The Texture Of Things

Just putting this here for some balance against the last post

July 24th, 2008

Just so there’s no unnecessary concern that all my dreams are so heavy, let me briefly share this one here, and then I’m done with pregnancy-dream talk.

I dreamt that I was volunteering at a zoo. I had to help feed animals and make sure every animal was where it was supposed to be. In this process, I was bitten by a powder-blue duck that did not want to be taken out of its crate and later saw another volunteer (who had also been bitten by that duck but – unlike me – whined about it and cried even though the bites left no marks) fall into the penguin and piranha pool.

Yes, the penguin and piranha pool.

No, there were no walls to separate the walkway and the open water. In fact, you had to be careful as you walked through the exhibit because penguins would be out and walking about.

And what was weird in this dream is that as I walked by the penguin and piranha pool, I passed the zoo owner giving a tour to visitors and teaching them about penguins. It was Donald Trump.

The end.

Dos: A Dream of Things to Come

July 18th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

I’ve been trying to sit and write a couple of other posts, but they are all being blocked. This post is something I need to write in order to unblock the other things I want to write.

I don’t think I’ve ever written about a dream I have had, so this will be a first, and probably a last. Generally, dreams are only interesting to the person who dreamt it and her/his therapist. This is likely true here as well.

Also, as a heads up, if you are sensitive to images of death, dying, and/or suicide, please come back another day. Thanks.


In my dream, I am heavily pregnant with Dos. “The time” is drawing near, and HG and I know it. We are trying to ready everything, and we are mostly there except for one thing only I can do: I must kill myself.

To complete this task, I have to prepare some things. The method, hanging, requires a rope, a good place to drop, and – this is of utmost importance – secure privacy. The person to find me must be HG because he’s the only one I trust. Under no circumstances do I want the tot to find me. The idea of her stumbling in on me, in fact, terrifies me and saddens me. I simply do not want her to know about this because I don’t want to scare her, I don’t want to hurt her, and I don’t know how to answer the questions she’d naturally have if she discovered me. So, I cannot prepare for this monumental step because every time I start to get my things together, in bounds my little girl, all hugs and I-love-yous and blissful ignorance.

At one point, I’m kneeling on the floor in our front room (in the dream, we live in a house completely constructed in my unconscious; it bears no resemblance to any house I’ve ever been in), and as I’m getting out the rope to tie the noose, the tot runs in, giggling. She’s having a marvelous time doing something, and she’s taken a break to come hug me and get a snuggle. HG is in the room with me, and as the tot runs in, I return the rope to a hiding place (under the floorboard, maybe? or under the green rug? not sure). He and I make eye contact. We both know what I must do and we both want to protect the tot from it. It is heavy in our hearts, to be torn between doing what we must and doing what we feel is right.

It is a bittersweet place to be, wanting to hold on to the present yet being compelled to move forward. Both are good places, good lives – even within my dream, I know this – it is just the transition that is scary and hard.


Of course it is all symbolic, but it is also all true. In order to be the new person I must be (mother to child numero dos), I must shed my current identity. I cannot be both. I cannot be a wife to HG and a mother to only the tot and simultaneously be a wife to HG and a mother of two, just like when the tot was born, I could no longer be only a wife but not a mother. To pretend such a thing is broken and dysfunctional. No, I had to kill my current self and create a new self on the other side of the birth of Dos.

What’s different this time around is that I know it. When I had the tot, the transformation was hard because although I knew I would change, I had no idea going in how I would change nor how deep the change would go. We aren’t talking exfoliation here; we’re talking skinning oneself alive (while sleep deprived) and growing new skin to cover the exposed nerve endings. Both the process and the product are powerful, to be sure, but is it something I can do in front of my small child? I feel uncertain.

I have to do it, but I know I don’t want to. Back when I was fighting some wicked-ass morning-day-sickness, I was terrified, horrified at the thought of puking in front of the tot. Once you start puking, you’re kind of at the mercy of your body. If I was alone with her in the house, who would be with her while I could not? How on earth would I explain, comfort, answer questions for this tot, so sensitive to outbursts that a hard scolding in response to stalling at bedtime results in a cryfest? It was too hard for me, yet what I’m about to do to her will be so much harder, and the truth is, I cannot avoid it. I think I even knew this in my dream, and that is what has been whispering itself in my ear since that night.

