28 August 2008

Odd

I am actually looking forward to football season.

Growing up in a family with two parents who went to the University of Michigan, every single autumn saturday of my life was spent watching football and watching my parents scream at the TV. We always got to get take-out for lunch, which was a huge treat, usually hoagies or pizza from the local Italian place. And on sunday's mom would be attempting to conduct the church choir with absolutely no voice. Nice one, mom. Michigan fans are a unique bunch. I think ESPN was the reason we got cable back in the day, so they could watch games not being broadcast on network TV.

Now that I'm an adult, with a husband who went to a school with a halfway decent (most of the time) football team that is local and therefore broadcast on TV on the podunk UDC channels if not on national network or cable, I've sort of gotten back into it. Not that I actually care about the team, but there's something comfortable and familiar about watching football on a saturday in the fall. So much so, that I find myself a little bit excited that regular season play starts this weekend. I love the fall, so now that football is starting, school starting soon, it being cold and rainy today, all this combines to give me warm fuzzies, which are kind of nice for a thursday morning.

25 August 2008

Joys of working from home #72

I wrote half a 1200 word article while watching Sesame Street with Natalie. Now we're off to the gym and meeting a friend at their pool, where I will be expecting a business call that I'll probably have to return poolside. Not because I'm trying to be 'that girl' doing work at the pool, but because it's a timing issue and the stuff as to be taken care of by COB today. And thank God for cell phones, because it means I'm not stuck at home waiting for a call, or waiting for an email (although I could probably pay the extra fee to get web access on my phone, I just refuse to be that reachable). I'll probably finish up that article this afternoon during Natalie's nap and while watching a Law & Order re-run with my feet up and sipping ice tea. You can't do that in a cubicle.

22 August 2008

Issues

I swear sometimes, I am a complete head case. Last night Jim and I went out to the annual members meeting for Natalie's new school. Since it's a co-op, there's lots of info and parental involvement. And we love this place more and more every interaction we've had and this is all before she's even started there. So, lovely meeting, we even grabbed a quick dinner at the local chinese place beforehand, and Natalie was home with Jim's sister, our only close family in the area.

Let me get it out upfront that I think Jim's sister, A, is one of the most well meaning people in the world. But she and I couldn't be more different. One of the things that is gauranteed about her babysitting is that she'll straighten up. Sure, most of our babysitter's will clean up the messes that they and Natalie make, but that's kind of expected. I just don't like people touching my stuff to the degree A does. I'm one of those messy-yet-organized people. It may look like stacks of stuff, but things are actually sorted depending on category, where they have to go, that sort of thing. I also like to actually put away Natalie's toys, putting all the play food and kitchen items in her house, etc. It makes my skin crawl to come home and see that my house has been tidied*, that my kitchen is now spotless where before it was just clean, yet to find dishes in the wrong place in the dishwasher (if the bowls face the other direction from how she put them in, you can fit more - it's really not as anal retentive as it sounds). And Natalie's toys have all been shoved in her playhouse, which I find pointless, as there are things that belong in her room in there, and stuff piled up to the point where I just have to pull it all out and make another mess in approximately 2.4 seconds so that Natalie can get in there to play the next morning.

I know A means well, I know she's just trying to help, I know exactly where this annoyance of mine comes from (a live-in-grandmother who was always into our stuff and doing our chores for us which sounds find at first but as you get older and she's still doing it despite repeated requests not to, even a teenager can recognize the lack of respect for our family's boundaries in her actions). Still, how do you ask someone not to clean up when you know she's just doing it to be nice? I know I could ask as sweetly and kindly as possible, piling on the complements and thankful attitude for her willingness to help out. But this woman is also a champ at passive agressivity - and I'm a champion at feeling guilty. So I'll still end up feeling bad and she'll know just the right comments/body language/attitude to make me feel like I'm the most horrible and ungrateful person in the world.

As soon as she left, I found myself digging around to re-make my piles, or pulling stuff out of corners to actually put away instead of just being in hiding. And I cleaned the kitchen!! I swear it was clean, but it's like she heard us pull in the drive and quick used some fantastic as air freshener so it would smell all institutionally clean when we walked in the door. Now Jim thinks A cleaned and I had left the kitchen a mess for her knowing she would do it. Argh. The kicker about dealing with all this? Jim is totally unsupportive and tells me I should just suck it up and deal, that I'm being ungrateful. The way I figure it, her kindness, which wasn't asked for, ends up creating more work for me. Not to mention my own baggage of the situation. And I wouldn't say I'm ungrateful, it's just that I want me and my stuff to be left alone. At least it's good to know my therapist has an oposite opinion than that of Jim's.

