Friday, January 30, 2009

To cut or not to cut, the very uncontroversial version

I have had a little touch of the grouchies. Not sure why, and there is always a reason why. I'm just not really interested in figuring out what it is right now.

Instead, I contemplate my hair. Which is long. And boring. And a pain in the arse to deal with. It's long and really really thick. I mean really thick. It wants to be curly, and parts of it are incredibly curly. Like tight corkscrew curls. Unfortunately, the top layer is just a little wavy, so it doesn't match. That leaves me to straighten it most of the time, and that takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

I just don't have that kind of time or patience anymore.

Plus, I don't want to be that forty-something year old woman who still has long hair because
a) She's always had long hair.
b) She can't think of anything else to do with it.
c) She thinks it makes her look younger.
d) No one has told her that it makes her look way older.

Of course I have awhile to go before I'm forty-something. But I have that itch anyway. The cut the hair itch. It grows back, right?

I'm open for suggestions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Keeping Up

I've been able to keep up with Marty and know that she had a baby. Her ex-husband realized that everything was for the best when he heard about it.

I can't quote that. It's a second hand conversation that a former friend had with a current friend of mine, and I don't even remember exactly what she told me. But that line keeps playing through my head in one form or another.

This person, a person who violently ejected himself from my life, is able to keep up with me. I don't know how. I don't know why. I do wish that he wouldn't. I do wish that he cared as little about me and what is going on in my life as I do about him and what is going on in his life. When you rip apart a relationship the way he did, you move on.

At least I do.

He is friends with my ex. Hence the information that the birth of my child gave my ex some sort of cosmic peace about our divorce. I'm so thrilled. Good for him.

This is, of course, the same man who announced to me after years of dicking around with no career but plenty of school loans - and I can quote this one, because I will never forget it - "Someone should just give me a job."

His lack of follow through, his inability to live up to promises made, his stagnant lifestyle, all of these things were things he could control. Things he could have changed. Things he could have grown out of. Instead, he is choosing to find peace in our divorce because he is sterile and now I have a child.

Whatever helps him sleep at night.

However, I am in no mood to sit back and just let him be the victim anymore. He got a bum lot in life, not being able to have kids. I signed on for that bum lot with eyes open. We agreed that we wanted a family. Adoption is hard and costly and impossible when one of you quits their job and "goes back to school" right when you finish the application.

His choices, made long before I left him, should give him peace about the divorce. Not having to live with me anymore, as I had become a very unhappy, very mean person, should give him peace about the divorce. Being given a "get out of jail free" card to officially renig on every promise he made and couldn't keep should give him peace.

I will never understand why people wallow in the past the way they do. I guess I do it too in some ways. I mourn friendships that have played out. I get disappointed when people I trusted let me down.

But I don't seek out the people who have hurt me. I don't Google them. I don't continue following their lives. I have a switch that I can turn, and I simply don't care anymore. I'm not sure that's a good thing. It's most certainly a survival tactic. For someone whose feelings get hurt as easily as mine do, it's a must. Mend the wound and prevent it from being reopened.

Besides, how smart is it to continue to immerse yourself in the life of someone who you know doesn't care about you? It's not smart at all. It's stupid to continue to watch from the sidelines, whether you are watching to see them fail, watching wistfully, or watching out of some sick curiosity. It's only hurting yourself.

Someone, more than one person actually, sent me the link to my ex-husband's blog. It's easy to find if you know the name of the band we had back in Mississippi. I don't go there though. It's his space, and I made a very clear legal decision that I don't wish to share space with him anymore. In theory, I wish him well and hope he's alright. In reality, I barely remember him.

And the people who used to be friends? Those wounds have lost their scabs and earned their scars. I don't wonder about them. I don't ask about them. It's done. I consider myself cleansed of some nasty toxic relationships.

Yet they still "keep up." Amazing. I am so not that interesting. Really.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Little Bird Turns One

Last night, I was rocking and nursing Little Bird to sleep, thinking about where we were at that time one year ago. It was still several hours from when we would meet, and both of us were already exhausted. It was his due date, but not his birth date. That came today. Looking down at him, I couldn't believe that it only took one year for him to change so much.

Where the little baby used to be, a little boy has moved in, and I love him.

There are so many new things. I can't keep up with them all. Last week he started walking. He figured out that the telephone was to talk into, and now he can't get enough of it. He plays with his rhythm instruments in perfect time. He repeats back more of what we say to him in such perfect mimicry that it's already making me clean up my language. His nana will thank him for that one.

By far though, the most wonderful thing he has learned is how to hug. I don't know when he learned it or from whom. However, that makes it all the better. No one was intentionally teaching him how to hug, but obviously he was getting plenty of them because now he is a virtual hugging machine.

