Friday, March 31, 2006

Tylenol plus, orange juice, vapo-rub...

And I’m still wading through the ankle-high surge of snot that my three darling children have produced over the past two days. Juicy. Keep reading, I double dog dare you. It’s either an attack of the allergens or just a nasty mutant goo beast that has caught our sinuses unawares. I spent two very drawn out and sleepless nights wrestling with the Papoose to no avail. He informed me, in no uncertain terms, that I was to cuddle him all night while listening to his woeful cries. By the time 48-hours-without-sleep rolled around, I was seeing double and bumping into things. I was a groggy and vulnerable. I cried when the Girl got muddy. I cried when the Boy wouldn’t stop talking. No sooner did the Husband receive my cryptic text of “get home” and he came zooming as fast as his happening VW would move him. I was a crumpled pile of mommy mush on the couch, whimpering Papoose on my lap. I won’t detail the rest of the evening, but suffice it to say that with the help of modern medicine, I slept a blissful few hours the following night.

So that was two days ago. Since then the Girl has developed a dreadful case of nose sludge and the Boy is sneezing rocket-fueled mucus missiles across the living room. I grow weary of holding tissues to other peoples’ noses while saying “blow”. When will these small people learn to effectively honk their own beaks anyway?

Me: Did you blow your nose?

Girl: Yes.

Me: Why do you have green snot stuck to your upper lip?

Girl: Uh…..

Me: Did you use a tissue?

Boy: Yes.

Me: Why do you have boogers on your sleeve?

Boy: Uh…….

Me: (holding tissue for the child) Blow darn it! Blow until your ears explode! I don’t care if it feels like your eyeballs are falling out….BLOW!

I love spring.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Yay for me.

I'm a weirdo but apparently very adept at hiding the fact. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. Actually, it's what I keep telling you. As if. You're only an existential form of my actual identity. Shut up, I can taste cheeseburgers. Yes, well I have reached a more sophisticated plane of understanding where mere cheeseburgers are inconsequential. Whatever, at least I'm having sex.

And that's barely scratching the surface of dialogues between me and myself.

Your Quirk Factor: 44%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

The little engine that almost could...

And there you have it. One year later and still 14 lbs over. Of course this hasn't been a fruitless battle lest we forget the BABY I made. My view of the weight loss this time last year was totally impractical and would have been virtually impossible to achieve given the circumstances surrounding breastfeeding. Evidently you remain a little bit chubby so that the only real difference between you and your delicious baby is that you know how to operate a coffee maker. By six months postpartum you both suffer double chins and bums that resemble bowls of pasty, lumpy oatmeal. Your hair falls out in mocking clumps of the formerly lustrous locks that once thickly tumbled onto your shoulders during pregnancy. Your little one loses his hair too, except his hair loss comes in the form of a cute bald spot that becomes a funny little detail that causes him to be even yummier than before. If that was even possible. Granted, you burn an “extra” 500 calories just churning out that liquid gold, but unless you have a built-in renewable energy source, any verve you’re left with at the day’s end is reserved for bathing. And possibly talking. So those 500 calories were freebees as far as I’m concerned. As the weaning gets underway so does the weight loss. One.year.later. I chuckle at my prior expectations of what my postpartum physique would look like. Not only did I not expect my breasts to balloon to approximately quadruple their normal size, but the whole second cesarean-section thing? Yeah, scar tissue on top of scar tissue can get weird. Don’t ask.

Anyhoo. Lose 14 lbs and stay asleep for longer than three consecutive hours. Since January 1st has long gone-by, I’ll call these my Spring Resolutions. Now if I can just get the Papoose to cooperate, considering he’ll be my biggest collaborator throughout all this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Elusive slumber

Second night without sleep. A papoose with a mouthful of emerging teeth. A small stuffy nose that forbids nursing. Dark rimmed eyes, a heavy head, I have no appetite.

Sick baby I have.
Sleep I cannot fall into.
Caffeine where are you?

That is all.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I hate commercials.

To be brusque, I want to pluck my television from the wall and send it airborne every time I see Kirstie Alley thrusting cake into her mouth while asking viewers if they’ve called Jenny yet. Don’t let yourself become a disgusting fat slob. If your body isn’t what you see on television then clearly you suck. I was fat and repugnant, but now I’m losing that hideous fat and I’m worthy. I went from a size 10 to a size 4 in just two months! (Because we all know the average dress size for an American woman is a 4… can’t see me but you can presume that my eyes are rolling out of my skull.) Yes I realize I could turn the damned thing off, but realistically, that’s not going to happen. There are some really wholesome shows that my children enjoy like The Jeff Corwin Experience and Buggin’ With Ruud, but unless I switch the television off every eight minutes to avoid commercials, they’re going to see them. Because there's nothing more productive than hovering about the remote control like a horsefly on shit, right? And I’m not naïve enough to think I have control over what they’ll see every moment of every day.