Perhaps reminding me is my brain’s response to what I have been doing to get ready. I’ve accumulated diapers, coupons, clothes. I’ve cleaned out a room and watched HG paint it. I’ve helped the tot move in to her big-girl room and sort through what toys she wants to share with the baby and which ones are hers alone. I’ve made registries. I’ve made lists. I’ve begun to pack a hospital bag and to wonder if I should actually write a birth plan or if I can ask HG to be responsible for communicating it to the hospital staff.* I’ve cleaned out chunks of basement and made piles for donations and itemized the contents for next year’s taxes. I’m waiting impatiently for the tot’s new dresser to come so I can reclaim her current one for the baby and start loading it. I’ve washed receiving blankets and located the car seats. HG and I have looked for ways to include the tot and make her feel like this big change is something she’s a part of. We’ve reminded her of how she was as a baby and of what babies do and can’t do, especially when they first come home.

But what we haven’t done is talk, really talk, about the hard stuff. HG and I are bracing for the sleep deprivation but we don’t have a plan for dealing with it. For instance, I’m not sure at this moment where the baby will sleep or where I’ll sleep. Not sure if this is denial or realism. I can rationalize it by saying that it’s foolish to buy a co-sleeper if the baby doesn’t need the presence of my body to sleep, so we’ll just wait and see what we need when the time comes. At the same time, that is short-sighted. Sure, we have a crib, but the tot didn’t sleep in it until she was almost 6 months old. By not having a safety net in place, I could be setting myself up for disaster. Or struggle, at the least.

And the tot? The tot has no idea. She knows I’ll be going to the hospital to have the baby, but she doesn’t know what will happen during that time. Maybe we should make a plan for what to do with her while I’m in the hospital? She knows babies cry a lot, but she doesn’t know what that means or what that will be like. Maybe we should help her make a plan for what to do when the baby wakes her up in the night? She knows the baby will need a lot of help, but she doesn’t know how it will affect her life. She doesn’t know what it means that we’ll have to hold the baby ALL THE TIME or that the baby will need to eat ALL THE TIME or that the baby might cry ALL THE TIME. Will she know how to get her needs filled when HG and I are so consumed with fulfilling the needs of a baby? Maybe we should help her make that plan, too.

Some time back, Moxie asked (basically) if dealing with new baby struggles was harder the first time or the second time around. In other words, is it easier when you don’t know what’s coming, so you just roll with it? Or is it easier when you know, at least in one case, what it took to get through the rough patch? Commenters were split, and I understand why now. Both are hard, just differently hard.


Since the dream, I am trying to embrace the transformation. I am trying to own it by telling myself that I get to make my self over – no one else has the power to do it but me. It’ll be sucky hard, but if I can do it myself, I can make my self in the image of how I want it to be, not how others desire it. This, if I can do it openly and honestly, could be a powerful lesson for the tot.


If I hadn’t made me, I would’ve been made somehow..
If I hadn’t assembled myself, I’d have fallen apart by now…

You should make amends with you,
If only for better health.
But if you really want to live,
Why not try, and make yourself?
Incubus “Make Yourself”


*For the record, here is my birth plan. It’s a rough draft.

Plan: repeat c-section. Desired outcome: live mama, live baby. Extra goodness/ Ideal outcome: healthy mama, healthy baby.

Long Memory

July 11th, 2008

As I read Hedra’s recent post, I was reminded of something. It wasn’t the main point of the post at all – far from it – but her mention of her son remembering a hurt, a broken promise, from two years ago made me remember something the tot told me a month ago.

We were driving to see my mom in the hospital. It was a week or so before the tot’s birthday. I knew at this point that there would be no big family/friend birthday party for the tot because the logistics of it were just too difficult with my mom in the hospital for an indefinite stay. (Turns out it was short, but we couldn’t predict at that point.) I rationalized that hey, she’s four. She had a big party last year for her third birthday where we rented a pony party place owned by the family of a friend of mine. She doesn’t need a big party every year, especially with a sibling on the way. How on earth would we afford that for two kids, let alone just one? So, I chose to let her daycare caregiver have a little lunch party for her at day care on the day after her birthday.

