Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A picture from this past August when we went surfing for hours on the boat. Sam is just cool like that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Intuition, Schmintuition

I was talking recently to a girl I know who has a set of twins. And she was lamenting on the fact that she wants one more, but doesn’t want one more. How she is going back and forth in her head over whether or not to have another child. Which I was actually pretty shocked at, because the twins were, “Hello, surprise!” and I thought for sure she would never take that risk again. So I tried not to discourage her, you know, by telling her how I met a woman last weekend who had twin girls and they wanted one more and got twins again, this time a boy and a girl. And she said that oddly enough, she wasn’t worrying about having another set of twins, it was the whole, “having three kids and being outnumbered” thing. She said the not worrying part was intuition.

And that got me to thinking. That mother’s intuition? The thing where a mother doesn’t need Lassie to tell her that Timmy is stuck in the well? Because she is like Sally Field on Brothers & Sisters and just knows that something bad is going to happen to one of her kids? I don’t have it. Let’s see. I totally thought I was having a boy. When the daycare told me the other week Samantha had 2 loose stools? I figured it was due to her cold. When my mom told me that she had 2 explosions of poo in her crib on Saturday and had been whiny all day? I thought she may have had too many prunes the day before and that maybe she was pissed at me for ditching her to go to a football game. And on Sunday, when she only wanted to be held by me and felt warm to the touch? I guessed it was a virus and we’d give her Tylenol to help her get through it.

By Monday, the poor girl was downright dejected. She wanted to be held all day, and would only sleep lying upright because of the snot in her head. When I thought a bath would help to cheer her up and a warm one would feel good and help drain the snot? Yeah…that was the night her fever spiked to 101. It was only that night that I started to wonder if it was a little more than a virus, that perhaps she had something some nice antibiotics would take care of. (I also did not think to put her back in the tub, this time with cold water) Fortunately, I had listened to my mother and made an appointment with the doctor for Tuesday morning. And it took all of 5 seconds for the doctor to look in her ears (after waiting for 45 minutes in the waiting room) to confirm that poor Samantha had not one, but TWO raging ear infections. The wax in the right ear was actually melting because it was so hot. (I don’t know if this is normal, because not only do I lack intuition, I also lack an MD)

She is on her 7th day of bubble gum flavored amoxicillin, the same stuff I got when I was a kid, and I am not sure if the mox will be enough to kick the raging ear infections. Because she is still snotty and needy and whiny. And that? Is not my kid. I’m a little nervous about trusting my intuition on whether she is just teething (one more did come in on Saturday!!) or whether her ears hurt and she is trying to say, “DAMNIT MOM…MAKE ME FEEL BETTER!!” She goes in next Tuesday for a 2 week check up. (I’m trying to at least allow myself some common sense and listen to the other mothers around me.) The good news is that this illness seems to have taught her the meaning of mama. As in, she stands up in her crib when I attempt to put her down for a nap, holds her arms out to me and yells, (with pathetic big, fat tears rolling down her chubby little cheeks) MAMAMAMAMAMA!! Or when I walk away from her to go to the bathroom, she crawls after me with the same pathetic, big fat tears sobbing MAMAMAMA! And once? Just once? She looked at me, then my mother, and sobbed DADADA. As if she was like, “Screw you guys, I want my dad.” Good luck kid…I’m not sure what kind of intuition he has, hope it’s better than mine!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crazy? I hope not.

A few weeks back, I went to the doctor and he mentioned that I might have a touch of OCD. I thought this was hil-arious until I started thinking about certain things that I do, and to be honest, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. Does this affect my life? If so, how does it affect it? Do I need to be worried about this? Can I change my behavior? What parts of me are to be blamed for this off-hand diagnosis?

So I just now decided to google OCD. And fortunately, I don’t think I am clinical. I just don’t have all the symptoms, and especially the part about doing something to prevent a dreaded event. I just do things, well, because that is how my mind works. I don’t think the world is going to end or anything.

Samantha has been sick lately, and so I have been home more in the past 3 days than I have since before Memorial Day. And my house is driving. me. insane. Because it is trashed. I have someone come and clean every 2 weeks. So it isn’t “call CPS because the house is unfit for human habitation”…yet. (My beloved person who cleans has to have a HIP REPLACEMENT, and so she won’t be able to clean for at least 6 weeks. I am counting on 8-10, if not longer, but we’ll see.)

