Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here we go again....

We managed to get through last weekend disease-free, but Friday we started noticing some crusties in Henry's eyes....yep, he's got pinkeye.  Can't go back to day care til Wednesday, so that means I take a day off, and so does Ben.  Thank God I have an understanding boss-I've only been there two freaking months and have had to miss for his illnesses, and then for mine when I catch whatever he has.  I know my former workplace wouldn't have been so understanding.

But then again my former job was a den of passive aggressive gossips and miserable people-with some notable exceptions.  When you go to HR to try to get some help dealing with difficult people and the HR staffperson you talk to says "A lot of people at your office are on medication to deal with it til retirement.  That, or they have a really strong relationship with their church."

Look, I'm all for people having whatever faith they want.  But when the HR policy at a GOVERNMENT AGENCY is "Turn to Jesus"...well, it's just time to get the hell out.  When she said that to me, and started talking to me about her relationship with the Lord, I really wanted to say "Are you shitting me?"  Totally inappropriate.

And finding work in a great place really makes you realize how much a toxic job can affect your life-your health, your mood, your relationship with other people-everything.

Other than that this weekend has been interesting, we've had some family drama.  My sister called me to tell me about it, and Henry was asleep on an overstuffed chair. I got up to talk to her, and somehow he managed to roll himself off of it-luckily he landed on a pillow and was fine, but I was completely horrified.  The feeling I had when I saw that empty chair and didn't know if he was okay or not-that was the worst feeling I've ever had.  It just reminded me of this new vulnerability that comes with having a kid, the realization that if anything happened to them, it would kill you.  I remember sitting at home the first week I had him home and just crying, thinking about all the things that could happen to him.  (Of course, when I started obsessing about things like "What if we take him to the beach and a shark eats him?" I realized that post-partum depression is no joke and got some help for it).  I don't want to be one of those irritating people who dramatically heaves about how "you just don't understand until you have a child" but it's certainly a feeling that I'd never had before I had one.  I have lots of people I love, but that kid is a piece of me.  He's my whole life. And those moments will never stop-when I'm not sure where he is or if he's ok.  God help me when he starts driving and misses curfew.

So yesterday I felt like a horrible mother-he has never rolled from belly to back in front of me, and still hasn't, I had no idea he could move that much.  A word of advice to all the new moms who read this-never assume ANYTHING.  Some silver linings, though-lots of people have similar stories and will tell them to you to make you feel better, and I decided that the crib is no longer an optional piece of furniture-he is sleeping in that damn thing.  The fall gave me the motivation and determination to get him sleeping in it.

And he's in it now, looking like a little Halloween prisoner in his orange and black striped PJs.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Heading to D.C.

So we've been talking about it forever, and it looks like (barring any further contagious disease in the house) we'll be heading to D.C. this weekend for the Rally to Restore Sanity. We're taking the little guy-our first big trip with him.  Well, really our first trip with him period, except maybe to the store and such.  We've been reticent to take him out to restaurants and the like-Ben and I both waited tables at one point, and realize the havoc a screaming child can wreak on innocent people's evenings.  Henry has had what we call a "pleasure sensor" in him since birth-meaning he saves his epic freakouts for when we're about to enjoy a really good meal, or on the infrequent occasions where we have enough energy to attempt to have sex.

But as soon as Jon Stewart announced the event, I've wanted to go.  I've been really depressed about the direction this nation is taking-and I don't even mean economically.  The current media environment encourages the biggest whackjobs to have the most airtime, and political leaders are actually starting to cater to the periphery.   Stewart has a great point-you don't hear from the majority of us, who know that the solution lies somewhere in between "SOCIALISM" and "REPUBLICANS HATE BABIES" but we have things to do.  And let's face it, most of  us, public relations-wise, just aren't that interesting.

I'm thrilled for there to be a public event where rational, reasonable people can gather and let the world know that what they see on fox news is not an accurate depiction of America.  I'm glad that most of us know that our problems won't be solved overnight, and hell, even admit that we CAUSED some of the problems.  As a nation, we want everything too fast, and we want too much.  When Ben and I started talking about buying a house, we went to a bank to discuss what kind of loan we qualified for.  More than one bank tried to talk us into signing onto more than a quarter of a million dollars in home loans.

OVER $250,000.  For a teacher, and an administrative assistant (which everyone knows is just a nice way of saying secretary) with massive school loan debt.  With our income, the only way we could have afforded those mortgage payments is if we'd given up all luxuries, including food, and I'd pimped Ben out on the side to elderly widows.  But plenty of people signed on to mortgages they couldn't afford-you can chalk that up to ignorance or banks taking advantage, or both.  This is a culture where more is better, and we don't like to wait for anything. Maybe we should learn to do that.

