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February 2008

Mamamamamamama

Yesterday my baby said "mama". FOR REALZ. And then I died.

Probably the best part was that my sister was there to be a WITNESS so when we called my mom and she said, "Oh, I bet he was just trying to say grandma," my sister could say, "NO, he said MAMA, I HEARD IT."

I was out discussing The Email and its Back Story with my Inside Sources while my sister guarded the bookshelves and the electrical outlets. When I got home, Jack crawled towards me and I THINK he was saying, "mamamamama". So I picked him up and I said, "Mama? Can you say Mama?" And he popped his finger out of his mouth and said, "MAMA."

eeeeee!

And then? HE SAID IT AGAIN.

I've spent all morning trying to get him to repeat this amazing feat for his father, but no luck. And now he's in his bed where I left him after he refuuuuuuused to be rocked to sleep. Seriously! What is up with this kid? It's like sitting in the rocking chair with a blanket and a pacifier and a naptime song is tantamount to prison. And as soon as I stick him in the crib he pulls himself up and starts rattling his tin cup against the bars. LIFE IS SO HARD.

Also? He woke up at 5:30. Even though I put him down at 6:30. Which is early, for us anyway. You know, the early bedtime rule is the only thing that really stuck with me from that Healthy Sleep book. I don't know if I was sleep deprived or what, but that book made NO SENSE. Talk about needing an editor. Phillip and I could never find where to read about babies Jack's age or what the plan was or ANYTHING USEFUL. Which is why it lives in the freezer. But the early bedtime thing, that made sense to me. So every time J is especially fussy at night, or he's taken a a short nap that was early in the day, or he's been waking up freakishly early, or he's been waking up in the middle of the night, I say, "We're putting him down early tonight!" And then Phillip gets all annoyed because he doesn't get home till 6:30 most nights and he won't get to see the baby and I say something obnoxious regarding the revolting work ethic. And then I put the baby down early and he STILL wakes up early! Gah!

But the other night? When he took the longest afternoon nap in history and didn't go to bed until 8? He woke up at 7. The angels were singing, internet. It was that glorious.

Bedtime is usually 7. That seems to work the best in the Cheung household, what with the nap schedule etc. We start getting him ready between 6 and 6:30 and then he is down for the night. But lately he's been waking up so early that his naps are freakishly early which means he needs to go to bed when the rest of us are wishing we were baby-less and going to happy hour. On occasion, if he's extra fussy and it's early enough, I put him down for that third nap. But hardly ever. And that just seems to screw him up for bedtime anyway.

It's not really a problem or anything, it's just kind of the New Sleeping Issue in our house and the zillionth thing on the I Don't Know, Maybe It Will Just Go Away On Its Own list. Phillip gets up with him almost every morning anyway so I don't know what I'm complaining about.

I wonder if he just sleeps 11 hours from whenever he goes to bed. I should keep track.

No, am I kidding me? I AM OVER THE KEEPING TRACK. Did I tell you I was keeping track of how much formula he drank for a while? Because he just doesn't want to drink ANYTHING and where are the pears please and I was freaking out because he's supposed to be getting all his nutrition from breast milk and/or formula and aaauuuuggghhhh! And keeping track just made me feel worse because I saw exactly how little he was drinking and nothing I did to try and get him to drink more was working. So yeah, I stopped doing that. So much better! And he still doesn't drink as much formula as he should, but he seems fine to me!

Let me know if any of you require my pediatric services.

So the baby is asleep now, because Phillip went in and "violently rocked" him into a peaceful slumber. I don't get it. It's like he can't sleep until he has done everything in his power to STAY AWAKE STAY AWAKE STAY AWAKE.

But did I tell you he said "mama"? What an ANGEL.


I would really like some French toast for breakfast

Wondering where the fluff went? Well! Yesterday I ventured into a maternity store (you know which one, the eeeeeevil one) and managed to exit with dignity intact. You can find out what I was doing there and whether or not I snuffed the life out of my annoying sales clerk over at Parenting.