I was lying in bed last night, writing this blog in my head, as a way of going to sleep. You see, I have to make a list of the things I want to do in order to be able to allow my mind to rest. (Xanex works too, but my doctor wouldn’t give me that because it is too addictive…geez!) I thought I might allow you a little insight into why my house is still trashed, and to see if anyone else has the same insane, irrational way of thinking. (PS…I am currently eating Rolos for breakfast)

I have at least 5 bins of baby clothes and maternity clothes that need to be put out of sight, into a storage area of some sort. (when we were building our house, I was VERY insistent that there was lots and lots of storage, because women like storage, and I am a woman, and we were hoping to sell the house to a man and a woman…and since most women have at least a little say in things, storage is important.) However, I can’t decide exactly WHERE I would like this storage area to be, and I have those thingys that come in shoeboxes that are supposed to help keep things fresh, but you have to do something to them to get them to work again, but I haven’t done that and am not sure what “that” is, so I don’t want to put the boxes away until I can put the thingys in there and am positive where I’d like to keep them. PLUS, I need to pack up another bin of clothes that Samantha has outgrown, AND burp cloths and such, except those should go in the newborn bin, but that one is full, so I need to empty it out and reorganize it. And she really hasn’t outgrown the clothes YET, so it would almost be premature to pack up another bin. I might run short on clothes.

Fonz swam a lot in the lake this summer, but something was different, and the lake made him stink. Like shit. And typically we didn’t get a chance to give him a bath before we headed back to the lake. So the landing where he spends most of his day is dirty. As in, you can see the dirt on the carpet dirty. And even though we have given him baths, he still smells a little. Like shit. Because even though he is clean, he lies on the landing and reabsorbs the stinky lake smell into his fur and then continues to smell like shit. I have a bottle of carpet cleaner that I BOUGHT one time when I got my carpets professionally cleaned. So it is the same stuff they use, or at least that is what they tell me. But do I use it to clean the landing? No. Because I am convinced that the carpet needs to be professionally cleaned again, and I won’t follow the directions and probably screw up my carpet since I tend to scrub when it says to blot.

We also have a lot of baby stuff that Samantha doesn’t use anymore. Lots. Big things, like…swings. And travel swings. And baby bathtubs (of which there are 2, I am still confused as to why). And bouncy seats…although I might keep one of those out, because I just found out that you aren’t supposed to feed a baby a bottle flat on their back, apparently that is the leading cause of ear infections. And all last week, I fed Sam her bottle on her back while I got ready, and VOILA…she has a double ear infection. Go figure. Anyway, I digress. So I want to put all of this extra stuff away. But I can’t decide where it should go. And how it should be packed up. I mean, if I just put it into a closet, do I need to wrap it up to keep it clean? And how do you wrap up a full size swing? And speaking of closets, we have lots of them. And since we are busy/lazy people, if we see things out and we have guests coming over who we don’t want to see those things, we will throw them in a closet. So most of our closets are full of random crap that I am not even sure what it is or if we even need to keep. So really, if I am going to put this stuff in a closet, I need to clean out the closets and get rid of crap from our college days. OR, I could put it in the crawl space under the hallway leading in from the garage, but there are all kinds of empty boxes and stolen photo albums and things from the wedding that I have thrown in there. So THAT needs to be cleaned out as well. And the last time I was in there, I whacked my head pretty good and broke the light bulb since the space is only 4 feet tall. So I need to replace the light bulb and find a hard hat.

Also, I don’t have pictures of Samantha hanging up in my house. WHAT??!! You say? What kind of a mother ARE you anyway??? Here is the thing. I have lots of pictures hanging up. Many of them are from our wedding. And I spent a LOT of money, not so long ago, on those pictures. So I am not real keen on just putting new ones in and tossing out the old ones. And I’ve got other pictures in frames, but my family or Workaholic’s family are in them, and I like to be reminded that it is not all about me. I do have family that I love. So I bought a couple of new picture frames specifically for Samantha. And I put pictures in them! And asked Workaholic to hang them! And they are still lying on the couch in our room! Where they have been for 6 months!! Yes, I could probably figure out how to hang them myself, except here is the thing. I am married to a CARPENTER. I do think that should have some advantages, right??? Like, having someone else hang up your pictures?? So they won’t fall down when the door slams because you have too many windows open and it is crazy windy outside?

There are other things are bugging me about my house, but those are the biggies. And some stuff, I am just weird about. Take my wood floors for instance. I am a firm believer that mops are gross. And that the proper way to clean a wood floor is on your hands and knees, with a rag. But who has TIME to do that?? And the energy, and the back pain! So yes, my floors get cleaned by my cleaning lady, and I could give a shit how she does them. But if I do them, it has to be the right way. Weird, huh?

