Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Single Parenthood.

Jared's only been gone on his business trip for a few days but I am going to complain anyway. It sucks to be by yourself with a kid. It really does.


With that being said, cleaning the house is a lot easier. There are only half of the dishes to be done. I can make whatever I want for dinner. I don't have to share the computer or sit through things I don't want to watch on TV. The sheets stay nice and neatly made and there are no glasses or bowls to pick up from his side of the bed. And I know you won't believe this, but there is not one single pair of boxers on the floor outside of the shower!

Living by yourself is eassssy. Or, I think it would be if I weren't crippled and homebound. And I didn't have to watch Oliver 24/7.

We got a big flood of rain followed by a big dump of snow yesterday and today. The roads and sidewalks are one giant slushie. To top things off, it's very warm outside so EVERYTHING is soaked and very heavy.  The snowplow created a giant mountain at the end of the driveway so we're stuck at home. I tried for about 5 minutes to shovel and then I realized that hte snow was just too wet and heavy for me to be moving right now. I also didn't think it'd be a great idea to be pulling the cord on the snowblower, so the snow mountain remains to gloat. It will be hell to get the garbage and recycling cans out to the curb on Friday morning.

I am undecided if I can just pretend that my car is a Hummer and go crashing right through Mount Slush if need be.

But, snow and crippledness aside, it is really difficult to go all day without any adult interaction. It is hard when I want to tap out at 5:30 and spend some time doing things that don't involve telling Oliver to stop throwing stuff at the dog. It is even harder when it's the middle of the night and Oliver wakes up repeatedly because the snow and ice are making tapping noises on his window. It's even harder still when Oliver shouts up from the basement, "Mom, I pooped!" and you see the trail of too-many-Mandarin-oranges diarrhea all up the steps and across the carpet.

I really can't wait for Jared to be home. I would rather do more dishes and put up with his crappy TV shows than have to deal with that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm just not that into it, I guess.

My midwives and well meaning people are always asking about my "birth plan." I mean.. last time I sorta had a birth plan? Maybe? I guess not really. But at least I felt like birth plans were sort of a valid idea. The second time around, however, I've come to see that "birth plans" are just a load of crap. If your plan is anything other than "Show up at hospital. Try not to rip your crotch open. Have baby. Go home." then I am going to laugh at you.

Something that especially irks me is when people are like, "I've got my birth mix tape all planned. I'm going to have my husband put on track 14 (Enya's Watermark) when the baby is crowning. It will give me that extra inspiration."

Are you serious? I've decided that from now on I'm just going to tell people that my birth mix will consist solely of the Chariots of Fire theme and Rocky's Eye of the Tiger on repeat. That will shut them up.

I also will not be packing an overkill hospital bag. I will bring a change of clothes. I will bring real underwear and an outfit to take the baby home in. I will pack a lot of snacks because hospital food sucks. But that is it. The hospital gives me everything else I could want. This is a 48 hour stay in a hospital, not a weekend getaway to the Four Seasons.

 I will not bring 3/4 of the "suggested items" from my OBGYN office checklist. There will not be an inspirational photo to look at during hard times in labor. I'll not have a birthing soundtrack. I will not be bringing any aromatherapy scents. I do not need jewelry, nail polish,  or an entire make up bag. I will accept the pillows that they give me. I will wear the slippers they provide. It is just two days, people. And to be honest...? Aside from the food, hospital stuff isn't really that bad anyways. Especially not that bad for two days of getting by.

I guess I'm just not that into this whole birthing experience. I'm not super pysched about the "spiritual journey" or anything like that. I'm not even going to pretend like I could dictate how things will happen when the baby arrives. That's just a joke. Planning your baby's birth might as well be like planning  the weather for next Saturday. It's a nice thought, but you're an idiot for trying.

I am just going to show up, have a baby, and go home. That's my plan.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Haircut. Don't try this at home.

Oliver has needed a haircut for a long long time. Every time we've tried to get it done, something has come up. Or he has decided he doesn't want a haircut. Trust me. You only want to go get his hair cut if he is on board with it.

So today I was sitting at home feeling lucky and I thought, hey! I can cut it myself.