At his birthday party on Saturday, he leaned over and spontaneously hugged Little A, my friend T's seven year old. He frequently leans out of my arms to hug his big sister, Mallory, or his daddy. Today, instead of waving good bye to his Papa, he hugged him. He hugs the dogs. He hugs his stuffed animals.

He hugs his mama. And I melt into a puddle of happy mama tears.

This little baby. This little boy. This little person. He is so becoming himself, and what I see him becoming is a very sweet and loving child. Nothing could make me prouder.

Happy birthday, Little Bird. Your mama loves you more than you know.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Sleep Wall

I have hit the sleep wall. Something is up with Little Bird, and the sleep is not there.

After three nights of newborn like not with the sleeping, I was completely on edge Wednesday. My voice was drowning in the exhaustion I had been wading through the first part of the week.

The problem is, once I get that tired, it's harder and harder to fall asleep. My head hits the pillow and all I can do is think about how if I go to sleep the baby is going to wake up in five minutes. I lay in the bed thinking that it would just be easier to stay awake.

So I do. I am awake. Staring. Breathing. Anxious. Wiped out. When I do drift away, I find myself locked in dreams playing out my nervousness in made up battles from places in my brain I never visit.

Pills to sleep make me feel squishy inside. I don't like them, but I've swallowed them like a good girl. And now I pray for sleep. For me and my Little Bird.

After all, we have a birthday party to throw for a sweet little boy who turns 363 days old tomorrow. There will be pictures, and I also have pictures of him as a Little Snow Bird. Soon. After sleep.

Nighty night.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 - The Year of the Mom

Most days, I still forget to think of myself as a mom. Little Bird is almost one now, and a lot of times it still amazes me that I'm "Mama" to someone.

I'm not a woman who feels like she has lost her identity after becoming a mother. It's quite the opposite really.

I feel like I've finally found myself.

Yesterday I went to get a haircut. The first one since July. My poor Trish. I might be solely responsible for any economic downturn in my life. I was a regular cut, color, wax on her schedule. Now Kevin colors my hair on a Saturday night after Christopher is asleep for the night, and my hair is just, well, just long. Nothing fancy. Just ridiculously long.

Anyway, I walked into the salon in a sweatshirt and a ponytail. I hadn't even brushed my hair through in 2 days, but not because I don't care how I look. Actually, I burned the crap out of my head with the flat iron last Sunday and the quarter sized blister I left on my scalp was still healing. Trish saw me and I knew what she was thinking.

I struck a pose about five feet from her and said, "I know. I'm sexaaaaaaay."

She laughed and said, "You never imagined yourself like this, did you?"

I laughed too, and shook my head. No, I didn't. My old job required me to look like I made more money than I did (gotta love running a non-profit), so I at the very least needed to look put together. Granted, I was also working with kids, so there was a little leeway, but still. When you are asking for money all the time, the rule is, you need to look like you already have it.

I digress. As usual. Do you ever get to the middle of your post and ask yourself, "What in the world was I writing about?" That's where I am. I've got to go back and read. Hold on.

Right then. The Year of the Mom.

My resolution is probably different than a lot of other moms. I would actually like to learn how to do more as a mother. I have the 'me' thing down pat. I did the 'me' thing for 34 years, 11 months before Little Bird got here. That's a lot of 'me.' Even I don't need that much 'me.'

I don't long for afternoons away from my child so I can do all of the things I used to do. Manicures and pedicures aren't in the budget anymore anyway, so I can just punt that. What I long for are afternoons where I feel like I've taught my child something. I want to find all of the age appropriate outings in our hometown and do them. Go places. See things. Have fun. Learn all there is to learn.

I've always had a healthy competitive edge to me. Mostly, I'm competitive with myself - wanting to do the absolute best job that I can. Be better at whatever I'm doing than anyone else could be. Maybe that's a little of where my resolution comes from. Wanting to be the best mom I possibly can be.

It's also possible though, that I've had a lot of gigs, and this is - by far - the best gig ever.

If 2009 is the Year of the Mom, then I think it's going to be my favorite year yet.

This post is part of a blast with Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored where you can find a list of links to other mama resolutions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's as simple as this

There's nothing like losing a baby to make you want another one as of yesterday. It's amazing how it triggers my most primal maternal drives. Must. Get. Pregnant.

Bah. Can't fight time or Mother Nature. It will happen when it happens. I told a dear friend of mine that my only resolution this year was to chill the hell out. Just chill.

A friend asked me on Monday if I thought is was really more of a chemical pregnancy. I didn't respond, even though I don't think the question was meant to be insensitive. I think it was just a question. But it struck me. It immediately made me think of how women rate their losses almost like a competition. Like a loss at 12 weeks is more devastating than a loss at 5 weeks. A stillbirth is far more worthy of sorrow than a D&C at 10 weeks.