So I'm happy for the chance to take my kid to an event like this, even though he won't remember it, and, with our luck, will take a dump that will coat him, me, and several passerby.  I generally avoid political discussion, particularly now when the nation seems so polarized.  But hey, it's time to work together.  It's time to fix this mess.  And it's ok if it takes some time to do it.  Rome wasn't built in a day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sleep? I'm pretty sure I did that on Tuesday.

Since I was the first one in the pregnant herd to have my kid, I sometimes get asked advice, mainly on breast feeding and sleeping.  Breast feeding I can sometimes help with.  But when people ask me about sleep....I just say "umm...." and look at my child, who is wide awake and playing at 11pm despite my desperate attempts to get him down.

At first, I was afraid to sleep when he did, because he had some respiratory problems at birth, and I was freaked out that he'd stop breathing.  Often, the only way both of us could sleep is if he was on my chest.  And yes, lots of people told me I was spoiling him.  But honestly, I don't think it's that bad.  I'm pretty sure by the time he reaches puberty, he won't want to crash with his dad and me.  And he may be the only baby I ever have-I kind of want to enjoy the time I have with him til he wakes up one day and I'm the lamest person he knows and hugging me will be a personal sacrifice on his part.  I'm away from him enough with work and school, and I really treasure any time we have together.  Again, one day he's going to not want anything to do with me.

Part of me is ready for that, and really, you want that for your kid-you don't want to have your kid turn forty, still live in your basement, and call you Mommy.  (Well, at least until he snaps, kills you, and stores you in the freezer.  It happens.  Watch Law & Order sometime).  So I've not been really assertive about the whole sleeping-in-the-crib thing, and he hasn't liked the crib from the get go.  But he's getting bigger now, and is extremely fond of kicking us in the genital/stomach area when WE'RE trying to sleep, so the move needs to be made.

I still have no advice, by the way.  He's in his crib right now, with his brand new mobile that plays classical music at a soft level.  From what I can hear, he's having quite an animated conversation with it and sounds like he recently drank a Red Bull.

Oh well.  Baby steps.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yeah, I know

I should be studying.  But I really, really don't want to. I finished my master's degree in public administration just in time for every government agency to go on a hiring freeze, so I decided to work towards a graduate certificate in business admin to round things out.  My basic plan is either to go to school til someone hires me and pays me a lot of money, or to fake my own death to get out of my mountain of student loans.  We'll see which one comes to pass.

Took the kiddo running again today...getting back into shape sucks.  I know I'll feel great when I can run five miles easily again, it's just the getting there.  And I can't even blame it on him-I was out of shape when I got pregnant.  If you're looking to get knocked up, do yourself a favor and start exercising NOW.  It will make the whole pregnancy and labor thing way easier on you, and you'll bounce back faster.

When Ben and I met I was in great shape-mainly because it was six months after I'd ended an engagement to a guy who, while being totally wrong for me and quite possibly into dudes, was someone I really adored, and the split was painful.  I dealt with it like I dealt with most hard times back then-lots of exercise with the occasional binge drinking thrown in for good measure.  It was nothing for me to be in a crappy mood, and for me to throw on my running shoes and head out for an hour.

Then I met Ben, and he can really cook and got me into drinking good quality beer in smaller volumes, and you know how you fall into the habit of just sitting around staring at someone and drinking wine or eating.....yeah, let's just say that after our wedding it caught up with me in a major way.  (I appreciate the truth in the whole "get married and let yourself go" thing now).  When we decided to try for a baby I figured I'd have a year or so to get back into shape, but Henry decided otherwise.

But I really hate being the kind of person who bitches about gaining weight and does absolutely nothing about it, so out I go.  We're slow, and it's painful.  Plus there's a group of women I always manage to see, no matter what time I go, that are all perfect and their clothes match and their hair looks great and even worse, they're actual runners-they keep a pretty good pace.

I, on the other hand, generally look like I just rolled out of bed and headed out in whatever I slept in (probably because that's what I do), may have two different socks on, my hair makes it appear that I've recently been electrocuted....yeah, not so cute.  It's hard not to hold it against people who always look put together when you never quite do.  Even when I try hard to appear well dressed and made up, something usually goes wrong-I get splashed by a truck going through a puddle, or the kid barfs on me-it just never works out.

But I think dealing with body and appearance issues your whole life kind of forces you to develop a sense of humor.  That, or go postal on your eyebrow waxer when she helpfully asks you, "Do you want me to do your chin while I'm here?"


Friday, October 22, 2010

Uh....two centimeters. And how's YOUR vagina?

