20 minutes and counting…

I have 20 minutes between meetings, and I will not spend that checking emails or planning out the rest of my day. No, I will spend it attempting to update you all on my liiiiiiife.

Here’s what’s been going on:

  1. Last weekend I threw a 25 anniversary party for my in-laws. To abbreviate a very long story, Mr. O and I were emotionally blackmailed into throwing this and I did 90% of the work. (Nope. Not bitter. Not one tiny bit.) I spent the last month or so running around picking up decorations, planning the menu, and other logistics. It went off okay (because TRAFFIC meant we got there after everyone else and were setting up while every one stood around watching.) I thought it was nice, and almost all the guests who attended said we did a lovely job. You know who hasn’t said that? MY IN-LAWS. The same in-laws who refused to help with our baby shower. Sometimes they baffle me.
  2. I have stopped pumping at work as of Monday. I tapered like a pro, I think in large part for myself than for Chick. Because I am a weirdo, I brought my pump equipment “just in case”, and it sung its demented siren song on my desk ALL DAY. But I resisted the urge and I now have massive chunks of my day back. Is it strange to say I miss it? Not the pumping (flanges can f*ck themselves!) but I do miss taking time out of my day every day to think about something else, or just breathe. Or binge watch Netflix shows.
  3. Good friends who have been trying to get babied for almost 3 years are pregnant with twins. My heart swells with joy for them. I wonder if this is what healing looks like, as I have felt zero pangs of sadness/envy/any of the other icky feelings I used to feel about pregnancy announcements.
  4. Got into it big time on Facebook about gendered baby clothes. A friend got pissed that the Ghostbusters shirt for boys was just the logo, while the one for girls said “In Training.” #lame Of course, this got me all ranty about how gendered clothes for kids are and I went a little nuts… See,  if you dress a boy in a pink shirt, people get hella uncomfortable. I do think we’ve taken some strides (some tiny teeny strides) at allowing girls to like pink and also dinosaurs. If you put a little boy in something blue with unicorns on it? Wait…. I can’t find boy t-shirts with unicorns on them. As a feminist raising a feminist, this annoys the SHIT out of me because we’re implying that it is okay for little girls to blend being feminine with traditional masculine traits or interests, but boys can’t do the same because being “girly” is bad. Or literally not an option. I don’t mean to imply that the crap going on in the girls clothing departments of America is the same. Systemic sexism is a real thing and it disproportionately impacts women from the day we are born. [shakes angry fists in the air] To combat that, we need to attack this problem from both sides, allowing girls and boys to be brave, kind, and courageous. No one gender should corner the market on those traits. I do worry that my tendency to frame this up as “What Sucks in Little Boys Fashion” takes away from the real bullshit in girls choices. I don’t want to co-opt the conversation, but at the same time I find the challenge of raising a feminist son real and one I wasn’t entirely prepared for.
  5. Chick took his first steps! He is 14 months, and of course I was just starting to worry that his relative lack of mobility meant *something.* As usual, he took his first tiny leap forward just as I was about to google. Chick still prefers crawling since it is a lot faster, but still… he is on his way. I revel in watching him grow and learn new things. It’s like magic or something.

And like that, my 20 minutes are up. The whirlwind of life continues.

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POEM: Everything is Waiting for You

When I was a teenager, I wrote copious amounts of bad poetry.

When I was a young adult, I read fair quantities of wonderful poetry.

As parent, I hardly have time to wash my face.

Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised listening to a podcast on my commute this morning where poet David Whyte read “Everything is Waiting for You.”

Years of infertility and the loss of my mom made me feel so intensely alone. This poem is a beautiful reminder of how not alone we all are, if we chose to live with intent.

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

— David Whyte
from Everything is Waiting for You
©2003 Many Rivers Press

6 Months FTW!

First, I’m sucking at blogging right now. Sorry it has been awhile. I have three posts I’ve been incrementally working on but never fully satisfied with. Someday, I may even publish them.

I’m sucking less at life, however, and this strikes me as more important. On the good news front:

  • Chick went to his 6 month check up and was a dream (More on that later.)
  • Grumpy Cat is using litter once more, after a lot of intervention. It’s a mess, but at least it is a mess in a box.
  • We finally agreed on who to make Chick’s guardian should tragedy strike– and said person accepted. Now we just need to make that final and legal and shit. 

So, yes… I’ve been busy. But now on to the stuff you’re actually interested in.

We took Chick to his 6 month checkup yesterday and by all accounts he is doing wonderfully. From the tiny peanut who arrived in July, he is now in the 64% for head circumference, 50% for height, and 26% for weight. This last one is a huge improvement– he was just at 10% at his last checkup in November. As his pediatrician flipped him on his belly, Chick struck the “perfect 6 month pose”, holding his head up with a big, drooly grin.

He had his vaccinations, which I’m no fan of. Scratch that- I’m fine with vaccinations, I’m just a complete wimp when my child gets them. I’m not sure who cries more. He was mostly okay with them this time around, except he had a huge, fussy, crying fit going to bed. The only thing that calmed him was a snuggle and some booby time. Then he passed out from sheer exhaustion.

Chick is an amazing little being. He is rolling over, standing (assisted, mind you) and just starting to sit up on his own. He is even learning to turn pages of books, proving that he is actually my child even if he doesn’t look like me one bit.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reintroducing milk and soy to my diet to fantastic results. No bloody stool. No puking. So I’m mowing down chocolate and butter like it’s 1999.

I think we’ll start solids this week. I was getting all “To Baby Led Wean or not to Baby Led Wean,” when Chick’s pedi told me to calm down and do whatever I wanted. In her mind, now is about introducing flavors and textures. Don’t over think it. And so I’m not going to BLW. Long story, but since Chick tends to be a smidge delayed (thanks to his premie-ness) I’d rather feed him ourselves.

