Friday, April 28, 2006

Who are you?

Somehow today my husband had 3 of his old college friends in the same city, in the same house (ours), at the same time. Between friends moving around from place to place and our new addition, which has pretty much left us completely out of contact with our “before Sam” friends, it has been a long time for Hubby and all these guys to get together and go to the park to throw the frisbee around. As these 4 men, and I went to college with these GUYS too so it is hard to refer to them as men, ascended our steps with their greasy paper bags of hamburgers and fries, I took a good look.

One, an aspiring actor and artist, almost as greasy as the bag he was holding. He attributed this oily hair look to being on the road for so long with his touring improv group. Next was the career waiter on his way to his next shift. He’s always rethinking his life plan, his situation, his choices, his girlfriends. And up the stairs comes the graduate student, working on his degree in Public Policy. Our college was calling to this very person when it sent us posters that said, “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” And most importantly, my Hubby, about to graduate from law school in just 2 short weeks, amazing, considerate, funny, clever, thoughtful, the whole she-bang. But I digress.

As I looked around at these men/guys/friends I thought about Sam as an adult. Have you ever thought about what your baby will be like beyond pre-school? High school? Beyond the living with you age? It is rare that I envision Sam beyond the I-can-lift-him age. But it is true. One day my little baby is going to be a big boy, a GUY, A MAN! He’s going to work odd jobs and move from place to place. He’ll eat greasy hamburgers at his old friends’ houses. He’ll rethink his choices about his life, his girlfriends (dear God!). I cannot even wrap my head around this. Who is he? Who is he going to be?

I know he loves his daddy and me, and trucks, cars, office chairs, anything with wheels. And the cats, LOVES the cats. He is ticklish in his armpits and cracks up when his dad makes faces at him when they get really close to each other. He only wants pureed foods or crunchy finger foods. If he gets a mushy finger food he gags – more to follow on this topic as I try to figure how I will get him to eat his first Birthday cake in a few weeks. When he crawls on the wood part of the floor he uses one knee and the other foot, gimping around hunchback style. When he crawls on the rug he is normal. He hates: having his diaper changed, being cleaned up after meals, waking up alone in his bed, when he can’t figure out how to get his wheeled object back on its wheels after throwing it around a few times, the weird flying circus tent that comes out of the sky in Teletubbies (the one with the tap dancing bear in it. Sam cries every time that thing begins its descent), and strangers. He is impatient when it comes to problem solving. Now that he has learned how to put objects in containers he does so at lightning speed, except for when the book doesn’t fit in the bucket. I think he is shy. He is increasingly affectionate, especially with me. His laugh is beautiful, as is his smile, which has changed a bit over the past few weeks. He smiles with a bit of an underbite now, jutting out his chin. It’s the same face he makes when he is whining but for that he wrinkles his eyes and his eyebrows make upside down V’s like you see on evil characters in cartoons. But all of this is nothing. It is nothing yet it is everything. It is everything to me right now. These details fill my days (and nights) and hold my total attention. They are everything I have to go on but they tell me very little.

I spend every moment of my life with this little person and I can tell you nothing about who he will become. I can make somewhat educated guesses, wondering if he will be more like Hubby or me, or neither. I can speculate what he might be when he grows up, what activities he might enjoy in high school, if any. I can try and see him in my mind’s eye, what he will look like at six years old, twelve, eighteen, thirty-one, forty-six. One day my son will be forty-six years old. He’ll probably have a family and grey hair (balding does not seem to run in either of our families. I’m pretty confident on this one). I can hypothesize all I want and will still know nothing, not until these days come.

It’s surreal to think about the fact that for the rest of my life I will have Sam. I will never have a day again without him in the forefront of my mind. I will worry about him every day, fixate on him, obsess about him, watch him, ponder him, and learn about him. I’ll get to learn who he is in real time, so to speak, always wondering what he will do and who he will become tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Middle School of Mommyhood

Since becoming a mom I have experienced more feelings that remind me of my middle school days than I have in a very long time. And I don’t mean the passionate, tear gushing crushes or the general rebelliousness I felt against every adult in my life. I mean the need to be accepted by “the group.” I thought this insecurity had been dead and buried along with my Deb hairspray, Sun-In, and Def Leppard tapes, but apparently not. I’ve felt that jealousy over and over again for the past 11 months and am trying to figure out why.