FWIW, even in hindsight, I think this was the right choice, and that’s saying something for me. I often overthink, rethink, and regret the way my choices played out. It’s the doubter and the perfectionist in me. But this worked. She had fun, she had several friends with her, she got presents, and she had a regular “Happy Birthday” cake, song, and dance. She had the birthday experience.

But I’m skipping ahead. What I was reminded of came before the party.

We were driving to the hospital and we were talking about the party, which would take place the following week. I had been telling her about it, narrative style, so she’d know what to expect. “On Thursday, the day after your birthday, you’re going to go to L’s.”

“And I’m gonna have a party?”

“Right. You’ll get there, and you’ll hang out with your buddies, and –”

“And I’ll get presents?”

“–and your party will be at lunch time. I don’t know what you’ll do first. Maybe you’ll have some lunch –”

“And cupcakes!”

“– and cupcakes, and they’ll sing you ‘Happy Birthday’ –”

“Ooh! Can I wear my tiara?”

“Absolutely you get to wear the birthday tiara!”

“And I’ll get presents!”

“There might be some presents for you. It is entirely possible.”

And there was much smiling and happy wiggly dancing from the booster in the back seat.

She got quiet for a second and then she said, “When I was at my party and there was a pony there and I felled off.”

What happened in my head went a little like this:

Uncertainty: What? [Replaying the sounds in my head. I hear Matter of Fact, not Distress.]
Fact-check: She’s right!
Realization: Holy crap, she remembers falling off the pony at last year’s birthday party, when she was THREE.


“That’s right, tot. You did. Do you remember what else happened?”

Work the narrative, work the narrative.

“I had a party and there was a pony and I felled off.”

It was all I could get from her, but I had the hunch she remembered more than that, so I offered up some narrative to see if she’d fill in any gaps.

“You had a party at K’s grandma’s farm and everyone got to ride on a pony.”

“And I falled off!”

“Daddy put you on the pony and you sat in the saddle. A lady walked the pony and you rode it!”

“And then I slipped and I falled off.”

“You slipped and Daddy was there and he shouted and the lady turned around and caught you.”

“She catched me and I didn’t get hurt!”

Oh good, she did remember that part, but boy, what a long memory for a four-year-old.



I let this conversation roll around in my head for a while and then I guess I forgot about it until I read about Hedra’s son. When it came back to me, it came as a flash, complete with sensory and emotional information – how warm it was in the car, how bright it was that afternoon, how it was mostly quiet with the windows only cracked and the sunroof open, how tired I felt and how I wished I could just be driving home from picking her up from daycare.

It came with a further-back memory, one from her infancy, when I was fascinated and a little obsessed with what would be the tot’s first memory. When she is older, what will she remember about being little? How far back will her memory go? Would it be happy, sad, or matter-of-fact? Tied to this is my memory of a conversation with the director of the daycare center I first took the tot to when she was 14 months old. I had been concerned about how well she would nap there, how long it would take her to adapt to the disparate sets of rules and expectations, and how hard that would be if she was only there two days a week. The director laughed me off. She said, “She’ll do fine! They can remember so much!”

This intrigued me, naturally, because of my interest in memory. “Really? You think so?”

“Oh, they remember everything!”

This, actually, was not what I needed to hear. For me, having a daughter has made me replay memories from my childhood and it’s driven me to share and grow closer with my mom, but it seems like every time I have shared with my mom a childhood memory involving her, she puts a negative spin on it or is aghast that I would remember her “as such a horrible person!” Which is strange to me because I have never deliberately shared memories that I felt portrayed her in a bad light. They exist, I just didn’t share them. Still, I tend to leave these interactions with my mom with a heaviness in my heart. This pattern with my mom was just developing when my conversation with the daycare director happened, and my core reaction was “Oh no! She [the tot] will remember every mistake I make!”

Of course I overreacted. The tot will surely remember mistakes I make, but not every one. And she will remember good stuff, too, things that I don’t even realize are settling with her as happy moments. Moveover, unlike three years ago, I know this is how it is supposed to be. Every human makes mistakes and wonders at some point if that’s one that’s gonna come back to rear its ugly head later. And every human gets stuff right that means more to someone else than they will ever fully know. The hard part for me when I was feeling too incapable to be an adult in charge of raising a little lump of mush was letting go and being okay with making mistakes.

