore. We've moved on to bigger and better things...the exersaucer, high chair, sitting up all by ourselves.
Becca's not a newborn anymore. She's a wee person. And I just don't know how she went from this tiny, helpless bundle into this opinionated whirling dervish of movement and sound.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The Banker did wonderful with Becca in my absence. It was with no shortage of angst that I left her. Alone. With her Dad. The man who can watch an action flick, drool streaming from the corner of his mouth, unaware the house is burning down around him. But The Banker rocked the single daddy thing. Although I think he was really glad to have me back after four days on the job...he greeted me in the front yard with his arms outstretched, Becca swinging in the breeze.
The lack of effective detox is due to The House Hunt. We've been here, done this. Right before I found out I was pregnant, we were thisclose to putting a bid in on a "country home" with a few acres. Resistance from family members and an unexpected pregnancy stopped us in our tracks, but The Banker has continued to keep an eye out and on occasion we tour a home that looks promising.
Last week we found such a home. Totally rehabbed, gorgeous living room and kitchen, two-and-a-half treed acres, much closer into town than anything we'd looked at previous. And my dad, breaking his long refusal to look at homes that don't meet his desired locale, took a peek at the home yesterday. The result was a wee bit soul crushing. This house is the same distance from his house as the one we're in now--20 minutes. It's in the best school district in the state. The house isn't perfect, but we're looking into making it better meet our needs. But my dad's inability to say anything positive and his usual complaints of "too much land, too far out there" were regurgitated. Again.
I'm an adult. I'm fully capable of purchasing a house without my parents' go-ahead. But my dad knows a great deal about home building and I wanted his expert opinion. But he just can't seem to get over his own desires for where we live.
So we're at it again: The Banker frustrated and me with this sinking feeling in my gut. Do we buy this house? Or do we look at finding a few acres (harder to find in all this urban sprawl) and try to build something ourselves? What can we truly afford? The housing market sucks. I don't want to think of moving in the frigid winter. Why, why, why is this so dang hard???
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
And the house is still in turmoil after our return, and I can't find a number of items that I just saw. Laundry, yard work, and cleaning all need to be caught up with. My hopes for starting a photo album of our trip are postponed until...after Christmas? And I've a freelance article looming that still lacks even a single interview. This weekend is jam packed and offers no time for catch-up.
How do people do this? How do they balance work, home, babes, families, and all the other demands of life?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
A little girl dressed in native finery
A street in Cusco, which was considered the center of the Inca Empire
Part of the ancient Inca trail through the Cloud Forest
The view from one of our camps
And after four days of hiking, Machu Picchu
Monday, October 01, 2007
Wills were signed, in triplicate, this morning. Tomorrow I undergo the blood and urine tests necessary for life insurance (since leaving The Really Big Company, I'd had no coverage). Nine days worth of diapers, wipes, cereal, formula, distilled water, and pureed veggies, fruits, and meats, have been dropped off at my parent's. The house needs to be cleaned for the house/dog/cat sitter. And The Banker and I need to double and triple check our packing list--then actually pack--to make sure nothing important is left behind. Peru is not the sort of place were you can run into a Quick Trip at midnight for any last-minute necessity.
But with all the physical preparations, I've been neglecting mentally preparing for this trip. It wasn't till I was on the plane to Australia that it fully dawned on me that I was going to be away from my loved ones for almost a year. Postponed panicking is how I cope. But this time it's different--I need to come to terms with what this adventure means. I will be away from Becca for nine long days. Even when I run to the store alone, it sort of feels like I'm missing a limb.
Can I handle this? Can my parents handle this? I know they've successfully accomplished this three times over, but it's exhausting, and they're not young pups anymore. Are we fit enough for this excursion? Will everything be okay?
If you're the praying type, I'd appreciate a few for a safe and enjoyable adventure and a few more that Becca will be safe and happy with my parents. If you're not the praying type, crossed fingers would do. Until we meet again--farewell!
