Monday, February 26, 2007

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

Oh my God, Martha Stewart is on my television. And I haven't turned the channel. Maybe I will meet for the playgroup. I obviously need to get out.

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Just a Girl

So, I have been complaining about feeling isolated lately. Not that I mind being home with Millie for most of the week. Quite the contrary, I hate leaving her and miss her when I'm gone. However, I feel like it might be nice to have other people to talk to during the day, especially other women. Which is one of the oddest statements I have ever uttered.

I grew up with three brothers in a neighborhood full of boys. I never enjoyed large groups of women. I lasted about 12 minutes in Brownies before being disgusted by the catty girls and bad uniforms. I hung out with boys at school, took shop and graphic arts classes in high school, and refused the usual trappings for 16 year old girls. I was mistaken for a boy in junior high (largely thanks to an unfortunate "accident" by my hairdresser). I was mistaken for a man in Nova Scotia two summers ago (although I had long hair in braids and a decidedly female rump...). Twice. I own a nicer power drill than my husband. I inherited my great great great grandfather's ship building tool chest over my three brothers. I love basketball and baseball and hockey. Large groups (or small groups) of women were never my comfort zone.

Somehow motherhood has modified that. I don't yearn to run the beauty pageant circuit or work at Talbot's, but some connection to other women with ovaries and spit-up on their sweaters trying to manage motherhood and careers and being a spouse might be nice. Or horrible. I haven't decided.

I signed up for a playgroup in our area. The women communicate via email and meet at various kid-friendly places. They seem like sweet, smart women with darling children. I don't know that Millie and I would exactly fit in. They sent around one of those email surveys for which I am a total whore. You know the ones-asking queer questions about things people shouldn't waste their time with thinking about, but do anyway. It's usually couched in a "get to know your friends better" kind of veil. I love them!!! Anywho, the playgroup moms sent one around, largely revolving around being a mother. I answered it as one of my first communications, injected with my usual bit o' sarcasm and cynicism. I got the sense it wasn't exactly appreciated. Whoops. Their emails are supportive, kind, and helpful. Full of sweet cheer and a "atta girl" attitude. My daughter yelling at the top of her lungs just for the sake of yelling and my sometimes snarky attitude might not fit in.

Perhaps I'll suck it up and go to a playgroup. What's the worst that could happen? They ask us to not come back? I've been kicked out of worse places.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sell, Sell, Sell

Don't waste my time. That's all I ask. I waste enough of my own time. I don't need anyone else's help in that.

Since I am approximately a million years old in my first post-partum experience, I feel like a bus hit me each and every day when I get out of bed. I threw out my back and had sciatica when I was pregnant and never really shook it. I sleep all kinds of wrong, often with a 15 pound baby on top of me, sometimes propped up with several pillows. I lug around way too much in my bag on campus without a warm-up stretch in sight. I know my neck has never had the proper curve in it. At the urging of my husband, I sucked it up and went to the chiropractor. I have seen chiropractors on and off since I was 17, so I am no stranger to the whole freaky business of it. I have had good success with most of them. I desperately want to feel good again, not get out of bed like I'm of the geriatric age-set. I want to be able to someday be back in the field again, digging my Indiana Jones heart out (No, wait-Indiana Jones didn't excavate. He looted. That's right.). I'd like to be able to get out of a car without a tuck and roll.

So, I went. My immediate reaction was "Did I stumble upon Stepford?" It's not unusual for chiropractic offices to be filled with overly cheery, positive-thinking skinny people. I'm used to that. It's part of the whole schtick. Despite my snarly, snarky exterior, I do believe strongly that your attitude can take you a long way in healing. So, the happy happy joy joy is okay. But this was off the charts in lithium elation. I should have followed my gut and ran out like my ass was on fire. But, I stayed. Got the films. Saw the "damage". Listened to the plan. Signed the papers for treatment that I couldn't afford. Cried all the way home.

I was told they REQUIRE their patients to attend a 20 minute class on health and wellness. The word "require" should have clued me in. So, last night, I feed my family, get Millie to bed, run out the door later than I should have been, with my husband, my daughter, and the classes I have to teach today on my mind. Nice and relaxed, just like you should be when someone is going to adjust your neck. But, I was comforted by the fact that between my adjustment and the TWENTY minute class, I'd be out in half hour or so. The class ran for a FUCKING hour. Full of the biggest load of chiropractic propaganda CRAP and inane obvious advice on being well. "What's that you say? We should eat well and drink a lot of water? Is that your own intellectual property or may I make a note of that for later reference?" Give me a fucking break. To insult to injury, it was just me and this poor old woman who was obviously in pain sitting in these horrendous office chairs, ironic for a chiropractic office, eh? An hour's worth of bashing the pharmaceutical industry and organized, Western medicine. Now, my father was a safety engineer for one of the largest drug makers in the world. As part of my teenage rebellion, I researched all the horrible things that big businesses stood for and all the evil that pharm companies and drug reps preached. So, I am no stranger to this. I try to keep in mind the dirty drug company money is what put me through my undergrad years in college. So there I sat, listening to the slickery snake oil salesman try to sell me his secret to a long healthy life.