The lesson I work to integrate into every day is that I cannot always be consumed with my child’s future memory of me because if I am, I will miss the now. I will miss her childhood and my parenthood. I will never be able to enjoy the incredible life that is right in front of me. As a doubter and a perfectionist, this is really, really hard. Thank goodness I have such good motivation.

She picked that swimsuit out, not me. So if she comes back in 10 years complaining about how I dressed her, I would like it known that I tried to redirect her several times but she would NOT budge. She HAD to have THIS suit.

Currently, bored. Also hungry.

May 16th, 2008

I’m sitting here, not doing what I need to be doing.

Things I should be doing, in no particular order:
*cleaning any part of my house (truly – the entire thing needs a good mucking out)
*getting an oil change and new wipers for the daily driver
*wrapping a bday present for our neighbor girl, whose party the tot will attend this evening
*changing the linens on my bed
*class prep
*bringing up from the basement and going through maternity clothes, newborn-wear
*restoring order to the garage, post-garage sale
*playing with my daughter (although I did feed her)
*going to pick up my prescription for thyroid meds, the dosage of which has gone up AGAIN because my body just can’t seem to cooperate, like, ever
*everything else

What I’m preoccupied with (ergo, what’s keeping me from doing any one thing):
*I am hungry, but lunchtime is a solid 30 minutes away
*I have heartburn, but I took the maximum dosage of z@nt@c hours ago

This is going to be a long day.

Dos: Brains – I needs ’em

May 9th, 2008

Click here to find out what “Dos” means.

So, seriously. My brain is teh swiss cheese lately. Stuff goes straight through. Common sense stuff, too – not just unusual things that anyone could forget. Stuff like driving skills.

OMG, I cannot believe I’m about to admit this.

Yesterday I needed to move a car in the driveway. I told HG before he left in the morning, and we hit on the genius idea of me putting it neutral and rolling it down a bit instead of starting it up just to move it 10-20 feet.


And yes, for those of you thinking it already, our driveway is on slight incline, so it wouldn’t take much than a gentle push-off or a mild to vigorous side-to-side steer to get it rolling. I opted for the one-foot-out-the-driver-door push-off.

Except it didn’t work. I pushed and I pushed and I went nowhere, not even an inch. I pushed harder, I grunted I pushed so hard. Nothing. WTF?

I added steering, to no avail.

And then I realized I had my foot on the brake.

Bullets of Busy-ness

April 28th, 2008

Right now I should be:
*putting together final grades for my students
*making a doctor’s appointment
*doing something about my heartburn
*grocery shopping, including taking our mountain of coins to the C0in St@r
*finishing the cleaning of the tot’s room (a task started yesterday at 11 a.m., if that gives you any freakin’ idea how bad it was)
*mounting a large-scale revolt against The Wonder Pets
*drinking water
*writing a better blog post

…but I’m not.

Stuff going on right now/these days:
*17 weeks yesterday.
*We have been cleaning house to make up for all those weeks when I was lying on the sofa instead of doing, say, anything. (Thanks, Nausea!)
*It got warm and now it’s chilly again, so in less than 18 hours, I’ve spotted two little, yellow, house spiders. (HG evicted one last night, but I couldn’t reach this morning’s interloper.)
*I got a new laptop. (woo hoo!)
*I’m getting ready to have a garage sale this weekend, and as usual, I have no idea how to price anything, particularly the furniture.
*I have pulled the tot out of the preschool daycare in favor of the home-based daycare, and she seems happy overall.
*The tot is having pee accidents like crazy lately, though, so what’s up with that?
*On the topic of “what’s up with that?”, two weeks ago, she had her first poop accident ever – out of the house, of course, and I had no back up clothes.
*The tot continues to act excited about numero dos, but how much of that is an act?
*I’ve been shopping for a dress for the wedding I’m reading in this summer. In short, shopping for clothes is dumb, and I hate it.
*Okay, I don’t hate it, but I am mad at it. Shopping for plus-size dresses that are wedding-appropriate is one thing, shopping for maternity dresses that are wedding-appropriate is one thing, shopping for plus-size maternity dresses that are wedding-appropriate is another thing entirely. I’m such a stingy, cheap old lady that it pains me to have to order several dresses online, knowing I’ll have to pay to ship some or all back after trying them on, but there are no brick-mortar stores anywhere near me for plus-size maternity gear.
*Sporadic insomnia sucks as much as regular insomnia.
*I’m staring down the barrel of Gestational Diabetes again, this time complete with insulin, and that sucks.
*We finished our meetings with S., our Food Friend. She took another job, and since the tot was getting ready to graduate out of the program due to age, we opted not to take a new clinician.
*In a week, I’m taking the tot to an Occupational Therapist’s office (one we’ve been seen at before, when she was evaluated for Sensory Integration Dysfunction – have I written about that? Not sure.)
*Anyway, I think we exhausted about everything we could do with S., so we’ll give this a shot for a bit to see if there’s any progress to be made there. If there is, great; if not, I guess we’re on our own.
*I bought a new slow cooker, and I’m itching to try it, but we haven’t had a good day for it yet. It might be Thursday this week before I get a chance.

