Month: March 2008 (page 2 of 3)

30 Days To Go

9 months pregnant!

Julia and Mommy's Giant baby belly

Cause They Don’t Know ‘Bout Us, They’ve Never Heard Of Love*

Four years ago today, Dave and I stood in front of the Mayor at City Hall and made our agreement to be joined for life legal. I was pregnant with Julia. I had been divorced from my first husband about a minute; Dave had been divorced about a minute and a half.

There were quite a few people who thought the whole getting married thing was a pretty bad idea.

When I think about how I felt that day, it reminds me of the final scene in the movie Say Anything. Lloyd and Diane are on a plane and she says, “Nobody thinks this will actually work, do they?”

Lloyd says, “No. You just described every success story.”

There’s something funny about love – it just doesn’t care about time. Finding it can take a minute or a lifetime, and once you’ve found it, the space in which it occurs can be completely distorted. I feel like I’ve known Dave forever. And I know this for sure: I never want to know life without him.

For our anniversary, I’m going to do something very “little girl in love.” I’m going to post song lyrics. It’s the song that will always, in my mind, tell our little story. Tracey Ullman did it first. Subterfuge’s version is my favorite. But this cover by Nailpin rocks pretty hard.

They Don’t Know*

You’ve been around for such a long time now
Oh, maybe I could leave you but I don’t know how
And why should I be lonely every night
When I could be with you, oh yes you make it right
And I don’t listen to the guys who say
That you’re bad for me and I should turn you away

Cause they don’t know ’bout us
They’ve never heard of love

I get a feeling when I look at you
Wherever you go now I wanna be there too
They say we’re crazy but I just don’t care
And if they keep on talkin’, still they get nowhere
So I don’t mind if they don’t understand
When I look at you and you hold my hand

Cause they don’t know ’bout us
They’ve never heard of love

Why should it matter to us if they don’t approve
We should just take our chances while we’ve got nothin’ to lose

There’s no need for living in the past
Now I’ve found a love, I’m gonna make it last
I tell the others don’t bother me
Cause when they look at you they don’t see what I see
No I don’t listen to their wasted lines
Got my eyes wide open and I see the signs

Cause they don’t know ’bout us
They’ve never heard of love

No I don’t listen to their wasted lines
Got my eyes wide open and I see the signs

Cause they don’t know ’bout us
They’ve never heard of love

Now We Are Civilized

Dave and I now have a bed.

Don’t get me wrong – we weren’t spending our nights in sleeping bags on the ground or anything. But, we have been sleeping on a mattress and box springs resting right on the floor since we broke our metal bedframe on Valentine’s Day, 2004. (Yeah, that’s right. We snapped that thing right in two. I don’t call Dave my Mattress Monkey for nothing; he earned that nickname.)

A few months ago, we began to notice that every time we sat down on the bed, this happened:

Old Bed

That would be metal. Poking out of the bed.

And so, we decided we should get a new bed. Especially since we’ve turned out to be a co-sleeping family and we’re about to add another body to it.

Today, the new bed arrived.

New Bed

I think it’s the prettiest bed I ever did see.

Meanwhile, our old mattress and box springs are sitting in Julia’s playroom until they can be disposed of this weekend. Dave and Julia have been using it as a makeshift wrestling ring, like genuine white trash. Yeehaw!

Take a look at Julia’s moves in this video. You can see her take a fall and then she really puts the smack down on her Daddy.

(I apologize for the heavy breathing. I had just run up the stairs to catch the action on camera.)

I Am Not A Superhero. I Am A Human Being.

I am 35 weeks pregnant and feeling completely useless.

Oh, I know. I’m growing a baby. I’ve got the big, important job of baking that bun in my oven. But that’s about all I’m doing right now. I am tired like I’ve never been tired before. Yet, this doesn’t stop me from trying to do all the things I used to. I have to emphasize the word trying, which is not the same as succeeding. Because I am just too tired.

This week, I hosted playgroup at my house.

I had an inkling this might be a crazy idea the day I came home and told my family, “Yeah, by the way, playgroup will be here on March 11th,” and the response was a shitload of bricks hitting the floor. They looked at me in disbelief. They asked me to confirm the date. They reminded me that I would be nearly nine months pregnant. They reminded me that I am a psycho about getting ready for playgroup.

I said, “So? I can pull it off.” And pull it off I did.

Playgroup went down on Tuesday. We made what Michelle at Scribbit calls “Flubber,” except we called it Goo (to play with) and Berry Smoothies (to eat). Fun was had. All it cost me was a sore throat, a pulled back muscle and one compromise of my beliefs that may have permanently bent my moral compass: I invited guests into my home when it was less than clean and organized. Normally, I would be out of my head worrying about the fact that the toys weren’t in order, the windows hadn’t been washed and there were still peas from the previous night’s dinner squashed into my dining room carpet. But, I’m just so pregnant and tired, I couldn’t get too upset about it.