The icing on the cake (or fat-free, sugar free granola bar, as would be the HEALTHY choice) came at the end. There was a card to fill out and as our GIFT for coming, we could "sign up" three of our closest enemies for a free workup, but we had to make their appointment for them that night and of course provide their phone numbers so they could be harassed by the cult directly. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME????? Seriously, are you kidding me??? I almost said it out loud, but considering this man had the ability to snap my neck and make it look like an accidental death, I refrained. I think the hour of me rolling my eyes, sighing and checking my watch said enough.

I thought I was over it after ranting at my husband last night. I guess I'm not.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Come to Bed

I should mention that Millie did sleep in her own crib all night last night. Not that the nights she doesn't is necessarily her fault. Quite the contrary. I start each evening with the conviction that comes with the early hour: she WILL sleep the whole night in her own crib tonight. She goes to sleep at 6:45 or so (the "or so" sometimes being 5:30 when she's had a particularly bad nap day and is left in what my mother used to call an "ugly" mood). Occasionally (okay, often) she wakes up by 9:30 or 10:00. I SHOULD go into the nursery (slash office complete with a Staples Easy button, courtesy of her Auntie Jessica) and nurse her in the dark and quiet room. Occasionally (okay, not so often) I make the right choice. Occasionally (okay, way too much) I opt to nurse her on the couch with the lights dimmed, TV on (come on-it's LOST-am I really expected to abandon my husband during that???), and her father next to me. She is enamoured with her daddy and responds accordingly to his voice by craning her neck around to grin at him, indicating her increasingly awake state. After an hour of trying to get her asleep, she finally lets go. So, I then attempt to get her from the couch, navigating all the crap I left on the floor, to the crib in the next room without waking her up. Sometimes she goes down easily, mostly she doesn't. Go figure. At that point, it often is deemed easier to bring her in our bed where we know she will sleep than to do battle with this baby with very few self-soothing skills. After all, if she's screaming in her crib, no one sleeps anyway. Right? Can I get some validation on this one? Anyone?

And sometimes she ends up there in the middle of the night. She cries. I lay in bed, convinced that she couldn't POSSIBLY be hungry again, she'll go back to sleep, which occasionally (okay, rarely) happens. So, I relent and nurse her or comfort her in the glider in her the nursery. It's dark and quiet and I inevitably fall asleep. By the time my husband realizes I have been gone for way too long, he comes in to make sure Baby Tad hasn't come to life like the evil Chucky spawn I am convinced he is and taken us out. He likes her in our bed, despite the fact it leaves him crippled, and suggested I bring her in our room. I think it makes him feel like a crunchy parent and being the anthropologist he is, he knows the our culture is one of the VERY few that don't co-sleep with our children. He also would like me to get some sleep. When mommy's tired, EVERYONE is sad, trust me.

So, in she comes, triumphant smirk on her face. She's won again. She proceeds to splay out her arms like the queen she is, leaving approximately 4 inches on either side of her for the adults in the teeny bed. My husband and I would at least wave goodnight to each other from our respective sides, but that would require use of the hands that are gripping the edge of the mattress to avoid plummeting to the floor.

But not last night. She ate at 9:30 (on the couch...) on one side, I brought her in her room and nursed her on the other side. And stayed awake. And put her in the crib. After a few minutes of fussing, she stayed there. And my husband and I went to bed without a third party present, enjoyed some "adult" time together, and fell asleep. She woke up at 1:30, I fed her and again, after a few minutes of protesting, went back to sleep until 5:00. I don't kid myself into thinking it might happen again tonight. But one can hope.

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Things That I Used To Do

I guess we are officially parents. The other night Millie was actually sleeping. In her crib. Seemingly, for more than a mere thirty minute stretch. My husband had been suggesting all week that a little "adult" time might be nice. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Soooooooo, she's asleep. MAYBE, we should take advantage of this time (nudge nudge wink wink)?
Him: Mmmmm....
Me: No?
Him: I think I'd rather get some sleep.
Me: Me, too.
That was one of the saddest conversations I have ever had with my husband. She woke up about 10 minutes later. Of course.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow Day

Snow day!!!! I love snow days. Especially since Wednesdays are my long days with four hours of teaching glassy-eyed undergrads about culture. Only it's not really a snow day, but an ice/sleet day, so no playing outside. The only thing that would make it better was if my husband could have stayed home rather than making the hour+ drive to work at 5:30 this morning. A day of lolly-gagging around, drinking hot chocolate, watching Lost and playing with our increasingly cute daughter. He's a dedicated little doobie, so off he went. And here we are as I listen to the cavalcade of new sounds Millie is making. I wish I could decipher the baby language.