This is always a disastrous line of thinking for me. There is a reason I didn't go to beauty school. There is a reason I stopped trying to cut both my dad's hair and Jared's hair. It just doesn't work.  For some reason, I felt today would be different and Oliver would come out with a rockstar haircut.

Unfortunately, today wasn't different. I present you with before and after.

This is his typical "before" self.

This is what his "after" expression should have been.

Instead, his "after" is pretty happy. It has nothing to do with me giving him an M&M when I finished.

And now he thinks he can run around saying, "I'm cute!"

His new, typical "after" self.

At least he's not old enough to be embarrassed yet.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What else?

This morning, like most mornings, I got up and made breakfast. I laid out eggs, toast, sausage, and raspberries on the table. I poured us each a glass of orange juice. Oliver sat down at the table, looked it all over and said,

"What else is there, Mom?"

Are you kidding me?  I'm pretty sure most kids get stuck with cereal every morning. I'm almost doubly sure that most kids don't get a choice of what is being served for breakfast every morning. Although he likes cereal, I usually give it to him as a snack only. This morning he liked everything on the table so I have no idea why he complained.

This happens to me a lot. Last weekend I made us all Belgian waffles. I even let him have maple syrup on his piece. Do you know what he asked for instead? Poptarts.  When I made blueberry muffins for him, he said,

"No Mom, I want something healthy!"

When I asked him about that, "something healthy" actually meant "sliced ham lunch meat."

He did end up eating a bit of everything... egg, toast, sausage, and a TON of raspberries, but.. the complaining? Holy cow. Why does he like to complain so much? If I made that plate up for myself and gave him poptarts instead, he would still ask for my plate. He would want BOTH of them. BOTH is a word that he loves to shout when I give him options.

"Do you want to play cars or trains?"

"Do you want yogurt or applesauce?"

I think maybe he's just very greedy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We haven't had much snow this year. Jared and I haven't minded all that much. Oliver is sad that he hasn't been able to make a snowman.

Last night we got a couple inches of snow and Oliver is satisfied. He likes to help Jared shovel. In one of my unpacked boxes, I found my old half-broken camera.

 I brought it out to take pictures tonight. They're not very good pictures, but you get the idea.

Oliver is a snow shoveling trooper.

Four times his boot came off and he stepped in the snow, but still he wanted to stay out. 

The only problem is that he'd rather shovel the lawn than the driveway.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I am certain you wanted to hear all of this.

Disclaimer: I am going to complain about my body falling apart. You will listen like this is important and you are genuinely concerned. Okay? Okay. Good.

Being pregnant this time around sucks. Let me clarify. Being pregnant this time around sucks worse than last time. I don't know why this is a surprise to me. I hated it last time. I know this. But this time... Wow, I hurt. Damn am I tired.

Oliver's kicking never really hurt me. It weirded me out and it felt gross but it never was truly painful. Sure, he might've kicked my bladder and made me pee a few times but that was the worst of it. It was like having a fluffy rabbit in there that sometimes hopped around but was generally tolerable.

This baby is like a living pewter statuette - strong and hard with pointy, unforgiving pieces. This baby makes me cry. On days when he's caught up in my ribs it feels like ancient Egyptian rib-breaking torture. On other days he is doing something weird to my pubic bones and I literally walk around grabbing my crotch and wincing all day. And you know what? That's not a pain that I like to complain to people about. It's not something that garners a lot of sympathy and understanding.  People don't see somebody in Target holding her crotch and trying not to cry and think, "Oh, poor dear. Must be the baby."

No. If people see you walking around Target holding your crotch they think, "That is a nut job. Keep the children away from that one."

I don't have that same stuffed sausage feeling that I had with Oliver. This may be because I am smaller this time around,  or I'm not that far along yet, or maybe it's because what was once stretched before never really tightened back up... But man. My belly button hurts if you touch it. Sometimes it hurts even if I don't touch it. It's liable to take out my OB's eye if she gets too close. And I still have 2 months left.

Did you hear that? Two months. Can you imagine how much more crap can be done to my body in two months? That is unreal. I can't think about that. I know better than to think about that...

