Archive for December, 2012
Do you guys feel like you’re just flailing in the dark? I am having a hard time, and I’ll be honest, I’m not usually a person who has a hard time with these things—not because I’m a cold-hearted snake, but because I have a way of keeping a protective shell of denial around me at all times to shield me from the actual reality of what could happen and frankly, of what has happened. A lifelong anxiety sufferer, I’ve always gone back to my cognitive behavioral therapy lessons — think about statistical probability, think about what you CAN control, think about the moment right in front of you, not the moments that may or may not (and probably won’t) come.
I do this because if I don’t, I flail in the dark and spend a lot of time thinking about how terrifying the world is. When I was first put on medication (a short-lived stint on Paxil, the devil’s med), it was years and years ago, shortly after Adam and I got engaged, and I became paralyzed with fear that something would happen to him — he would cross the street and a bus would come; mustard gas would fall from the sky; he’d choke on a South Korean chicken ball. (Bonus points if you can tell me the movie where that happened to someone.) I used to think about not having children, in part because I literally could not fathom how I would live just sending them out into the world unprotected, because all those things could happen to THEM, too, right?
I don’t know how to work through this. Adam said earlier that he doesn’t know how to digest it, and I think that’s a good word — digest. You think through things, take what you need to take, and purge the rest. I can’t figure out how to do that, so it just sits there like a rock. I keep wanting to throw up — literally — because then, what, I’ll feel better? This isn’t food poisoning. It’s not a virus that will run its course. I can’t get rid of it, and nothing I do will make it go away.
I didn’t know anyone involved. This isn’t my tragedy, and by writing this, I’m not trying to make it so or make it about me, it’s just honestly, I do not know how to process this, and I’m hoping that by writing it down, maybe I will, a little, and maybe you will and maybe some way we can get through this without losing our minds, because right now I’m not confident that’s even a possibility.
I have delayed reactions to things. I float in denial for a few days, and then bam! I can’t get it out of my head. I’m there now, right as everyone else is at least attempting to return to normal. While everyone else is returning to normal, I am just sinking into the pit.
What gets me about tragedies like this is the awful way it makes me — and I’m imagining, other people — think. Everyone’s hugging their babies a little tighter, grateful for them; but what it really feels like is thanking God that someone else’s babies were taken instead of yours. “Thank God they didn’t go to MY kid’s classroom,” we all think in moments of weakness.
And that’s when it starts feeling really sick. Like the reaping is upon us and if we have to choose — if this is the price of living in our world — let it be someone else who has to do without. The completely understandable, sickening selfishness we’re all reduced to is what keeps me up at night. I blame no one for thinking this way, as I do, too, and I hate it. I hate it. I hate feeling grateful for what I have at the cost of someone else, but I don’t know how else to think. I don’t know what else to think about. I don’t want to see your instagram picture of how grateful you are to hug your babies, because someone else isn’t, and that feels shitty, but at the same time? I need to see it. I need to hug my kids, I need to reassure myself that it can’t happen, even though it’s a total lie.
I don’t know how to thank God without a desperate anger about what happened to someone else. God works in mysterious ways, they say, but right now, I’m feeling kind of like screaming, hey fuck that shit, this is crap, and we don’t have to put up with it. Where is management? Who can I talk to about this experience? I want a do-over, a refund, a guarantee. I want a guarantee! Where is my fucking guarantee? I didn’t sign up for this.
Columbine, September 11 and this — three events that cost me so little in terms of collateral damage, but so much in innocence lost. This. This is the hardest in some ways — after 9/11, there was a certain xenophobic false sense of safety; an us vs. them situation, the ability to move forward drawn from the realization that the calls, at least, were not coming from inside the house. Columbine, a little tougher — disillusioned and disenfranchised high school students lashing out the only place they knew how. But this? I got nothing here. I got a kid — a random kid — shooting up LITTLE kids, and this time. This time, I’m a parent, and it’s not to say I care more about humanity than I did before, it’s that I can visualize, with greater clarity, exactly what those kids were like.