Um, I think that’s about it. Yeah, that looks about right.

This post doesn’t sound like it
but overall, I’m having a pretty good day,

April 20th, 2008

in spite of the fact that at the moment, I fucking hate pillows.

HATE Them.

Last night, as bedtime rolled around, I realized that I had forgotten to go out and buy pull ups for the tot, so that meant she had to wear a cloth training pant to bed. And that meant I’d be washing all of her bedding first thing in the morning.

And lo, it came to pass. In fact, it passed so much that even her pillow was pee-y.

Um, gross.

But! That’s OK! Because this pillow is washable! Huzzah!

Only except for the part where this pillow has an allergy barrier which is nigh-on airtight; ergo, the pillow, when exposed to a tub full of water, floats.


I’d like to take a moment to tell you what I had to do to get that pillow to wash. I had to cut it. That’s right. I cut a hole in the pillow and squeezed it like it was old swim floatie. So there goes the allergy barrier.

Goddam pillows.

Gah, I’m so bad at decisions

April 15th, 2008

I just got off the phone with HG a bit ago. I’m in the process of waffling on a decision regarding the tot and childcare for the first half of summer (while I’m still working). After I hung up with him, I decided that I need to quantify the things that are bugging me, so I will put it here and torture you all with it.

Babysitting Day Care Pros:
*caregiver, L., knows how to deal with feeding issues, including when to be tough
*field trips – berry picking, swimming
*easy drop off and pick up
*both the tot and I like L.
*L. likes the tot and me
*tot has several friends there
*tot gets along with all the kids there
*communication journal
*kids play outside every day, weather permitting, including sprinklers when hot
*some diversity – mostly cultural, but also exposure to special needs, sibling pairs, wide range of ages

Preschool Day Care Pros:
*more structure
*circle time every day
*art every day
*cultural and ethnic diversity
*located at my school
*better ratio of adults to kids
*cheaper by $1.25 per hour
*the tot is ready for the challenge of preschool (even though it’s not really preschool as much as it’s child care with a preschool structure in the morning)

Babysitting Day Care Cons:
*tot comes home speaking like L.’s son – who cannot say the letters “L” or “R”
*L. does not offer messy experiences daily, like messy art things
*not as structured
*not as challenging because, hey, it’s not preschool
*the tot bitches about going in the morning

Preschool Day Care Cons:
*tot comes home speaking baby talk
*fewer kids overall (weird, but I think this is true based on when I pick up and drop off)
*different kids from day to day
*about half the adults seem apathetic or disinterested in being around kids – not outright annoyed or hostile, just blase
*the bathroom has adult-sized toilets (not that big of a deal) but no step stool, so the tot has to scale them like a mountain-climber because she is small and the adults don’t help the kids in the stalls
*both boys and girls use the girls’ bathroom (I guess because all of the caregivers are women?), so twice now at pick up I have seen the tot come out of the stall with pee-splotched pants because of having to climb through messes left by previous users (both times boys, though girls have the capacity to pee everywhere, too)
*the lunchtime caregivers don’t like the lunches I pack, so they micromanage the tot’s eating. Case in point: I had been sending a handful of baby carrots each day. The tot does not eat them, but she’s been known to gnaw on one. I thought some exposure to the food outside the home and my influence might yield a breakthrough, as in ‘if it’s just there in a neutral territory, maybe she’ll develop new associations.’ One day, one of the apathetics told me that she had been telling the tot that she couldn’t have the other parts of her lunch until she ate a carrot. I guess that would explain why her lunch box was coming home full all those days.
*when we switch to the summer, we’ll be later in the day, so the tot won’t be there for the preschool portion
*the tot fights going a lot more than she fights going to babysitting
*OMG, how could I forget this?! After a semester at the preschool, at least one caregiver (I believe two) still gets the tot’s name wrong