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Or how I'm having a hard time coming to terms with my "new" after-baby body, and regardless of the miles jogged and salads consumed, my body is now different. As in rounder and less firm, (or in the case of my chest, shrinking and languishing), with an extra 10 pounds my frame refuses to give up, all of which makes me feel really crappy about myself.
Or how we're down to the wire on this Peru trip and there's so much to be done--lists made, shopping accomplished, bags packed, people prepped, guilt checked, body made fit.
But there's really no time to write about any of this, so I'll just update with some pictures of the Little Miss. Because all things aside, this ride is happening so dang fast. She's grown so much and is clearly her own little person now, full of likes, dislikes, and a stubborn streak the size of Texas. Love you, baby girl!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
See, yesterday evening I was in the garage working on a painting project with a friend. The Banker was assigned care of Becca for the hour, hour and a half. Nothing extraordinary was demanded: Simply finish feeding her, amuse her, change her.
We'd barely cracked open the paint can when The Banker popped his head into the garage and announced that Becca was asleep. "But it's only 6:30 or 7," I said. "If she falls asleep now, she'll never sleep through the night."
"No," he responded in his ultimate wisdom. "She had a busy day visiting my mom, and she's just tired. It'll be fine."
Despite my repeated concerns, The Banker said that Becca was really quite alright. And she was. Until 10:30 rolled around and she was suddenly and irrevocably awake. And thus she remained until well past midnight. Any time she was put in her crib she'd scream with such fervor that she'd start gagging and coughing. (We have a stubborn child, I'm told. Gee, ya think so?!)
At one point in this exhausting trial, I whipped around and growled at The Banker, "I'm the Mom. I know her schedule. I know what she needs. When I tell you something, LISTEN, and don't "F" with the schedule!"
Becca finally exhausted herself in the wee hours of the night...and awoke in the wee hours of the morning. And now? Now she's sleeping through her feeding. Because someone "f"ed with her schedule.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Of course, the waiting room was full and the ridiculous noise kept people laughing. I couldn't get her to stop--the sippy cup, binky, and teethers held no appeal. Finally when my name was called, I hauled her into the back and said, "Everyone in the waiting room will be a lot drier once we get back here."
The entire room erupted in laughter. What can I say? My kid's got talent.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
She sitting up by herself. She has four teeth coming in simultaneously all in a row. She grabs everything and anything, and it all goes straight into the mouth. She yabbers constantly. The Banker and I swear we've heard "Mom" and "Hi."
I'm working on a short list of some of my favorite characteristics Becca has shown these past few months, just so I don't forget. Like the way she feels the breeze and throws her arms out, opens her hands, and sighs so contently into the wind. Or the way she takes everything in, stretching her neck, jutting out her chin and arching her eyebrows as she tracks something across the room. Or how she kisses--or at least I think it's kissing--open mouthed, with lots of slobber. Then again, maybe she's practicing to be a vampire for Halloween.
Tomorrow's her six-month check-up, so we'll get her latest stats. Little Bits, I'm just so constantly in awe of you!
Saturday, September 08, 2007
in an unexpected place,
and she gave me an explanation
I was not owed.
She shared with me a trouble—
But perhaps that’s not accurate...
A trial? A challenge?
I don’t know the details,
(and they’re none of my business)
so my response last night
might have been all wrong.
So if “I’m sorry” didn’t fit,
then I want to say:
“Things will be okay.
There’s so much strength
in your delicate stature.
People are pulling for you.
You’re a beautiful person,
and I want to wish you the best.”
Thursday, September 06, 2007
As an avid reader of dooce.com, I remember Heather B. Armstrong extolling the virtues of cabbage leaves in just this situation. And since exercise bras and rum weren't cutting it, I had The Banker stop by the store and pick up a head of cabbage on his way home.
