Monday, October 29, 2007

Mommy Confessions

Over the weekend, E attended two birthday parties (add those to last week's fall carnival and it quickly becomes apparent that her social calendar is much fuller than my own). The first party was for a little girl from E's old school. While our children were bouncing merrily in the giant Dora jump castle and getting sugared up*, the moms ate cheetohs and chatted.

At some point between a discussion of potty training [pullups at night or panties?] and a comparison of toddler food likes and dislikes [ranch dressing is a miracle food], one of the mothers asked about E's new school. I told her that while I like it, it isn't year-round so E will have a summer break with me. I mentioned that I am "freaked out" by this. As soon as I said it, I felt like taking it back. What kind of mother am I not to welcome two months home with my firstborn? I braced myself for another skirmish in the mommy wars and waited for the other mothers to react.

I quickly learned that I wasn't behind enemy lines. There was a moment of silence, a slight pause, and then the other mothers jumped in. The first, a nurse, said, "Oh, that would freak me out, too. I am so not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom." The second, an architect, said that she was glad I had said something because she often feels guilty that she enjoys her job. The third, a stay-at-home mom since the birth of her second child a few months ago, said that it has been far more draining than she imagined, but rewarding too.

I've been thinking about the other things I keep to myself in fear of being considered a bad mother. Here is a sampling.

  • I miss having disposable income.
  • I get bored playing with my kids.
  • I have no tolerance for repetitive sounds (Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy).
  • Whining makes me crazy.
  • I feed my three-year-old quesadillas every other day because it is easier than fighting with her to eat her veggies.
  • I raise my voice at times.
  • I miss performing bodily functions in peace and quiet.
  • I fantasize about sleep.
  • I sometimes let the girls watch TV so I can catch a breather.
  • It doesn't really freak me out that my 14-month old likes to scavenge for random food (mostly things she has flung form the high chair) off the kitchen floor.
  • I once hid in the bedroom closet so the girls couldn't find me (J was close by).
  • I plan to steal E's Halloween candy.

I'm sure there is more to add to the list, but that is a start.

*E was wild that night and didn't fall asleep until close to 11:00. Good times.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Maybe November is the New October?

A few weeks ago I wrote about how much I enjoy October. I was so looking forward to crisper weather and blue skies that I suppose I neglected to consider global warming. With the exception of a few days a couple of weeks ago, it has remained hot--still muggy enough for us to run the air conditioner many days-- and hazy. So I'm thinking that maybe November is the new October and that I'll be able to pull out some sweaters soon.

On the bright side, I have lost almost five pounds. It has been fairly easy. I have given up much of my snacking and have been very sparing with the sweets*. I've been trying to walk more often and most days I am able to get at least half an hour of exercise. I would like to spend that half hour running instead of walking, but I keep pulling random muscles. Two weeks ago, I turned and badly wrenched my neck. That took about a week of heavy doses of ibuprofen and massage (self massage--my budget no longer allows for professional help) to clear up. Then, about the time I was ready to lace up my running shoes, I pulled another muscle. This, I think, is a groin injury, but maybe I'm wrong about what it is called. Whatever its name, it is a muscle between my (now perkier!) rear end and my inner thigh. I forget about it until I stand up and --ouch!-- am reduced to hobbling. Once it warms up, it isn't so bad.

Babies have been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe it's because my high FSH diagnosis came two years ago this week. Maybe it's because my friend, B, is in labor right now.** It may be because I feel like my body is gearing up to start cycling again. There are lots of little signs, but I am still waiting for that first postpartum cycle. We still aren't completely weaned, but my prolactin levels must be dropping as M has greatly curtailed her nursing. She still nurses when she wakes in the morning, but it is very quick. She also nurses just before bed, but that seems more like a comfort measure than nutrition. I think she'll have herself weaned in the next month or two.

So babies. . . I keep thinking them. I know I should be happy with two, and I am, but the mental snapshot of my "ideal" family that I have carried around since childhood has always included two parents and three children. I suppose this has something to do with being one of three.***

J can take it or leave it, so the decision to try for one more or not is going to be mine alone. Right now, I think I'm just going to take my chances without using any contraception. Seeing as how my FSH was 25 two years ago and how I'll be 40 in a year, having another baby is a long shot. Still, I'm not quite willing to say that we are done.

