Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Car Seats, Toile, & Quad Toggles

Hey, good news! We’ve finally started doing something that resembles getting ready for having a baby in the house!
Up until now, our general plan was to line a cardboard box with a nice fluffy towel and put the baby in that. You know, like with a kitten, only we’d use a good towel. My mom and sister had already given her enough clothing for approximately four outfit changes per day until she goes to kindergarten and I’m planning to do this breastfeeding thing, so we figured we were all set. OK… so we knew we weren’t. We were just pretending. (Kids like pretending, right? Right?)
Last weekend my glorious Girlfriends threw us a baby shower and we wound up with some truly useful items. For instance, we got a car seat which means the hospital will have no choice but to let her leave with us. (Suckers!)
We also started painting the nursery last night. The prior owners of our house had an affinity for the shade of yellow normally reserved for laboratory caution placards. That and very very large fruit patterns. And teal. Yes, it was a regular early 90s designer showcase. But the yellow? I believe it was a Sherman-Williams shade, “Anxiety Attack”. Or maybe “Prozac Lullaby”. It had to go. Pronto.
Now, I know infants can’t see most colors right away. (See! I’ve totally been reading those books!) But truthfully, isn’t nursery d├ęcor more about our sanity? That’s why I’ve never understood people who decorate in little animals with I’m-so-happy-I’m-smug-about-it expressions on their faces. Seems to me that at 3 a.m. when you’re rocking the baby who has been screaming for the last 14 days of its life, you’d be about ready to wring that pleasant little giraffe by his super cute neck. We’ve selected a nice neutral sage-ish green and the only animals around are some lambs with nice innocuous expressions that do not imply any superior zen levels.

And last night Husband and I had this conversation:
Husband: Do you need any clothes washed?
Me: Um yeah… can you grab that toile maternity blouse of mine?
Husband: …….. toile?........
Me: Yeah.
Husband:…… toile?......
Me: Yes, dear. The blue and cream flowery little pattern thing?
Me: You know, this does make me wonder how much attention you were paying when you agreed to that green toile nursery bedding…
Husband: What toile nursery bedding? I’ve never seen or talked about anything “toile” in my life!
Me: You did too- we looked at it on Overstock.com!
Husband: I would remember using the word “toile”….I’m sorry, but there are things you don’t forget saying like “toile” and “quad toggle” and “not that hole!”

Yeah, so maybe we’re not totally prepared yet. But I figure we have at least 6-8 months after she’s born to clean up sexual innuendo… we’ll get to it right after the electrical outlet covers…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This just in...

Bill Maher is an asshat of epic proportions.

A misogynistic, prudish, uneducated asshat.

I won't even take the time and energy to expound. Other women bloggers have done as much, more eloquently than I could manage.

But I will say this...

If I ever see him in my post-partum days, I will promptly pull up my shirt and squirt him right in the damn eye.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Reference Manuel.. I think I met him once on Spring Break...

Husband has a new job! (Hooray!) Increased salary and better benefits aside, I’m pleased to report that he’s also learning a lot of new things. You see, Husband was hired for a professional position with in a large insurance-related organization. But for the first two weeks, he is taking the standard corporate new hire training as well as sitting in on some of the customer service rep training, since he’ll be delegating a lot of things to the CSRs. Husband (and I, by way of his daily recountings) have learned so much from the CSRs this week. First and foremost, we learned this:
We’re both really freakin’ grateful for our education and socio-economic status.

Here are some of the other valuable lessons!

1. We know which clinic in town pays the most for plasma donations and which blood types are more valuable.
2. An important question to ask of the trainer conducting new hire training is “What is the most common thing that gets people fired? Is it absences?”
3. When presented with a baby daddy who refuses to pay child support, it is best to seek him out at a relative’s house and threaten him with physical violence.
4. If your electricity is cut off for non-payment, you can call the utility company and tell them your child has a medical condition requiring equipment that runs on electricity- you know, like “a breathin’ machine”. This will restore your service regardless of payment status (and regardless of whether your child is actually perfectly healthy).
5. If you pay your boyfriend’s CO $100, you can get a little privacy for 15 minutes or so in order to engage in sex acts.
6. If your prior employer delays in getting you your last paycheck, you can always drive over there and threaten to blow the place up. You will be paid promptly.
7. Pennsylvania may well be either a city or a state, but it’s not one of the “major ones” that would be commonly known to everyone.
8. If a boy is semi-stalking your 16-year-old sister, there is no need to engage law enforcement or school administrators when you can simply pay $5 for admission to the high school football game and beat the boy senseless.
And last but not least…
9. If you’re at a loss, consult the “REFERENCE MANUEL” you’ve got on your desk.

I too have had some significant learning experiences at work this week. I have an office. I heart my office with rainbow and unicorn drawings all around it. Due to some ill-timed door varnishing, I had to relocate to a cube downstairs this week. It’s official, I am not cut out for life in the cube farm. Here are some notes for my fellow employees:

If I can sing along, your music is too loud. This is why the sweet baby Jesus gave us headphones.

Your chair squeaks. Loudly. Every time you move. For the love of all that is holy, FIX THAT SHIT.

I could say more… about the glorious redneck family dramas I got to listen to playing out on our phone lines, but frankly I’m exhausted. Just let it be noted that I will gladly panhandle before I sit in a cube again.

I know. I’m a snob.

I just don’t care.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birth Order

“Is this your first baby?”


If I had a nickel for every time I’ve faltered trying to answer that question… well, I wouldn’t be trying to sell Husband’s kidney to pay for daycare. (Sorry guy- but you do have TWO and they won’t take mine.)