After looking at my list, and my excuses, I am thinking that this isn’t a list of OCD things. This is a list of Gail being lazy. If I put those boxes away, it would be out of sight, out of mind. I wouldn’t lie in bed at night, like I do now, wondering how to get those thingys-from-the-shoeboxes reactivated. But it is just getting me to do that…put those boxes away, or break down the swing and make a decision on where I would like to hide it until it is needed again. It is physically hard. And then I wonder if it is just a touch of OCD…like my doctor said.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy? Getting there. Clean house? Not so much.

Over the past 8 months or so, my emotions have been a roller coaster. There have been slow ascents, and deep valleys and sudden, rushing downward spirals. I remember when Samantha was maybe 4 weeks old, crying to my friend Dr. Nadene on the phone. I almost couldn’t breathe or speak, just telling her how I felt like life would never be the same, and would I ever be able to have FUN again? (I did not get the “high” that many new mothers speak of…I wish I had, but I didn’t.) The responsibility of raising a child had hit my like a freight train, and I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Mine alone. Yes, I had a supportive husband who helped in whatever way I needed. It’s just that he wasn’t there during the day, and he needed to get up early in the morning, so I typically did all the night feedings. He wanted to help, but didn’t always know how to help, and so I often wound up doing many things myself. (or at least feeling like I did)

That has since changed. He willingly and happily does feedings and bathtime and generally whatever I need help with. (Except laundry…for some reason, I do all that. It’s a control thing. As in, he in no way has the skill to appropriately put clothes in the washer and add soap and turn it to on.) Yes, of course, there are things that I would LIKE to be done, but I also don’t help myself in those situations. Sometimes it is all I can do to feed and put Sam to sleep, everything else just seems to be overwhelming. (which is why my house is the definition of clutter right now) (leaving town every weekend is not helping at this point…but that won’t stop us) We are enjoying life right now, and if some things fall to the wayside, so be it. We try to spend as much time with our little girl as possible.

A few weeks ago, I realized that things were not right. I just wasn’t happy. And I am not talking about over the moon happy, or even not happy with my life happy. I mean, hard to get out of bed, anything could push me over the edge, HATING myself unhappy. On the outside, I smiled and joked with people at work, although I did definitely try to hide in my cubicle. Certain things just overwhelmed me, and I would shut down. Nothing made me happier than NOT getting out of bed. But I had to, day in, day out. I was talking to my good friend who has an infant as well, and I was telling her how I felt, and she said, “Oh Gail, you are making me sad.” Meaning, she was sad for me, that I was feeling the way I did. And THAT was my AH-HA moment. My friend, who was so infinitely happy about her child, was sad because of me. That? Was fucked up. So I went to my doctor, and he put me on the new medicine Pristiq. And you know what? It is helping. I can get out of bed in the morning, I smile more readily, and I look forward to the future.

So I was talking recently to a friend, one of those friends who you really don’t talk to very often, but you are kind of in the same place in life and will occasionally run into, and so you talk. The subject turned to baby blues and depression. I readily shared that I was on Pristiq. I am not ashamed of it, and I am happy that it is helping. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with taking medicine if you need it, and when it comes to depression, science has proven that genetics and hormones and chemical imbalances are the culprit. Yes, sometimes life circumstances become too much, and you need a little help to get through a rough patch, but more often, you were probably predisposed to depression. It’s not like it is something that you can help, that you have control over. Sometimes, folding that load of laundry is just. too. difficult.

It was my friend’s response to my admission that caught me off guard. Maybe it was the wording, maybe it was the tone. It went something like, “So what’s wrong?” As in, what is so wrong with your life that you feel the need to medicate yourself? This question really caught me off guard. Sure, my life isn’t perfect. But no one’s is. That isn’t why I felt myself spiraling. The mix of hormones and life change sometimes makes people’s emotions go down…not up. And when they stay down, for more than a couple of weeks, it is time to get some outside help.

Being diagnosed with depression, for some, is a relief. It helps to explain things. And the doctors will tell you that it isn’t your fault, it isn’t something that you can control. In fact, for some people, when a doctor asks the questions and then says, “I think you are depressed”, the natural response is, “Well duh.” However, that doesn’t mean you don’t feel as though you have failed. Failed in what, who knows. Life, I guess. But therein lies the stigma of depression. You can’t will yourself well when you get depressed. You need help. Help to learn how to deal with life and also help to control what is going on inside you.