Why won't my kid nap? I swear, with all the flailing and screeching you'd think I was about to waterboard him rather than rock him to sleep and/or lay him gently in his crib with a sweet naptime kiss. This is a relatively new development, but I'll take this over the 5 am wake up times which was last week's Most Annoying Thing.

So guess what! A friend of mine told me he started his very own BLOG. And you know how that makes my heart go pitter pat. I've tried in vain to get all sorts of friends to start websites, but most of them are far from interested. The ones that have actually opened up a Blogger account and thought of a name ended up posting for all of one week. BOO. So I was delighted to hear about my friend's new venture and told him I would most definitely give it a plug and then he told me his blog is about the hovercraft that he is building in his garage. Now. If you are like me, your response is, "Hoverwhat?" But I said I'd pimp it out anyway. I don't know how many mommyblog readers are into hovercrafts, but I know lots of you have Nerdy Husbands for whom hovercrafts may be fascinating reading material!

The trick, in case any of you are interested, is to deposit your kicking and screaming and OBVIOUSLY TIRED child in his crib before you start acting on those thoughts of prescription drugs. You leave him in there to moan and complain and howl and throw himself around while you update your blog and check your email. Ten or fifteen minutes later you go back into his room, yank him out, sit him in your lap, pin his arms and legs down with a blanket, say very firmly, "IT IS TIME TO GO TO SLEEP" and start the whole rocking process over again. And then, maybe, if you are lucky and he is very tired, he will go to sleep.

I feel like we've reverted back to five and six months when the only way to get him down was to stand up and rock the everloving crap out of him. Around seven and eight months we discovered the joys of putting a Drowsy But Awake baby in his crib and having him fall asleep on his own. But then we entered a wicked teething phase and it all went to pot. The difference is that I am not neurotic about it. I don't mind rocking him for his naps. I've seen him go to sleep on his own. He'll probably do it again some day.

Oh, and regarding the whole maternity clothes store thing which you will have to read about ELSEWHERE, is it appropriate to wear a little black dress to a city wedding? Having been to plenty of city weddings, I would say: Yes! How chic! EXCEPT. I am always paranoid that someone's grandma is giving me the stinkeye for wearing black. I really am. What do you think? Oh, I should also add that city weddings in THIS city always have a high chance of someone showing up in Goretex boots and pants that zip off around the knees.


Totally vague drama cont.

Did you guys read Angela's post this morning? Go ahead, I'll wait.

After I hit 'send' on my oh so heavily edited email at midnight last night and was lying awake panicking about what would show up in my inbox today (so far nothing), I thought about how it doesn't pay to be a Nice Girl.

I think a lot of us are Nice Girls. We are hard workers, we do what we're told, we take ownership of our work, we follow the rules and we don't cause anyone any grief. If something goes wrong, we go over every detail of our involvement to see where we might have performed better, even if we weren't at fault. If we need something out of the ordinary, like extra vacation time, we have to build up the nerve to ask. It's not that we're asking for the moon, but we know all the reasons why we shouldn't or wouldn't or couldn't get what we need and we're nervous about making our case. In the end we make our cases very well- we're nothing if not thoughtful and thorough- but we never sense that we deserved what we asked for. We tell ourselves how lucky we are to be working for such flexible and kindhearted people.

Phillip spends a lot of time preparing for his annual review every year. He compiles his accomplishments, researches salaries and benefits and doesn't get all bent out of shape about the idea of negotiating. Last year I remember him telling me, "I want to be paid what I'm worth." On one hand I was proud- Go Phillip!- on the other hand that statement made me want to hide behind my hands. How cocky. How self-assured. You can't tell someone how much you think your paycheck should be, because that's what you're worth, and ever back away from it. The thought of what I would have to do to defend a statement like that makes me want to hide under the nearest rock.

It's not that I don't think I'm a worthy employee. Ask Phillip. I'd saunter around my living room spouting off my grand achievements, who sent me grateful emails, what I learned on my own that day, who I saved from a fire. But in the office I kept my head down and did my job and just sort of expected to be valued. Ha.