6 months is also a milestone for me. I’m still breastfeeding like a boss! What people don’t tell you is that breastfeeding is a huge ass commitment. I’ve calculated that it takes 2.5 hours out of my day every day (on the days he is at daycare.) Not to mention I have to make sure I’m eating and drinking enough, taking my prenatals, blah, blah, blah… When will the world realize that feeding a human being is a lot of motherf*cking work! So breaking it into 3 month increments felt less daunting. I’ve decided to re-up until he is 9 months, and see how I feel from there.

As every parent has said at one point, I can’t believe how quickly these months have passed. I’ve loved watching Chick learn, helping him grow, and seeing the world new through his eyes.

It’s some trippy shit, I tell ya…

A More Perfect Union, Indeed

I know I owe you all a much longer update, which I’m hoping to get to this weekend. In the meantime, join me in being overjoyed by today’s Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the right to same-sex marriage.

Love– no matter where you find it– is a beautiful thing.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. –Justice Anthony M. Kennedy

Bed Rest, Day Two

Maybe bed rest is like vacation… At first, it’s hard to settle in to this new pace. Then you just give in and start to enjoy yourself.

Okay, perhaps “enjoying this” is stretching things a bit too far. However, I will say that Day Two of Bed Rest Fest was easier than Day One.

The odd thing about being on BR (and being a complete nut job) is that you’re alone with your own body. I had nothing to do but pay attention to every little movement and twinge. As there have been no twinges, I’ve really only been focusing on Chick’s movement. Um… ladies and gents… Now that I am paying attention, I sorta love it.

I’ve had a hard time connecting with being pregnant. Part of it is that being present in my life has been a challenge, given all the emotional turmoil I’ve experienced over the last few months. Part of it, I now realize, is that I didn’t want to get too attached because what if something happened and I miscarried? So I’d just let Chick do Chick, and I’d do me.

Obviously, this is a hard separation to maintain when someone is literally growing in your body. Bed Rest, Day Two has just made me sink into being pregnant. I had a low point when I could feel Chick kicking and thought “Please don’t go anywhere yet. We’re just getting to know each other.” I cried a little because I realize now I’m not ready to be not pregnant. Not quite yet, anyway. I played sad sappy “Don’t Leave Me” music to Chick. We’ll see if emotional manipulation works in utero.

Bed Rest Fest 2015!

Bed Rest Fest 2015!

In happier news, I’ve been able to work from home. This is good to a degree– it gives me something to focus on besides whether or not my baby is about to fall out my whoooha. At the same time, it is also a little frustrating because I’m watching this big project of mine progress from afar. Back story: I was supposed to present it to the team this week and get the ball rolling on the actual work. In my absence, my boss is doing this. Very nice of him, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I worked so flipping hard to get this project where it is, I wish I could be the one barking orders on the floor. As is, I feel one step behind all the time.

In other news, Mr. O is a saint. What he is fielding right now is pretty amazing. As I’m hanging out in bed with our cat and a laptop, he is arranging to buy a new-ish car. Through our mechanic, we’re getting a used one at auction (hopefully today!) and this has meant a lot of back and forth, comparing the cars available, wire transfers, and the rest. Love my husband though I do, he always gets anxious about making big decisions like this and he has had to do a lot of it on the fly and mostly on his own. Definitely outside his comfort zone, and I’ll say he is handling it pretty well.

So if all goes well, I’ll have a new car and no new baby by the end of the day. Fingers and legs crossed.

‘S Wonderful

I have been treading water since my mom died. There was sort of a tacit agreement between me and Mr. O that we had to get through the memorial and the funeral mass (which were a month apart) before we could really start thinking in the future tense.

The last few months have been perpetually interrupted by trips to visit my family. If I am being very honest, I do this to be supportive of them. It has little to do with me, which is okay (in theory.) The truth is that there isn’t a lot of room for me there– room for what I’m feeling, what I’m going through, the very basic fact that I’m currently building a human. The collective grief is too big, and there is almost an expectation that I will be there to protect and to serve, and that’s about it.

Every time I return from a trip to my family, I need to spend the next several days in an emotional coma. If possible, I would sequester myself in a yurt and not talk to anyone. But alas, I am expected to be a functioning adult so I do my best.

All of this has made baby planning really difficult. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but there is a SHIT TON I don’t know about babies. Having them, rearing them, daycaring them… But I was putting off thinking about all that because… well, I just couldn’t handle it.

With everything that has happened in the last few months, I’ve found it hard to be happy about being pregnant. To be clear, being “happy” about anything has just felt awkward. I’ve felt numb, raw, sad, and angry.  Happy? Meh… That has not been in my emotional repertoire.

Now that all the formal grieving is over and I’m not expected to hop on a plane every other week, I have the mental space to think about what’s happening. On Friday night, I was sitting on the couch and just spontaneously started to cry. These were not happy tears or sad tears. They were “Grasping the Enormity” tears. I am having a BABY. A BABY. From this point on, I’m responsible for another person besides myself. Though I wouldn’t say that this made me happy, it did feel good.

The next day, Mr. O and I went to get our hair did. He needed a trim and I dyed my hair. (Blue. Yes, I dyed my hair blue and I realize this probably has something to do with my feelings of mortality, loss of control, assertion of self, blah, blah blah… Whatever. I dyed my hair blue, and now I look and feel like Wonder Woman. But this isn’t the point.)

As I was sitting waiting for the dye to set, Mr. O popped out to run an errand which turned out to be going to one of our favorite bakeries. When we got home, he showed me what he’d got: a small cake with “Little Chick” written on it.

It was the first moment of true celebration that we’ve shared over our pregnancy. And it felt wonderful.