I don’t get it.

Why does Bowflex try to sell sexy tight bodies to children? Why does NutriSystem feel it's necessary to relentlessly harp on the allure of skinny bodies to an audience with the average age of roughly ten? And since when did young children become their target audience? My smallish people are regrettably growing up in a society strained by unattainable perfection and even more troublesome, my kids are not-so-subtly encouraged to reach and embrace sexual maturity long before they should. Let’s consider Hoz, I mean Bratz, for example. They’re dolls intended for young girls, and by young I’m referring to ages six through ten. That's apparently not too young to learn the usefulness of full pouty lips, naval parades, “come hither” gazes, and attitudes that rival the salty Samantha Jones. Um, sure. My small girl knows exactly why Mama won’t buy Bratz. And deep inside that little seven year old soul, I think she appreciates what it means to be a child. The first ten years blow by in a fury of onesies, diapers, sippy cups, step-stools, growth charts, picture days, and homework. The dimply hand of a child is soon replaced by the ‘tude of a tetchy teen. And although we adore them no matter their age, but why make the growing up come earlier rather than later? I firmly believe commercialism is responsible for just that. And yes, I understand commercialism is the piston to America’s V8 engine, but there has to be a safe place for them to just be children. A place away from the expectations of perfection and the likelihood of perceived inadequacies. Until we find that safe place that once existed, talking to them is all we have.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

So I'm losing weight.

No big deal right? Nope, this is big people. This is the first time in at least ten years that my weight loss has nothing to do with underhanded starvation and self-loathing. I’ve tried to pinpoint the moment I stopped feeling totally revolted by my reflection and I can’t. I’m crediting this metamorphosis to a series of positive events and a constant cycle of general happiness. When one rides the merry-go-round of self-absorption and narcissism for so long, grabbing that brass ring becomes ever-challenging and sometimes hopeless. Why bother? Why bother making this life better when I’m quite comfy just feeling sorry for myself as I go ‘round and ‘round on this plastic pony? If I do choose to let go of the pole and reach for the ring, will I fall off? Will somebody catch me? What if I miss and I end up looking stupid? It’s so easy to just sit and ride. Something about the devil you already know……

I don’t actually recall grabbing the ring and yelling “gotcha”. Instead I found myself trying to accept this body, feed this body, and let this body be physically loved. I found myself allowing my body to lactate and retain maternal fat stores for the baby I was sustaining. I found myself saying “hot damn size ten is not so bad on this booty”. I found myself trusting my husband when he would literally drool on me and say “hot damn size ten is sexy on that booty”. This series of positive measures led to something shiny and round appearing in my back pocket one day. Maturing, emerging, surmounting depression and anxiety, living the Dr. Phil way of life, whatever. I’m not living the life of an anorexic this day. The inner conflict between disgust and acceptance will always be part of the me organic. It is what I created those many years ago and it won’t ever just Go.Away. It will only become a softer and less reasonable voice whispering in my ear. I still hear her, she never shuts up. And although she can be so convincing, I just have to continue deflating her rationale. As much as we need theme songs, we also need battle mantras to arm us against ourselves. I’m better off without her…I’m better off without her…I’m better off without her…

The Papoose is mostly weaned during his waking hours and my body has progressively set free ten pounds. And I’m still eating food. My body is comfortably wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans and hating myself has nil to do with it.

Now, to lead my beautiful daughter past the room with the monster under the bed…..