I noticed it the first time when I tried to take Sam to a new mom’s group at the hospital where I had him. I went only twice, mainly because he was so amazingly fussy that it was not worth the effort of the drive, dealing with him for the hour and a half, and the drive home. But there were reasons I felt it was not worth it to me to make it a priority. I felt, for the first time since childhood, like the new kid at school. All the moms already knew each other, which I expected. But I also expected them to talk to me since I was new. And they didn’t. So I tried to be outgoing while holding my cranky baby face down on his belly and jiggling him to keep him satisfied, but I was always the one to initiate the conversation and frankly they just didn’t seem interested. It was like they just didn’t want anymore friends; they were set. And I was left wondering how they had decided before they’d even met me what they didn’t like. Had I not yet lost enough baby weight? Did I seem as tired as I felt? Did I smell? (Seriously, I really smelled that first summer I had him. Something to do with breastfeeding and hormones I think.) I couldn’t believe the things that were going through my head. When was the last time I was seriously concerned over the possibility that I had no friends because of B.O.? Middle School.

My insecurity reared its ugly head every time I walked by another new mom who avoided eye contact and did not say hello. I yelled at them in my head for the rest of the block, “We are both new moms! I can see your baby in your front carrier and I know she’s not much older than Sam. I know you know what I am going through. Can you not even smile an empathetic, exhausted smile? Is it because I have the $30 Snugli instead of the $100 Bjorn?” Amazing. It was like I wanted to go out and get myself that hideously ugly and ridiculously expensive pair of Z. Cavarricis.

I read this article, Mom Cliques: Where Do You Fit In?, in a recent issue of Parenting magazine that was all about the roles women take on in “Mom Cliques.” In fact it was written by the woman who wrote the book on which the movie “Mean Girls” was based, Rosalind Wiseman. The roles I had to choose from included things like The Queen Bee Mom, Torn Wannabes and Desperate Wannabes, Sidekicks, and Outcasts. Are you kidding me? Almost every single “type” was negative in both connotation and description. I was horrified and offended as a mom, a woman, and a person above the age of 12. I’d like to think that I and we are better than that. I thought the article was so discouraging since it stated these types as fact and offered very little in the way of solving this problem if it truly exists. And I guess I was a little scared (hence my violent reaction). I had experienced some of the same feelings already and was not even in a “Playgroup” yet. What if this was just the beginning?

For the most part I did not find much good in this article because it felt like it was giving moms a bad name. But this part: “Cliques form when we feel pressured to bond to survive a stressful experience — and there's not much that's more stressful than parenting,” I get that. I feel like I am in middle school again because I don’t know what I am doing. I am insecure about my ability to parent my child and that fear pervades everything else in my life, just like the fear of learning who I was way back then made me an obnoxious, petrified, zit covered little monster (I was a middle school teacher for a few years and intend to be so again when Sam is a bit older so don’t get me wrong – I love the little monsters specifically because I remember what that felt like). So I see the connection here, but we are older and wiser now, so let’s move on from this clique thing.

Don’t we have something in common simply by being moms? And I’m not saying we should all be BFF and get those broken heart necklaces that fit together to prove our eternal loyalty, but is a “hello” too much? A smile? Eye contact? Isn’t the shared experience of birth and mothering a major connection between 2 people since it is currently the common focal point of our entire lives? My best friends in middle school were made through a common interest in the color black. I feel like we should be able to stop and look at each other’s babies when we walk by on the street and not have to wonder if the other woman thinks we aren’t dressed like a hip enough mom for her to be seen with us.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mommy Fear

Hubby and I have been furiously packing for The Big Move for the past few weeks. We’re quite overwhelmed with the amount of crap we have accumulated, which has always been ridiculous and is now obscene since the addition of Sam. It’s hard to pack with an infant on the loose, and we’re spending every minute taking care of something. We have 3 weeks left in which to do this as well as take care of the preparations for the move itself such as getting airline tickets for Sam and myself, arranging the movers, visiting all doctors while we still have insurance, Hubby preparing for finals in law school, etc. We’re frazzled, but that is in no way an excuse for what I am about to relay.