The email I wrote last night was quite possibly the first time I've ever really stuck up for myself. My first thought was, "Oh, of course I'll help, that's the right thing to do," even though it was the absolute LAST thing I wanted to do and, quite honestly, would not be useful at all for this situation. Phillip helped me understand that I was under no obligation to be a Nice Girl this time around. Where was that going to get me? So I said NO. !!!

It's not just work where this happens. Being a Nice Girl has put me in hard situations in church settings, friendships, school, even marriage sometimes. Often I'm so busy trying to figure out if I have a leg to stand on- if my position is worthy of defense- that by the time I'm brave enough to say something it's days later and I'd look foolish going back to the issue.

Women who have this already figured out know that 'Nice Girl' isn't the correct term. More like Pushover or Ninny or I'm Not Even Going To Bother Coming Up With A Label Because I'm Too Busy Rolling My Eyes.

Last night I sent an email that, even though I literally spent hours taking out anything that could be construed as bitchy or emotional or unprofessional or unnecessary, might make someone mad at me. I might have to defend myself further or, more likely, I will have to suck it up and live my life knowing that defending myself and saying no pissed someone off. I want to grow up and know what I'm worth, but right now I'm still sort of scared to check my email.

Aaaaand this ends this discussion. You're not supposed to talk about work on your blog! Even if you CAN'T get fired!


Worth

Some time ago Phillip sent me a link to Suze Orman's new book Women & Money, which he swears he downloaded legally from Oprah's site. (What he was doing on Oprah's site and why he thought I would read this book on the computer has not yet been discussed.) I find Suze Orman's call in show mildly entertaining, so I downloaded the book and started reading the introduction. Suze is not impressed with us women and our disinterest in the Financial. What is wrong with us? We're making money now- why aren't we making our money work for us? Why do we leave our financial futures up to other people? Blah blah blah. All of this very much applicable to me because 1) Phillip takes care of everything money-related in the Cheung household and 2) I once let a money market account I received for graduation fall into the Unclaimed Pile when I got married and changed my name and address and neglected to notify my Financial Adviser for, uh, several years.

But I did not necessarily agree with Suze's worldview, which goes something like Lotsa Money Will Make You Happy. Now, as my dad says, having money is a better life than poverty. But Suze didn't seem to take into account those of us who aren't exactly on the Career Track. Those of us whose lifelong dreams involve publishing a novel, dancing in the ballet, selling a painting, wordlessly interpreting poetry on the city sidewalk with a ball and a long piece of ribbon and a bowl of oranges. Our disinterest in our financial futures may have more to do with simple disinterest than fear and shame and traditional roles, as Suze suggests. (To her credit, she prints a letter from a starving artist friend making just this point, but she doesn't seem to think much of being a starving artist. And also, starving artists still have to pay the rent, right?)

You are thinking: why is she telling us all of this? WHO CARES.

Suze makes one point I found quite damning, however, and that is that women often don't know what they're worth. And if they think about it, they suspect they aren't worth that much. She tells story after story about women doing the same job as men, but not making as much money because they haven't asked for it. Women who do jobs for free, just because that's the nice thing to do. Women who are afraid to negotiate. Women who trade services and don't get a good deal. Women who think staying at home with children isn't a real job and they are worth less than the spouse who pays the bills.

Do you see where I'm going NOW?