Seriously, though. I have two daughters. This is my second child. That sounds so odd, because I don’t go home every day to a little girl about to celebrate her first birthday. There are no large pieces of brightly colored plastic fun in my den. The dogs have never known the joy of high chair leftovers raining down on them. My work clothes don’t have faint yellowish spots on the shoulders and boobs. (Except for that one shirt… margaritas involved… long story.) Husband and I spend leisurely evenings playing with said dogs and chatting about each other’s days over dinner eaten in a room with *gasp* carpet on the floor.

And yet, there she is- Cecilia Ruth. Born May 2006. First child of Charles and Lauren. Grandchild of Kenneth and Lynn, of Michael and Eileen, all of whom were there to hold her, see her, love her, and kiss her goodbye. She is as real and as human to me as any of the folks who were in the room that day. She is my daughter and she was a living being, as sure as she kicked and tumbled inside of me.

I feel dishonest and as though I am dishonoring my daughter to just answer “yes” to the first baby question. In my heart, acknowledging her seems the only logical and natural thing to do. I will always miss her, and her short life left an indelible and bittersweet impression on my heart. But she’s still my child and I’m proud to be her mother. I’m proud of what a little fighter she was and I’m proud of myself for making incredibly tough decisions that were in her best interest, as any mother would.

I don’t include Cecilia in my answer expecting sympathy or trying to make the asker uncomfortable, yet those are the responses it seems to invoke. They wind up mumbling something like “I’m sorry…” or “you poor thing…” and I find myself stammering and apologizing for … for what… for acknowledging my own baby’s existence? I hate that. But I hate making people uncomfortable. But I also hate the idea of ignoring Cecilia. Maybe I’m overanalyzing what should be a simple superficial social situation. But to any mother who has lost a child, especially a child she has held and dressed and rocked, it’s WAY more important than that. And after some time and some healing, we don’t mention our babies entirely with sadness. We mention them because… well, because they’re our babies. I find myself saying things like “don’t be sorry – I’m ok…” because it’s true. I am ok. And I’m ok in part because I haven’t pushed Cecilia’s life and memory into some dark closet and thrown away the key.

A friend said of my quandary “well, how would you WANT them to respond?” I want to be able to name my daughter, to validate her life and her place in our family, and to have people view that as a positive, healing thing. A simple “oh, so this is your second child- how wonderful!” or something along those lines would be perfect. I know it’s not the easiest sunshiniest (patent pending on that word…) of situations, but it’s as simple as this- let my daughter be my daughter in the light of day and public discourse. By simply letting me count her among my children without feeling so incredibly awkward and without living mired in past grief, you have done the heart of a mother a huge service. Births are normally happy, wonderful events. All the world loves a pregnant lady (except maybe if she has a married boyfriend…) but be prepared to acknowledge all children- because they all have their place in that pregnant lady’s heart.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Senator Craig and zone defense for babies...

Seriously? I mean… really…? Let me see… your premise is that you are:
1. an English-speaking native-born citizen
2. college educated
3. a millionaire with easy access to the best counsel you can buy

BUT…you suffered a “manifest injustice” despite the fact that you
1. waived your right to counsel
2. plead guilty BY MAIL weeks later
3. and voluntarily never appeared before a judge

Craig apparently “wishes that he had sought legal council in the months between his arrest and entering his guilty plea.”

Yeah. In the words of that modern-day-philosopher, Justin Timberlake, cry me a river.

I wish I had never used a credit card for crap I didn’t really need. I wish I hadn’t been going 86 in a 60 when that state trooper saw me. I wish I had sought counsel from a personal trainer before getting pregnant 15 pounds over weight.

But you know what else?
I know how credit debt works and how difficult it is to pay off.
I know what “speed limit” means and what will happen if I get caught speeding.
I know the risks and perils of carrying extra weight and I know how to lose it and I have access to freakin’ Weight Watchers.

Point? We humans do stupid shit. And we get caught doing stupid shit. And if we are Americans who are reasonably well-educated , not destitute and English is our primary language and we have a working knowledge of the institutions of our country, WE DO NOT GET TO CALL A DO-OVER just because the press got wind of what we did.

Here is a man with every advantage and all the information. Here is a man knew damn full good and well what his rights were and the realities of how the justice system works. (At least he should have- if he didn’t, then he shouldn’t be a freakin’ LAWMAKER in the first damn place!) Here is a man who had class and native language and time and resources on his side. With all that, I’m sorry, you knew full and well what “guilty” meant. GUILTY means you admit to the wrongdoing. Don’t want to admit that? But don’t think you can win against the big bad justice system? (The system you have manipulated to be biased against everyone except you and your white wealthy allegedly-hetero brethren?) That’s what “no contest” is for, buddy.

So please…go ahead and tell me the detective “misconstrued” your actions in the men’s room. Insist to me that you are not gay. But do not for a single minute tell me you didn’t understand or couldn’t have gotten full counsel before making this guilty plea. Was the plea a mistake? From the perspective of your political career, you betcha it was. But you gambled and lost. The game was as fair as it gets for you, Senator Craig.

Oh, and just come on out already.

And now for a funny interlude:

Husband: I can’t wait for next college football season! I’ll have Vivi in her little Clemson onesie and I can teach her all the ins and outs of (blah, blah, blah…names of strategies here…)

Me: You realize teaching her all that is only going to one day make her MORE attractive to teenage boys?

Husband: And then there’s karate class…

Me: For her or you?

Husband: Both... And Daddy may need a lifetime pass to the firing range for Christmas...