Sunday afternoon I was packing a huge kitchen box (I hate packing the kitchen. Me personal hell is packing a kitchen full of unused breakables. Having to drive a U-Haul on city streets is way up there too) while Hubby was playing with Sam. I called Hubby in to ask something inane about coffee mugs and whether he felt we really needed all 28 of them. This led to him helping to cut sheets of bubble wrap in which to wrap said mugs. Meanwhile Sam is sitting under us exploring what, in my mind, can be nothing more than the regular debris on our kitchen floor. Anything he might find certainly couldn’t be worse than the time he successfully retrieved a Cheerio from under the refrigerator as I leapt in slow motion to block its entrance into his mouth. Or the time he had the worst wrinkled up face I’d ever seen, confirming for me that the white crystal pried from his chops was indeed a hunk of road salt earlier tracked in on a shoe. I put it in my mouth anyway just to be sure and made the same face. Certainly there was nothing down there more than some crumbs and perhaps a few more dropped finger foods.

Hubby and I were in a heated discussion involving the bubble wrap, the appropriate size of the sheets as well as whether or not the valuable bubble wrap was being wasted on these old mugs, when I looked down and saw Sam frowning at me and moving his mouth around. I asked him, “Hey, what do you have in your mouth?” and reached in to find...a zipper. In. His. Mouth. It had fallen off of Hubby’s pants and that is what was on my kitchen floor. I am telling you now that my Casper like self had not known pale until I reached into my baby’s mouth and felt a jagged, metal, chokeable-sized object residing there.

Sam has no idea why he got my undivided attention for the rest of the afternoon, or why I held him for the next 20 minutes stroking his head and rocking myself back and forth, refusing to let him go despite his squirmy attempts at getting back on the floor. I have been insane since this happened. Every noise he makes sounds to me like he’s choking. Things will be normal and all of a sudden I will picture his face while eating a zipper and I’ll be paralyzed with what can only be called “Mommy Fear.” I felt it from the time Sam was a week old and somehow as Hubby passed him to me to nurse in the bed we almost dropped him. I felt it when he was taken out of me and I didn’t hear him cry and couldn’t move to see him. I felt it when his heart beat went ballistic when I rolled over while in labor. I felt it when we thought there might be a complication with the pregnancy that would result in an early induction and the word “stillborn” entered our vocabulary. I felt it when too many hours had gone by that I hadn’t felt him kick. I felt it every time I had a cramp in the first trimester. I felt it...from the beginning I guess, meaning after the fourth pregnancy test when I really believed it. And just like you don’t know love until you’ve found it, you don’t know Fear until you’re a Mommy.

I hate that I had to have a head to head run-in with Mommy Fear in order to relax and deal with this move in a calm and mature manner, but that’s what it took. So now we don’t pack simultaneously, but take turns. And every so often we check our flies.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Epiphanies - Swing Phobia

For years now I have tried to figure out why I am afraid of swings. Yes, I mean the swing sets at playgrounds that all children love. I first started to really notice this problem during my summers working as a camp counselor. (Although, perhaps I could have picked up a bit more on the fact that while I would always ride any roller coaster in any given amusement park, I was deathly afraid of the “Yo-Yo.” That was that circular thing that went round and round with all the seats attached to it by chains. It was terrifying to behold. It looked like everyone was going to fly into one another! Oh the ridicule I endured from my high school friends...) My campers loved to swing, but they had to pretty much beg and bribe to get me to take part in pushing them, and even then it lasted about 2 minutes before I had to invent an excuse to move away. I did admit my fear to one camper because he was so persistent that I ran out of excuses. He teased me mercilessly. He was 8. I don’t know, but seeing the kids swinging next to other kids made me feel absolutely ill. I was convinced that the kid beside them was going to start twisting around in his swing or going from side to side and bang into my happy little camper. Why?

Hubby and I have been trying to figure this out for years. Had I fallen off of a swing? Did I tip one over? But I knew that didn’t matter. I’m not afraid of falling off or tipping over. I am afraid of the people beside me, and now I am afraid of the people, the BABIES, beside my son, because you never know when some mom might just go for a CRAZY push and fling her child completely off kilter, ramming that 6 month old drooler into Sam.

As I left the park today I called my parents to chat for the walk home. My Dad answered and asked how our afternoon at the park was. I explained that it had been cut a little short because Sam and I ended up between 2 other kids on the swings so I’d had to excuse us (I was actually pretty proud of the several minutes I toughed it out.) And I’ll be damned if he didn’t say, “Well yeah, you can’t stay there then.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well I would never swing next to anybody. They might get out of line and swing into me.”