I got an email from my former employer yesterday that boils down to: Gee, I had no idea how much you did when you were here, could you come in sometime and show us how to do everything? And I am steamed. STEAMED. There is a lot of backstory behind that email and WOULDN'T I LOVE TO SHARE IT WITH THE INTERNET but you know, bridges and all that. But I have been gathering input from Sources In The Know and crafting my response. (I am going to have to write two: the first one, and the second one with all the profanity scrubbed out.) I am angry about a lot of things, but one of the biggest things is that they didn't know much I did when I was there. And you know whose fault that is? MINE. I never liked that job, but I worked my butt off on the handful of projects this email is referring to and you know what my work accomplished? Making my company look good. Very good. And what did I get out of it? Nothing. I got a raise the first year I worked there, but the second year I waited around for my boss to say something, and when he didn't, I made excuses for him. I didn't want to cause a fuss. I didn't want to ask for anything. I was mortified at the thought of sticking up for myself and preferred to keep my head down and look for credit elsewhere. My job was stupid anyway, people in my position make peanuts anyway.

As a mom who stays home, I believe I'm doing a very important job. I want to be here. I feel absolutely no desire to go back to work and I'm lucky enough to have the choice. But ever since I had the baby, the worth factor has made itself visible in ways it never did before. For the first time in my adult life I am not earning any money. I never liked earning money, I never cared much about earning money, I still can't think of anything I would like to do that also earns money, but still- I have always paid my own way and I'm proud of that. I am much more conscious of what I spend now, and not just because we are down to one income. It's one income that is not mine. I don't have somewhere I go all day. Phillip goes to an office. The living room is my office. When he leaves his socks all over my office it makes me angry. I don't get any feedback from my day. I don't have meetings or discussions about how to do things more efficiently, I don't get emails thanking me for my work, I don't get phone calls describing new projects. A good day is when I find something new that makes my baby laugh, but there's often no one to share this with until I'm too tired to be very excited about it.

A few months ago Phillip and I were watching TV and a preview for I Am Legend came on. It was the first one we'd seen and it was hard to tell from the preview that it was a ZOMBIE MOVIE. But the tagline had something to do with being "the last man in the world" and I remember saying to Phillip, "Oh, but if you were the last person on Earth, at least you would know for sure that God was listening to you."

He said that was a really weird thing to say. And when I told my friends this a while ago, THEY thought it was a really weird thing to say. But I didn't and I don't. Whenever I shout up a prayer, my next thought is often, "Oh, that was a stupid thing to ask, like God cares about THAT." I think about people living in war torn countries, starving people, victimized people, people who might not be able to pay the electricity bill next month. For sure God is listening to THOSE people. How on earth does he have time for ME? Why would he care? I lead a rather charmed life, you know. It makes complete sense to me that my silly prayers end up on the zillionth page of God's to do list.

Is this the most scatterbrained post ever? And freaking long to boot? But all of this worth stuff coming up- the job email, the book, the movie preview, the mass of angsty thoughts surrounding me since I found out I was pregnant again- I feel like God is flapping his hands in my face trying to get my attention. Kind of like HELLO, are you LISTENING, maybe there's something I am trying to TELL YOU...

 

 


Where I went last night

Lack of posting today is brought to you by:

The Fug Girls

and

Ryan and Giuliana

and

The Manolo

and

the people who invented snark.

I watched (and cried through) the whole thing. It was, as they are saying, a little on the dull side, but I don't like the weepy Thank You Jesus! acceptance speeches anyway. I didn't even like that wussy 'Falling Through' song, but did I cry when they won the Oscar? You bet your pricey foundation garments I did.

Things I liked: Anne Hathaway's dress. And her skin. Oh, to have that skin. Everything about Marion Cotillard. Amy Adams singing that song from the movie I still have not seen. Johnny Depp: YUM. George Clooney: DOUBLE YUM. The Ratatouille guy's thank you speech. Diablo Cody's thank you speech. Tilda Swinton's thank you speech. Hannah Montana making sure to look fifteen and not twenty-five. When Javier Bardem thanked his mom in Spanish.

Things I hated: Cameron Diaz's dress. Did she roll out of bed? And call up Rami to say, "Can you pin up this sheet for me? I just don't feel like getting dressed." When Katherine Heigl told everyone she was nervous. When they didn't let the best song girl give her own thank you. 95% of the montages. The fact that I had seen all of ONE Oscar-nominated movie. Sucks having to be home by six every night, I tell you.