I’m kind of like Superman exposed to kyrptonite radiation; my powers have been nullified. And remember in Superman III, when those people give Superman the chunk of kryptonite as a gift and it makes him all selfish and depressed, so he quits saving people and does stuff like blow out the Olympic torch and straighten the Leaning Tower of Pisa, then starts drinking and has a nervous breakdown that results in the evil Superman duking it out with Clark Kent in a junkyard? I feel a lot like that. Except I’m not really depressed or selfish so much as I’m tired and pregnant. There’s no drinking going on. And I have no super powers to speak of, unless you count my insane obsession with cleanliness, but you know what I’m saying.

I’m saying that I am 35 weeks pregnant and feeling completely useless.

Never Underestimate The Power Of Knocking On Wood

You know how making bold statements that begin with words like, “I never…” is kind of a bad idea? Well, so is saying that you’ve prayed for the health of your children, because right after I wrote that in my last post, there was an injury. It seems praying for the health of my children wasn’t enough. I should have also said a prayer to offset my parental stupidity. Or perhaps been more specific in that I was praying that their health would be good and not poor.

Late Thursday evening, Julia and I were up in her bedroom ooohing and aaahing over her NEW! EXCITING! BIG! GIRL! BED! with Tinkerbell sheets! It was quite a celebration. And just when we thought things couldn’t get any better, Daddy finally arrived home and was coming upstairs to see the bed! It was more than our hearts could handle. So, we got rowdy. We bounced up and down. We squealed. We ran in circles. And soon, Julia was jumping on the bed. Dave and I, being the superior parenting force that we are, saw little harm in letting Julia jump on the bed, just this once, as we were right there to supervise. So, I sat down while Dave kneeled on the floor at the foot of the bed and leaned forward resting his arms on it. We talked about the tremendous benefits of the big girl bed as Julia repeatedly completed a circuit: jump on the bed and onto Daddy’s back, slide down him like a sliding board, run around the side, bounce back up on the bed and repeat with increasing speed.

All was well. Until…

Julia made the jump onto Daddy’s back and began to slide down. Her foot caught on his belt knocking her ass over tin cup until she slammed to a stop against her chair. With her face. The result was a lot of crying and screaming, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!!” and a big ‘ole bump on her eyebrow. We immediately put a Boo Boo Buddy on her brow and a popsicle in her hand. After ten minutes or so, things were looking much better. We did various eye tests to insure that she could see and some field sobriety tests for good measure. And when she ran off to bounce on her trampoline, we felt confident that things were going to be A-Okay.

The next day, there was some minor swelling around the eye and a hint of blue across the lid. I said something completely stupid like, “And I thought she was going to have a big black eye! Whew!”

The following day, the swelling was gone, but Julia had a full-fledged shiner and I had visible confirmation that I’m an idiot. Here’s how it looks today.

Julia bruised eye.

See the color on her left eye lid? (It’s on your right.) That’s not make-up. That’s her shiner.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “That doesn’t look so bad.” Ha ha ha. Look at this!

Julia's Shiner

Ahhhhhhh! It’s awful, isn’t it? Yeah, it really is.

Hey! Wanna know what’s almost as bad as your kid getting a shiner? Walking around with your kid who has a shiner. I don’t recommend it, because people look at you differently. Even if your child is being a total and complete brat in the IGA. All you have to do is look at her sideways while she’s sporting that black eye and everyone is gasping and glaring at you as if to say, “Oh yeah, she totally gave that kid that black eye. Look at how mean she is. Abuser!!!!” Of course, those people can’t be parents because we all know that stuff like this happens to kids. Right?

(This would be the perfect time to tell me one of your bump and/or bruises stories.)

Perspective

I saw a man I will never forget as I checked out at Wal-Mart yesterday. He was tall, handsome and hurried. He had a bluetooth headset hanging from his ear and an armload of items in his shopping cart, which is why I chose to check out at that register; it looked as if it’d be a short wait.

I quietly distracted Julia from the candy display and listened half-heartedly as the cashier chatted with the man. They seemed to know each other. He was nearly checked through and I had begun unloading the contents of my cart onto the conveyor belt when the cashier asked him, “Aren’t you guys expecting a baby?”

I looked up at that word: Baby. Now they had my full attention. The man was going to be a Daddy. I wanted to look at his face. I wanted to give him that knowing smile. But he didn’t look my way. He hung his head and said, “Um, yeah…we were.” The smile faded from my face as I listened. “The baby came early, around six months…”

Julia had begun drifting down the aisle, so I moved out of earshot to steer her back to me.