Epiphanies - Just watching

Today Sam sat on the floor and put his bottle of baby lotion in and out of his bedtime basket for 15 minutes. I’ve been waiting for this development for months, giving him every possible container filled with various types of objects. I kept reading that if I showed him how to take things out and put things back in then he would start to imitate me. This never happened. I emptied out the blocks; I put them back in the bucket by myself. We both emptied the bowl of plastic spoons; he lost interest. The laundry basket, the toy box, the shape sorter, the old oatmeal container I made for his poker chips, all packed and repacked by me. He just was not interested, and I will be the first to admit that this is one skill on which he really seemed to be behind...until today. He took that lotion out, looked at it, and decided to see what would happen if he put it back in. The answer: not much, but he sure did like it. I watched him figure out how high he had to hold the lotion bottle, experiment with where in the basket it should be, discover that no, in fact it would not fit through any of the holes in the basket, all while I just sat there and watched. He didn’t need me at all, and that was my own discovery.

After all that work I had done I was so happy that he had finally done this that I couldn’t help but cheer for him. He didn’t even care. He wasn’t doing this for me at all, so I just stepped out of it. And I have to say that it was nice to relax, to sit down. I always feel like if I am not doing something that has to be done, like dishes or making dinner, then I need to be giving Sam my undivided attention to make up for that time that I had to be temporarily distracted, like every moment needs to be quality time between the two of us. But the kid is doing ok. And sometimes, while I hate to admit this, I know he does better without me, just because that gives him his opportunity to be independent, learn for himself and learn what he wants when he wants. I never would have emphasized playing with trucks; he decided he liked that all on his own, and they make him so happy. I didn’t even teach him how to sit back down once he had pulled himself to standing, but he managed that all by himself as well. So while I know he learned by example for some of my favorite things he does – he knows that when music plays it is time to dance, and one of his favorite activities is turning the pages of his books – most of it is going to be all him, doing his thing, and I can choose to cheer because it makes me happy to do so...while seated, relaxed and proud of my baby’s independence.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who says babies can't share?

Well, I know technically they can’t at this point in their development, but they can certainly get close. The sweet little guy has recently begun feeding me his finger foods. Certainly he will not pass on a Gerber star puff thing, but he has fed me his Cheerios and some of his little freeze dried corn bits. Of course, he took the corn back out of my mouth before I could swallow it. I think him feeding me his food is right up there with his version of a hug – really just him resting his head on my shoulder and stretching his arms out. (Nothing will beat his kisses though – big, open mouthed, and often with tongue.) He also has been enjoying handing us everything he finds. I think it’s more because we respond so nicely to his sharing, but I’ll take it.

I read an article in a magazine recently that talked about how to handle the fact that babies don’t yet understand the concept of sharing. It explained that if a baby takes a toy from another baby you are not supposed to take the toy back from him because he follows your example, and that would teach him that it is ok to take things from others. You are supposed to give the dejected child another toy and show your kid that you are trying to comfort the other baby so that yours may eventually learn empathy. This is all well and good. I mean, I understand it in theory. But how am I supposed to explain this to little Sally’s mom after Sam has taken her fill-in-the-blank? She doesn’t get her toy back and I offer her something lame from my own diaper bag? I don’t know. I’ve tried this in our little music class while all the other moms are trying to referee sharing time between 2 babies by passing the coveted toy back and forth from one kid to the other (which just results in 2 crying babies, by the way), and I don’t feel it went well - strange looks from the moms. And of course we’re in the midst of singing “Trottin’ Old Joe” so it’s not like I can explain why I appear to be supporting my son’s blatant thievery. It’s probably a good thing that Sam has decided that all he wants to do in class now is explore the piano pedals and try to push it around – if there is something in the room with wheels, he will find it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter, a Roasted Chicken, and a Leaky Window

For all of Easter Sunday it rained in Chicago. And I don’t mean just rain, but thunder, lightning, sheets of slanting water pounding our apartment. Every hour or so I looked out the window and felt so sorry for the disappointed kids who had looked forward to hunting Easter eggs in the grass in the sun. So many parents coming up with back up plans most likely involving an egg hunt in their homes.