*She did the same thing while we were in the hospital with Natalie...nice to come back to a clean house, but the baby whites that were in a laundry basket to be washed in Dreft had been folded and put away, so I had to dig them all out again to be washed. Bills that needed to be paid were now buried in a neat but hidden stack of mail and papers that had been on the dining room table. There were even little things like dishes in the wrong place in the kitchen from her kind-hearted efforts to empty the dishwasher. Sure, nice actions, but for a new mom recovering from a c-section and struggling to breastfeed? I really didn't need the extra work - I already felt like the world was trying to beat me down, I didn't need a sister-in-law's kind deeds to be a part of that, too.

19 August 2008

Some thoughts about baby #2

I found myself laying in bed the other night, trying to rearrange in my head the furniture in Natalie's room in such a way as to accomodate a 2nd child in there. Basically, I think the changing table has to go and we can do it, provided there is either a daybed with big draws a la Ikea's pretty white one, or bunk beds with ample room for under bed storage boxes. This whole nesting episode got me thinking, "Am I really ready to get pregnant again?" The first time around wasn't so great - although we did come out the other side with the greatest little girl ever. For all the reasons I can think of not to get pregnant again, I can think of a myriad of ways that certain situations would be better this time around.

Weight - I am at an unhealthy weight as it is right now, and getting pregnant at this weight would not be optimal. However...I see a psychologist who specializes in womens issues and would help work out a nutritial plan for me and would keep me accountable. And I know the first trimester, if anything like pregnancy #1, will be horrid, and I will only be able to stomach saltines and ginger ale and the occasional plain bagel, lest I eat anything more substantial (or flavorful) and just barf it up.

Depression - There were some VERY blue periods during PG#1, not to mention the lovely PPD afterwards. However...this time around, we know how I react to certain anti-depressant medications, so medicating during pregnancy might not be out of the question if things get bad. Plus my psychologist would be prepared for this, and my therapist, and I have such a good support group in my mommy friends, friends that I would not feel ashamed or nervous about asking for help during any dark times. And, tying back into weight, I would know not to self-medicate during the 3rd trimest with a nightly bowl of chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Breastfeeding - Sucked the first 6 weeks of Natalie's life, so much so that I barely remember her during that time, only the constant struggle of nursing around the clock. Now I know I have low supply, and I know that the second #2 is out of me either vaginally or via c-section, she's going on my breast and staying there the entirety of our hospital stay. Not to mention feeding with an eye dropper or a nursing supplementer or whatever to keep the jaundice and sleepies away. And I'll have Marie, our local La Leche leader on speed dial, and I know she'd come visit in the hospital if I asked.

Exercise - I pooped out around month 4 and couldn't last more than 15 minutes to walk on the treadmill. Probably contributed to the 60lbs I gained. This time, I have a Y membership instead, and that means INDOOR POOL. I will haul my giant pregnant ass over there, drop Natalie off with the Bollywood loving child care ladies, and dunk myself in the pool with a kickboard, maybe even some flippers, and just kick back and forth in the water, giant belly all afloat, it may not be much, but it will burn some calories and feel great. That's during the winter. Once it's warm out, I can still drop Natalie off and go do the same thing in the outdoor pool.

Jim - The chance of Jim getting laid off from this job, one he's been at for 2 years now, are slim to none. The job he was at when Natalie was born laid him off when she was 7 weeks old and he had only been there 90 days. Cause of lay off was totally office politics started before he was hired. His current job is more normal, hard working intelligent people, and his bosses wouldn't lay someone off with out warning. And he'd be able to take a week or two off guilt free unlike last time, where he took a whole 3 days off and then was back to work at 75% for a week and full time the next week. Not a good thing to leave your PPD wife home alone during that time. He was also a clueless idiot. Now he's just clueless, having somewhat dropped the idiot part.

Probably the biggest challenge facing a second baby in our family would be finances. I don't know if I could keep up the amount of work I do (although I know I can type while breastfeeding). And if I could keep up, I don't know if I could do it without some sort of serious, once or twice a week scheduled help. I barely do it now with my sporadic once a week or once every two weeks help. But my therapist reminded me of last time, how Jim had taken this new, better paying, job, how I was trying to coordinate part-time from home work that wasn't working out, only to have Jim's job disappear, and to actually be thankful that I had a full time position I could go back to for 4 months in order to keep us from forclosing on our home or living only on ramen noodles. Then lo-and-behold, Jim gets a job even better by 10 times than the one he was laid off from, and my part-time from home proposal was approved with nary a question. This is because it was God's plan, and his plan was better than our plan. I think remembering that, and not trying to over plan financially and what not for #2 and just keeping it all in prayer to Him is the way to go. We are faithful Christians, we tithe, we pray, we believe - and part of that belief system is trusting that God takes care of his people. So why bother trying to over plan for everything and every possible scenario before fictional child #2 arrives? We'll make sure we have a little extra money in the savings account, get our leave time approved in advance, and have faith that God will be there to pull all the other little bits into place and that afterwards, we can look back and see his Hand in it all.