Alright, I'm just rambling now. Enjoy the day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

They Say It's Your Birthday

Happy birthday to my dearest dearest friend Jessica today. She and I are twins separated at birth. One a golden chocolate brown and the other a pale freckled redhead. We met under sort of odd circumstances and became immediate friends. We finish each others' thoughts, have the same dreams and nightmares, and share obsessions. We have traipsed all over the northeast together in search of BNL & Guster and gotten lost in all the wrong places, usually ending up in a small town outside of Boston. She is my daughter's favorite surrogate auntie and not much makes me sadder than the fact we are so far away from each other so she can't laugh at her niece's silliness along with me on a daily basis. I remarked to my husband this morning that it was her 3_th birthday and he said she didn't seem that age. She is young at heart in all the best ways. Youthful, snappy and sassy. I miss her. Good friends don't come easy, nor do ones that stick with you when you aren't in each others' faces all the time. I am lucky to have her. Do yourselves a favor today and hug a friend.

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Monday, February 12, 2007


So, before I launch into what I was going to post this morning, may I just comment on the Grammies? Can you say STING? The POLICE? I am thinking about selling my mommy Subaru to the pawn shop on the corner to buy tickets to their reunion tour. Is that bad?
I think deep down I knew this all along, but was in denial that it would actually happen. There are a thousand things I thought I'd never do as a mother. I have done them all and then some.
Example #1: I own baby music. Now, I do own a very cool For the Kids, with Guster and BNL and Tom Waits and Sarah McLaughlin. The John Lithgow kids CD is so much fun. However, some very well-meaning relatives bought me other ones, ones that are made by very reputable baby product names. They make me want to rip my ears off to avoid ever having to listen again. One (who shall remain nameless so I don't offend those who think it's charming and sweet) is a compilation of traditional nursery rhymes and kids songs sung by, I can only imagine, a band of eunuchs. On crack. The worst part: Millie loves it. I feel the need to enculturate my daughter to the ways of the nursery rhyme and songs you are expected to sing in elementary school music class, but I just wish Bruce Springsteen would cover B-I-N-G-O.
Example #2: Co-sleeping. Me: "I'll NEVER sleep with my kids in my bed." That lasted for about 2 months until my back was so wrecked from falling asleep sitting up after/while nursing and basically "sleeping" like that for most of the nightmare of a night that represented our first four months. It wasn't out of sanctimony I said this, but out of concern that I'd squash her in my sleep. She has survived so far. I have dropped a few elbows on her in the middle of the night, but she seems unphased. The sleep thing is getting a little better. If only her tummy would cooperate, I think she'd go for 5 hours in a shot regularly. In the meantime, she waffles back and forth between her crib and our bed. I know, I know. Bad mom. She needs consistency.
Example #3: Be a pushover. Okay, in all honesty, I never kidded myself over this one. I knew I'd be a pushover. But that little face. I can't let her cry for long. Plus, now she has learned to put her arms up when she wants to be picked up. I'm such a sucker. She totally has my number already.
Example #4: Be the kind of parent that compulsively sends pictures to everyone she knows. As evidenced by the two pictures of Millie at the top of this post that have NOTHING to do with the post. I try to reign it in and limit it to my parents, my aunt and Millie's surrogate aunties. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's a sickness.
I could go on and on. I add to the list every day.
The Police reunion tour. I never thought I'd live to see the day.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Take, Take Me Home

This will be a quick one. If history dictates anything, I have about 6 minutes before Millie wakes up from her early morning nap.

She actually ate for the babysitter yesterday, so perhaps we have turned a corner in her boycotting the bottle for the lovely young woman who watches her. She's been totally off the wall lately, in a good way. Non-stop movement, which is great. Exhausting, but great.

On a whining moment, I miss my old town. I met the best friends of my life there, people who I consider family. Now they are an hour and a half away and I have a daughter who can't make it to the grocery store, which is less than a mile away, without freaking out, screaming and gagging herself into throwing up any breastmilk in her little tummy. There, in Rhode Island, are her multiple surrogate aunties, other women with little children, other women who I'd love my little daughter to learn from and know and love. Jessica, Claudia, Tricia & her amazing children, Pat, Davis & her little Claire, Mary-Ann, Maryann, Lisa & her pumpkin. Don't get me wrong. I have friends here. School friends, some with little kids. Friends from the crew I work on, few of whom have little ones. The three of us went to a superbowl party this Sunday, in the late afternoon, before the drunkenness and football screaming began, and I never felt so old and out of place in my life. There were a whole host of other funky juju going on at the awkward party that had nothing to do with us being old, married and with child, but my how things have changed. If I was at "home" (not PA home, of course, but Bristol home), I would have been AT HOME. With my peer group and beyond. Oh well. Time changes. I'll have to invest in baby sedatives for Millie, put her in the car, and go home. I miss my peeps.