That’s what we did. Of course, Sam really didn’t know the difference anyway. He enjoyed finding his plastic eggs placed out in plain view on top of the couch or a shelf and, when cracked open, produced his favorite finger foods like Cheerios and pretzels. Not quite the candy craze of a regular Easter basket, but he did get a little squishy basketball and his first pair of shoes – Robeez, those leather moccasin looking things that won’t hinder his learning to walk. Yup, the day was just fine for us even though we were trapped inside.

I had also decided to roast my first chicken for a special Easter dinner. One may wonder how I made it so far in my life without ever doing this before. I was a vegetarian for most of middle school, high school, and college. I just never really learned how to cook meat. In the past few years I have certainly improved, learning for the first time how to do steaks, hamburgers, chicken parmesan, and several fish dishes. The roasted chicken was a big one though seeing as I am still pretty freaked out by anything resembling an entire animal. When the recipe informed me I would be “pulling out the giblets,” I had no idea what to expect and I was not looking forward to finding out. Much to my relief the “giblets,” disgusting looking bloody mush carcass, were enclosed happily in a little plastic bag and did not even require direct contact with my trembling hand. The next step was to “rinse the giblets and set aside...” I skipped that step, as well as the one involving the liver, which I can only assume was the skin flap looking thing wrapped up like a band-aid. So gross.

It was around this time that our day really took a turn. I don’t know how it all happened and I don’t care to recall the details, but the chicken roasting did not go well. It took longer than I had expected, probably because I had taken so long getting started due to the liver, slimy flesh bits, and washing my hands eight million times. So it was done much later than I had planned and we were well into our evening ritual for Sam’s bedtime before it was done. Then it was time to carve. I was so pissed from my tardiness and the 100 degree kitchen at this point that I had no patience and passed this duty onto Hubby. I quickly learned this was also his first experience with a roasted chicken. I left the room soon after he had pierced a hole into the disposable roasting pan, leaking “the basting juices” all over my counters and floor. By the time he came in with our plates, several....several minutes later, he was just as pissed as me. We ate our stupid chicken, which may have tasted decent but was so not worth the effort that had gone into it – it’s just chicken, after all. Sam watched his Baby Einstein video most likely wondering how he had managed to stay up so late without us noticing.

Finally, it was time to get him to bed and for one of us to deal with the kitchen. Poo diaper was changed, chicken juices cleaned, half of the dishes fit into the washer. We’re running about 30 minutes behind for Sam’s bed time now. Yet we had only just begun...

When Hubby went in to get our bed ready for reading time he discovered something dreadful. Please recall my emphasis on the rain earlier and let me apprise any reader of this blog (all 2 of you) of some dialogue that had taken place throughout the day.

2:29pm –
Beth: “You know hon, I think that place where the window meets the AC unit might start leaking if it keeps raining like this. It sounds like water is coming in.”
Hubby: “No, it won’t. I sealed it pretty well when I installed it. It’s not coming in.”
4:12pm –
Beth: “Hon, there’s some water dripping in the window onto the sill.”
Hubby: “Let’s put some paper towels down.”
4:40pm –
Beth: “Yeah Hon, the tapestry over the window is dripping burgundy water onto the window sill and the paper towels are soaked.”
Hubby: “Maybe I’ll take the AC out when it stops raining.”
5:30pm –
Beth: “It stopped raining.”
Hubby: “...”
7:30pm –
Beth: “Hon, if the AC is going to be taken out before Sam goes to bed it needs to happen now.”
Hubby: “I’ll do it in a few minutes.”

Insert chicken carving incident and subsequent activities here

8:30pm –
Hubby: “Oh Crap! The water got in! The bed is soaked, and the box spring. It’s all over the floor. Can I get some help in here?!”
Beth: “...”

Beth enters, avoiding eye contact. She runs to get a towel and roll of paper towels and proceeds to wipe water off the floor and window sill, resulting in all of the paint rubbing off of the sill to reveal the wood underneath. She envisions Sam enjoying his paint flake snack.

Hubby: “Just dab it don’t rub it!”
Beth: “Are you criticizing me?”

You can probably figure out the rest of that conversation.

9:00pm –
Sam finally makes it to bed in a room where our mattress is hanging off the box spring in order to allow them both to supposedly dry. The AC is on the floor, which is covered in sopping towels.