And I can't believe I'm admitting this, but as I sit and type, IT'S WORKING. I have cabbage leaves in my bra and it's actually helping. I don't have the guts to take them to work with me tomorrow, but let me tell you, I'm putting those suckers on as soon as I get home. And if I'm really insane, I'll wear them to a party we're supposed to attend tomorrow night. I would smell like cole slaw, but I'd be comfortable.
And for those of you wishing you could bleach your brain after reading this post--I did warn you. The title of the post said Entirely Too Much Information.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I used to have a (relatively) flat stomach…but then I got pregnant.
I used to think I was tough…but then I gave birth.
I used to think I knew what it was to be tired…but then I had a newborn.
I used to think I knew what love was…but then I had Rebecca.
Monday, August 27, 2007
In other tough news, can I just say that this weaning thing is dang uncomfortable?!? So blessedly welcomed, but really difficult nonetheless. Part of me is going to miss this stage, the way Becca clings to me and makes happy chugging noises, the way that this one thing can make all right for her even in her worst of moods. But it's time. My body was slowly giving up before I even made the decision to start this process. Still, this is just one more sign that my newborn isn't so much of a newborn anymore. More like an adorable, vocal, stubborn little person. I don't know how it happened--and so fast!--but it's happened. What a ride.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
|Star Wars Horoscope for Libra|
You convey the art of persuasion through force.
You always display your supreme intelligence.
You have a great talent in obtaining balance between yourself and your surroundings.
Star wars character you are most like: Obi Wan Kenobie
What Is Your Star Wars Horoscope?
|You are Betty Grable|
You're the perfect girl for most guys
Pretty yet approachable. Beautiful yet real.
What Famous Pinup Are You?
So when The Banker’s older brother insinuated in an e-mail that we were selfish parents, I initially brushed the comment off. After all, he’s an annoying, talkative know-it-all, whose wife dresses him funny and won’t let him have a dog.
But somehow the jibe rooted into some corner of my brain and it’s begun to ferment, growing in acidity and becoming harder and harder to ignore. I’ve tried to be many things in my short tenure as a parent, but selfish sure as hell isn’t one of them. It’s an insult that cuts to the heart of most any parent—that they put their own well being before that of their child.
The source of the comment was The Banker and my pending vacation to hike up to Machu Picchu. With the recent earthquake in Peru, The Banker’s family is in an uproar. (For the record, they are disdainful of foreign countries, most notably ones that don’t speak English or reside in the “safety” of Europe.)
The trip is only a shadow of the adventure we’d planned before I’d discovered I was pregnant, but I cannot express how much I’m looking forward to this excursion. It will be a breathe of fresh air, offering beautiful sights, a peek into an entirely different culture, not to mention some much-needed time for just The Banker and me. Becoming parents, while incredibly rewarding, is also hard on a marriage—it’s sometimes exhausting and isolating. (Why people would ever have children to “save” a marriage is beyond me! The lack of sleep, private time, quality communication, and more can take a toll.) But now I’m saddled with the idea that this trip, with its small, small “dangers,” qualifies me as selfish.
I made the hard decision to give up working (short of special projects and freelance writing), to spend every day with my daughter, raising her myself and trying not to let the monotony drive me mad. With only one income, we’ve learned to live on a much tighter budget. The occasional treats I granted myself (facials, horseback riding), are now a distant memory. Not feeling that 10 months was long enough to give up my body, I’ve spent an additional six months nursing Becca—a good portion of that going lactose-free. I try to put only the healthiest of foods in my body and hers, try to provide a home that’s safe, clean, inviting, fun, and friendly.
But it’s not enough. The Banker and I have been labeled as selfish parents, and while part of me thinks this is just damn ridiculous, the other part of me wonders if maybe there’s some truth to that insult.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
But then out of the blue, The Really Big Company called. There's a special project they'd like my help with over the next three weeks, for about 15 hours a week. Hooray! Much needed money and mind stimulation. But how in the heck am I going to get all this accomplished?