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

another letter to the editor sent

What will it take? How many more thousands of lives must be lost for one man’s madness? The Iraqi death toll, although hard to accurately determine, is widely believed to be rapidly approaching 100,000. The Coalition death toll has broken 2,500. How many more billions of hard-earned dollars do you plan on throwing towards this dangerous little game of chess? As it stands today, the current cost of the war is $247,714,285,116. Wow, imagine the enriching programs our public schools could have put that money towards. Imagine how much farther along cancer research could be had that money been allocated to those programs. Imagine how secure our borders and ports could be if that money had been used for training and material. Those Republicans intelligent enough to realize what a staggering disgrace the Bush administration truly is, are either too proud to eat crow or too ashamed to stand up for what is right. As for the Democrats? I’m utterly embittered with their inabilities to grow backbones. For the love of puppies, what is wrong with these people? Why are they not bellowing for the impeachment of Bush? Am I to assume that approval ratings in the low 30’s still aren’t proof enough? Am I to assume that we must wait until Bush’s ratings are lower than Nixon’s before somebody, anybody, takes action? We’re nothing more than a country led by rogue criminals at this point. But of course we can’t forget The War On Terror! Keep ‘em scared, keep ‘em afraid. We’ll protect you and hunt down the baddies, smoke ‘em out of their foxholes. Excuse me while I vomit. You have done no such thing Mr. President. You scared us into war under a guise that concealed your own agenda, you weaseled your way into the spirits of good people with your plain talking, average Joe approach. You feasted on peoples’ fears and created a false sense of security. You’ve broken promises, retracted contracts and bullied your way through the U.N. Why shouldn’t you be impeached Mr. President? What have you done that is worthy of remaining the leader of the free world? *crickets chirping*

I think the 51% who voted for Bush based largely on the pro-life issue are seeing the gravity of their mistake. For the love of sanity I hope so. There’s a bigger picture here folks. Bigger than abortion, bigger than left-wing, right-wing, welfare funding, rising oil prices, environmental preservation, bird flu, and tax cuts. This is a predicament of epic proportions and the first step towards the light at the end of this very dark tunnel is to remove the leader who has apparently lost his map. And his brains.

Listen to your free-thinking minds. Take action.


Funny how that dollar amount seems so unimportant to me today, yet five years ago that would have been the extent of my worth until payday. A few mornings ago I found $8 as I was unloading the dryer. I stashed it on my dresser and promptly forgot about it. I also found a few stray dollar bills in my dirty jeans that I had forgotten about. I’ve got roughly $50 worth of unrolled coins sitting in fish bowls atop my refrigerator. I’ve got enough loose change in my van to buy happy meals for a bunch of screaming monkeys. No, this isn’t a testimony of how much money I have on-hand because we just get by. We have what we need but we get by.

But still.

I think back to the days of single parenthood, overdue rent, no-brand sneakers, hand-me-down clothing, do-it-myself haircuts for my daughter, and late night trips to the grocery store to avoid being recognized as I bought groceries with food stamps. I remember not having enough of those humiliating stamps and I’d have to chose between getting healthier food but less of it or junkier food and more of it. Sometimes those choices are the most gut-wrenching. And just as the twitchy lady in line behind you tsk-tsks your choice, you want to spin around, grab her by her Nordstrom brand blouse and scream “I’m not a welfare bum who likes feeding my child animal crackers, Hi-C, and popcorn but goddamn it the fruit is too expensive! I have to make these stamps last all month okay?!” But I don’t. I just avoid eye contact with everybody, including the pimply faced cashier who has no troubles other than an upcoming algebra exam and I tell myself that I’ll be out of the store in two minutes and the sinking feeling of inadequacy will have passed. I hastily grab my one bag of generic toasty O’s and three packages of apple-flavored sauce. Were it not for the two year old blonde nymph I was carrying on my hip, I would have sprinted out of that store. My one wish for her is that she never feels the shame of parenting without the proper tools. Unless one has worn those shoes, it cannot be understood.

Again, I’m sadly reminded of $8. If I ever had an extra $8 I certainly would never have put it somewhere and forgotten about it. That money would have been all I had for days, weeks even. It makes my stomach turn to think of how closely to the edge of dirt-poorness she and I walked. I was never not worried about how I was going to buy her pretty new clothes that fit properly. I was never not worried about keeping enough gas in my car to get her to daycare and myself to my unremarkable $9/hour job. I was never not anxious about keeping the electric bill low while, at the same time, trying to keep the gusty winter chill from blowing through the crevices of my shoddy window frames.

I shove that freshly laundered $8 in my pocket and cry a little bit. I cry because I’m so thankful to not be in that place anymore. I’m so thankful that she has all the wee trinkets her sweet heart desires. She has fresh fruit and whole wheat. She wears the cool sneakers on her feet and the warmest jacket on her body. She can show off cornrows in her hair or new pink polish on her nails. I can buy her that book if she asks. I say Yes more often than I say No.

And I still have $8 left over.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It hit me.