What'd you think? (Because I KNOW YOU PEOPLE, you put the Academy Awards on your calendar, just like me, DON'T LIE.)


Things that made me cry...

...on the way to my parents' house today. (Because no one reads this thing on Friday afternoons anyway.)

Oh, wait, before I make my list I have to tell you that I MEANT to listen to the rosary thing I downloaded to my iPod, but I couldn't figure out how to just listen to the rosary (well, I could, just not WHILE I WAS DRIVING) and it's rather distracting having your rosary interrupted by Justin Timberlake. So I figured God would give me a pass, at least until the drive home.

  1. When Galinda is singing about how she couldn't be happier, even though you know she's not happy at all, because what's his name is with Elphaba and waaaaahhhh POOR GALINDA. Now. Who cries for Galinda? WHO?
  2. The live version of 'This World' by Caedmon's Call. Does that band still exist? Are there other bands like them? If Christian radio ever played anything besides the gospelly and rock bandy stuff I might actually pay attention.
  3. I cried through all of 'The Luckiest' by Ben Folds. Have you LISTENED to that song? And the whole time I was all, am I The Luckiest because I have Jackson? No wait, I'm The Luckiest because I have Phillip and let's mentally draft that 5th anniversary post a whole four months ahead of time! Baaaawwwwwllll!
  4. Jamie Cullum's version of 'High and Dry'. I don't know. Whatever.
  5. A chapter of Harry Potter. What? You don't have the Harry Potter books loaded onto your iPod? I don't even remember what happens, but it was sniffle-worthy. Someone probably died.
  6. 'When I Get Where I'm Going' by Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton. I think this is the musical equivalent of a movie about a woman who gets cancer and dies right before she gets married. It's just SUPPOSED to make you cry.
  7. 'Toxic' by Britney Spears. Because it made me think about POOR BRITNEY and you guys, I know she wears those ripped up fishnet stockings and can't figure out how to use a hairbrush and has aged twenty years in the last six months, but I feel for poor Britney. Also, I can listen to 'Toxic' on repeat for hours, such is the awesomeness that is that song.

Anyway. Hormonal much?

Oh, and I have to tell you that as I sit here typing (because J is sleeping and I forgot half of the stuff I need to make the baby shower invitations I should have mailed out yesterday), my dad is sitting on the couch listening to Harry Potter on HIS iPod. How awesome is my dad? WAY AWESOME.





The differences between one and two- first part of a many-parted series

For those of you who simply cannot get enough, I have a somewhat revised version of the Finding Out Story posted at Parenting.com.   

In other news, today looks like another glorious day of sunshine. I know some of you don't get the seasonal affective disorder stuff, but those of you who do, you know you are a whole different person when the sun is out. We've been to the park two days in a row. I got out of my house in the morning AND the afternoon, two days in a row! I'm thinking I might even go to Home Depot today and buy some primroses to perk up the sorry state of my front porch. Spring! It is nigh! (Except not, because this is Washington, and this is just the typical February Spring Tease.)

Anyway. Thanks for all of your good wishes, squeals of delight, stifled giggles, etc. I think I am past the Sick and Tired point, although I don't really know, especially because I never got sick with Jack until the second trimester. SO WHO KNOWS. But I'm feeling much better, a lot more like myself, and finding bits of confidence here and there. The only thing I'm really annoyed about today is that last night I had to bust out the Pregnancy Pillow.

Manda sent me this funny little forward about the differences between the first and second pregnancies (and the third) and what makes it even funnier is that, as far as I can tell, it's all true. For example:

First baby: You practice your breathing religiously
Second baby: You don't bother, because last time you remember that breathing didn't do a thing.
Third baby: You ask for the epidural in your 8th month.

Har har.