*Walking through the Halloween displays has been a bit agonizing!
**I just sent an exercise ball over for her to use during contractions. Her contractions are strong but still 7-8 minutes apart after 20 hours.
***Clearly my family is crazy, but I do love my brothers who don't have guns, unsafe pools or other hideous problems.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why I Didn't Go to My High School Reunion

My 20th high school reunion is this weekend. Earlier tonight, my classmates attended the homecoming game. Right now, they are probably having drinks in one of the two bars in my hometown. Tomorrow, they will have a cocktail party and dance.

I'm not there.

I wish I could say that insecurity about my short hair/weight/melasma/wardrobe/wrinkles were the reason I chose not to attend, but I'm just not that vain. Sure, I regret chopping my hair off last fall,* but my high school classmates are the people who witnessed me puking my guts out in a cornfield, vomiting on a security guard,** and peeing myself a bit when I couldn't get my overalls down fast enough; they've seen worse.

So why am I home tonight? I'm home because of The House of Death, aka the family home. I haven't stayed there in nearly 15 years and I won't let my children be there without me by their sides. It is a miracle that my brothers and I survived to adulthood. I'm not taking chances on my children.

You are thinking that I must be exaggerating, but I assure you, I'm not.

The House of Death has:
  1. Plenty of second-hand smoke. My father is a chain smoker. He is 68 and dying of heart failure, but he keeps smoking. In bed even. My mother insists that he only smokes in the bedroom, but there are ashtrays throughout the house and the smoke hits you the moment you walk in. Suffocating.
  2. A swimming pool that is not properly gated. And door that can't be locked leading to the pool from the sunporch.
  3. An attack cat. Seriously, I'm a cat lover, but this cat is a psychopath.
  4. Clutter everywhere. My mother is well on her way to being a guest on Dr. Phil. Let's just say that she has a hard time parting with things. The last time we visited for the day, I threw away old tubes of Mary Kay foundation samples. These were at least 29 years old. I am sure of this because her days as a Mary Kay "consultant" ended before my youngest brother was born.
  5. Dangerous stuff scattered about. Take the sunporch as an example. When we were there for Christmas, there were shards of glass from a broken and forgotten votive holder scattered about the sunporch floor. My mother never noticed the glass, nor did she notice that we threw the remains of the votive holder away. There is a gas heater on the sunporch that is missing its safety grate leaving an open flame for little hands to discover.
  6. A handgun. Loaded. On my father's bedstand. My father was an FBI agent in the 1960s. He left the bureau to become a prosecutor, but kept his gun and badge. He frequently wears the gun in a worn out holster (I'm fairly certain that he doesn't have a concealed weapons permit) and insists on sleeping next to it. Last time we were there, he pulled J aside for some in-law bonding. "Want to test its action?" he asked. J declined.

I hope you get the picture.

My friends were urging me to come to the reunion and not tell my parents, but this would not work. First, it is a small town and my parents have many spies. If they were to learn that I came into town and did not bring the girls for them to watch, I would never hear the end of it. Never. Second, I just don't have the emotional energy for a confrontation with my parents right now. Call me a coward, but I can't handle it. I've been through my whole House of Death list with them and they have blown me off and dismissed my concerns. At some point***we will have it out, but I don't have the emotional energy just yet.

*PSA for all pregnant/ newly postpartum women out there: Do NOT cut your hair off in some hormonal wave of insanity. Trust me on this.

**These incidents all occurred the first time I ever drank alcohol. I filched Wild Turkey from my parents' liquor cabinet and, not understanding the properties of alcohol, I filled a 32 ounce cup about half full with the rum and added a few ounces of coke. After the security guard incident, one friend whisked me away in her car (police had been called), begging me not to vomit in it. She took me to my house where she pushed me through the front door and then ran back to her car, peeling out so my parents wouldn't see who had brought me home. I was the talk of the school for the rest of the school year.

***Perhaps in time for the 25th reunion?