Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking back on the Aughties...

What a difference 10 years makes.

When 2000 was ringing in, I was recovering from back surgery, still recovering from a bad breakup, 6 months into a new job practicing special education law, single and living in Atlanta.

This is what happened in the ensuing 10 years:

  • I went to Australia and Papua New Guinea, going below the equator for the first time in my life
  • I learned how to surf
  • I developed a talent for appellate oral argument
  • I did some knitting
  • The interest in surfing spurred me to take a trip to Costa Rica, where I met my husband
  • I got married
  • I left a comfortable life in Atlanta for the uncertainty of trying to set up shop in Hawaii
  • I had a baby
  • I tried (unsuccessfully) to run a small business
  • I left the uncertainty and isolation of Hawaii -- but also the sun and the surf and warm weather -- for a new life in Denver
  • I lost two of my grandparents
  • I had another baby
I can say for certain that life now is harder than it was 10 years ago. The choices that Jason and I made, in the name of seeking out adventure, have resulted in me less financially secure than I was 10 years ago. I'm more stressed out than I've ever been. I'm less certain about the future. These days I often feel like I'm hanging on by the barest of threads, just trying to wait it out until things get a little easier.

Sign of the times, I guess.

But, I love my husband. He is so different from me, but he is kind and sweet and funny. I love my children. They are beautiful and hilarious and adorable. I love my family, and their love for me keeps me going when times are tough. I have a roof over my head and food on my table and a decent job and I'm far better off than lots of other people these days.

Just gotta keep on keepin' on.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


My parents arrived the other day, and immediately things seem better.

I don't have tonsillitis -- I'm on my 9th day of antibiotics, and have had no improvement in my throat, so it's a virus of some sort. They've tested me for mono, but since I've had it before, it's unlikely that I have it again. So the doc thinks it's just a really crappy virus that's left me with night fevers and swollen lymph nodes and fatigue and aches and general feel-shittiness.

I am getting a little better every day, slowly but surely. My fever cycles are getting fewer and further between, and my sinuses aren't quite as swollen and irritated as they were, and there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

I've said it before, though, and I'll say it again. Sometimes I honestly don't know how I would function without my parents. My mother has done all of the laundry, taken over the grocery shopping and the cooking and the diaper changes. My dad takes Zeke with him to run errands and gives Josie bottles and holds her and talks to her. They don't let me get up to do anything. They don't let me pay for anything. They don't let me worry about anything.

"Sit! Sit! I'll do it!" one of them invariably yells when I start to get up to take care of something.

I thank them and thank them and tell them how much I appreciate their help.

"It's what parents do," they respond.

But I know alot of people who could use the kind of help I'm getting, and I know that alot of parents don't do what my parents do. Not that they don't love their children as much or anything like that. But they just don't think it's their job to be as involved, financially or otherwise, in the lives of their children. Or if they do offer assistance, it comes with lots and lots of strings.

I mean, for God's sake, all I have to do is look at Jason's family. His parents love him, but even when his mother came to visit, I could barely get her to engage with Zeke at all.

I know how lucky I am.

And I hope that as my children get older, I imbue them with the sense of comfort - of knowing that someone has your back - that I live with every day. That would be the greatest gift I could give them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


The aches on Friday weren't just tiredness from working out too much. They were the initial signs that my body was going into full-on revolt against my current lifestyle generally, to wit, running ragged from dawn to dusk and getting no more than 3 hours of sleep per night.

So first I was achy. Then I was cold. Like, a bone-chilling, horrible cold that I couldn't shake no matter how many layers I put on and how many blankets I snuggled under. At one point I was wearing a short sleeved shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a fleece pullover and a wool sweater, in addition to two pairs of pajama bottoms, and I was under a down comforter, and I was freezing.

That began the cycle of freezing - roasting - sweating-off-a-fever that I started going through every 5 hours or so, and have been in ever since. Then the sore throat came on. Then the fever blister on my lip. Then the sinus problems. Then I started having other problems too disgusting to talk about, but suffice it to say that I have to have a follow-up with a proctologist. I've been to the doctor twice, I wake up with my clothes soaked with sweat every night, and I'm completely exhausted, not to mention completely disgusting to everyone except my children, who don't know any better.

Oh, and a snowstorm is hitting, so Jason is stuck in Vail.

The light at the end of the tunnel is that my parents have taken pity on me and are coming into town this weekend to take care of me and my children. Thank God for Mom and Dad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"They're bigger than I expected"

Just for fun, and to lighten my own mood, I searched out the infamous SNL "Schweddy Balls" sketch. Even after more than 10 years, I think it is one of the funniest things ever to appear on that show, demonstrates Alec Baldwin's impeccable comic timing and delivery (not to mention his and his castmates' ability to keep a straight face), and is a perfect send-up of National Public Radio.



I'm having one of those days when I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  I've been doing a pretty intense exercise program, and while I'm not particularly sore anymore, I just feel achy.  I need a masseuse and a chiropractor.  

And I couldn't sleep last night.  Partly because I'm going through an insomnia cycle, partly because I was achy and couldn't get comfortable, and partly because Zeke's feet or ass were in my face most of the night.

Speaking of, Jason and I have completely lost control of bedtime.  Zeke used to go to bed easily and cheerfully, right at around 8 or 8:30.  Then it started creeping up to 9.  Then 9:30.  Oh, and he didn't want to sleep in his bed anymore.  He wants to sleep with us.

And most of the time, I'm so worn out that I don't have the energy for a battle, so I let him.

But it has to stop.  Tonight's going to be ugly, I fear, because the little monkey is in for a rude awakening.  I firmly believe in the child-rearing lesson taught to me by Kathleen:  you don't have to pick every battle, but if you pick it, you have to win.  

Well, Zekey, my love, I'm picking the battle.  Sorry, honey.

I dread bedtime.

And I'm heavy-hearted because a dear, dear family friend, one of my grandparents' best friends and a woman who I have known and loved my whole life, is not well.  I fear another trip to Detroit for a funeral may soon be in the cards, and it tears me up to think about it.

On the other hand, today is my brother Joshua's birthday.  Happy birthday, big guy.  I love you.

And happy weekend, all.  Maybe I'll get some rest and feel better soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

TMI Thursday: I guess I'm just that approachable, even when naked from the waist down. Wait, that came out wrong.

TMI Thursday

OK, folks, time for another TMI Thursday. Click the picture above to read more awesomely cringe-worthy TMIs courtesy of LiLu at In a strange kismet-y twist, Lisa at That's Why and I both have IUD stories today. Go figure.

So I have to start by saying that while I can be very social when I want to be, I don't really have this image of myself as the most approachable person in the world. My friends and family and people that know me know that you can come to me with any problem and I'll gladly talk to you and give you advice, and I'll keep everything confidential to the extent that you want me to, and I don't judge. But I'm sort of reserved with people I don't know all that well, so I'm always surprised when strangers chat me up and start telling me their deepest darkest secrets.

And yet, it happens pretty often, so maybe the bitch-mien that I think I'm projecting -- or maybe hoping I'm projecting, so people will leave me alone -- isn't really there at all. I don't know.

Anyway, this afternoon I was at my OB/GYN's office for a follow-up visit after getting an IUD put in four weeks ago (no more kiddos for me, thankyouverymuch). And I love my OB to pieces. She is easy to talk to and friendly and is a terrific doctor. Over the course of my pregnancy with Josie, she and I developed a really nice rapport, and would talk about our families and our lives in addition to just what was going on in my uterus.