Before my children were born, my knowledge of a six-year-old was hardly intimate — a fleeting stage of my nephews that happened in an instant and was quickly forgotten. I could pretend a six-year-old had little knowledge of what was happening. I can’t anymore. I know exactly, in intimate detail, what kids that age are like.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to look. Shit, I don’t even know who to pray to or what for, because I’m so angry that this was allowed to happen. I don’t know where to put this anger and I don’t even know if what I’m saying is right or sensitive or appropriate or any of those things, I just don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how to get up and live in a world where this shit just HAPPENS and we’re supposed to carry on with our lives without throwing up from pure terror. We’re just supposed to DEAL with it, and no one asked us if that was okay.
Help me figure out what to do. I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m lost, and I’ll bet you are too.
*Uh, Fun. Also, I did not edit this. At all.
December 17th, 2012
So hey, since moving Allie to her own room she, ah, sleeps. Quite a bit. Gets up once, maybe twice, to eat IF THAT, and once again, I’m like, well, shit. Turns out she just wanted her own damned space, but also, ah, she wanted to sleep on her belly. This makes me VERY FRETFUL and I keep thinking it’s terribly foolish, even though EVERYONE DOES IT JUST FINE and she’s even getting there on her own, and I couldn’t stop her if I tried, but please, remember, I am a person who kept the house at 55 to stave off SIDS with Samantha.
So the thing is, with everyone in bed by 8 at the latest, I suddenly have my evenings free, and by “evenings” I mean two hours before I SHOULD be in bed. And you guys, this feels really, really luxurious. I suddenly feel like I should be taking up a hobby. Knitting has crossed my mind. Quilting! I could quilt! By 2017, I could have half a square completed, right?
Then I realized that perhaps it’s time to get back to basics — writing here, as I mentioned is a priority, as is, ah, personal hygiene. So before I whip out the Featherweight (AND I WILL), perhaps I should work on showering every day and keeping those legs silky smooth, HMMMMM?
I sort of lost my mind earlier about sponsored posts, and I’m STILL kind of losing it. Blogs– no, PEOPLE! — I used to read and love have become shill factories — caricatures of themselves talking about THE cutest purse insert (fo’ real) and heeeey, they just happened to pay me and here! I have some to give away! And this is fine — great, even! — if it’s a one off thing, but by the FIFTEENTH sponsored post in, say, seventeen days, I kind of think they’re full of shit, and I become five years old and want to BOYCOTT every last one of the products on their list.
(Truth: I did a campaign with Huggies a few years ago, and it paid very well, and I GET IT. I also already used Huggies — swear! — and like their stuff quite a bit, even though they are no longer paying me to say so. But if they approached me now? Nope. I don’t use it anymore, because Allie has super-special buttocks that will only work in cloth or Seventh Generation, and look, I don’t want to knock Seventh Gen, but I HATE THEM. They feel like paper! So please don’t contact me, Seventh Gen. I hate your products. I USE THEM OUT OF NECESSITY.)
(If you are reading this, please go Schooner Tuna on us and lower your damned prices. That’s why I switched to cloth, you know.)
(I will never do another sponsored campaign again, is my guess. Even though I used the product, IT FELT SLIMY.)
I digress! So! All that being said, I had a funny conversation with longtime reader-turned-friend, Suki (this is where I wonder if Suki is aware that we’re friends. I think of you all — people who’ve commented here for years and years — as friends. Do you know this? Carla Hinkle! Heidi! Christine! So many others! We’re FRIENDS.) (Suki gets special status because she introduced me to my real-life friend Kate, who is her sister-in-law even though Suki and I have never met. Kate and I HAVE met, obviously.)
ANYWAY, Suki mentioned the number of products she bought that bloggers mentioned and then uncomfortably added that she totally now gets why companies try to harness that shit. And it’s TRUE. But isn’t it also true that the second you sell out once (or maybe more than once, O God?), your faith in their ACTUAL recommendations is completely gone? I don’t know. It’s an interesting to me, only because I don’t believe a damned thing a sponsored post says, pretty much ever, but at the same time, I get why people do them, because y’all, trust, it pays pretty damned well if you’ve got any kind of traffic.
THIS IS ALL A VERY LONG WAY OF GETTING TO THIS PLACE. Which is, here, a few totally not-sponsored product-related thoughts:
1) So look, I’m not going to dwell on this, but I tried to cloth diaper Allie last night and HAHAHAHA NO. NO. NO. I am stuck buying one pack of Seventh Gen diapers for nighttime, because, oh dear shit, I used a fitted (GMD Cloth-Eez Workhorse) with a bunch of inserts (cotton, hemp and a fleece stay-dry) and a wool cover (Kissas Wool Lovers). And not only did she sleep like hell, but I went in there at 1:30 and the room. THE ROOM. It smelled like a literal, no-shit SHEEP PEN. It smelled like WET, HOT, MOIST ANIMAL. It was all I could do not to barf, and I had to go in there TWICE MORE. TWICE MORE TO THE SHEEP DEN. And y’all. Unlike most of America, I’ve worked on actual farms and sheared sheep with my own two hands, so I KNOW WHAT WET SHEEP SMELL LIKE.