One of the differences is about maternity clothes. Your first baby you start wearing them right away because ooh, these pants feel snug and maternity clothes are so cute! Your second baby you wear your regular clothes as long as possible. (The third baby? Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.) This one is definitely true for me. In fact, in pretty much every way, I am putting off the Actually Having To Deal With Pregnant for as long as I possibly can. Even though I dragged out my box of maternity clothes (only a month or two after I packed them up, SIGH), I was only hunting down my bella band. (I'm not anywhere near showing, but I am, alas, noticeably Chunkier.) And one of the things I thought I'd be putting off was the Pregnancy Pillow. It's this giant comma-shaped pillow thing my sister gave me for Christmas last year, when I was already, what? Four or five months along? I'm only ELEVEN WEEKS. I can't possibly need a PREGNANCY PILLOW.

Except I am sooooo uncomfortable at night. The other night Phillip even LEFT THE ROOM because he was so annoyed with all of the complaining. None of my pillows are the right softness and/or firmness. The covers aren't wide enough. The sheets aren't tucked in right. I can't really sleep on my stomach anymore (weep!) and I can't sleep on my BACK anymore either. (I remember when I first got pregnant with Jack, I immediately stopped sleeping on my back because I'd read all these things that said how bad it was for the baby. Like I have paid any attention to that this time around.) I am left with sleeping on my side and since 99% of me is sore and uncomfortable, I need some sort of padding and propping. Which required the reintroduction of the Pregnancy Pillow and oh, how bummed this makes me. Because you realize I will be sleeping with that thing until September, right? Me, Phillip, and The Pillow.

But! We can't have this burst of crankiness when there is SUNSHINE! I'm off to shower and drag the boy down to the lake where there are many many coffee shops who want to fill me with yummy high-in-carbohydrate breakfasty items.


Finding out

I found out I was pregnant with Baby Number Two on January 6. I remember this, because it was the Epiphany and the day we had to take all the Christmas decorations down. I also remember it because it was MERE DAYS after I encouraged the entire internet to join me in a Four Pound Weight Loss Challenge. And when I saw that second line on the stick one of my very first thoughts was, "BUT! I JUST STARTED A FOUR POUND WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE!" Someone needs to get her priorities in check, hmm?

Okay, here's the deal: I am the oldest of five kids. The five of us are roughly all one year apart. More specifically, the five of us were born in a five-year span. MORE specifically, my youngest sister was born a few weeks before my fifth birthday. Oh yes. For those couple of weeks my mother had five kids age four and under. CAN MY MOTHER GET A ROUND OF APPLAUSE?

So, as long as I can remember, siblings close in age has been the order of my world. The fact that Phillip's brother is eight years older than he is, which is a whole different generation of music and clothes and ugly 80s haircuts, is totally weird to me. I always thought my own kids would be close in age. Or we'd be thinking about the next one at least by the first one's birthday. I know that's really soon for some people, but I just assumed that's the way it would go. (Phillip would like to count himself as one of the "really soon" people, by the way.)

The first couple of months with Jackson were such a dream- seriously, it was so much easier than I ever expected- and I often found myself thinking, "I want ANOTHER one!" I know! What is wrong with me! But I just LOVED the little babyness and was mourning every day he grew bigger and I would always tell myself I'd have another one and do it all over. And it would be SOON! (I didn't tell Phillip this.) (Heh.)

But you know, I wasn't REALLY thinking about it. It was just a Thing in my head somewhere.

Then one month - the month before we got pregnant - I thought I might be pregnant. We weren't, but we decided we needed to have The Conversation: When to have Baby Number Two? It turned out that Phillip and I were in exactly the same place we'd always been: I wanted a baby now or soon, Phillip wanted to get a promotion, buy a bigger house, fill up the college fund and wait for that mysterious I Am Now Ready feeling that we all know never appears. The good part was that we handled our differences WAY better than we had in the past and one of us did not accuse the other of Irrationalness and the other did not accuse her accuser of Big Fat Meanieness and we decided to table our discussion till at least Jack's first birthday.