So today when she started talking to me about an issue she is having with one of her employees, I was happy to listen and to offer my take on it, and even give her a little bit of legal-ish advice.

But she started the conversation while she was washing her hands getting ready to start her examination, continued it with her head in my crotch and my feet up in stirrups while looking at my cervix with a speculum in place, continued it further as she lubed up her hands with K-Y Jelly to poke around inside me while pressing on my abdomen at the same time, and finished it as I sat there, naked from the waist down, holding a little wipe-y thing that I was supposed to use to remove said K-Y Jelly from my cootchie. Except that I felt too awkward to reach down and wipe myself with her right there, so I just sat there, feeling all jellied and drippy as we finished our conversation.

Later on, as I was leaving, she said, "Wendy, thank you so much for talking to me about that issue. I feel much better about it, and I appreciate your advice."

"You're more than welcome. I hope it works out OK," I responded.

I just didn't know how to say, "Doc, I really like you so much, and I enjoy talking to you and am happy to help you out in any way I can. But would it have been so hard to wait to initiate the conversation until after I'd put my pants back on??"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making progress, but just barely

When Zeke was about 9 weeks old, Jason and I went out together to his company's Christmas party.  We left Zeke in the very capable hands of one of his daycare teachers.  We trusted her completely and knew he was fine, and we didn't worry about him.

And on our first night out as adults in months, with the opportunity to dance and have a few drinks and just enjoy each others' company as married people ... we spent all of our time cooing over pictures of Zeke on Jason's cell phone.

It's been two years, and not much has changed.

The childrens' daycare does this great thing of having a parents' night out on the second Saturday of every month, meaning they will watch the children from 6 to 11 at night and give the parents an opportunity to have some time to themselves.  They charge a reasonable fee (less than I would pay a babysitter anyway for that amount of time), and the children are safe and sound with caregivers that are familiar to them (as well as being trained professionals).  

For various reasons, we haven't been able to take advantage of it for a few months, but this past Saturday we decided it was high time for a date night.

We dropped the children off -- Zeke skipped off to play with his friends without a glance back at us -- and headed over to the west side of town to have a scrumptious, leisurely dinner at Cafe Brazil.  Yummy wine, yummy food, yummy ambiance.  

Then we came back to our neighborhood and headed to PS Lounge, a funky local bar where every woman that comes in gets a rose and the owner walks around chatting people up and sometimes giving out free shots.  The jukebox is full of Billie Holliday and Frank Sinatra and Etta James and Elvis.  I had a dirty martini, Jason had a margarita, and we both had fun.

We talked about how nice it was to spend time together.  We talked about some movies we wanted to see.  We talked about current events.

But mostly, we talked about our children.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Breaking up is hard to do

My stomach feels kind of queasy from thinking about it.  

Should I do it over the phone?  Is that too impersonal?  Should I not say anything and be like that guy that dates a girl and then one day just stops calling?  

That guy's a dick.  I don't want to be that guy.

Breaking up with someone sucks.  

It's a bummer to be dumped, but I think sometimes it's even harder to do the dumping.  There's guilt over hurting the other person's feelings.  Will they be devastated?  Will they cry?  Will they turn it back on me and make me feel like an asshole?

But when you know that a relationship has run it's course, when you've given it every chance to succeed and it's obviously not working, it's time to bite the bullet.

I take a deep breath and steel myself.

I pick up the phone and make the call.
"Hi, this is Wendy."

"Hi, Wendy.  What can I do for you?"

"Well, I was in last week and Rita* cut my hair, and I feel terrible for saying this, but it just looks awful."

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that!"

"Yeah, and she had already messed it up once, and I went back to her to get it fixed, but basically she gave me the same cut that I didn't like, only shorter.  So I need someone else to rescue it."

"No problem.  We will have one of our master stylists fix it for you, and we won't charge you, of course."
Sorry, Rita.  It's not me, it's you.

*not her real name

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The more things change, the more they stay the same

When I got home from picking up the kids from school the other day, I was getting them out of their jackets and snowsuits and various cold weather paraphernalia (seriously, y'all, it's freezing here these days), when Zeke asked me for something.

"What do you want, honey?" I asked, not understanding him the first time.




I thought for a second. "You want a cookie?"

"Yes, please."

And I had to laugh. Because his pronunciation of "cookie" obviously comes from his teacher, who speaks perfect English, but with a Hispanic accent. It reminded me of one of my mother's favorite stories about me as a kid.

We were living in Venezuela, and I was about 4 and going to a Spanish speaking nursery school. My teachers were all Venezuelan and only spoke Spanish.

One day I came home from school and announced to my mother one day that I had learned "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and proceeded to sing it for her.

I should have prepared her.

Or maybe she should have known and prepared herself, to avoid having to practically gnaw off the insides of her cheeks to keep from laughing in my face. Because here's how it came out:
Tween-kell tween-kell leee-tell e-staarrrr
'ow I wohn-dare what yoo aaaarrr...
What can I say, I had a multi-cultural upbringing...

Four years ago today

Four years ago today, Jason and I got married on a mountain top in Australia. It was beautiful and romantic and I was scared shitless.

And I think I was right to be. Anyone who doesn't enter into marriage with just a little bit of trepidation is either the luckiest bastard on the planet, or an idiot.

Marriage is hard, particularly when life is hard. And right now, life is hard. I'm by myself raising two kids during the week, and when I do get to see my husband, we're often so tired and stressed out that it's more like being roommates than like husband and wife. And as I've admitted, there are definitely times when my greatest fantasy is to be single and childless again, to have time to myself and not feel like I'm charged with taking care of absolutely fucking everything, not just for myself but also for everyone else in the house.

But that's the way of things. For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. My husband is a good man, a great husband and father, so different from me but so perfect for me.

So I guess I'll keep him.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It must have been Scary Yogurt Monster. Or something.

Zeke suffers from night terrors from time to time.  He'll start crying in the middle of the night and will thrash around, inconsolable and unresponsive to questions or efforts to comfort him.  He doesn't seem awake during these episodes.  He'll just cry and flail around for awhile (usually 10 minutes or so), and then, as suddenly as it starts, he'll calm down and go back to sleep.

The other night he was sleeping in between Jason and me (a horrible habit that I need to break, if only I had the stomach for the inevitable drama that would ensue).  At around 3 in the morning, he yelled, "No! No!!" and then yelled "Yogurt!"  He proceeded to cry and throw himself around the bed for 15 minutes.  

My first thought was, "what the fuck?"

"Do you want yogurt??" I asked incredulously.  He didn't respond, he just kept crying.  I knew that there was nothing to do but try to keep him from hurting himself.

Finally he calmed down, crawled over to me and said, "snuggle?"  His voice was all shaky and pathetic sounding.

"Sure, honey.  Come snuggle with Mama."  

"Sleep song?" he asked, referring to a lullaby that I sing to him most nights.

"Of course, baby."  

I wrapped my arms around him and sang softly for a couple of minutes until his breathing steadied.

I can't even begin to imagine what the hell is going on in his little 2-year-old brain.  But could someone please just wake me when he's 7 or 8, and relatively sane again?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

On the plus side, my baby brother is the shiz.

This is how my day has gone so far.  

I basically didn't sleep after 1:30 or so.  First Josie woke up to eat.  I fed her and put her back to bed.  Half an hour later, Zeke woke up with night terrors and it took me 45 minutes to calm him down.  I fell asleep for an hour or so, then Josie woke up to eat again.  She had a harder time getting back to sleep, so I kept jumping back and forth between my bed and her room to pat her on the butt or replace her pacifier.