But yet? I am obsessed with thinking about that. Every time I bend over to pick something up off the floor and I wrench my kidneys I can't help but think, "Oh God. And this is only going to get worse."

My hip occasionally pops out of socket when I do too much work/move the wrong way. I am winded from climbing the stairs. I run my stomach into door frames and gouge it on table edges at restaurants.  I have a very, very difficult time extracting myself from our sunken in couch. Oliver knows that if he runs away fast enough there is no way I can chase him. If he hides behind the furniture I can't fit back there to extract him.

I am a huge mess.

I wish I could say I enjoy counting down the days until this will be over. But counting down the days is really like saying, "OH GREAT! In two weeks I am going to have a root canal!"

Except one thousand times worse.

"OH GREAT! In two months my crotch will be ripped open and I'll bleed everywhere! For a month! My nipples will be replaced with fire and I will leak giant puddles of breast milk all over my bed!  And my stomach skin will hang over my crotch like a cute little modesty flap!   Finally I'll be able to express my true emotions by crying at cat food commercials! Maybe I will even get hemorrhoids, if I'm lucky!"

No way. I am not looking forward to that. I'd rather not know how long I've got til that comes my way. I'll just sit here holding my crotch, pretending that's never going to happen.

I will not be offended.

Here is a list of gifts that people could give me that I would actually be really excited for and not offended by in any way.

1. Deep cleaning service for my home.
2. Coupons for free babysitting
3. Gift cards to thrift stores.
4. Membership to a weight loss club.
5. Voucher for "Home Improvements for Dummies" class at Home Depot.
6. A vacuum cleaner.
7. A "pad" care package containing the following: Giant maxi pads, a waterproof mattress pad, acne face pads, Tucks pads, and nursing pads.
8. Gallon sized jugs of "Nature's Miracle"
9. A surprise TV-makeover.
10. Gift certificate to hair removal place.

And, fyi, this has nothing to do with the dream I had last night that I only got doilies and stuffed teddy bears for Christmas.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day, from Oliver.

I would post pictures. However, as some of you have noticed, my camera is gone. It's with my parents in Oregon somehow. So, no pictures until they come back. Sorry.

I told Oliver that it's Valentine's Day today.

"OH GREAT! I like candy!"

That wasn't really the point I was trying to make but that is really the only point he cared about. If I'm being perfectly honest, I guess that's probably my favorite part of Valentine's Day too.

We sat together at the table eating breakfast and Oliver kept asking for candy. He took a bite of eggs.

"Can I have chocolate?"
"No. Not now."

He ate half his piece of toast.

"Howabout M&Ms? I have M&Ms?"
"No. Not now."

He took a drink of milk.

"I can have a cake now, Mom? Please?"
"No. No cake. Eat your breakfast."

He sat eating the rest of his toast and sausage while looking out the window. I tried to comment on the snow. I asked him what he wanted to do today.  I talked about our plans for the weekend. Nothing. No response from him. I gave up and started clearing my plate when Oliver piped up,

"I love you, Mom! I can have candy now?!"
"I love you too but no candy."
"You don't love me."

Monday, February 13, 2012

Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.

Oliver has been helping me get things cleaned off/organized for his baby brother. He likes that he gets to help me. I like that I can send him running up and down the stairs for me. He gets to tell me how much bigger and better he is than his younger brother. His younger brother doesn't seem to give a rip about anything. Everybody wins.

In going through all of Oliver's old stuff, I realized that I probably have only 50% of the volume of stuff I had when Oliver was born. I thought I needed everything from the Babies R Us catalog in order to take care of him. I thought that if everybody else bought these things, they must be useful... right? Not so much.  The baby bathtub, the 6 piece matching outfits, the bottle warmer, the giant stroller - All useless. I won't miss them.

I want a lot of things, sure. Mostly things to make the house look nice. Mostly things for me to play with that I can get by without. But stuff for the baby? There just isn't much I need. Somebody I knew had a fridge magnet that quoted, "Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." That's pretty true.

I don't want that junk, I don't miss it, I have more space because I don't have it. It is nice.