And I felt good about this. Even though I wanted another baby soon, like really soon, I felt like I was just getting my life back. I was four pounds away from getting my body back. I could fit into almost all the summer things I thought I'd never fit into six months ago. I knew how to leave the house and take care of the two of us. I'd figured out naps and food and going down at night. Of course things weren't perfect, and the baby always throws you for a loop every time you think you've got something down, but I felt like I knew what I was doing. AND I HAD MY BODY BACK. When I thought about another baby, I felt ready for the new baby part, but I was not ready to do Pregnant again. Even though I had a ridiculously easy pregnancy and delivery. Even though we had no problems whatsoever and I never looked 9 months pregnant. Even with those things, I was not at all ready to donate my body to another baby.

Is this, like, the longest preamble-ish thing ever?

I guess all of that is to say: Baby Number Two? BIG FAT SHOCKER. In fact, I took the pregnancy test just to get the "what if I'm pregnant?!" thoughts out of my head. You know how some people are all, "I got a second line on the test, but I don't know, it's really faint." And the rest of us internet- and message board-educated folks are all, "A LINE IS A LINE." That was me. I looked at that second line and thought, "Oh, that can't be right." And then I'd say to myself, "A line is a line!" And then I'd say, "No, that can't be right." I suddenly understood why Juno kept peeing on sticks in the beginning of the movie.

I was elated, of course. And then I was scared and nervous and wondering what the internet was going to say to me when I couldn't lose four pounds in one month. (Weight loss FRAUD!) Phillip was very much, "I guess that's that!" and not at all, "HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED!" like I thought he might be. Jackson didn't care, please serve the pears now.

So I was pretty anxious for a week or two because, well, this wasn't planned and I am a PLANNER. And then I started to get sick and worse than that I was totally completely exhausted 24/7 and the SAHM angst started to set in big time. All the things I wrote about yesterday I multiplied by two babies and I really started to wonder how I was going to handle it. Not to mention that this new baby is due mid-September, which is when I tend to kick off my months of Seasonal Affective Disorder Kraziness, aka the time I would least like to have a new baby.

But I think some of the Angst is lifting. I think has in large part to do with the handful of sunny days we've had. I took Jack to the park and put him in the baby swings for the first time. I had a blast with my moms group where (I hope they don't mind that I am ALWAYS QUOTING THEM) one of the moms said that being a SAHM was a lot like the movie Groundhog Day- the alarm clock goes off and you do it all over again. Which I translated into, "Maggie! You are not alone!"

I think my last couple of posts (including this one) have made it sound like we're not happy. So I should say here that the Angst exists on another plane from the Happy, which is full and huge and very exciting. We most definitely wanted another baby, and I most definitely wanted my babies to be close in age. The fact that I didn't expressly give permission for a second line is a little disconcerting, but I have to admit that even with the nervousness and fear, having the baby just Arrive required little emotional work on my part. That was nice.

Anyway, now I spend a lot of time wondering if I'm going to have a little girl to dress up or if Jack is going to have a brother, which, oh my gosh, two boys, how fun. Phillip and I keep listing all the things we don't have to worry about this time around- that's a whole other post. Plus I've reintroduced bread and pasta and Ben and Jerry's back into my diet. (Me=Unbelievable Weight Loss FRAUD!) I tried to be good for a long time, but the nausea monster demands carbs. What can I do?

Img_1744
I'm gonna have a what now?


Blog business blah

Hey, those of you with feed readers get to read the Unedited! and Unfinished! Version! of the discovery of Baby #2. Turns out my husband is not as much of a computer whiz as he THINKS. "I didn't know 'save' meant 'publish'!" Bah. Anyway. I'll post the Edited Version sometime tomorrowish. For now I'm going to bed. (My husband knows enough that when he has Messed With The Blog he needs to wake me up. At least there is that.)


SAHM angst. Shut up, me.

The baby is walking his way around the room, holding on to the wall, his toy basket, the coffee table, the bookshelves, the couches. And he keeps looking back at me to see if his current spot is Officially Sanctioned. Is Mommy going to wave? Is she going to say, "No no, Jack!" Is she going to run over here and swipe me up and plop me down on the other side of the room?