Afterall, this is all assuming we get pregnant again. Natalie was a fluke, we can't explain it, the doctors can't explain it. I have PCOS and yet I got pregnant without trying. I see my gyno in another month for my yearly and I'm going off birth control. I went on it because I was bleeding for weeks at a time 8 months post partum. So we'll see what happens. We'll do our part, and hope that if it's meant for us to have another child, God will somehow make sure that happens one way or another.

17 August 2008

12 August 2008

Choices

I have some money coming my way for my first freelance graphics job...don't know how much it's going to be, though. It was my old old boss, who retired 2 years ago from government and took a position in the private sector. Now he's leaving that job to start his own consulting firm. He needed a logo, knew I was somewhat creative, and called me up. Happened the same week I had finally installed my Adobe software. So I didn't want to charge him an hourly rate because I knew it would take me way longer than someone who already knew the software, but I was also psyched because it was a great first project to do where I could learn a bit while I went. So, money coming, don't know how much.

However, I've narrowed my spending choices down to 3 things. This was after deciding I'm spending the money on something I want to spend it on and not just depositing the check in the general household fund like every other penny I earn. Choices are:

#1 - a new tat (been wanting a celtic cross - like the one in the stained glass at the front of our church where we were married - just above the inside of my left ankle. Not to mention that whole potential trying to concieve thing in the fall, which would mean 9 months + 2 years breastfeeding before I could get it)

#2 - new Doc Martan's. Yes, I still wear Docs. Got two pairs on overstock.com when I was pregnant of sizes large enough for my bloated and sore feet - black t-straps (cute!) and brown slides (super cute!). Wear them all winter. Come on! I went to high school at the height of grunge. It's in my blood. Not to mention wicked comfortable. Anyway, I've been really sad since Natalie's pregnancy that my classic 8-eye black boots no longer fit (I grew out of most of my shoes, which I gave away, thanks to my feet growing a whole size). Haven't been able to get rid of them yet, but I'm thinking I need to stop pretending (or trying to be what my husband thinks I should be?) I'm some sort of preppy grown-up who shops at banana republic kind of person and just by myself a new, bigger pair.

#3 - an Elsa Peretti for Tiffany's necklace for my mom. It's a sterling silver apple pendant on a silver chain. Mom collects apples. When she graduated college someone gave her a glass apple paperweight - an apple for a teacher. She's graduating this summer with her master's in music education (thesis and orals are over, just waiting for her diploma!), and this would be the PERFECT gift for the 6 years of hard work she's put in doing this degree while teaching full time, dealing with my asshat brother, and my ill grandparents (her in-laws). I'm so proud of her, I'd be happy to spend my money on this gift for her.

Now, to decide....

11 August 2008

2 and 1/2

Natalie, this past weekend you turned 2 and a half. Although you've been acting this age for a while now, it's wierd to think you are now closer to 3 than 2. So many changes are in store for you soon, most noteably school starting in a few weeks. Funny to call nursery school "school" since you'll only be there 4 hours a week, but still, it's school. You'll have a teacher and you'll learn things like how to behave in a group, how to play better with others, and we're really hoping your listening skills improve greatly since you pretty much ignore most anything I or your daddy say. We're kind of not sure how to handle that. I do know that if I make you look at me, you'll listen a little better, the problem is you know when you don't want to listen, you are really really good at avoiding eye contact at all costs.

As usual, your vocaublary and verbal skills leave most people astounded that you are only two and a half. You told me the other day "Mamma, I growing up be a big girl. I going to have big roo-roos like mommy!" Your latest saying is "I don't think so!" when you disagree with something. You are talking in paragraphs most of the time, and I find you babbling more now than in the recent past. I think this is because you know a LOT of words, yet you've realized there are still some words you don't know, so you make them up. It's definitely more pretend-words than nonsensical babbling. Regardless, it's adorable. Makes me want to just eat you up.

You've also discovered a love of diving. A while ago we happened to catch a snippet of olympic diving trials on tv. Since then, you'll run and leap into your paddling pool, or slide head first off the couch, and call it diving. With the olympics on now, we've been watching a fair amount (tough luck, kid, you come from a swimming family) and you will half heartedly glance up at the swimming or gymnastics and could care less about any sort of team sports, even beach volleyball, a sport played in one of your favorite substances on this planet. But as soon as we point out that diving is on, you stand transfixed, eyes wide, mouth open with corners curling up into a wide smile. Should we be worried that you are fascinated with the concept of throwing oneself off a high platform, doing a few flips and twists in the air and landing in the water? Probably. Instead, I guess we need to get that water safety down and start teaching you the difference between a tuck and a pike. I have no problem with you being a diver. It's like dancing or gymnastics, but without all the body image issues.