Some good friends had a baby girl last night, and they got me thinking about pregnancy, and all the weird shit that happens during it.  Not just the weird stuff that happens to you, like seriously abnormal dreams and gas that could kill a bull moose.  But what seeing a pregnant woman tends to do to other people.  Perfect strangers will ask you really personal questions (see title of blog) and even touch you.  I managed to avoid the stranger-rubbing-my-belly thing, I think by looking really pissed throughout most of my pregnancy.  But random people would ask me if I was planning a natural birth, if I was planning (or am currently) breast feeding, and speculate about the state of my personal area post-baby.  I don't really get why that is.  It's like seeing a big belly tells people "Hey, let me just ignore common sense and decency and ask this person I don't know about the state of her cervix or usage of her boobs."

Oh well.  There are things I miss about being pregnant.  People are really nice to you.  I've maintained that you can be doing pretty much anything and people think you're cute.  You could be clubbing a baby seal, and not only would no one stop you, but several people will stop and offer to help.

Then they'll assure you that your life is over, tell your husband that he'd "better get his now, while he still can!" and grab their love handles and say "These don't go away after the baby!"  It's enough to make you want to go into hibernation until the damn kid comes out.  Everyone says all the stuff you go through is worth it when you see your baby, and that's true.  And if you're vengeful like me, you'll save some of that gas up to cropdust people who are too intrusive.  (Hopefully no one I used to work with will read this, because then they might realize that the smell that drove them away from their desk after I walked by was not only intentional, but premeditated).

Henry's lucky to have such a genteel lady for a mom!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Seriously, this house should be quarantined.

So it appears I spoke too soon about Ben and I not picking up Henry's stomach bug....early Monday morning I was shivering on the bathroom floor, and a few hours later Ben was in there, too.  Piece of advice-if you buy a home with only one bathroom, then invest in a good bucket, because there WILL be a time when you need it.

We were both out of commission for the better part of two days, while Henry seems to be doing fine (he actually seemed to find me throwing up into a bucket to be tremendous entertainment.)  I do think that kids these days watch way too much tv, and spend too much time on electronic devices in general (maybe I'm just bitter because I don't know how to work any of these devices, but whatever).  But yesterday you definitely would have caught me in a weak moment.  Henry spent most of the day in his exersaucer watching Monsters vs. Aliens while Ben and I drifted in and out of consciousness on the couch and chair in the living room.  Not my proudest.

I think we all have grand aspirations about parenting before the kid arrives, like that we're going to use just cloth diapers, breastfeed for six months exclusively, actually dress them in matching outfits, and spend every evening reading to them and then putting them to bed, where they actually go to sleep.  But it takes about two days of having a newborn at home for most of that to go to hell.  For my part, cloth diapers lasted about a day until I realized they leaked as soon as he peed in them once, I had to supplement with bottles from the beginning, most days I feel lucky if he gets out of the house in an outfit that doesn't consist of his PJs and socks, and most evenings are spent bargaining with him to try to get him to fall asleep before eleven.  He's slept in his crib MAYBE five times, and when he wakes up in it, he gets really pissed that I tricked him into sleeping there.

Like I said, he seemed to enjoy the whole event.  But we're back to work tomorrow, and he's back to day care, where I can only assume he will pick up cholera or some rare contagious fungus found only in the Amazon.  Good times.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How Henry Happened

I'm still kind of surprised that I have a kid.  Not because I didn't want one-deep down I've always wanted to be a mom.  But I never thought I'd get married and follow that normal life path-the last relationship I was in before I met Ben ended rather badly and left me preferring single life to going through that BS again.  I met Ben through mutual friends, and we saw each other at their wedding.  I was cutting limes, he was lamenting the lack of available women to another guest, Tina.  Tina said "Well, what about Megan?" and Ben started to laugh (he says now it was out of nervousness.)

I got a bit offended and demanded to know what was so funny about the idea of dating me.  Then I threatened to cut him if he kept laughing (keep in mind that I was holding a knife at the time).

I don't know what about this exchange made him interested, but it worked.  So much for all the advice I've gotten from cosmo about flipping my damned hair and giggling.  One year of dating later we were engaged, and a year after that, married.  We bought the house, got the dogs, and pretty much settled into life.  When we decided to try for a baby (ok, when I decided, and he had no legitimate reason to object anymore) my doctor was pretty skeptical about our chances due to some problems in that area on my part.  She referred me to a specialist, and we talked about how far we were willing to go to have a baby.  Not very far, it turns out-we weren't interested in IVF or any of that stuff.  Our basic logic was that if the universe was that against us having kids (and God knows on the outset we don't seem the type) then we'd roll along childless, or maybe adopt.  

And the universe had already decided to play a funny joke on us, because when we had this conversation, I was already pregnant.  39 miserable weeks later (more on that later, but suffice to say, I was not one of those glowing happy pregnant women, I was miserable and whiny) I went into labor.