In a way, I don't disagree. However, it's not really about the weight of the loss. It's about the woman's reaction to the loss. I think two different women can have an equal reaction to two completely different situations. And that woman who lost her baby at 8 weeks has just as much right and room to grieve as much as any other woman who has suffered what some deem a "greater" loss.

I know that it is easier for me this time. I know that I will move on much faster than I did before. I know that there is another child for us, and I know that we can get pregnant, and that I can successfully carry and deliver a baby. These things are a comfort.

The fact of the matter is this. It didn't matter if it was a chemical pregnancy, a blighted ovum, an early miscarriage, or whatever. We didn't care. We were told we were pregnant. By sticks and by pricks. To us, that meant another baby on the way. We got excited, and we got let down. It's really that simple.

The nurse did call Monday afternoon and told me that the blood test was positive and then congratulated me. I cleared my throat and explained what was happening. She talked to the doctor who didn't feel the need to see me. Just ride it out, test again next week to make sure the HCG was gone (which it is, I can totally tell), and treat this like a nasty mean period.

So we move on. There's still time for another baby in 2009.

Thank you for all the kind words. I know that is another reason that this is easier. Support from amazing friends. I really appreciate it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Just as quickly as it came

I was still so disbelieving last Friday that I had seen those two lines on a positive pregnancy test that I called the doctor. Went in for a blood test. I'm waiting on the results this morning although I know what they will say.

They will say that I was pregnant. Was.

Just as quickly as the news came and I got used to the idea of 2 under 2, just as quickly, I have to get used to the idea of it not happening.

The bleeding started last night. I woke up cramping in the middle of the night, and by this morning, my body hit full on "get it all out" mode. There isn't anything pleasant about it. It's one big painful bloody mess.

Over the weekend, we told people in real life. This idea of waiting to tell people just in case something happens? I'm over that. I don't know why we aren't supposed to tell about a baby until we are "sure it's going to stick." I don't know why miscarriage is a secret, dirty word. It happens to lots of us.

My guess is that it makes other people uncomfortable. My pain will make some people flinch. And truth be told, it is uncomfortable for me to be so open in real life. To stand in front of someone and be nakedly hurting isn't fun. It is slightly more comfortable than hiding it though.

So I stand naked. Three pregnancies. Two miscarriages. One baby. My reproductive history so far.

Just so far.

It is different this time. It is easier. For one, I knew it was possible. My first miscarriage took me so much by surprise that the first week thereafter was spent dealing with the shock. For two, Little Bird is here and particularly cuddly today. For three, no D&C. For four, I haven't spent seven more weeks preparing and planning - this is so early. So it's easier.

Easier doesn't mean less disappointed. It doesn't mean less sad. It does mean that I know how to handle the sad much better this time. It does mean that I'm not going to tail spin into a therapy inducing depression. But it doesn't mean I loved this one any less.

Mama to one. Stepmama to one. That is what the world sees.

We know though, that there are now four I hold in my heart.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In case you aren't following me on Twitter . . .

Leave it to me to need to eat my words more quickly than I can even swallow.

Remember this post?

And this one?

Well I had better get over myself, and fast. I had better find that baby love again, and I had better get used to sharing my time with more than just Christopher.

There's another egg in the nest where Little Bird was. A bun in the oven. Knocked up. With child. A Littler Bird. Whatever you want to call it.

I wasn't going to mention it, because you know, what if something happens? Then Kevin reminded me that if something happens, I'm going to want to talk about it, and not pretend like it didn't. So, here I am.

All pregnant and pausing.

I didn't run and grab the camera when the second line appeared this time. I didn't go jump into bed with Kevin and bounce him awake with the glorious news. I didn't celebrate right away. One day, I might feel guilty for that.

Instead, I peed on a stick and left it to go get Little Bird up and in a clean diaper. I sang the "Good Morning" song to him and cuddled the sweet spot on the back of his head that I love so much. I thought about it just being the two of us. I thought about nursing him. I thought about how not ready to wean he is.

Then I carried my little boy back into the bathroom where I found two lines. Faint, but there. Two of them. And I cried.

For some reason, my first reaction was that I was robbing Christopher of some of his babyhood. I immediately felt like it wasn't fair for him to have to share me while he was still so young. I was and am scared that this will terminate our nursing relationship before he is ready (although I've since picked up a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing and feel better about that).

Now that I have had a couple of days to process though, I realize that this next baby will always have to share me. He won't get any "just him" time. And Christopher? He is so little that he won't remember having me to himself - unless you count subconsciously, which my mother pointed out he would always subconsciously remember. I'm ignoring that for now.