And more importantly, how is Becca going to do with her grandmas for five hours a day? And why in the world am I procrastinating here when I should be getting a jump on those articles?! Argh!
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
A friend of mine had asked if I wanted to attend the Modest Mouse concert last night. Having, in my life B.C., been quite the concert-goer, I said yes. (Aerosmith, Green Day--their first big tour, Van Halen, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails...it barely mattered the type of music, I just attended.) And The Banker gladly gave me the night off, in turnabout for his day of golf a few weeks ago.
The concert was outside in 280% humidity and a balmy 80 degrees--at 8 p.m. It felt like I'd dressed myself in a wet wool sweater, despite my t-shirt, capris, and flip-flops. Maybe the insufferable heat caused so many young'uns to run about half naked. But it doesn't explain the teetering high heels. I mean, ladies, there's no place to sit down. In this heat. On the sweltering blacktop. For four hours.
But the clear answer to this insane climate is to mount each other in public, right? Yes, clearly gratuitous signs of PDA will stem off the rolling beads of sweat and the general stink of a thousand people slowly boiling.
And while I acknowledge that Modest Mouse caters to the alternative crowd, I was still caught off guard by generally attractive people with huge pegs in their ears, so as to stretch them out to attain the look of some African tribe in National Geographic. I wanted to take these people aside and assure them that with time, things will sag of their own accord--no mutilation required!
See how I sound like a grumpy old lady? Once upon a time, I was in a mosh pit. I crowd surfed. I smoked a pack of cigarettes and made myself ill. I had that look of entitlement, that screw-you exterior. So why begrudge the next generation their time? Maybe it's a bit of jealousy mixed with hindsight's ever-clear view. Whatever it is, the evening left me feeling damn old. And the concert was just so-so. The band didn't play one of my favorite songs and struggled with feedback issues the entire evening.
The only upside? I was carded for beer and some young gentleman kindly offered me his bong. Even though I turned him down, it was still nice to be asked. Because you wouldn't offer your pot to someone who looked like your mom, would you? So maybe I'm not quite that old. Just yet.
Friday, July 27, 2007
The Jeep's window, which refused to work yesterday led to a discovery of a fuel line leak. Over $500 to fix that sucker. And then the call from "The Prick" at my old insurance company, from when I worked at The Really Big Company. It seems there's a state law that The Banker and I had never heard of that specifies that since The Banker's birthday was before mine and since he was employed at the time of Becca's birth, state law demanded that his insurance company provide primary coverage for Peanut and mine secondary. WTF?
Since my coverage was better than The Banker's, we'd opted to cover Becca under my insurance. When we decided I'd remain at home, we switched Becca and myself to The Banker's coverage. But now my old insurance company is trying to duck out of paying Becca's bills, due to this unheard of "state law." Essentially, the old insurance company is going to haggle with The Banker's insurance company over every cent it paid out since Becca's birth. But Becca wasn't covered under his insurance! And who do you think will be responsible for the charges that both companies refuse to cover?
I HATE insurance companies. And I hate that I can't turn to Harry, Ron, and Hermione to get my mind off all this shit. It looks like I'll be turning to Little Children--the latest book club choice--for a much-needed vacation from all this. 'Cause I seriously, seriously need a break right about now.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I was on pins and needles about the whole thing. An infant in the car for HOW long? Hours at the grandparents' house? Dinner at a restaurant? And then a stay at a hotel? And a visit to my grandparents' church so they could show off their great-granddaughter? There were so many ways this could have gone badly.
But it didn't.
Becca was a champ, thoroughly behaving herself in a fashion she never does at home. She was happy, patient, and cute as a button. Why she can't pull out that attitude more for us, I'll never know. But the important thing is that the visit went incredibly well and meant the world to my grandparents.
I think the trip may have been harder on me than on Peanut. Stressful and tiring, yes. But it was more than that. My grandparents talked about moving into an assisted living facility, a decision whose time has truly come. But it forces me to look again at what I've been trying to avoid seeing---that my grandparents are old and aren't as invincible as a child thinks they are.