So where I am is that I don’t know. I don’t think that each item on the list can be weighted the same, so simply counting up the items is not an accurate method. Whichever I choose, I feel that after a semester of doing one day a week at preschool and one day a week at babysitting, the tot needs to be both days at the same place.

Personally, today I feel like sending her to babysitting this summer because of how late I was this morning getting to preschool. I got the tot up earlier than usual and we were later than ever. If we had been going to babysitting, I could have called her stalling bluff by loading her in the car in her pull-up and jammies and said, “I don’t care if you won’t get ready – you’re going anyway.” L. wouldn’t have cared; in fact, she encourages it. Could I do this with preschool? Probably, but I just don’t feel comfortable enough with the staff there to do it yet.

I need to make this choice by the end of the week, ideally, but I simply don’t feel inspired. I thought writing this out would help, but I’m not sure it did. I think I will give it a day and come back to this to look for patterns and an answer.

House Rules, Revised

March 9th, 2008

Normally, I’m not a rule-bound person. (Stop laughing. Okay, fine, I am a rule-bound person, but I accept that and try to hide it like any other normal person.) That said, there are some changes our current house rules I’d like to propose in light of my new ability to smell anything within a 5-mile radius.

No bad or strong smells allowed. This rule applies to everyone in this house, including me. It can be broken down into several smaller rules that might be easier to keep track of, so I will attempt to list them here.

No dirty dishes
No washing dishes
No use of dish soap for any purpose
No opening of trash can
No trash lying about
No foods or drinks going bad in refrigerator
No disposal of said items if disposal requires opening them before they leave the house

No dust
No dirt
No vacuuming
No dusting

No body odor
No sweaty feet
No farting
No pooping
No peeing
No burping
No bad breath
No bathing
No brushing teeth with toothpaste
No perfume-y soaps, shampoos, conditioners
No aftershave, moisturizer, deodorant
No air fresheners

No cooking
No eating
No drinking (except water – drink that)
No feeding the cats
No cat yawns (bad bad, bad bad bad)
No cat-use of litter box
No going outside litter box (Stripey Cat, I am talking to you)
No cleaning of litter box


I think that covers it, but I reserve the right to add to this list as I gag in response to smells not listed.

October 5, 2008

February 22nd, 2008

I look at that date and it feels a million years away. Particularly far away given the haze of nausea, heartburn, and headache that seems to be my constant state of being these last few weeks. Vertical living is not really my thing right now. Horizontal (+pillow +blanket) = much better. How will I make it all the way to October?

Of course, it is unlikely that I will spend the next 7 months wanting to throw up constantly. That should only last another few weeks, and then I will be left with the heartburn and the anticipation of feeling tiny feet kicking me from the inside out any day now. But that is weeks away, and that too feels like a million years because I just. need. to. lie. down. right. now.

Double of course, it is unlikely that I will make it to October anyway, with my history and with my grocery list of high risk issues. (More on that another day. For now, let’s just say that although I am acutely aware of how old I am and will be when this baby hits the ground, hearing the OB say “You’ve graduated to Advanced Maternal Age” is a bit like when the dentist starts drilling a little too soon after administering the numbing agent.) So, for all intents and purposes, September 2008. Nine-something-oh-eight. It has a nice ring to it.

So, my apologies all over the place. I haven’t been around thanks to that lovely respiratory infection (still draining, by the way) and then this. I might be sporadic here, but I’ll be here. And I intend to keep checking my email, so feel free to hassle me from time to time via email or comments (which go to my email, too). If I’m not too nauseated to type, I’ll holler back.

What’s better is that this isn’t even the whole of the big news I promised. That is in the realm of tot-related textures, and I’ll write it up as soon as I can.

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