Now that I've processed a little more, I realize that Little Bird and Littler Bird stand a good chance of being really good friends. I realize that we have decreased the number of years in diapers here. I realize that it's all going to be alright.

We wanted another one, and neither one of us is getting any younger. We obviously weren't preventing another one, excepting that I was counting and had been fairly regular until last month. I don't really care for the term "surprise baby." He isn't a surprise, just his timing is.

He is wanted and loved. Now or whenever.

And with that, I may have to go puke.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bring on the Birthday

The house is in that state of upheaval on its way to order. I hate that state. There is a Christmas tub in every room, waiting for me to finish putting away a million Santas and only half the trees I usually have up. Usually it's all packed up in a day with the only sign of Christmas being the poinsettias I try to keep alive as long as possible and the dishes I pass off as "Winter dishes" instead of "Christmas dishes."

It doesn't matter though. Little Bird has another cold, and I spent most of the day wiping his little nose, chasing him down to wipe his little nose, and trying like crazy to get him to nap. At all. Ever. Even just for a minute.

It should be coming, you know. That post that mommybloggers write about how they can't believe their baby is almost ONE. Where did the year go? What happened to my little baby? I am sure I will write it at some point in some form.

Honestly though? I'm relieved Little Bird is slipping out of babydom.

Babies are hard. And often not fun. They are needy and demanding. They are exhausting.

I am not a mother who loves babies. In general.

I don't get all fluttery when I see a newborn, and my ovaries don't ache when I hold a beautiful baby. I did love being pregnant, and I didn't even mind childbirth (although Kevin says I have just forgotten the hell that was 2 days of labor).

But babies.

Thank God they grow up.

Christopher is fascinating to me. He always has been. I did have those days where I would stare at his tiny, wrinkly, squirming body with awe, wonder, and unfathomable love. But would I trade a day of watching my little man learn to reason and communicate for a day of mustard poop just so I could have some extra cuddles?

Not a chance.

Bring on the birthday. I'm looking forward to words, steps, and even the very real possibility of a strong will and firey temper. Both of which he most certainly got from his father. Because I am an angel.

And this time next year? When I've chased Christopher up and down the stairs 18 times and haven't finished a load of laundry (Go ahead and click. I love that post!) at one time in 4 months? I might reconsider.

But for now I'm really looking forward to being the mama of a toddler.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Poop from Beyond

I can't believe 2009 is here. It's the first year I finally feel grounded in a long time. Little Bird is here. Kevin has a job that he loves. Mallory is safely navigating her way through middle school. It feels like I finally might be able to move forward on some of my own goals that have been on the back burner. Songs. CD's. Music that has been playing in my head for only me.

That made me sound a little crazy. Which is probably pretty accurate.

We picked up the two big dummies from the kennel today. Aja, the English Setter, was aloof as usual. She had been given a bath today and was much more interested in being admired than she was showing us any hint that she had missed us.

Gibson, on the other hand, was a bouncing 90 pound bundle of nervous joy. Kevin said that when they removed his collar at the kennel last week, Gibson leaned into his leg and looked up as if to ask, "What did I do? I promise to be good." It was just a little over a year ago that we adopted him from the Wilson County Animal Shelter. A big beautiful Chocolate Lab, just sitting in a cage with no family. I might have been 36 weeks pregnant, but I didn't even consider saying "no" when Kevin suggested that Gibson come home with us.

The Setter has been Mallory's dog since the day they met. She loves that little girl. Or, perhaps she loves the little girl's bed. Either way, when Mallory comes home to us, the Setter actually gets off the couch to greet her. That's way more than me or Kevin ever get from her.

Gibson is Kevin's dog, although I'm working on staking a claim now too. For the first couple of months he lived with us, he would lay at the front door and whine when Kevin would leave for work. He has some pretty severe separation anxiety issues that we have finally worked through, but I still called the kennel multiple times to check on him while we were gone.

Chelsea, my sweet girl, was of course my dog. For 14 years, she and I were completely inseparable. This Christmas, there were so many times when I looked for her. I couldn't be in the kitchen without looking down to see if Chelsea just "cleaned the floor" for me. The stocking for the pups was missing the annual pink spikey football toy that I always found for Chelsea. It was all just a little sad for me.

Today, we were taking down the tree in the dining room. If just for a moment, my Chelsea was right back with me. For in the corner of the dining room, behind the tree, where only Chelsea could have squeezed, was a little pile of dried up dog poop.

I wasn't sure if I should be completely grossed out or so very sad that I would never clean up after Chelsea ever again. So I cried as I picked up the pile of shit.

That's my girl. Sending little gifts from beyond, just to let me know she's alright. Or, I suppose you could just look at it as a pile of petrified poo. Poo from across the Rainbow Bridge.

Someone is going to think this is funny with me. At least one person. I hope.