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cherub Do

Everyone in the family, including Hubby, wants me to get Sam’s hair cut. I am having an incredible aversion to this idea. I can’t quite explain it. I know that this is taking on some sort of symbolic significance for me. It’s the first time we will be losing a physical part of him and his beautiful baby-ness. It’s something he grew all by himself, and I just don’t want to get rid of it. Yes, I realize that we throw out his poo every day and technically he grew that too, but his hair has personality (although some of those poops have quite a bit of character as well…). And it’s not like his umbilical nubbin. That thing was gross and only represented his separation from me, of which I was already pretty well aware with my hormone tears every hour or so. He’s been working on this since he was born. That long tail on the back of his head is left over from his birth hair that never fell out, and it has been growing ever since. Yes, I know his hair gets a little ratty and fuzzy after he’s slept on it and rubbed it around on the bed. I know we have to spend a lot of time brushing his bangs off of his perpetually sweaty head. And I know he has fly away curls around his ears that stick out and make him look like he has wings like The Flash. But I love his little cherub curls, his floppy bangs, and that crazy Hare Krishna tail.

I’ve gone so far as to look into one place that does kid haircuts. By look into it I mean I found its location and promptly closed the computer. Do places even cut hair for kids this young? He’s not even one yet…maybe they don’t. Oh well. I know he has to look nice for his birthday party and his one year pictures. I know one day soon I will probably have to agree to let this happen; I don’t want his hair in his eyes bothering him. And I know when that day comes I will cry at the Kid Snippet place as I take pictures and tie the little ribbon around his Krishna tail. I guess it is just one of those things a mom has to do.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


It was a beautiful day in Chicago today. About 55 degrees and sunny. We had a lovely morning going to the park with friends and then out to a nice outdoor lunch. Everything was relaxing. As we walked home I even commented to hubby that I felt like our day was almost normal since Sam had been out so long and yet we had not had to modify what we wanted to do in order to keep him satisifed - the beauty of hanging out with other parents and their kids.

Sam woke up from his afternoon nap really cranky. Lots of crying very easily and whiny. I thought maybe he just didn't want to wake up or had a little gas or something (he had babyfood with a little bit of onion in it today - first onions). About an hour or so later I finally took a really good look at him and wondered why one of his cheeks was so red. He was sunburned. It was on one cheek under his eye and on that side of his little button nose. It must have happened as we selfishly ate our lunch chatting it up with our buds, handing him some finger foods every so often when he seemed unhappy. He didn't want finger foods; he wanted out of the sun!

I can't believe we let this happen. I swore I would not let him get sunburned ever in his entire childhood. He is so fair, blonder than blonde, blue veins showing through his skin. Of course he got burned from just a little exposure. I feel horrible, possibly the most negligent that I have ever felt. I keep apologizing to him every time I look at his little pink face. I'm sorry, Sam.

Feats of the Amazingly Mobile Baby

I’ve loved becoming a mom. There have been wonderful moments in each month since Sam was born, fun milestones and happy tears. But I think this past month has been the show stopper. Starting with his newfound mobility, Sam has become almost a different person....he’s become a person! He’s not my little baby any longer but instead he is a small, independent man. His mood is improved since he can finally go where he wants when he wants. And thank god, because at 9 ½ months when the doctor said he probably wouldn’t crawl I envisioned 4 more months of the pick me up whine. He would reach for something, sprawl on his stomach, and start yelling until we bent down and sat him back up. And it seemed like he was so close to crawling, and he was so frustrated that he couldn’t. Sure enough, the day before he turned 10 months he decided he wanted to empty his bookshelf so he just crawled on over and made his mess. That silly doctor, saying my baby couldn’t do it.

This skill seems to have caused an avalanche of new discoveries. He now can chase and terrorize our 2 cats, and with this he has found his main source of pleasure as well as his budding sense of humor. And the boy loves cars. Can we get any more stereotypical? It’s amazing. It’s not like he even knows what his toy car and truck are, but one day he just started going for things with wheels. Now he won’t go anywhere in the apartment without them, them or the rolling office chair, pushing them along wherever he moves. He even makes the “vroom vroom” sounds that daddy and I were making! He has no idea why he is making these sounds with these particular toys but apparently he agrees that it is fun. Just like throwing a ball, which he was recently taught by daddy. He has no idea why, but balls are for throwing at mommy and daddy, and the kid has got skills. Needless to say daddy often gets a dazed and dreamy look in his eye when we all play catch.