Last night, as I was dutifully sitting in class, I had somewhat of a revelation. The professor was droning on (unfortunately he’s not the most stirring of teachers) about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and I realized that I’m actively participating in what is considered the most extravagant of human needs. I’m realizing my potential. And yes, I’m tossing around newly understood psychobabble. But the way I figure it, if I don’t apply what I’ve learned to real life, then it’s all for naught. My physical needs are obviously met in overabundance. If ever the desire for material needs strikes me, then I satisfy it without difficulty. My need to belong and feel loved is considerably met. Not only do I share a dynamic partnership with my best friend, but I have three endearing smallish people who call me Mama and smother me with physical affection at every turn. And because I consider my work a valuable contribution to our family dynamic, I earnestly feel achieved. No, clean laundry and homemade meals aren’t rocket science but they are important. If I were to compare them to all other needs, my efforts are the most basic and crucial. My need to understand and explore my world was awakened the moment I found my courage and applied for university. Papoose was on my hip and my nails were securely lodged in my sweaty palms as I inched into the admissions office last December. I felt timid and irrelevant. I felt as though my plane ticket to a big fat career in the sky had long expired and this was all a big joke. And it was being played on me. Pooh on me. Not only did admissions fervently embrace this 29 year old mother into their degree program, but they acquainted me with their utmost flexibility. Hooray! This really is all about me! Providing I keep the bill paid. My need to know has grown into a gluttonous fuzzy monster with an appetite that can’t ever be quenched. This feeling, albeit formerly unknown to me, is beyond gratifying. It’s most nourishing brain-food I’ve ever eaten. And 29? Yeah, that was exactly the right time for me to redeem the plane ticket.

So I was thinking about this little bloggity-blog thing I’ve got going on and the blog itself is somewhat of the realization. I’m writing. I always knew I could write. But what does it really matter when you’re the only one who knows it? Unless you’ve got platinum plated self-esteem, it isn’t always blaringly obvious that you can do something just because. Just because you like it. Just because you’re good at it. Just because you want to. Well here I am. Tippity tapping away on my keyboard. Just because the papoose is asleep and the laundry can wait. Just because I wanted to transform this intangible idea into words. A better way to purge and cleanse my mind escapes me…. I will complete this entry, proofread it, and be on my way. Except not really. I will have fed the fuzzy monster and mortared one more brick onto my fortress of self esteem. Will I ever feel complete with that silly Hierarchy of Needs triangle? No. Not many do. But I have confidence that I will attempt each one with enthusiasm more often than I ever have before.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I'm tapped.

Everyday events and connections usually make for good blog fodder, but I’ve been coming up empty for the past week or so. I can be doing the most menial of tasks like scraping dried prunes off the counter, unloading the dishwasher, or shopping at the evil empire. I might be feeding my brain with the likes of Morning Edition or Lou Dobbs. Or I might just be clipping kid nails or wiping a baby bum. Despite what I fill my days with, I’ve never had trouble forming blog-worthy ideas in my head. Until lately. Maybe I’m over-tired or maybe I’m just overwhelmed with this whole house-selling dealio. Until this brain freeze passes, could somebody call Linda Richmond? I need something to discuss amongst myself.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mama's log 3/9/06

Papoose is apparently fast asleep in his crib. His crib. This curious event has not taken place in months. Mostly because he prefers snoozing either completely attached to my body or while his small, yet beefy feet are jammed into my ribs. This morning the Papa and I reassembled the crib in our bedroom as a desperate attempt to begin the process of removing the papoose from our bed. I can predict with confidence that there will be much protesting and howling at bedtime tonight. But for this short-lived moment, he is in his crib.

Mama’s log 3/10/06

Papoose slept in his crib again last night for five hours. This is cause for much celebration and merriment. We have begun the arduous journey towards sleeping undisturbed through an entire night. I fall down upon my knees and kiss the feet of the Gods of Stretch Marks and Crispy Bras for shining a light at the end of a very sleepless tunnel.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Why should we impeach bush? Well there's this. And of course there's this. Wow. I wonder how hard those 51% are slamming their thick heads against brick walls now? And for the love of puppies and babies, how can we forget how the bastard handled this?

It will be a bittersweet day when bush is declared the worst president in U.S. history. With every part of my being, I know that day will come. And I will have nothing but pity for those who voted for him.

I love winter. I love winter.