What's more is that my Grammy said that once they move what they'll need into the facility (whenever they get around to finding one), the grand kids need to come and pick out what they want from the house before it all goes in an estate sale. When I was young, there was nothing like going to my grandparents' house. There were so many cool nick-knacks, countless collectibles, and an assortment of tchotchkes. (Both my grandparents are serious collectors...er, hoarders.)
But somewhere, somehow, the allure of my grandparents' house started to diminish. I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but all their trinkets started to look, well, junky. And on this latest visit, as I looked around, I was hard pressed to find much that I would willingly haggle over between the other grand kids. It made me sad, how the sparkle of that house had dulled. I really wish I could go back and have that feeling again--that surge of excitement and wonder as I looked around at all their stuff--instead of the sinking feeling of much work ahead and a lot of sad, abandoned items at an estate sale.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I'm having a tough time balancing two of the requirements of my body: a source of food for Becca and the need to regain my old figure and get into shape for the upcoming hike up to Machu Picchu that The Banker and I are planning to take (again). If I work out too vigorously and consume too little (which is easy to do given how dang hectic my days seem to be), I don't produce enough milk for Becca. To boot, she currently suffers from a nasty case of acid reflux--the cause for our earlier emergency room visit and the reason she's now on Prilosec--so in general our evenings can be very rough. Read: much crying, achy tummies, and the rest.
Last night Becca was fussing during a feeding and crying while I tried to burp her--an indication she hadn't enough to eat. Since I had no milk thawed and seemed to be spent myself, I gave her two ounces of ready-made formula, which she'd had during her first couple of weeks to supplement her diet until my milk came in.
Within two hours she was vomiting up the formula. Once those two ounces had been expelled, angry yellow bile bubbled up, even while she slept, racking her poor little frame. We telephoned the on-call doctor and were told to freeze a teaspoon of regular Coca-Cola and give her a teaspoon. Apparently, it has anti-nausea qualities. After that stays down we were to try giving her an ounce or two of Pedialite.
I was less than thrilled to give a three-month-old soda, but the Coke came right back up, along with more bile than you could imagine an infant's stomach could hold. She was limp, exhausted. And it was my fault.
The Banker decided to go with his gut and gave Becca a little syringe worth of Pedialite slowly, slowly over an hour. It stayed down. Then we mixed some of the liquid with breast milk and let her sip on it a little at a time. Finally, success!
We've had three good feedings since last night, but the guilt lingers. This parenting gig is so damn hard. No one ever tells you that your best intentions can have the most disastrous implications. I feel totally out of my league time and time again. How did my parents make this look so easy?
Sunday, June 10, 2007
That emergency trip to the hospital? Nope, failed to share that. The trauma of our first night away from Becca? Nothing on that, either. Maybe it's because I'm worn to the bone most days. Or perhaps it's because there are countless blogs that capture this chaotic lifestyle better than I ever could. I dunno. Whatever it is, I think I need to find some more energy and a drive to keep typing, because otherwise the dust and cobwebs will soon take over this tiny spot on the web.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The Banker and I'd discussed the potential for me to go back part-time (and my boss was sort of looking into it, in a really ineffective way), but it didn't make much sense financially. Sure, I'd be bringing home double what I could make in freelance in a month, but was that worth missing out on all of Becca's little amazing moments? Like when she started to try to put her binky back in her mouth all by herself? Or how she smiles so sweetly after blowing out her diaper? This is the good stuff, folks!