The long and short of it is, I'm really tired. 

I managed to get the kids up and ready for school, but 5 minutes before we were set to leave, I called to Zeke that he needed to put on his socks and shoes, and he completely lost his mind.  Crying, throwing himself on the floor, rolling around, the whole 9 yards.  Josie had been sitting very calmly in her bouncy seat for 45 minutes, but felt the need to weigh in on the chaos, so she started to cry.

"Oh, yeah, I need to take my Zoloft," I thought to myself.

Then Jason called to inform me that his car was broken into and his satellite radio thingy was stolen.  And, oh yeah, he can't find his driver's license.  

And my mom is coming in tonight because we've got our big annual convention this week in Colorado Springs, so she's going to come look after the monkeys while I'm busy presenting and shmoozing and doing whatever else one does at these things.  And of course, the house is in shambles, so I need to go home during lunch to clean so that she doesn't realize I'm an incompetent shlub of an adult.

And we have no food in the house, no dishwashing soap and no laundry detergent.

But, when I got to work this morning and opened my email, I discovered that my brother Sam, who writes and performs under the nom-de-song The Flying Change, is doing a show in New York City on Thursday night, and was written up in The New Yorker.  

Which is pretty fucking cool.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Better living through chemistry, or, Fuck you, Tom Cruise.

Since I started this blog, a couple of friends have remarked (positively) on my willingness to write so openly about suffering from depression. I don't do it as a badge of honor, to provide a PSA, or as part of championing a cause or anything like that. But it's part of me and when it creeps up on me, it's what I'm thinking about. And as a result, what I'm writing about.

I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of it. Like all fucked-up adults, I just blame my parents.*

But being unexpectedly hit with post-partum depression brought on a great deal of shame on my part. I didn't have PPD with Zeke, and managed to last almost 2 months after Josie before it reared its ugly head. I think going back to work, with all of the stresses that brought, finally put me over the edge.

And what a horrifying, unnerving edge it was. Because for a couple of days, I was convinced I was a monster who had no love - or any regard, truthfully - for my newborn daughter. Or anyone in my immediate family, for that matter.

As it always does, the onset of depression brought crushing insomnia with it. So many nights last week, I would lie in bed, wide awake for hours during the dead of night, cursing my husband and my children. Wishing I was single and childless again. Resenting them for heaping upon me the responsibilities of maintaining a household and tending to them, and for robbing me of any shred of free time.

But really, it was even worse than that. Resentment and exhaustion are to be expected. But in those dark, bleak stretches of sleeplessness, I found myself wishing them ill. Going through "what-ifs" too horrible to contemplate in the light of day. Fatal accidents. SIDS. Awful events that would liberate me.

It pains me to admit these things.

It passed, of course. Things are somehow never as grim in the morning. Still, I was shaken. I sat at my desk last Friday, weeping and feeling evil. My mother and Kathleen both helped talk me off the ledge, as did Jason and my Facebook buddies.

But really, they only reinforced what I already knew. I was not well, and I needed to do something about it.

I will say this for myself: I may be crazy, but I also am keenly aware of when the craziness is coming on. I've dealt with depression for so long, and am blessed (or perhaps cursed) with such an overdeveloped sense of self-awareness, that I can feel the spiral almost the minute it starts to pitch rapidly downward.

Luckily, I had a Zoloft prescription that I had neglected to fill for a couple of months, so all I had to do was call Walgreen's. As ever, the act of taking a step toward feeling better was as much of a remedy as the pills themselves.

It's been about 4 days now, and I feel fine. I look at Josie and marvel at how pretty she's getting. I coo at her and talk to her and feel the love that I know was there all along.

But Jesus, I frightened myself for a while there.

*I kid, I kid. Though it is definitely inherited from my dad and our long line of bat-shit lunatic ancestors.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Housekeeping matter

FYI: I've been suddenly been getting a ton of comment spam, so I've turned on the word verification feature for leaving comments.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Back at it

I started back at work yesterday.

I can say one thing with absolute certainty. Taking care of a newborn and a two year old while holding down a full time job, with a husband who is out of town four days a week, is exhausting. Physically, mentally, and every other way.

I'm tired. And stressed.

Work is fine. The children are fine. Everything is fine. But I'm tired. I feel like I'm on a treadmill, or in a hamster wheel or something.

I hit the ground running at 6 or 6:30 in the morning, and I get the children up, dressed, and fed, in jackets and snowsuits, into car seats, out of car seats, into the day care, and then off to work. I try to get home to exercise at lunch, but try not to be away from work for more than an hour. I leave to pick up the children at around 5, get them home, and then spend the next 3 hours feeding children, playing with children, wiping tears, bathing children, changing poopy diapers, putting children in pajamas, singing children to sleep, and then chasing them down (or rather, chasing one of them down) when he keeps getting out of bed as he tries to negotiate more songs, more stories, more bottle, more Mommy, more more more. All while trying to lose 20 pounds of baby weight by doing Weight Watchers.

By the time the children are asleep, I'm so fried and mentally strung out that I can't even relax. I sleep with one ear trained on the baby monitor, waiting for one or both of the children to start crying.

And Josie is actually a great sleeper. She has slept through the night with increasing frequency, and even when she doesn't, she sleeps at least 5 or 6 hours at a stretch. But I can't relax.

At least my reaction to stress is to completely lose my appetite. So losing the weight won't be hard. But I would trade slower weight loss for a little peace of mind.

And yet, my life is fine. I have beautiful, healthy children, a husband that loves me, a good job with people that I like, a roof over my head, food on the table, blah blah blah. I feel like an asshole for complaining. So many people have it so much worse than I do.

But many nights, when Zeke is crusty because he's tired and wanting my undivided attention and I can't give it and Josie won't settle down when I want her to, I just want to run away.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday nights

It's kind of like being in a long distance relationship.

Jason comes home for the weekend on Thursday nights, and leaves early early early (he gets up at 3:30 a.m.) Monday mornings to drive back up to Vail. He comes home on Tuesday nights after work, only to turn around and drive back on Wednesday mornings. So really, Zeke and I get about 2 hours with him on Tuesdays, and that's it. It does break up the week, but the weekend is what we live for.

It's hard on me, not only because I miss my husband during the week, but also because I never get a break from the childcare duties. I get exhausted and impatient and I feel like all I want is to escape to a deserted island where no one is tugging at me, seeking food or a bath or toys or even just my attention.

And it's really hard on Zeke, because he loves his daddy so much, and misses him terribly when he's not around. I think the time away from Jason, and having me say in response to a pleading, "Daddy? Daddy home?", that "Daddy will be home tomorrow," or "Daddy will be home later," or "Daddy will be home soon," is giving Zeke an understanding of temporal concepts that are a bit advanced for his age.

Being on maternity leave has been nice in that we can spend all day Friday together. So the weekend feels really long. We pack the time with fun things like outings to the zoo or the aquarium or the park, or, newly added today to the repertoire, the science museum. We get together with friends and family for dinner. Jason plays with Zeke constantly, rough-housing and bouncing on the couch and running around being silly. Jason and I take advantage of the daycare's "parents' night out" program, in which they provide super-cheap babysitting on the second Saturday of every month so that the parents can get in some time alone, knowing that their children are in the care of familiar, trained, and responsible caregivers.

But Sunday night inevitably and inexorably rolls back around. And I get depressed. And Jason gets moody. And we cling to each other a little bit.