So our house is now in a constant state of chaos. Playing cards, CDs, poker chips, toys, and torn books strewn throughout as cats run back and forth desperately searching for a place to hide from the monstrous creature squealing in delight. It’s awesome.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The curse of the size 15

Will my 2 pairs of pants that fit make it through the winter? I refuse to buy any more winter clothes because I am confident that next year I will need a different size, a smaller size...but not quite my pre-baby size, probably never again my pre-baby size. My one pair of jeans and one pair of cords have to make it through until it warms up. And as I look out at the lotto billboard (yes, here in my apartment we check the temp by looking out the window at a highway billboard), it is still 37 degrees. In the windy city I am concerned with how much longer we are expected to deal with this winter. But I am not buying more clothes.

And I say I have 2 pairs of pants that fit but in fact that is not true. None of my pants fit me correctly because I seem to be somewhere between sizes. My size 16's were right in the beginning of this season and now they literally fall off when I move. I don't even unbutton them anymore. And yet the clothes I've gotten for the summer at Kohls (I love Kohls and am not ashamed to admit that is where I buy all my clothes...ok maybe I am) in size 14 are totally too tight. Sitting on the floor with the baby will result in serious abdominal cramping if inches are not lost before it warms up.

How is this possible? Well, I've given it a lot of thought and I blame my shelf gut. I had a cesarean birth and this has resulted in a huge mound of flesh placed right above my incision scar. I honestly don't think that this shelf gut will ever totally disappear even with all the ab work in the world. It just feels strange, not like normal skin at all; it is totally solid. Furthermore, it makes my clothing size totally different depending on where the pants fall. Above the shelf: size 16. Below the shelf: 14. So the issue is movement. Once those 16's slip a little I am that mom, the one sitting on the floor at the Barnes and Noble showing everyone behind her the mama panties (maybe your mama panties are cute, mine are not. And really no panties are cute sticking out of your pants when sprawled on the floor. Are the girls who wear thongs that stick out doing that on purpose because it is supposed to be sexy? Is it sexy?). I am the mom who, when it is time to stand up and march around in baby's music class, has to hike up her pants before others have to witness first hand the lovely stretch marked shelf. Maybe this is not a "mom type" and I am the only one who is "that mom." So now you'll know me when you see me. That's me, the one whose one pair of jeans are falling off as I walk to my car in the Target parking lot. How ya doin?

My beginning: "Blogging? How stupid"

When I first learned what a blog was from my uber-hip, super fashionable coworker, I believe my exact words were, "That is so stupid. Why would anyone want to post their own journal entries online for others to read?" It made no sense to me. But I did wonder about this subculture which was clearly up and coming if this guy liked it.

On Friendster a few weeks ago I perused the rantings of a former high school acquaintance. I was intrigued and thought that if I had any interest in any of the topics this guy was writing about it would be damn entertaining. My interest was piqued even as I continued to rave to my husband that blogging was stupid. His response: "Then why do you keep talking to me about it?!" Then 2 days ago it happened. I'm sitting in the doctor's office with my pink eyed son, and I see in the rack the April babytalk issue. According to the cover it contained, "the coolest mama-blogs (and how to start your own)." I shoved it in the diaper bag just before the doc walked in. Are those magazines for us to take? There were 4 copies... I figure I needed it; It was a sign for me.

For the past 48 hours every free minute I have had has been spent reading mama blogs, feeling the connection, nodding in understanding, and feeling some envy that this has all happened without my being involved. It's like taking a walk with the babe and enjoying the day until you walk by the house that has a play group letting out. Fashionable, cute haired, lost the baby weight moms hugging eachother bye bye. How does this happen and where have I been?

I feel it. I feel the need. As a new mom there are so many thoughts, ideas, concerns, musings that go unsaid. Sometimes there is no time to say them. Sometimes the only one there to listen is an 11 month old who will spit at you in response, or crawl away while you're in mid-sentence. Sometimes they are just too private, at least, for anyone you actually know to read them. And so they accumulate. And you think, "I don't have time to journal right now and talking to myself on paper is not what I need." But somehow this, the possibility that someone out there might read's different. It's something of my own, and as any mom of an infant knows, having something of one's own is key.