My boss and I are trying to find out if there's any work I can do from home or if I can come in and work on special projects. But in the meantime, I've got to do something I'm really, really crappy at doing. I've got to put myself out there and find some decent freelance gigs. And pronto. Zippy, my beloved 350Z, isn't selling as quickly as we'd hoped. And my brain is kinda turning to mush. So I need to establish this balance between mom and writer and editor. And see if I can bring in a few bucks along the way. Because this decision is going to require a major lifestyle change.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
While visiting The Really Big Company, I hope to catch up with my new boss and steal a minute of his time, or at least set up a time to come in next week and speak with him. I'm going to dare to inquire about any part-time opportunities...yet again. If there are no openings, I'll give my two week's notice. Or at least I think I will. Maybe.
What am I doing?!? People work for years to get into The Really Big Company and I've found success there. On the other hand, I don't think I could leave our Peanut to be raised by strangers all week long. And I know The Banker would prefer for me to remain home, though he's in no way pressuring me one way or the other. Would I go out of my mind, or could I find enough freelance to keep me engaged should I stay home?
This is one of those major life decisions, and I wish I had an easy answer.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Banker and I checked into the hospital at 7 a.m. and soon after the doctor came in to break my water. Things turned funny when I realized the doctor was breaking my water on top of a pad that's identical to the potty training pads we use for our dog, Ginger. I looked at The Banker and we couldn't help but laugh out loud, much to the amusement of the doctor and nurse. As one wee-wee pad after another was soaked, we giggled about how Ginger had nothin' on me.
I was hooked up to a bit of Pitocin because Becca wasn't engaged far enough into my pelvis. In the back of my mind I kept worrying that I'd have to have a Cesarean, but we tried not to talk about the possibility. My mom showed up first as I slowly dilated from a 4 to 5. The contractions started small and gradually grew incredibly intense. My mom and The Banker stood on either side of me as I writhed in pain on the bed.
Unfortunately The Banker kept telling me when the contractions we coming in addition to when they were peaking and subsiding. I snapped twice at him that I knew when the contractions were coming, thank you very much. When he began to utter those fated words again, even my mom told him to shut up. After that, he was careful just to tell me when the contractions were fading.
By the time I was dilated to a 7, the contractions were peaking off the monitor--giving new meaning to "off the charts." I felt like I was being split in two and was struggling to maintain my metered breathing. The nurse said it would be the best time to have an epidural, especially given that things could roll into a last-minute Cesarean. I caved, even though I feared having the epidural. Part of me was disappointed--I wasn't tough enough to struggle through labor unaided.
But the epidural was an almost-instantaneous, incredible relief. The only thing that bothered me was that my legs felt tingly and while I could move them, I hated not having full control over myself.
By that time my dad and sisters had arrived and my utter relief spread to everyone in the room, lightening the mood considerably. Everyone felt more at ease, and we laughed and joked and watched TV (including the Oklahoma game for my dad) as the monitor became a constant map of peaks and valleys.
It's funny that during most of this time, I was more concerned with everyone else's wellbeing. I asked what the family wanted to watch, offered them snacks we'd packed, sent them off to lunch at around noon, and constantly apologized that this process was taking so long and was so boring. I think I was trying to keep my mind off of my own fears. I function that way: Denying that something big is going to happen until it actually occurs. While I plan and prepare appropriately, I guard my emotions by not fully comprehending what will happen until it actually does.
This lasted until I began to feel the contractions through the epidural, a sign that the Pitocin had really ratcheted up the labor pains (in addition to making my face and body swell) and that things were beginning to progress. It wasn't long before the nurse informed the room it was time to push and everyone but The Banker went to the waiting room.
I felt like each push got me nowhere, though the nurse kept encouraging me to continue. About a half hour in, the epidural began to wear off and I could only push so long before I would smack into a wall of pain and lose my breath. The nurse told me to quit pushing and she called in another anesthesiologist. This doctor was different than the first and as he swaggered into the room he informed me that what he had may not help me and that maybe I needed "to tough it out and just push through it." If I'd been able to talk, I would have shared some choice words with the idiot, but it's just as well that all I could do was weakly nod.