Tuesday night is only two days away. And my cousin is living with us for a little while, so I have some company and an extra pair of adult hands and eyes to help with the children. Zeke totally adores him, so it's nice for him to have another big strong man to throw him around.

But still. It's not the same.

Jason went to bed a couple of hours ago, so that the 3:30 alarm wouldn't be completely brutal. Josie had a hard time settling down, so I stayed up rocking her and watching the season finale of Mad Men.

That familiar heaviness in my heart is settling in. I'll wake up for a second when the alarm goes off, and Jason will give me a kiss goodbye, and then will call me or text me a few hours later to let me know he arrived safely. In the morning, Zeke will come into my room and crawl into bed with me.

"Hi, Mama. Snungle?" he asks, using his crazy-cute iteration of "snuggle."

"Good morning, angel. Come snungle with Mama."

We cuddle up, arms wrapped around each other.


"No, honey, Daddy's not here. Daddy had to go to work. He'll be back tomorrow. He misses you very much."

The countdown to Tuesday begins.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beautiful Boy

I'm really not as much of an asshole as this post makes me out to be, and reason number 8,842 that I adore my mother

The sad truth is, I find babies incredibly boring. Including my own. I love Josie. I do. But I've got three weeks of maternity leave left, and I seriously cannot wait to get back to work.

Some people have likened being on maternity leave for 8 weeks to being on vacation.

Um, no.

If I were on vacation, I'd get more sleep and have time to myself. And right now, I really have no time to myself, and the sleep? Not so much.

It's not that Josie is difficult. She's actually a very easy baby. She's not fussy, and she never really cries unless she's hungry or trying to poop (which is difficult for her tiny little system, poor thing) or wanting to be held. But she would rather be held than hang out in the bouncy seat or the swing, so if I put her down to try to do dishes or do a workout video, she starts to squawk after about 10 minutes, so I'll pick her up and she passes out on my shoulder almost immediately, so I'll put her in the crib, but then she wakes up again when she realizes she's in a bed rather than on me, and starts to squawk, and so it goes.

And the weather is crappy, so I can't just stick her in the stroller and take her for a walk, and the flu season in Colorado is beyond horrible, so I can't really take her to a museum or anyplace where people congregate because she hasn't been vaccinated yet, and I'm just bored out of my fucking mind.

I was thinking the other day about my feelings towards my children and how they evolve as they get older. Because while I love Josie, and I think she's cute and all that, I'm not in love with her the way I am with Zeke. I couldn't be -- I don't know her yet. I'm protective towards her and I take care of her and I would defend her to the death against any attacker, but her personality hasn't revealed itself to me yet. I don't have the capacity for blind love for someone without knowing them at all, I guess.

Bad mommy.

When I think about Zeke, I can think about how when I was giving him a bath last night, I was making him totally crack up -- one of those deep, uncontrollable belly laughs -- by picking up a handful of bubbles and blowing them all over the tub while making silly faces. Or how unbelievably happy he was at his birthday party the other night when I brought out the cake and everyone started singing the birthday song to him. He seemed ready to burst with joy.

Or how when we walk to the park, he tells me about everything he sees with such enthusiasm. "Moon! Moon, Mama! There it is!" "Leaves!" "Big tree!" Or our little routine, when he says, "Hi, Mama! How are you?" And I'll say, "I'm great, Zekey, how are you?" "I'm fine." "I'm so glad." "Love you, Mama." "Love you too, Zekey."

I don't have any of those associations yet with Josie. I know they will come, as they did with Zeke, but right now my days are kind of mind-numbing.

And even with Zeke, spending all day every day with him would drive me crazy. I just need more intellectual stimulation, and more quiet time, than days with a 2-year-old will allow. I don't know how the day care teachers do it.

I was talking to my mom this morning while trying to get Zeke dressed and fed and trying to feed Josie and figure out why my phone isn't working properly. I was a bit frazzled.
"Jesus, I'm so tired of being on maternity leave."

"Can you go back early?"

"No. I can't put Josie in daycare until she's 8 weeks old and she's had her shots. I feel like such a jerk for feeling this way, but I really think I'm a better mother for not spending all day every day with my children."

"Oh, honey, I know. I had babies too. And they're cute and I like to hold them, but they are kind of boring."

"I know!! They don't do anything."

"And I worked, but I still think I was a good mother."

"You were and are a great mother!"

"Because I worked."

So, so true.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On one hand, he can be so sweet. On the other, he's such a guy...

Last night I was having an Episode that comes from being on maternity leave and taking care of two small children who have no concept of anyone's needs but their own and the house is in shambles and every time I turn around there's a sink full of dirty dishes to be washed and my hair is disgusting because I can't remember the last time I took a shower and the baby needs a bottle and Zeke is crying because I won't let him play in the cupboard where we keep the cleaning supplies and I feel fat and disgusting and ugly and washed up.

And truthfully, I love my daughter (and my son, for that matter) to pieces, but I find taking care of a newborn, and being home all day with children with little adult interaction (particularly during a wicked flu season -- seriously, there are entire school districts in my area that are closed because over half the student body has flu -- so I'm housebound for health reasons), to be kind of soul-crushingly tedious. Particularly when I'm getting little to no sleep because Josie is still so little that she can't eat very much at a time, so she's up every couple of hours to eat, and then maybe she doesn't feel like going back to sleep right away. And of course Zeke decides to wake up and wants to basically lie on top of me in my bed, because the more real estate on my body he occupies, the less that's available for The Little Pink Monster. So I end up yelling at everyone to go to sleep, which causes one party to start crying, which causes another party to start crying, and then I start crying because I'm so fucking exhausted because the thought of being able to sleep for more than two hours at a time is so tempting that at that point, I would sell both of my children to the first bidder to achieve it.


So last night, I'm sitting at the kitchen table, all weepy, and Jason says, "I've got something for you."

And he goes out to the car and ladies, he went to Jared! (And seriously, how cheesy am I for breaking out the slogan? Jared, call me. I can make you a deal).

At first I'm just looking at the pretty bag with the pretty box and I can't even stop crying enough to open it, because I'm so touched.

I finally open it, and it's a pretty gold locket, and I cry even harder because it's so sweet. And my sweet husband gives me a big hug, and my sweet son gives me another hug ("Luboo ["love you"], mama!"), and I feel loved and appreciated and all is right with the world again.

I spend the rest of the evening picking out pictures to put inside the locket and cutting them into little heart shapes. And I feel fine.

This morning, everyone is all happy and loving and sweet. Jason lets me sleep in a little while, and I get up and start to fix myself some oatmeal. It's the steel cut kind that takes approximately 7 hours to cook.

At one point, Jason says, "is your porridge OK?" because it's been cooking for awhile.

I explain that it's special oatmeal and that it takes a long time to cook because it hasn't been processed.

"But it's got alot of fiber as a result," I say.

"So does that mean you're trying to shit yourself? Is that the goal here?"


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baby steps

Hi, everyone! I've missed you. Been kinda busy, you know how it is.

The Joey says "hi." She may look small, but she consumes an enormous amount of my time and attention.

Things have been good. Zeke is adjusting pretty well to having a baby in the house. I'm adjusting to having Jason back at work and taking care of two small children by myself during the week.

I've discovered that a second child is akin to looking at real estate - it's a "location, location, location" thing. Meaning I spend alot of time figuring out when and where I can stash the baby while attending to Zeke. Can I time Zeke's bath to coincide with Josie's need for a bottle, so I can sit and feed her while watching Zeke in the tub at the same time? Is her diaper changed and she's settling down in time for me to put her somewhere while I get Zeke up and dressed?