One of my secret fears is that I'll become a hoarder. I feel a little bit of guilt when donating gifts from family or throwing out things that I've had forever, but... Really, I know that I'll forget all about it in 2 weeks' time and never think of that stuff again.  I always tell myself, "Well, self, if you need a paint stained tshirt/pasta serving size guide/shoe horn you can always buy yourself another one when the time comes." And very rarely do I need to do that. I almost never regret the decision to throw away/donate items. If anything, it liberates me.

I would have been a terrible homemaker in the Depression, but c'est la vie.

All of the baby's stuff fits in his room, and we're barely missing anything. Basically, all he needs are clothes. (Correction: He only needs clothes that are the right season. We have some fine fleece sleepers for him to wear in June.) We're also missing the  little things that are meant to be single use or semi-disposable anyway - pacifiers, bottle pieces, pump parts. But we can always pick those things up at Target, no big deal.

And you know what? With the help of my sister, I have gone through and unpacked every single box/bag of junk I had in the house. No more mystery boxes. No more closets piled high with mystery content. It's all gone.

I wish I could say that that means that I know where everything is. I don't. Some things have gone AWOL. I never found my precious collection of spices. I never found my fancy new oven mitts. Gone forever are a lamp, the baby's changing organizer, the lids to 3 of my pots, and some attachments to my blender.  But at least now I know they're not lurking in any of the unpacked corners of my house.

Now that is a good feeling.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It sounds stupid, but it isn't.

When explaining things to Oliver, stuff comes out sounding dumb. But really it isn't. Usually what I say is the basic truth, with all of the exceptions and extenuating circumstances left out.

"Mom, are our neighbors nice?"
"I'm sure they are. Most people are nice when you get to know them."

"Do you like making dinner, Mom?"
"Yes. I like to try new things. Do you?"
"Yes. I like trying new things. Like new dessert."
"Dessert is good, isn't it?"

And the thing is, in trying to put things simply and positively for him, I realize that deep down that's how I feel. I really do feel that most people are nice when you get to know them. I really do like cooking dinner for my family, even though it gets to be a chore. I do like trying new things. It sounds silly for me to say, but he reminds me of things I used to believe but forgot.

Yesterday, he was driving me nuts with all of his questions of what is real and what isn't. He kept listing things and declaring whether or not he was afraid of them. I get tired of saying that things are/aren't real and you do/don't need to worry about them. After about the millionth time, I think anybody would get tired of that. But then sometimes he reminds me of what it must be like to be his age.

"Monsters are scary. Are you scared of monsters, Mom?"

This question reminded me that at one point, I was, indeed, scared of monsters. And that some things still scare me, rationally or irrationally.

"I used to be. But then I learned that monsters aren't real and that we are safe here."

After I said that, I remembered running as fast as I could up the basement steps in case something came out of the darkness to grab at my ankles. I remembered being scared that wolves would break down the doors to our house and eat me. I remembered thinking that snakes were waiting just off our front steps to bite me and kill me. I used to be just as scared as he was of things that sound just as stupid.

"That's good idea. I am not scared of monsters too, Mom."

When talking with other people, I spend a lot of time thinking about how best to articulate my point of view. Depending on the person, I worry about sounding stupid or simple. I worry that they'll take what I say and make a sweeping generalization from it if I don't add enough qualifiers and exceptions. But sometimes, the simple answer is best - dumb sounding or not.

"Monsters only scare you if you let them."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Parenting or Slavery? You decide.

Today I needed to haul the laundry downstairs, but I couldn't carry the whole basket down. I also wouldn't hold up if I had to take down each piece individually. So what's a person to do?

Make Oliver do it.

"Hey Oliver, want to play a game!? It's called get-the-laundry-downstairs. If you take all of these downstairs and put them in the washing machine, you will win! And winners can have an M&M!"
"GOOD IDEA MOM! Is it teamwork?"
"Yes. It is teamwork. I will sit here and tell you you're doing a good job and keep you on track."
"Oh. Great!"

I think it took him half an hour, but he did it. And I got to sit around and play Scrabble while he worked. He got his M&M. I got my laundry downstairs. Everybody was a winner!