Thankfully the doctor was wrong, and the pain medication was able to take just enough of the edge off that I was able to continue to push. The pushing was so exhausting, and I uttered to the Banker that I didn't think I could do this. But almost an hour into it, the doctor said she could see the head. The Banker stood (safely) by my head, encouraging me to keep going and to keep my chin tucked to my chest. Much of what followed seemed surreal--suddenly the doctor and nurse let out a cheer and the doctor told The Banker the sex of the baby. "We've got a Becca," he beamed.
It's funny that after nine months of wanting a girl I was too exhausted to fully register the news. I'd been right all along but couldn't even utter a triumphant "yes!" The doctor put Becca on my chest and I looked at this little creature with bewilderment. I remember thinking how perfect she looked before the nurses whisked her away to be cleaned up and weighed. And as the doctor stitched me up and The Banker shouted out how big Becca was, I lay there and thought that, just like that, we were parents. Wow.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
P.S. Thanks for the warm wishes everyone has sent via e-mail and more! It means so much to The Banker and me. I promise more musings later about lack of sleep, stumbling exhaustion, stress over no poopy diapers and more. This parenthood thing is one tough but incredible ride.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
It seems that while I'm ready in almost every way to go into labor, the baby's not engaged far enough into my pelvis to start contractions. So we wait--at least until the 8th when the doctor will break my water. The concern is that if the baby doesn't move far enough into my pelvis before or during labor it will force an emergency c-section. So cross your fingers the baby drops down far enough to cause me the significant discomfort that is contractions. Yeah, silly to be saying, "bring on the pain," but that's exactly what's needed right now. Let's please get this thing going!
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I've walked, cleaned, nested. You name it, and if it's a safe wives' tale for inducing labor, I've done it. But no more contractions--no sign the The Peanut is going to make his or her grand entrace anytime soon.
And I soooo don't want to have to return to work on Monday morning. Sigh.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
My holistic chiropractor "read" my body over a week ago and thought I'd go between the 23rd and the following week. The Banker thought she was full of it, but it turns out she may have known what she was talking about.
So will I languish at 3 centimeters for week after uncomfortable week? Or will this 7-plus pound baby spring for a February birthday rather than a March one? Stay tuned...
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I guess I must have been pretty naive. I thought workers would just be shifted about, allocating the talent to the company's current needs. I didn't see the demotions and forced retirements coming. Happy Valentine's Day indeed. And considering the company I work for, the irony is that much greater.
I've been assigned a new line of work within the company--work that I should be thrilled about. It's highly visible, it's creative, and it’s a strong position. But I'm working for the woman who outted my pregnancy against my will at a staff meeting. And while she was incredibly friendly today, I can't help but be wary.
All of this coincides with Tuesday's trip to the doctor. The baby has dropped, suddenly I'm measuring big, and things are beginning to soften--all of which indicate this labor thing could start sooner rather than later.
Talk about being in limbo. When will I go into labor? When will my job transition take place? Will my odds of part-time work improve any? And will I want this new position when it's all said and done?
Saturday, February 03, 2007
But the kitchen looks much better (as does the bathroom off the kitchen and the new carpeting in the office). Over the next few days we're going to attempt to put everything back in order. Then the serious waiting begins. Five weeks and counting. Baby is in the exit position but has yet to drop. At least the construction kept our focus off the timeline! After we've completed the clean-up, nothing will keep me from agonizing over the “when.” I'm huge, bloated, and about ready to get this thing started. I can't believe I'm saying I'm ready for that kind of craziness. But I guess I am. I think. I hope.
Monday, January 15, 2007
And the fact that I'm the size of a small house has really started to wear on me. While in Santa Fe, we were visiting one of my favorite galleries when a woman working there tried to make small talk. Or rather large talk about my expanding size.
Lady from Gallery: "You must be due any day now!"
Me: "Well, I know it may look that way, but I'm actually not due until March..."
Lady from Gallery: "WHAT'S IN THERE? MORE THAN ONE?"