Supposedly if you repeat something enough it becomes the truth. Or at least somewhat believable. It’s not working. I don’t love winter. I don’t love biting wind chill, black ice, rising home-heating fuel prices, sopping mittens and jackets, damp smelly boots, static cling, and the dry air inside my house. Even with an air exchange, the indoor air we breathe is bone-dry and leaves our nasal passages as waterless and parched as the trusty catch-all pan covered in burnt cheese. I'm sorry you had to read that. My tight itchy skin drinks in lotion like a point guard glugging gatorade in the fourth quarter of the state final. And my feet? Forget walking barefoot around the house. All the natural oils are drawn out by the carpet, leaving my once well-manicured feet as rough and calloused as goat hooves. I don’t actually have feet in the winter; I have hooves. Again, I apologize for the detailed visual. And don’t get me started on the state of my hair. The poodlesque mop is pleading for humidity. Anything. I’ve all but soaked it in vegetable oil.

Can’t really take long walks along the hilly country road on which I live. Crazy winter drivers and all. Can’t take the wee ones indoor swimming because of the icicles that form on their earlobes and nostrils just from the walk back to the car. Sledding? Yeah okay, we can do that. But the papoose finds his snowsuit insufferable so I usually just watch the fun from the living room window. Snowmobiling? Fun, but because of my freakish tendency to visualize limbs and flesh ripping off in horrific catastrophes, I’m usually unable to relax and savor the ride. *Whine*

I’m exaggerating. It’s just the month of March is such a tease. As water drips from the rooftops to form mocking mirror pools of pseudo-spring, I feel hopeful. And just as I head outdoors to feel the sultry sunlight and listen to the sweet watery orchestra… starts snowing. The effects of being holed-up five months out of twelve are wearing on me. The approaching move five hours south is long-awaited.

Friday, March 03, 2006

For me.

Why do I blog? What is this blog but a cold hard monitor displaying words? Words stored on a server miles from my warm living room. Words that represent an organization of looping thoughts and unfinished ideas. Flashes of inspiration and moments of imagination. Memories that mean little to many and very much to very few. I peel back the layers of my consciousness and open my window so all the little notions, ideas, and thoughts can fly. Fly to other cold hard monitors in warm living rooms. Fly to other mothers struggling with sleep depravation and finicky babies. Fly to young women troubled by the turning of a decade that is marked by an entirely new level of understanding and passion. Fly to other women and let them not feel isolated with their uncertainties and doubts. Everyday we write the next chapter in our life story and although the words on our pages may differ, our books are bound by one commonality; womanhood.

I started this blog in hopes of putting a match to my creative candle. My inspirations had long ago been snuffed out as a result of sparse quiet time. For me, translating thoughts into the written word requires a tranquil uninterrupted hour. At the minimum. Unfortunately I don’t commonly find that here. Between the invigorating household chores (what? you don’t feel totally gratified after scouring smelly toilets and pairing staggering heaps of gym socks?) and trailing behind a lively baby, my writing itch is often suspended. But I’m determined to make the time. When all aspects of my whole person are stirred, I feel healthier, happier, and more confident. Although it’s probable that I’m just brooding about the impending
birthday, I really do feel my maternity is a tad over-stimulated lately. I pledge (to myself) to add more me, not necessarily less mama, just more me. Perhaps I can recapture something that has vanished since the birth of the papoose. Nine months up, nine months down? Body and mind.

Maybe I’ll share it all here, maybe I won’t. But it already feels good.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Baby papoose walked last night.

He took six brave wobbly steps into the outstretched arms of his big sister.

10½ months to create a small spirit so unstoppable, so determined, and absolutely fearless. 10½ months of schlepping through exhaustion and apprehension. 10½ months of giggling my way through first smiles, first teeth, slobbering face plants, and small mushy hugs. I recall those first endless nights at home with the papoose. Not only was I hindered by a wound that would make a grown man blubber for his mommy, I was terrified that because of something I undoubtedly did or didn’t do properly, the baby would stop breathing. My eyes would fly open from a few fleeting minutes of sleep and I would find myself in an outright state of panic. Is he breathing? Am I crushing him? I’d find him sucking on his bottom lip, whimpering and squeaking as he dreamt of the warm dark bubble he once knew. He’s okay. He’s breathing. It’s okay to sleep.

I forgot the constant state of terror new motherhood is accompanied by!

Since giving birth to my last child, I’ve found the following excerpt to ring true:

"A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world.

But the last one: the baby who trails his scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after – oh, that's love by a different name. He is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after he's gone to sleep. If you put him down in the crib he might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock by the window, drinking the light from his skin, breathing his exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on his cheeks. He's the one you can't put down." ~ Barbara Kingsolver in The Poisonwood Bible

March on little one.