Teamwork is a big sell in this house. If I label work as teamwork "like on Clifford!" he will do it, cheerfully and willingly. If I just tell him to do the work, he will complain about 75% of the time and drag his feet. To me? It's a no-brainer. Teamwork it is.

So far, he is happy with my end of the "team" being supervision and issuing commands. His end of the team, somehow, almost always ends up with the manual labor. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.. right?

Some would consider this taking advantage of my child's youthful ignorance. I say a little bit of indentured servitude is my well-deserved reward for expelling him out of my body two years ago.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On my not-ruined life.

When I was pregnant with Oliver, I felt like the clock was ticking down the days until my life would be ruined. And really, when he was born, it did ruin my life. Nothing turned out how I imagined it would be. I lost friends.  I was suddenly a different person. My life plans were derailed. It was hard. The life that I thought I wanted and needed was ruined. But somehow, when I gave up mourning for that life I found a new one. And this new one? It's easier. Less self-conscious. More of a reflection of who I really am.

Lots of times I reflect on these things before taking my afternoon nap. How, really, our whole family came together out of the need to care for Oliver. How everything was rearranged and changed and got put back together more efficiently. We edited out the distractions that we didn't need, and we focused on the parts of our relationship that needed improving. The resulting lifestyle that we've built for ourselves isn't flashy, but it serves us well in its simplicity. There is beauty in the plainness because its just who we are - not what who we thought we should be. I don't miss the drama and the pretending one bit. I wish I could have seen this point of view while I was feeling lost. It would have been a great reassurance.

In ten weeks, we're going to change things all over again with the new baby. Right now, I don't feel any real love for the person I am growing inside of me and haven't yet met. I feel a need to protect, to nurture it... but not really love.

That was how things were with Oliver - I didn't, couldn't love him until I got to know him. He was just a stranger, just a responsibility until I came to know him. It wasn't like the nurse placed him in my arms and I suddenly loved him. It took me caring for him and becoming comfortable with him for that bond to grow. And now? I couldn't imagine not loving him.

I'm sure that's how it will be with Two-bie. I know I will come to love him, but I worry that it will make my love for Oliver less. Or that the love for Two-bie will be different. Or that Oliver and Jared will see me differently. Even though we want Oliver to have a sibling and we want him to have that togetherness, I worry that he will get pushed aside. I worry that he will feel less important or less loved. I feel guilty for all of my attention and time that he will not get.

I don't know why I worry about this. I know that every parent worries about this. Everyone says you just can't understand it until it happens, and on that I am pinning all of my worries. I am trying to remember my mistakes from before and be open to the manifold unforeseen possibilities, not just my projected images of how things "should be."

If you see me clinging to the way things are now, please remind me to let go, to trust, to adapt. Sometimes I forget to step back and look around. I'm sure if I did, I would see that my life has a long way to go before it could be ruined. And maybe, if I am really lucky, I could glimpse the fringes of the not-ruined life I will have that is going to be so much better. 

It's just ten more weeks until we get to upgrade our lives again. I can't wait.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pooperbowl Sunday. (See what I did there? I am so clever.)

Yeah, we're celebrating the Superbowl. The Super(toilet)bowl. The Pooperbowl. The only thing missing was some queso dip.

My celebrations involved putting split pea soup into the crockpot for tomorrow. Jared's part was in taking the ACT for work. Oliver was quietly playing with dinosaurs  on the floor until I heard him say, "Uh oh."

A tiny turd plopped onto the floor in the kitchen. I rushed Oliver to deposit the rest into the potty, and he did. Probably 90% did make it into the potty. But really... catching somebody's feces in a plastic bowl is really gross. Especially the part where somebody has to wash it out. And the part where everyone has to smell it.


Yesterday there was a similar situation in which Oliver pooped on the potty but got a little on himself. I was out celebrating my sister's birthday, so Jared took Oliver to the tub to hose him down, leaving the potty to deal with later.

Mya saw an opportunity and went for it. When Jared came back, the potty was empty. And Mya's breath was horrible.

That dog is disgusting.