“…my wife held him while he died,” the man continued. His back was still to me, I couldn’t see his whole face, just his profile. He brought his hand to his mouth and said, “You know, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done…sit there, watch my child struggle and fight…and I couldn’t do anything.” Tears spilled from his eyes. “I’m just not sure my wife will ever get over it.”

The cashier was nodding as she picked up his last item to scan it, which prompted the conveyor belt to move foward carrying the first of my items – two jumbo packs of newborn diapers. Julia was asking to help unload the cart, so I lifted her into it and let her finish the job. I stared at the diapers and listened. I was almost afraid to look at the man.

He cleared his throat and said, “It’s been tough, but…you know.”

The cashier expressed her sympathies as he quickly picked up his bags, said good-bye and walked away.

Julia and I checked out quickly and headed toward the van. I looked for the man out in the parking lot, but didn’t see him again.

Once I’d loaded my bags and my child in the van, I slid into the driver’s seat, shut the door and just stopped a moment to catch my breath. Lucy squirmed a bit and I instinctively put my hand on my belly where she was moving. And I cried. I cried for that man and his family and everything they lost. And I cried because I felt so grateful for Julia and for Lucy and for feeling her move just then. And I prayed, again and again, for the health of my children.

I’m not sure whether it’s being brought to my attention more or if I’m just noticing it more, but it feels like there are so many stories out there about the things that can go wrong between conception and birth. I don’t want to be a downer and put so much emphasis on the sad story I heard when there are countless healthy children born each day, but, something about this man, so close, right there in front of me – his pain almost tangible – I just can’t escape it. I can’t stop thinking of him. I can’t even bring myself to complain about my swollen ankles today. I can’t feel anything but lucky.

There’s No Place Like The IGA

Julia: Hey Mom, when are we gonna be done living at this house?

Me: Well, hopefully not for a long, long time. Actually, this is where I’d like to live for the rest of my life.

Julia: Oh…’cause I’m tired of living here.

Me: Where would you rather live?

Julia: At the IGA.

Me: Why?

Julia: It’s lots of fun there. They have everything at the IGA.

Me: Your toys aren’t at the IGA.

Julia: I could play with the food there, before I eat it.

Me: There’s no television at the IGA.

Julia: That’s okay. They play music all the time.

Me: Where would you sleep at the IGA?

Julia: On the floor.

Me: Wouldn’t you be lonely there all by yourself at night?

Julia: No. You can come live there with me.

Me: I’d rather not. I’d rather live here.

Julia: Ugh…okay. We’ll just live here.

On Why Our Marriage Works

Some people say that there is a child living inside each of us; psychologists refer to this childlike aspect of our personality as our inner child.

My husband’s inner child is about twelve years old. I know this because he has a special sort of radar, which is activated in every boy upon the onset of puberty, that enables them to pick up on every word with even the slightest potential for crude or sexual meaning.

Here are a few examples of the radar in action.

I say: “You know, that was a difficult time in my life. It was really hard on me.
Dave says: “You said hard on.”

I say: “He felt like it was his duty to carry it out.”
Dave says: “You said doody.”

I say: “That’s on oldie, but goodie!”
Dave says: “You said butt goodie.”

I always laugh along with him, because honestly? It’s funny. But, it’s always been his thing.

Then, the other night, Dave was in a bit of a funk. There was no specific reason, he was just having a case of the blahs. I was trying everything I knew to snap him out of it. Finally, I decided we needed to get out of the house and convinced him that Lucy was demanding ice cream. We loaded Julia up in the car and took off. With cones in hand on the way home, he started to open up. We talked a bit and I summed our conversation up with a, “Yes, I think the weather has a lot to do with it. It’s been a hard winter.”

Dave replied, “It hasn’t been so hard as it’s been long.”

I glanced over at him, gripping the wheel with a tense look on his face. I took my chance and said, “You said hard and long.”

There was silence. The words he had begun to speak caught in his throat. His mouth was open a bit and his eyes were wide. I think I may have heard a siren going off in his head. Then, the corners of his mouth began to turn up. “Ummm, yeah. I did,” he said smiling.

We looked at each other and giggled. “See? I can throw you a curve ball now and then,” I said.

“Heh heh. You said ball.”

And he was back.

Leslie’s Cheesy Marriage Tip of the Day:
Schedule a play date for your inner children.

Into The Great Wide Open*

Today is a big day. I feel a lot like I did while interviewing for my first “real” job out of college. I’m excited, yet terrified. I want this opportunity to live up to every expectation, but am fearful about the change it will bring. I barely slept last night. It’s been all I can think about: we are, probably, going to enroll Julia in preschool for the Fall. Today.