Eight months after I had my daughter, and 5 ½ months after I have gone back to work, I feel like life is starting to normalize. I have a beautiful baby that any mother would be happy to parent, a great home and a wonderful husband. We both have jobs, and cars, and can put food on the table. I can finally start to feel the joy that everyone else talks about. Finally!! (And maybe, just maybe, some day soon, I’ll get my house organized. But don’t hold your breath. I don’t know if there are ANY drugs that strong.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Death, Life, and Miracles

Yesterday, I was feeling all scared about the idea of having another child, because of the change that a new baby brings to your life. And even though I have been through it before, I think bringing a second child into this world will be almost more difficult than bringing the first. All of the sudden, I can’t hand off my baby to my husband and go relax; now I will have to hand off both babies. And while he is dealing with a screaming tantrum with one, I have to be taking care of another. Yes, so goes the life of parents. Doesn’t make it any less scary.

And then I woke up this morning. The Today Show and Meredith Viera reminded me that today is September 11th. That awful day, 8 years ago, when my mom came into my room and said, “Two planes just hit the World Trade Center.” And I thought, “What is the big deal?” Thinking that the pilots of those small planes would surely get into a lot of trouble with the FAA for flying so close to buildings. And then, I turned on the TV, and me and Peter Jennings became fast friends. I didn’t change from ABC for the rest of the morning. I called everyone I knew, those who I didn’t call, called me. I remember watching the towers fall...ABC had cut away to Washington for a moment and when they came back, you couldn’t tell what had happened. Peter thought there had been an explosion at the base of the South tower, not realizing that it had collapsed. And when they showed the replay, he just was silent. As was everyone else.

I remember looking at the footage of the South Tower, and thinking, “Oh my God, all of those people are trapped in a collapsed building, they will never be able to reach them in time to save them. Surely people are hurt and bleeding and they are going to die a long and terrible death.” It took me a couple of days to realize that those people had died a terrible death as ABC had cut away to the Pentagon. That moment changed me. It impacted the decisions I made in my life, especially over the next several months dramatically, and not always in a good way. I lived for the day, instead of thinking things through. I was quite unstable for a while there, not sure of my life or what was going to happen in the future.

I was thinking of this as I got in my minivan to drive Sam to daycare and myself to work today. As I turned on 101.9, The Mix (in Chicago), and Eric and Kathy are having their 10th Annual 36 Hour Radio-thon for Children’s Memorial Hospital. For those of you not from the Chicago area, Children’s Memorial is a great hospital for kids. They do a lot of research, and take great care in coordinating the child’s care with all the doctors involved, and focus on the parents as well. They take on the rare and deadly diseases that other hospitals give up on. Eric and Kathy have this fundraiser every year, and every year they have parents tell their heartbreaking stories of survival and loss. And every year I listen to the stories and every year, I wind up crying on the way to work. This year, the stories made me think of blogs that I read, from Heather who lost her Maddy; to Hope’s Mama, who lost her daughter while she was in labor and had to deliver her sleeping; to poor Mirne, who has lost not one, not two, but three children.

And I remembered something. I don’t want to say that I realized something, because that would imply that I’d had an epiphany of some sort. I simply remembered that a child, every child, is a gift. And to have a happy, healthy child is an even more amazing gift. To have a good, uneventful pregnancy like I did, (except of course for the stabbing pains in my ass…but they were worth it) to have a labor which was appropriately painful, and to get a healthy, happy, beautiful daughter is a miracle. All children are miracles. I will try my hardest to keep this in mind when Workaholic and I continue on our journey of being parents. And when I forget, just whack me in the back of the head…and maybe then, I’ll remember. There is plenty to be scared about, but the risks are worth the reward.

(this was taken about 8 months ago...but she still looks just as angelic when she is sleeping)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Too Good Not to Share

This just made my day....THANK YOU Northwest Indiana Times!!

Student claims roommate put pot in brownies
Police: No charges will be filed because there were no brownies left to be tested

LAPORTE COUNTY A Purdue North Central student apparently didn't know what hit him when he ate brownies he claims were laced with marijuana. Too delirious to attend some of his classes the next day, he contacted LaPorte County police who investigated but made no arrests.

LaPorte County police Chief of Detectives John Boyd said when officers arrived there were no brownies left to have tested, so the allegations could not be proven.
"There was no evidence that a crime took place," Boyd said.

Police said 18-year-old Stephen Burns reported that about 10 p.m. on Sept. 2 he returned to his apartment in the 1800 block of South Fountain Drive, across from the PNC campus along U.S. 421. One of his roommates made brownies and told Burns to "help himself," police said.

Burns told investigators he consumed four brownies and soon began "feeling weird." Police said Burns said he never used marijuana before and asked his roommate what he put in the brownies.
The roommate tossed a small bag of marijuana on a desk and told Burns that he put "weed" in the batter, police said.