Turns out she's not a big fan of the swing, but seems to like the car seat OK. She used to like the bassinet, but lately not so much.

Sleeping in the carseat while Mama blogs.

Mostly she likes to sleep on me. Even at night. So I sit up in bed with her sleeping on my shoulder, and I catch a nap here and there when I can.

I'm kinda tired.

But that doesn't mean I'm not determined to get back to living life like a grown-up, non-pregnant person.

When my mom was here, among the many wonderful things she did to make my life easier -- other than the laundry, the dishes, take Zeke to the park, take Josie for a night or two so I could sleep, and generally just be great company -- was to give Jason and me a night of babysitting so we could go out on a date. So a week and a half after giving birth, I squeezed my ass into a pair of jeans and put on a nice jacket and my favorite pair of high-heeled boots and some lipstick, and we went out on the town. Dinner and a play at a local theater. Fun.

But I think I need some practice in the "going out and acting like a grownup at a place that doesn't serve kids' meals" department.

Because I googled the wrong address (I typed in 17th "Street" instead of "Avenue"), so instead of having a block and a half to walk in my high heels from the restaurant to the theater, it was 8 blocks, including up a big hill. And it's been a long time since I wore heels, and the boots were tighter than I remembered, so by the time I hobbled my way up the hill to the theater, my feet were in agony and I was sweating.

And the play was really funny and we had a great time, but it was really hot in the theater and of course the lightest thing I had on was a turtleneck, because that was one of the few shirts I owned that fit loosely enough for me to not look like I was stuffing my still poofy abdomen into a sausage casing.

And then walking back to the car was so painful that I finally stopped on a street corner in the middle of downtown Denver and made Jason help me take off my boots, because I was too stuffed into my jeans to bend over comfortably to get them off myself.

And then I walked the remaining 4 blocks to the parking deck in my socks. We passed a bunch of police chiefs in town for a big convention, and I just told myself that while I may look like a dork walking around the streets of Denver in my stocking feet, at least I'm not walking around wearing my convention badge/nametag outside of the convention itself. Losers.

And then when we got to the parking deck, we needed our ticket to even get access to the elevator after hours, but my purse is such a mess that I ended up sitting on the sidewalk, in my socks, with the contents of my purse dumped out on the ground, to try to find the ticket.

And once I found it, Jason needed to help me up because my jeans were so tight that I couldn't do it on my own.

Basically, I looked and acted like a drunken idiot, without the fun of actually being drunk. Meaning that next time, I either need to drink more to justify my ridiculous behavior, or I need to relearn how to go out in public and be cool.

I'll work on the latter, but don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dealing with both the expected and unexpected surges of love

I was only in the hospital for a day. Everyone expressed either shock or amazement that I was out that quickly, but the labor was so easy that I didn't feel too awful afterwards, and the healing that I needed to do I could just as easily do at home without having nurses and other hospital staff coming in at 2 or 3 in the morning to check my vitals or whatever. And Josie got a clean bill of health, so when they told us on Friday that we could go home, my response was, "right on. Let's blow this bitch."

The transition with the baby at home has been very smooth. Josie is seriously the easiest baby I have ever encountered -- certainly much easier than Zeke was. She's still sleeping a ton, and when she's awake, she just hangs out and looks around.

She never cries unless she's hungry or pissed off, like when I'm changing her diaper. And even then, as soon as she's fed, she immediately calms down. As soon as she's dressed and diapered, I pick her up and put her on my shoulder, and she snuggles into me and mellows out.

The hardest transition has been for Zeke. He wavers between being very excited about the baby and having a hard time dealing with the attention she's getting. The good news is, except for the first day home, when he threw toys at her, he hasn't been aggressive toward her at all. He just gets pissed off at Jason or me (me in particular, since I hold Josie the most) and either refuses to talk to us or is a tad more defiant and emotionally sensitive than usual.

But he's dealing. Both my parents are here, so he's getting lots of attention from his Mimi and Papa, and Jason and I are making an effort to spend time with him every day playing or reading books or going to the park. And since Josie is so easy, we can stick her in her bassinet or in the bouncy seat and she chills out, and we can have time with Zeke.

I also try to include him in taking care of her. I'll give him little jobs like getting Josie's pacifier and "helping" to give it to her, or helping to give her a bath (his job was to take the washcloth and wipe off her feet and then rinse them off).

But even though I know that what he's going through is normal -- hell, anyone with a younger brother or sister went through it, and most of us made it just fine -- my heart feels like it's bursting when I look at him. He's such a sweet boy, and such a joy in our lives, so affectionate and enthusiastic about everything. And when I see him struggling to figure out his place in this new world order that has sprung up in our household, it makes me cry.

Of course I'm crazy in love with my new daughter. That, I expected. But what has blown me away by the last few days is how this whole process has made me even crazier in love with my son. I want to just gather him in my arms and provide him with every reassurance, to ease the difficulty of the transition, but I know he just needs to work it out. Other than just be there for him, and continue to include him in everything and let him know I love him, there isn't much I can do.

But I can certainly ease the pain by buying him a new firetruck bed. Love and nurturing go a long way, but so does bribery.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meet The Joey, or, Look What We Made! v. 2.0

Josephine Ruby Lee, 9.24.09, 1:30 p.m., 7 lbs. 7 oz., 19.5 inches

Everyone in the know, i.e., my OB and my friend Michele, who is also an OB, told me that labor the second time around would be nothing like the first. That the monstrous labor I went through with Zeke -- 25 hours of labor to get to 10 centimeters dilated, followed by 4 brutal hours of pushing out a 8 lb. 9 oz. baby with a 14 inch head -- would no way repeat itself.

And I had reason to believe them. We caught the gestational diabetes this time around and I stuck to my diet and took my medication religiously, with the result being that I basically gained no weight the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy and kept the baby's size in check, plus I was being induced a week early. I also was 3 1/2 cm. dilated before I even checked into the hospital this morning -- it took me 15 hours of hard labor, plus pitocin, to get to that point with Zeke.

So any optimism I might have had was not misplaced.

But still. When you have nothing but the experience at one end of the spectrum to compare it to, it's incredibly difficult to imagine an easy, quick, painless delivery of a reasonably-sized baby, no matter how much I was assured that this time around, I would have one of those ridiculously awesome experiences involving super-fast dilation followed by pushing the baby out in 20 minutes.

But they were right. It's still kind of surreal to me how incredible today was, how peaceful and simple and joyous having a baby can be.

We checked into the hospital at 5 in the morning. I was in my Taj Mahal of a room by 5:20.

Taking some time to catch up on blogs and read the news before getting started.
Yes, in my enormous private room I had a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub nicer than the bathrooms in most hotels I've stayed in.

It took awhile to get through the paperwork, filling in questionnaires with medical histories, signing releases, going over security procedures, etc. The nurses, who were unbelievably wonderful, started my pitocin drip at about 8:20 in the morning.

Unbeknownst to me, I had already been having contractions. I just thought the baby was kicking me really hard, but apparently a number of those jabs to the ribs were actually contractions. And they didn't really hurt much at all. So for a long time, I was feeling great, with only minor instances of contractions that, if I had to label them on a pain scale of 1 to 10, were no more than a 1.5. I knew that it would get worse -- as Doris, my main RN said, "no pain, no gain" -- but so far, so good.
Chilling out, dealing with regular but not particularly painful contractions, waiting for the fireworks to begin in earnest. Mom keeps me company and sews for the baby.
At around 11 or so, my doctor came in to check my cervix and break my water. I was still only about 3 1/2 to 4 cm dilated, but she assured me that things would start moving along after my water was broken.