After an arduous search, Dave and I narrowed our choices down to this one. It’s a Montessori school about twenty miles away. (I know. Twenty miles! But, if I won’t drive as far for my daughter’s education as I will for a good meal or a shoe sale, I’m not much of a mom.) We’ve been impressed with what we’ve seen and heard there so far. Today, they begin accepting applications for the Fall at their Annual Open House. So, we are taking Julia there for the first time. If all goes well, I will be submitting the completed application adorned with tear stains that I’ve had tucked away for two weeks.

Julia couldn’t be more excited. She’s been talking about going to school for a few months now. It’s something she really wants to do.

Me? I’m not so sure. This is hard for me.

Sending Julia to school scares me for hundreds of reasons – many of the same reasons you’ve likely read or thought if you’ve ever weighed public/private schools against homeschooling. And I’ve toyed with the notion of homeschooling since Julia was born. There are moments I’m convinced it’s a good idea and that I could really do it well. I feel like I’ve done a good job of providing Julia with a rich and diverse social network. And my heart dances a little when she points out which creatures are mammals or explains what makes a ladybug an insect, because I taught her that. But then, there are times I’m certain it’s not a good idea. Like when I catch myself scolding her for writing sloppily and not giving it her best when she’s filling out Valentine Cards – something that’s supposed to be fun. Or I read my own writing.

The thing is, this needs to be about Julia, not about me. But, it’s hard to separate us, sometimes. I’ve had such an intimate relationship with Julia and her learning since she came into existence. From playing her music and reading her stories while she was in utero to helping her understand condensation just yesterday, I’ve been a part of her education. I’ve been with her to guide her through all that she has seen, heard and experienced in her life so far. It’s been an incredible gift and enormous responsibility, and I’m hesitant to trust someone else enough to share it. I guess it’s because I know no one could possibly be as motivated to help this child reach her fullest potential as her father and I are. Still, I realize that the world extends beyond our nuclear family and she’s aching to explore it on her own.

So, here I am, trying to have some faith, muster a little courage, and make the decision that is best for my daughter. I hope it is the right one.

* That’s also the name of a song by the completely awesome Tom Petty.

Everytime The Phone Rings, I Pray To God It’s Not* You**

Every day, I get a phone call, if not phone callS (did you get that plural?), for someone I do not know. She doesn’t live at my house. She has never lived at my house. But she was the previous owner of my current phone number. Her name is P****a M****r. And, apparently, she doesn’t pay her bills.

I’ve got to tell you, I hate P****a M****r. I hate the people calling for P****a M****r. Here are two specific reasons why.

  1. Take a look at the daily phone calls for P****a M****r as recorded on my answering machine and Caller ID on February 21st.

    Call #1 – 8:25 AM
    Call #2 – 9:32 AM
    Call #3 – 10:32 AM
    Call #4 – 11:55 AM
    Call #5 – 1:35 PM
    Call #6 – 6:17 PM

    Each message begins the same way: “Hello! This is an important message for [robot voice] P****a M****r [/robot voice]. This is not a sales call…”

    That’s the point at which my brain starts dripping out my nose.

    Seriously folks. This has been my life EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. for 18 months. Okay, wait. I’m exaggerating. They didn’t call on Christmas. So, this has been my life EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. for 18 months, minus one.

  2. Every time I answer the phone to speak with the people calling to inform them that P****a M****r does not live here and this is no longer her phone number, THEY DO NOT BELIEVE ME. And when I press the issue, they say, “I’m sorry. We are only able to speak to P****a M****r regarding this issue,” or “Only P****a M****r may change the phone number on this account.” AND THEY HANG UP ON ME!!!

    At first, I didn’t understand their logic. Why would they keep calling when clearly they cannot reach her here? What a waste of resources! But, I think I’ve figured it out. I think they’re wearing me down until I either A) pay her bill to make the calls stop or B) personally track her down and make her pay the bill.

Some people have suggested that I change my phone number. But that’s such a pain in the ass. Everyone finally knows my phone number. Julia even has it memorized. And to loosely quote Michael Bolton from Office Space, “Why should I change? She’s the one who sucks.”

Dave has suggested that we answer the phone with an ear-piercing whistle each time they call. I thought it might be a good idea to track P****a M****r down and cut her finger and toe nails just a smidge too short. And maybe shave her eyebrows.

Have you ever experienced anything like this? What would you do?

**Lyric from I Miss You by Klymaxx
*With the exception of the Not. I added that for the funny. Is that funny?
***Glyphs Rule! Go Asterisk!

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