Burns told police he was still high the next morning and missed some of his classes.

Investigators talked to the roommate, who denied baking brownies with pot. He said it was part of a psychological experiment that involved telling Burns that he put marijuana in the brownies to see if telling him would cause him to act under the influence.

To Baby or Not to Baby

Yesterday, we went to a funeral. It was a sad affair, one in which Workaholic and I got to see many family members (on his side) that we typically don’t see very often. There isn’t a reason why we don’t see them other than everyone leads busy lives. Anyway, a couple of his cousins asked if we are ready for kid #2. I’ve had a couple of other people in the past few weeks ask me the same question, so I thought I’d address it here.

And then I got to thinking. You know, that is such a normal and natural thing to ask. But really, it’s actually a very personal question. I mean, basically, you’re saying, “So, you two doozin’ it?”

What if I’d had another miscarriage? (yes, I had one, at 7 weeks, a couple of months before I got pregnant with Samantha) What if I was pregnant…but I wasn’t ready to tell anyone? What if we are trying, but it just isn’t happening yet?

Am I supposed to handle this with humor? Because, really…I am NOT that quick on my feet. I used to tell people that Workaholic and I were trying really hard…like, twice a day to get pregnant. (a couple times of that and people quit asking). But the real answer is, yes, I want more kids. And yes, I do want them to be pretty close together. Both Workaholic and I do. The problem, you ask?

Samantha is such an easy kid. And by easy, I mean, cake-like easy. (like box brownies) She only cries when she is hungry (but boy…if she is starving, look out!) or if her diaper is wet (even this is starting to fade) or if she is tired. But if you watch her, you can tell that she is tired before she actually starts to cry. She has been this way pretty much since she was born. So the unknown of what kind of kid I am going to get the next time around scares me. Rephrase…terrifies me. What if I get a kid who is colicky and needy…the type of kid where people see us coming and go, “Oh no…here they come.” I mean, my patience isn’t that great, and while life has for sure changed since Sam came into it, I would definitely say that she fits in the little box that Workaholic envisioned she would fit into before she was born. (it’s about the size of a carseat) What if I get another red-headed girl?? (it’ll take us two days to name her!)

So I guess I’ll have to take my chances. Hopefully we’ll get a good kid, and if not, we’ll just beat the good into him/her. We should probably look into having another child relatively soon, but right now it is just another thing on the list that Workaholic and I are procrastinating. If anything changes, well…maybe I’ll let ya’ll know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Baby Bars

Have you ever seen that movie with Reece Witherspoon "Sweet Home Alabama"? (what am I saying...if you read here, of course you have seen it!) You know that part where she walks into the bar and sees one of her old girlfriends and is like, "Look at you! You have a a bar!" That? Was me on Saturday night. (and no, I was NOT Reece Witherspoon in this story)

Saturday was our friend Greg's birthday (Happy Birthday, Father Greg!). So my in-laws and a group of their friends (I guess technically Greg is my in-law's friend, but that is just semantics) decided to go out for dinner. We went to this restaurant near the cottage that also has a bar in it, and on certain nights, they have a band. We thought there would be no band on this particular evening, but boy, were we ever wrong.

The first band was this weird, folksy group. It was good dinner music, if not a LITTLE LOUD, and partly in a foreign language. (Portuguese anyone?) The second band was actually a guy, on a guitar, and he was pretty good. I think it was around this time that our friend Bobby took Sam out to the dance floor and spun her around it a few times. When he stopped, he went to hand her back to Workaholic and she started banging her legs against his legs. She wasn't ready to stop!! By the time the third (yes, third) band took the stage, I'd had a couple of Bud Lights, and had resigned myself to the fact that if I couldn't go home, I would at least have a good time.

I don't know what song it was, but I started dancing with Samantha. And she loved. it. She just sat back, flirting with anyone who flirted with her (which was everyone), not crying, not fussing, and overall just having a good time. I always joke that I have the easiest kid in the world and she is a good partier, but she really is! Workaholic, I am sure, was sitting back shaking his head at me, because let's face it, I can't dance. A pathetic sight, I am sure. And one of my brother-in-laws was there too, probably shaking his head as well. Oh well, who cares?? We had fun.

Around 10:30, yes, that's 10:30 PM, we thought it would be good to leave. We had a designated driver, Samantha stayed awake for the whole ride home and her bath, and then was OUT. Workaholic later told me that he wanted to leave because at some point, we become THOSE people who have "a a bar." Just like the movie.