You still drive me crazy from time to time. Or 23 out of 24 hours a day. But those moments when we can just be, reading a story, playing together, sharing a meal - you continue to melt my heart even more than before. You are turning into such a smart, loving, caring little girl, it makes me so proud. I love you my sweet Natalie.

08 August 2008

Games

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Olympics. The last time they were around, opening ceremonies were on feb 10, 2006. "Wow, what a memory!" you're thinking. Actually, I remember that because I was in the hospital, with a barely 24 hour old little creature in my arms, delious from lack of sleep, a c-section, an overcrowded maternity ward burdened because of an impending snow storm, and the damn IV that they couldn't take out yet so I could shower. We watched the opening ceremonies, me from my bed propped up with pillows cuddling a teeny little Natalie, and Jim on the couch with a hospital blanket half asleep.

We watched a lot of those winter Olympics - I was feeding Natalie every 2 hours (combo of pumped breastmilk and formula) and pumping every 3. The next week I weened a newborn off a bottle (learned my lesson for fictional next time around) and now had what my friend Alice refers to as a boob-tick. So again, we found ourselves nursing for hours at a time, watching reruns of hot curling action or biathalon at 3am.

This time around, she's 2 and a half (officially, tomorrow). She's fascinated with divers and swimmers, and I'm sure she'll be mesmerized by the opening ceremonies, or at least ask us "why?" about everything. Just makes me feel kind of warm and fuzzy. If you think of the Olympics as a mile marker of sorts, we've come a long way from the last one.

04 August 2008

Best words a mamma could hear:

"Mamma, I tired. All that playing at Ikea make Natalie sleepy. I need go to bed now."

That, my friends, is a successful morning.

03 August 2008

Wild and crazy

Just got home from seeing the Black Crowes. Outdoor concert site, place was packed, awesome seats (42nd birthday present for my neighbor from her mom - how cool is her mom?!), gorgeous weather, fantastic dinner beforehand. Kind of nice to do something out of the ordinary, you know? Just get out with a good friend, talk, listen, jam, laugh, bond. A good night. Especially since Deb is I think the only person other than my therapist(s) who really understands what I'm going through because she's been there too. So when I say I feel like shit, she knows what that means and doesn't dwell.

And now I have to send that work email I meant to send all weekend because I had promised the info to people for their inboxes first thing on monday. Oops. Actually, I think I'll just draft it and hit send when I get up tomorrow morning.

01 August 2008

Long week, long summer

Is this heat ever going to end? We've been teased with thunderstorms so much, and not many have really come through. Even though I know in the grand scheme of things one thunderstorm at the end of a hot humid day is not really going to cool things off but more likely make things more humid and sticky instead, I still like they way the quiet down the day, cut out the noise of sun and heat, and bring about some peace. I find too much light or a too bright day/room to be "noisy." I don't know how else to describe it. Maybe that's yet another reason I'm addicted to mellow, mood-lit coffee shops. I think it's partially the blue eyes (I'm a whore for sunglasses - can't leave the house without them, even in winter), partially my state of mind. There so much swirlling around up there that crowding it with bright lights seems unnecessary.

I've really not been doing well lately. It seems like grandpa's death was a turning point of sorts. I was literally sick for 2 weeks afterwards from what we can only assume to have been stress and anxiety. And while I'm not nauseause or having daily headaches, my head and heart don't feel any better. I broke down last night, cried for the first time in I don't know how long. I was so angry and Jim, at myself, at the world. I wanted to throw things. Shoes, dishes, punches, whatever. I wanted to scream my head off. I wanted to go into my non-existant studio and put those emotions to canvas. Instead I ate half a bag of potato chips that I was stupid enough to buy at the groccery. Then Jim got all huffy because I didn't want to talk about it. More like I didn't know what to say. Maybe, Jim, instead of trying to therapize someone, just giving them a hug and letting them lead the way on talking might make you less of an asshat. Just a thought.

Today my eyes are puffy and aching. The unfortunate aftermath of a good cry. Otherwise I feel drained. I dread another hot summer morning with a toddler whose attention span is approximately 2.4 seconds and whose favorite activity is climbing on top of my head. I wish I could just park her in front of PBS all day with a hamsterwheel for exercise and one of those automatic dog bowl feeders full of goldfish crackers. I'd climb back into bed and try to feel normal. Instead, we'll probably haul off to the pool when Sesame Street is over and camp out for a few hours. I have no brain power right now to come up with anything else that will keep her occupied and prime her for actually taking an afternoon nap. If she doesn't nap? I will surely have a meltdown again.