I now spend my mornings and afternoons as Living Room Cop. Sure there are diaper changes and feedings and naps thrown in there somewhere, but most of our day is spent negotiating territory. The bottom shelf of the built in bookcase is his. We took out the subwoofer and the TiFaux computer and replaced it with a basket full of primary-colored baby toys. The rocking chair is not his. I finally turned it around to face the wall so he wouldn't pull up on it and slam it back into the corner, chortling away. It looks like someone is in perpetual time out. There are no more forbidden items on the coffee table, which is lined with a thick border of rubbery foam. I've left the purplish-pink Chinese vase on the floor and kept the scrolls inside because I'm kind of hoping he breaks it.

Between the constant wars over what is his and what is mine, the weather that doesn't allow for even quick walks to see the ducks, teething, screwed up sleep and a first trimester that's given my previous first trimester the You Thought THAT Was Morning Sickness, You Weakling? Take That! Smackdown, I've been a bit of a nutcase lately. I was emailing with another pregnant friend, trying to figure out if we're just disillusioned with the whole Stay At Home Mom thing, or if pregnancy has more to do with it. Because when you're that tired and also thinking you're going to barf every ten minutes, you don't always feel like fixing the baby lunch.

I've been feeling sort of pointless. I stay home all day with this kid, who I adore, but who doesn't really do it for me in the human interaction department. I don't earn any money. The only thing I'm in charge of is the furniture. I don't have any good gossipy work stories to tell Phillip when we're both home in the evening. I look like a schlub all day and sometimes I don't even get out of the house to check the mail. And now I'm going to have TWO BABIES. Oh dear God.

I was trying to tell Phillip all of this the other night. And of course I was trying to say it in a way that didn't sound like "I feel worthless!" and "I have no purpose!" Because I know how silly that sounds. I told him that when he waltzes into the house and makes suggestions for sleeping or eating or whatever, I get annoyed. Not because they're bad suggestions, but because that is MY job. I was unreasonably incensed when Phillip forgot to put our last new baby appointment on his calendar because he has all these other important things going on, but this is all I have in MY world.

I knew being a SAHM would include all of this. I really did. I didn't know exactly what it would feel like, of course, but I wasn't clueless about the daily drudgery of babycare. What I did think was that being a SAHM would be more freeing than what I was doing before. I never liked my 9 to 5 job. I was looking forward to being my own boss, having the freedom to go out during the day, the freedom to try the things I've always wanted to do.

But I haven't done any of that. You are obviously not your own boss when you stay home with a baby. Getting out is a struggle for me and God, I hate admitting that. I've written a few things here and there and built a website (that has yet to go live), but for the most part I'm lucky if I can pound out my post for Parenting once a week. So much for being Who I Really Am as a SAHM.

Once I found out I was pregnant all of these things were magnified a gazillion times. I was so tired and I kept thinking, "How am I going to feed two babies? How I am going to put two babies to sleep?" It was January, the worst weather month of the year. Phillip was working a lot and in one week I officially threw up more times than the ENTIRE time I was pregnant with Jack.

But it also occurred to me that I was looking at things wrong. I am, after all, doing exactly what I want to be doing. I don't want to go back to work. I don't want to leave Jack with someone else. I don't want anyone else to be in charge of the furniture. What if I was looking at being a mom as just that thing I do when I'm not busy trying to figure out the writing thing or the being involved in lots of activities thing? What if I am just supposed to BE A MOM right now and try and find the holiness and "authentic self-ness" in that?

Which is where the domestic monastery stuff comes in. And also the introduction to Suze Orman's book about women and money, believe it or not. But you know, I don't have time for that right now since the baby is trying to throw all my Harry Potter books off the shelf and I have to clean things up for the moms group I'm hosting this morning. So more on this later. Some day. Oh, and I suppose I should tell you the How I Found Out story which goes something like, "Huh?" and "Seriously?" and "ACT OF GOD." Also for later!