Kindly jumping in is Sister #2, who by this point in the trip has heard far too many of these comments and is sympathetic: "It's just one really large Irish baby in a small torso."
Lady from Gallery: "But you're just HUUUUUUUUGE!"
Huge became the catchword for the remainder of the trip. I'm huge. My skin is stretching, scarring, and itching. I don't remember the last time I could turn to get a decent glimpse of my ass--not that I imagine I want to see it at this point, anyway. I have seven-and-a-half more weeks of this and I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to be able to make it. The old me feels forever lost and this new me is just fat and tired. So very, very tired and HUGE.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
My boss, an incredible woman with the rare ability to nurture the people around her, was permanently moved within the company. I've lost someone who would have gone to bat for me in my hopes for part-time work, someone with true empathy for my situation, due in part to her three little ones at home. In her place comes a guy with no managerial experience in this part of the company. I've met him a handful of times, and he's always been funny and fabulous. But he's not a family man and doesn't know me well enough to risk anything on my behalf. So my already slim odds of an alternative work schedule are now almost non-existent.
I'm not sure exactly where that leaves me, aside from probably having one less option to choose from. I'm going to see how this motherhood thing feels once it arrives and keep an eye out for part-time work elsewhere. It's strange not to have a plan, but it's the only situation that seems to fit at the moment.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
First, thank you to all who weighed in with advice on how to handle the whole work/life balance debate. The decision has--for the moment--been put on the backburner. With my workplace undergoing a major internal overhaul, The Banker and I thought it best to wait and see. There's a good chance my position and responsibilities will change in the next month, so we're in a holding pattern.
I meant to post a "Happy Holidays!" message but somehow never found the time. The entire holiday season seemed to follow in this pattern: too much to do and too little time.
Christmas was a mixed bag. The Banker's family changed their schedule at the last moment, so that it no longer meshed with my family's plans. After four years of precariously balancing the needs of both families, we were thrown off. And it didn't bode well. Needless to say, Christmas morning no one was happy, tears were shed, and much guilt was endured. (And did I mention the present the baby got me? Huge purple stretch marks that appeared between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Sigh.) I pray next year that The Banker and I can start our own traditions and truly enjoy ourselves for once.
The rest of the day improved, thankfully, and everyone ended up in better spirits. And I got to spend some quality time with my grandparents, which is so important and rare. They live out of town, and my PopPop is 92 with Alzheimer’s beginning to take its toll. My Grammy is younger, but she's enduring constant rounds of chemo to keep cancer at bay. They're incredible people who mean the world to me and each Christmas is truly precious.
The day after Christmas, The Banker and I and my parents and Sister #2 headed off to Santa Fe, where my parents are breaking ground on their retirement home. The vacation started out great--beautiful art galleries, incredible food, amazing scenery. The day before we were to leave, thick snow began to fall. And fall. And fall. Before we were to fly out of Albuquerque, there were 26 inches on the ground. The highway and airport closed, forcing us to stay in Santa Fe another day. Amazingly though, we managed to get the last five tickets on the last flight heading home the next day--the last open flight for the following three days given the backlog from the snowstorm.
The next day we got the car unstuck and headed into Albuquerque and waited in the airport, all day. Flights were taking off and all looked good, until a wall of fog rolled in an hour before our flight was to depart. No flights in or out, and the airport shut down, again. We scrambled to find a hotel room and rental car and spent New Year's in a Holiday Inn Express that was overtaxed by passengers stranded by the snowstorm and fog. I was asleep by 10 for our 5 a.m. wake-up call...at which point the five of us crammed into a little car and drove 16 hours home.
I took that next day off of work--an extra day of "vacation," but much needed due to my exhaustion, and apparent case of the 24-hour stomach flu that has been circulating. So I'm tired, still vaguely sick, and just thankful the holidays are over with. 'Cause the next couple of months will be busy ones. I'm now at 30 weeks and counting and there's much to do before the little one arrives. Things are about to get very exciting.