We got to the hospital, they hooked me up, I spent eight hours wishing I was dead.  A nurse kept telling me they were going to send me home because "You're not really in labor."  Well, I knew what was happening and the fact that I'd practically bent the bed rail in half should have told her something, but she didn't believe me.  Finally, she made another comment about sending me home, and I sat up and said "Look.  I'm not leaving here without a baby.  It's up to you whose baby it is."

After that I didn't see much of her.

Long story short, 30 hours later the doctor made the call and Henry was born by C-section.  I'd like to say it was a joyful occasion, but I had a bad reaction to the meds and spent his whole birth throwing up into the anesthesiologist's hands (he was a trooper).  After 24 hours in the NICU for him and a whole lot of morphine for me, I was reunited with my son, and got to figure out just what to do with him.  Books don't really prepare you for that.   Or for handsy lactation consultants, but more on that later.

Month of the Plagues

This past month has been pretty rough on all of us, illness-wise.  I swear to God I'm going to start sending Henry to day care in a plastic bubble.  He had a cold, then possibly RSV, then on Saturday, I was getting ready to take him for a run (well, he was going to ride, I don't have him hitting the track just yet) and he puked all over himself, me, the stroller, several innocent bystanders....I mean, it was bad.  So of course I freaked out because I'm a new mom.  I find myself walking the line between "He's fine." and "OH GOD CALL AN AMBULANCE" frequently these days.  One of the unsettling things I've found out about parenting is that it strips away any idea you had of yourself as a badass who could handle whatever life throws at you-when it's your kid and there's something wrong you feel totally vulnerable, and that drives me nuts.

So despite all my wonderful plans to spend this beautiful fall weekend walking to the park and doing picturesque things like pushing my kid in a swing, I ended up alternately comforting him and cleaning up red puke, thanks to Pedialyte.  He's doing ok now, though, and this bug seems to have skipped over Ben and I (thankfully) so hopefully this work week will be less adventurous.  Good thing I found a part time job that's pretty flexible-I work for a bunch of dentists who all have kids and are no strangers to the weird illnesses they constantly bring home.

Really, though, this weekend hasn't been all that different than weekends in my early twenties, except the vomiting wasn't causes by a late night out at a show and thinking that mixing Red Bull, Midori, and vodka was just a terrific idea at one in the morning.  And while my memories are a bit fuzzy due to sleep deprivation, I'm fairly certain I didn't get into any fights or fall down.  Ah, maturity.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

So who am I?

I guess I need to get around to introducing myself, and explaining why I started this.  The fact that I created the account a week ago and am just now posting is a testament to my procrastination skills.

I'm Megan, I'm a new mom-my little guy is four months old.  Married to Ben for a little over four years.  Having a small child in the house means you're up at odd hours, and often desperately need a place to organize your thoughts-it's pretty easy to get caught in the baby mindset.  I stayed home for three months and honestly started to worry that my adult conversation skills had deteriorated to the point where I was close to asking grown-ass people if they had pooped, or trying to tickle their bellies.  I was weird enough before I had the kid, I don't need to get any weirder.

The title of the blog is not meant to imply that I'm a sort of ok mom.  I actually think I'm a pretty good mom, outside of a few....we'll call them moments of questionable parenting.  Like the time I put my kid in his stroller, pushed the stroller onto the porch, turned to lock the door, and then turned back to see the stroller moving on its own-towards the steps.  Thankfully I caught it, and when I told Ben, he said "Oh, yeah, it has an intentional slant so rain doesn't collect on it."

Good to know.  Would have been better to know before it almost gave me a goddamn heart attack.

The "average" in this case is meant to mean....well, average.  If we're on a scale, and on one end are the moms who sit and text or talk to friends in public places while their children are busy screaming and destroying things, and on the other end are the types of moms who breastfeed til their kids are five, use all organic everything, have every educational toy known to man, and actually succeeded at mastering baby yoga, then I'm right in the middle.  We're figuring out the kid thing as we go, but our main goal is to raise a productive member of society who isn't a total asshole as an adult.

What I'm not trying to do is change anyone's view on parenting, or trash anyone's parenting methods, skills, or choices.  How you raise your kids is up to you, and quite frankly, as long as people love their kids and manage their basic needs, I don't really care what "parenting style" they use.

I just know I've been overwhelmed with information about pregnancy and babies since the minute that plus sign showed up.  So this is meant to be a source of entertainment, not a how-to blog.  Like I said, I'm figuring out this parenting thing as I go.

And be forewarned-if you are offended by bad language or jokes involving bodily functions, this is not the place for you.  I have to clean up what I say out loud, because I don't want my son's first word to be "jackass", so I'm going to get all my cursing out here.