And boy, was she right. Within about 1/2 an hour, the contractions went from, "hey, no big deal" to "SWEET BABY JESUS, THIS HURTS LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER!" And they were coming in rapid succession, fast and furious. My mom and Jason took turns holding my hand, and Doris and Lupe, the student nurse assisting her, helped me breathe through the contractions. I told Doris, "um, yeah, I'd like that epidural now," and she said, "no problem," and within 15 minutes the anesthesiologist was in the room hooking me up with pain meds. And 20 minutes later, I was free of pain, though still feeling the pressure of the contractions, which were continuing unabated.

The doctors and nurses told me to be sure to tell them if the pressure -- the feeling of needing to push -- started to increase, because that meant that the baby was coming soon. And I started to feel that pressure (but not pain) at around noon, so Doris checked my cervix but couldn't feel it. So an OB resident was called in, and she said, "I don't feel cervix. I feel baby hair. I think you're ready to go."

So my OB was called (her office is about 3 blocks from the hospital), and the nurses prepped me while we waited for the doctor to show up. And all this time, I was feeling fine, and kept saying, "really?? are you sure I'm ready? I'm already at 10 centimeters??"

It just didn't seem possible that it could happen that quickly, and without me being in excruciating pain.

But sure enough, Dr. Ann, my OB, arrived, and they finished prepping me and got my feet in the stirrups. I was told to push. I pushed hard.

It took 9 minutes of pushing, and a total of 5 big pushes altogether, to get the baby out. And it didn't hurt, and nobody was yelling, and it all felt very calm and easy. Dr. Ann had to give me a small episiotomy, but she warned me in advance and was very gentle and quick (unlike my OB with Zeke, who just seemed to hack at me indiscriminately while I was in agony), and then I just needed one more small push and Josephine Ruby Lee came into our lives.* And because I wasn't completely exhausted and strung out and in pain, and was gently breathing as the baby came out, I got to watch my daughter slowly emerge from my body. It was magical.

Seconds after being born, Josie was placed on my chest.

Jason is totally in love with his little girl.

The J-Team: Dr. Ann, Jason, me, Josie, Doris and Lupe

Josie squawked a little after being born and getting cleaned up, so I offered her a bottle. She scarfed down the whole thing, had a nice burp, and promptly fell asleep for 2 1/2 hours.

Jason got a nap in. Apparently, watching me give birth is exhausting.

After her snooze, Josie got a bath from the nurses, discovering the joys of having your head gently scrubbed and washed. She sighed deeply while getting a scalp massage, and was as mellow as could be. After her bath, I fed her and she passed out again.

At around 6, we were moved from the labor and delivery room to a regular mom/baby room. Just in time for Kathleen to pick Zeke up from school and bring him to meet his little sister. I think he likes her.
He kept pointing at her and saying, "baby! BABY!"

Our family unit.

Jason and my mom went home with Zeke. I indulged in some Pad Thai -- fuck you, gestational diabetes! Josie and I hung out for awhile, but now she's in the nursery so that I can have one night of decent sleep before the craziness begins. This song kind of sums it up. Cheesy, perhaps, but it touches me right now.

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good.

And now I'm going to bed. I'm a little tired.
*Regarding her name, "Josephine" came from "The Joey" -- it just kind of grew on us. It's a pretty, sweet name, a little old-fashioned without being overly precious, and it's not like "Madison" or "Ashley" or one of those names where it seems like you can't swing a dead cat without hitting 6 of them in your average daycare facility. If it had been a boy, I don't know what we would have done, because while we loved "Josephine," we didn't really like "Joseph" for a boy -- too many shitty Josephs in history (Stalin, Mengele, Kennedy, McCarthy -- you get the idea). "Ruby Lee" is a nod to my maternal grandparents,
Ruth and Leo, both of whom died in the last year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Tell me about the day before I was born..."

I've written before about the tradition that my mother and I have every year on my birthday, when she calls me to wish me "happy birthday" and tells me about the day I was born.

So if I have a similar tradition with The Joey, I probably won't tell her about checking into the hospital at 5 in the morning to be administered a dose of pitocin. I'll tell her about today. About having weird anxiety dreams about going to the hospital and having the nurses all be incompetent, half naked and incapable of answering my most basic questions. About spending the morning in a frenzy of cleaning and packing and laundry. Of going to Target to stock up on diapers and other stuff, only to have one of the fuel lines in my car split and gush gas all over the road, so that Jason and I broke down on the way to the mechanic.

My mechanic is an angel, and he drove over to pick me up so I wouldn't have to sit in the rain in a car filled with petroleum fumes the day before giving birth. He also called in a favor to get the tow truck guy to pick us up quickly and charge us a bare minimum for the tow. And he gave me a loaner so I'd be able to go get Zeke and still malke it to the airport on time to pick up my mom.

And we had a nice dinner of beef stew, and played with Zeke and looked at the enormous pile of baby clothes that my mom brought.

I hadn't been nervous all day. But as it got later and later, and I was going through piles of pink onesies and washcloths and little newborn caps, I started to get this tight feeling in my chest. Anxiety.

Knowing that The Joey is coming tomorrow, I've been very aware of everything that's been happening and everything I'm feeling. It's actually very strange to have known in advance when she was going to come, because every day has felt more and more imbued with importance and significance. And today is the last day in my life that I will ever be pregnant.

The last belly shot of my life

Which is fine with me. Jason and I have talked about it and are happy with having two kids. Maybe if I had started having children earlier, I would have maybe had another, being able to space them out more. But I'm going to be 40 on my next birthday, and if I wait the amount of time to have another I'd want to wait, I'd be having my next kid at 43 or 44, and I just don't want to do that. I'm too tired.

But it's still strange to know that I'm done reproducing. It's such a basic, elemental part of being human, and now I'm done with it.

And in addition to feeling like this massive existential milestone is passing, I'm so aware of this huge change in my life and in my relationship with Zeke in particular. He's not going to be my only baby and I'm not going to be all his anymore, and it's made me emotional and weepy.

It won't be just us anymore

Since I go into the hospital so early, when I put Zeke to bed tonight, it was the last time I'll see him before giving birth. For some reason, it made my cry and cry. Everything is making me weep. What if I'm no good at parenting two kids? What if Zeke freaks out and resents us for giving him a sibling? What if I can't handle any of it?

I'm so excited to meet my daughter. But I'm also terrified.

Though I guess when I tell The Joey about the day before she was born, I'll leave that part out. Because I imagine by then, the feeling will have passed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Do we need to sue for copyright infringement?

I think this guy may be trying to co-opt Kathleen's "dog fucking" motif.  In any event, this is my new favorite thing ever, particularly the look on the female co-anchor's face afterwards.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Tomorrow is my last day at work before I go on maternity leave.  And seriously, thank God, because I'm so fucking tired I can barely function.  I need some time to rest and finish getting organized.  I don't feel too awful, but it's very difficult to sleep comfortably, and when I'm awake, The Joey either has the hiccups (so my belly has this rhythmic pulse to it), or she's kicking the crap out of me.  I constantly have little lumps of foot or knee or butt poking out of the sides of my torso.  

And then one week from today (assuming I don't go into labor before then), I will have a new baby.

It's a very exciting but also very strange feeling.

Even as I look at the new little girl clothes and pink blankets and stuff that I've been accumulating in anticipation of The Joey's arrival, it still feels like this surreal event that "out there" in the ether somewhere.  Reality won't really set in until she actually arrives.

With Zeke, it hit me the first night after he was born.  I was asleep in my hospital bed, and he was asleep in his little bassinet next to my bed.  He woke up and started to cry, and as the noise roused me from my slumber, I thought, "what the hell is that??"  And then it dawned on me:  "oh, yeah, I have a kid.  Huh."  

When we took him home from the hospital a few days later, we walked in the house, put the baby in the Pack n' Play, and then looked at each other and though, "what on earth are we supposed to do now?"

It took almost a month for that feeling to wear off.

Soon we settled into a routine and became used to having a baby to take care of, and took great pleasure in getting to know him.  And now Zeke is such an indisputably wonderful part of my life -- such a part of me, of us, of our family -- I can't even imagine not having him around.  

But even knowing what it's like to have one child, the concept of having two is still very odd to me.  Maybe other women can wrap their heads around it more easily, but I'm very weirded out by the fact that in a week, I will meet this tiny little person who will become my complete and utter responsibility, and who will move into my house and become a permanent part of my existence.

That's just trippy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Excuse me, sweet thing, may I offer you a sippy cup of Courvoisier?

It's been apparent for awhile that Zeke is quite the social butterfly.  He smiles and says hi to everyone on the street ("Hi, Man!  Hi, Lady!").  He knows the names of all the teachers and kids at his school, even the ones that aren't in his class.  He plays nicely with other children.  He's affectionate and sweet with the adults in his life, giving hugs and kisses freely.  

But I guess I didn't really dawn on me until last night how much he favors women and girls.  

Last night a group of my sorority sisters from UVa. (all of whom live in Denver - yet another reason I love living in this city) came over for a little get-together.  They were kind enough to come to me to accommodate my physical discomfort and my interest in not having to deal with child care and just being home so that I could just put Zeke to bed when it was time.

We had a lovely time catching up and it even turned into an impromptu baby-shower, as everyone turned up with baby presents, much to my surprise.

But the most remarkable thing about the night was what an outrageous little ladies' man Zeke is.  

He had been a little crusty before everyone arrived, largely because I wouldn't let him go to the park or take a bath (two of his favorite activities) when we were about to have guests.  But the minute the ladies arrived, it was like someone had flipped a switch, and he went into heavy flirt mode.

He showed off his Eric Carle animal flash cards, demonstrating his knowledge of the various animals and the sounds they make.  

He grinned and mugged, showing off his teeth and his dimples.  

The dimples are ridiculous

He named his various body parts and proudly displayed his belly and belly-button. He rolled around on the couch where everyone was sitting, cuddled up to Jen and Stacy, and give everyone a kiss goodnight.

He would give Leon Phelps a run for his money.  All he needs is a leisure suit and some toddler-sized gold chains.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dear DirecTV

How much of a sucker do you think I am??

If you think you can lure me to buy a season package of NFL Sunday Ticket by dangling a free day of it in front of my nose today...

you're totally right.

You fucking evil genius bastards, you.



Friday, September 11, 2009

Not today

This week has been rough for me, physically, and in ways that have made me think that labor is imminent. Not the tell-tale signs like water breaking or regularly spaced contractions -- the only sure things, really -- but other signs that mimicked the way I felt in the week leading up to Zeke's birth.

Then yesterday I found out that a number of my coworkers are essentially placing bets on my delivery date, with more than a few of them picking this weekend. One of them in particular, who claims to have a penchant for accurately picking the delivery dates of her friends and relatives, is convinced I will have the baby on Monday, September 14th.

Yesterday afternoon she was leaving the office and made a point of saying good-bye to me.

"I'm not going to see you," she said.

"Why, are you going on vacation?" I asked.

"No, but I'm not going to be here tomorrow."

"Well, then I'll see you Monday," I responded.

"I don't think so. If I see you at all, it will only be for half a day, but at around 11 or so you're going to be heading into the hospital to have your baby."

She was so matter-of-fact and certain about it.

"OK, you need to stop it, because you're seriously freaking me out," I scolded her.

But then I woke up this morning feeling very off. Sharp pains way down in my abdomen. Feelings of stretching and mild cramping. A couple of other signs that I won't go into because they're gross.

"Fuck," I thought.

Because as uncomfortable as I am, as difficult as it is to get any decent sleep, as hard as it is to chase Zeke around and get him up and dressed and off to school every morning, I really, really did not want to have a baby today. I don't want The Joey's birthday to be September 11.

The memories are still too raw and vivid.

I remember so distinctly everything about that day. I was driving to work in Atlanta, and waiting in the turn lane to go left onto Peachtree Road from Roxboro, when the second plane hit the tower, when it was obvious that this was a terrorist attack, not some weird accident as initially thought (or at least, as was being reported on the radio station I was listening to).

I got to the office and turned on the TV in our conference room. I stood there, sobbing, watching the towers burn and then crumble. Then the news and the rumors started flying. That all air traffic was being grounded. That there had been bomb threats on the State Department. That the Pentagon had been hit. That nobody knew where the President was because Air Force One was flying around avoiding attack.

At the time of the attacks, my mother, who was stationed in the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea, was in the air on a flight from San Francisco to Sydney, travelling back from a visit home. I kept thinking, "what if American diplomats or diplomatic posts are being targeted?" And my dad was supposed to be in a meeting in the State Department in Washington, which as far as I knew, was under attack as well. I couldn't get through to anyone in my family. Then there was a bomb scare in my office building, so they sent everyone home. I spent the rest of the day in a daze, sitting on my couch watching the TV coverage, trying to get in touch with my brothers and my father and eventually my mother. And they were all fine, but until I knew for sure -- particularly about my mom and dad -- I was terrified.

That night I went over to Kathleen's. She and Rich were set to get married in 11 days. Mindy and Chris came over there as well, and we sat there eating pizza and talking and trying to make sense of the world. We were all shocked and horrified and saddened, but I think we all took some comfort in spending some time together.

So I didn't want to have any association between this day in history, and my daughter.

I had an appointment with my OB. Sitting there in the waiting room, there was a woman with a beautiful, tiny 2 1/2 week old baby girl. And I guess in addition to my physical discomfort, my hormones are raging, or maybe I was just nervous and more than a little tired, because I burst into tears at the sight of that baby. And then I was thinking about Zeke and how much I love him and how funny and sweet he is, and I started to cry again. And then I thought about what it would be like when I hold The Joey for the first time, and introduce her to her big brother, and I started to cry more.

But the good news is, I'm not in labor. I'm not having regular contractions, and while my cervix is certainly getting ready to open, it's not dilated to the point that I need to start heading into the hospital. After talking to my doctor, we decided to move the induction date up to September 24, so one way or another, I will be holding my new daughter 2 weeks from today. That's enough time to "respect her lung development" (as my OB put it), but also is an appropriate time to "kick her out" out respect to me and my physical needs (also as my OB put it -- have I mentioned I love her?).

So it might be Monday, as my coworker predicted. It might be next week. It might be on the 24th.

But it won't be today. Thank God.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A post that is sure to disappoint people googling "doggie porn" or "bestiality"

As I've discussed a number of times here, I love my friend Kathleen. There are a million reasons, not the least of which is that she's big-hearted and an incredibly loyal friend and so funny, while having just about the foulest mouth of anyone I've ever met. Her use of the word "motherfucker" is sheer artistry. She is astoundingly creative in her profanity.

Particularly when it involves animals.

Years ago she was lamenting the state of her lawn, and how the grass was reaching epic lengths from not being mowed.

And rather than say, "my grass is getting way too long," she observed, "the grass is so long that I could fuck a goat on the front lawn and no one would notice."

At some point over the years, she and her husband developed a particularly awesome phrase to denote when something is someone else's problem to deal with. When you have a task, particularly an unpleasant one, and it's yours and yours alone to work out, it's your dog to fuck.

I don't remember how the expression evolved, but it requires no explanation anymore.
"The water heater needs to be fixed, but I just don't have time to deal with finding a repairman or setting up an appointment. That's his dog to fuck."

"I've explained to her 27 million times how to set up those files. I'm out of it now. She's fucking that dog as far as I'm concerned."
You get the idea.

This past weekend, we decided to have a last hurrah grown-up's night out before The Joey is born. We got a babysitter for the children and, when we discovered the Rockies were in town, decided to go to the baseball game.

There was some back and forth over whether one of our clients could get discounted tickets for us, but with all the craziness of finishing up our big project and everything else going on, I offered to just find tickets online.

Kathleen started to explain something about a way to get tickets at some website, but then stopped herself and said, "you know what? You're a smart girl. You can fuck that dog."

So I did.

The view from our mezzanine level seats.

A gorgeous Denver evening

And a last hurrah it definitely was. I'm getting to the point where I'm uncomfortable all the time. It hurts to roll over in bed, it hurts to stand up from a sitting position, the pressure on my lower abdomen is brutal, and my stomach and intestines are so squished up somewhere behind my boobs that I constantly have heartburn and nausea.

So another outing involving lots of walking around and climbing stadium stairs and the like is not looking like a possibility anymore. All that's left is to have this baby.

Definitely my dog to fuck as well.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Womb With A View 2.0

Jason and I went in for the 36 week ultrasound today. It's the last one before giving birth, the one that sort of lets you know how big the baby is and to do one last check to make sure all is well. For me, it was a way of ascertaining whether this insanely restricted diet I'm on -- I've basically been living on eggs, veggie sausage patties, veggie burgers, chicken, carrots and sugar snap peas, with the occasional bit of steak or salad thrown in for good measure -- has worked and kept The Joey's size in check.

Once or twice I've cheated. I had some of Rich's outrageously good peach cobbler, and have eaten a bite of canteloupe from time to time while fixing Zeke's lunch, but for the most part I've been really good.*

The good news -- and there was only good news -- is that The Joey is smack-dab in the 50th percentile for size, meaning she's exactly where she should be. She's about 6 1/2 pounds right now, so assuming she holds out on making her appearance until my induction date (September 29), she could still be a solid 8 pounds. But my efforts appear to have paid off and she doesn't have any indicia of being too big as a result of the gestational diabetes.

The ultrasound itself was, as ever, totally trippy. I never get over the miracle of being able to see inside my own body to look at the development of my unborn child.

Usually at this point in the pregnancy, when the baby is firmly head-down and dropping, which she is, it's very difficult to get a face shot because in order to position the ultrasound scanner thingy to see the face, you'd basically have to have it lodged in your vajayjay.

But I guess Joey has her head slightly turned to the side or something, because as the ultrasound tech was doing her thing and measuring various parts and looking at how much amniotic fluid I've got going on, all of a sudden an astoundingly clear shot of The Joey's face popped up. I was so stunned that I blurted out, "HI SWEETIE!!" Then I burst into tears.

She looks just like Zeke, but slightly more girly (or maybe I'm projecting). Pouty lips. Pretty little bone structure. Hands by her chin.

Above and below are the same shot. I've labelled parts of her face below, because I recognize that sometimes it takes a little bit of orientation to figure out what's going on in an ultrasound photo. Also, don't ask me why they have my name on the printout as "Amy Armstrong." I have no idea.

I also found out yesterday that I'm starting to dilate. I know that this can mean anything and nothing. I know so many women who were 1 or 2 centimeters dilated for weeks before going into labor. But I never dilated with Zeke in advance, so maybe it's a sign that she's coming a little early. Who knows. Again, maybe I'm projecting.

But it's all very exciting. Kathleen and I finished our massive project at work, the one that is going to help us rule the special education world in Colorado. It was a bitch to finish - I joked that The Joey is the second baby I'm giving birth to in September, but it's done and the client is happy. My dad came out this week to help out with Zeke-care, which was so incredible. He took care of pick-up and drop-off for daycare, took Zeke to the park, to the zoo, to the ice cream store, for walks. Zeke was in heaven hanging out with his Papa, and I was able to get my work done and know that things on the home front were taken care of. Jason had a chance to study for his big licensing exam (which he should be finishing up as I type this).

I love my parents. I can't say it enough.

So now I've got 3 weeks to go (at the most). I'm trying to get organized, take care of myself physically, and enjoy these last few weeks of Zeke as an only child. And then everything changes.

So scary, but so wonderful.

*And I've lost about 7 or 8 pounds, which doesn't suck for purposes of dealing with the baby weight, post-partem.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ostentatious Spazziosity. But I'll take it.

The belly is obviously impossible to hide. It's out there in a big way.

And the resulting waddle is unavoidable. I can't help having to slightly lean back when I walk, with my toes turned out and my steps wider than normal.

The boobs, never for the faint of heart, are reaching ridiculous proportions. When Elizabeth was visiting a few weeks ago, upon seeing me for the first time she observed, "your ass hasn't gained any weight at all, but your boobs are massive."


And there is nothing I can do about any of these things, and they don't impede my ability to be productive at work or to interact relatively normally with the people in my life, so other than feeling a bit bulky, and not being as nimble as my non-pregnant self, I don't feel particularly self-conscious about my physical state.

But while I absolutely love feeling The Joey kick, she does it so relentlessly and so powerfully that it causes me to jump and squirm and gasp in a way that makes me feel like a complete spazz.*

I'll be sitting in a meeting with coworkers and suddenly the baby, who has been relatively still for a minute or two, throws her legs out, catches me in the ribs, and then keeps pushing so that her foot will cause my belly to visibly jump and undulate. And I'll gasp and sort of sit up suddenly, and the people I'm meeting with will get these concerned looks and be all, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK????"

And I'll explain that it's just the baby kicking and I was a little startled and sorry let's get back to what we were talking about.

It happens A LOT. And it makes me feel really self-conscious and stupid. Like people will be annoyed because I'm drawing attention to myself, even though I try not to as much as possible. It's so silly, because I know nobody cares, but I still feel weird about it.

It's better than the alternative, though.

Last week when I was in my doctor's office for my weekly appointment, I had to wait a really long time. And when the doctor finally came into the exam room, she was unusually subdued. She explained that the patient she had seen before me was also 34 weeks pregnant and came in for a routine exam, but when they went to listen to the baby's heartbeat, there wasn't one. The baby was dead. And this poor woman would have to be induced to go into labor, so she could deliver a dead fucking baby.

As the doctor was telling me this, I started to cry. The doctor said, "I don't want to alarm you by telling you this."

And I said, "no, I'm not upset for myself. Believe me, if this baby doesn't have a heartbeat, there is something really strange going on, because she never stops moving. I'm not worried."

So I guess feeling like a goober at work for the next few weeks isn't such a big deal after all.

*And yes, I know that word is politically incorrect and inappropriate. Don't email me.