2) Living Proof Prime. I have screeched about the wonders of this product all over Twitter, and it’s true, I love it. I LOVE IT. It holds my hair style through a second day and it stops it from getting too . . . oily, giving me a second day without washing and ANYTHING that saves me from having to take a ten-minute shower and cutting into my sleep time is THE BOMB. Because I am just that lazy. So it’s awesome, and you should get some and no one paid me to say that, promise.
Incidentally, I found this product when my friend Dara showed up at my house and I ASKED HER IF SHE HAD JUST COME FROM THE SALON. It’s a cliche! Salon hair at home! But seriously, it’s awesome stuff.
3) However! And this is a giant however, for those of you who have purchased this miracle product: It builds up on your hair pretty freakin’ fast. Within a few weeks of use, your hair feels kind of coated and waxy and it just sort of stops working. So! You have to give your hair a break, not use it for a few days, and in the interim, use a good clarifying shampoo. And thanks to Liz, I bought LUSH Big, and I love it, although the price tag made me want to gouge my eyes out and the sample of conditioner (a bar!) confounded me. And that shit STRIPS your hair of any and all gunk. I mean, it’s SEA SALT, and it really does work. My hair was DEEPLY CLEANSED to the point of feeling like hay after just one wash, but it got all the crap out.
I have hair down. Now someone needs to help me figure out how to apply eyeshadow.
Note: none of those links are affiliates, so buy with impunity.
December 13th, 2012
After years of feeling decidedly ambivalent about the holidays — wait, not ambivalent, STRESSED — I have come to love them. There’s something about a childhood spent shuffling back and forth to TWO Christmas dinners and TWO Christmas Eves and being stuffed like a Christmas goose with food because you don’t want anyone to be offended that you already ate that can be a bit on the yucky side. Growing up with divorce is hard, because no matter how hard my parents tried to make it NOT stressful, being a people-pleaser (I WAS BACK THEN, OKAY?) made it impossible. It wasn’t until I moved to Boston and started going to my sister’s instead — a tradition that has continued for at least ten years — that it became fun again. Kids! No traveling! ONE Christmas dinner, that I can actually contribute to!
This year is the MOST fun so far, because Sam actually gets it, and spends a lot of time screaming, “I LOVE CHRISTMAS I CANNOT WAIT!” along with naming EVERY item she sees to her list for Santa, including a package of scrub sponges at Target, at which point I had to say that no, really, not everything you throw out into the ether appears under the tree, and especially nothing made from Scotch Brite, mmkay?
We did the dreaded Elf on the Shelf, and though I am weary of all the Facebook pictures of the pithy things the elves are doing (pooping, really?), it is positively hilarious to see Sam wake up in the morning and look for the elf. I tell you, for a kid who is about as high strung as it gets, the relative ease with which she accepts a LIVE ELF* in her house, watching her, is fantastically awesome and out of character. Two thumbs up for the damned elf, and I never saw that one coming. I was a pretty emphatic elf-hater, in fact, but since she has deemed Delf (I know) a female, I am actually considering BUYING A SKIRT. FOR THE FUCKING ELF.
Unfortunately, Sam’s behavior has been quintessentially three-and-a-half, and that, combined with a staggering lack of sleep since the time change (FIVE AY EM sometimes), has made living with her a constant string of double-vodka evenings and, if I could, bloody mary mornings. Ergo, a second elf (we’d already had two due to overgifting last year) made an appearance to monitor her behavior and ALSO, I made a video from Santa on that genius little Portable North Pole, because that’s who I am now. I am the Santa Briber, but it’s either this, or Betty Ford.
Ironically, the Santa video FREAKED HER SHIT RIGHT OUT, because he knew her name and everything, but somehow a LIVE ELF* in her living room — I’m sorry, ELVES PLURAL! — does nothing to her delicate sensibilities. Even after Adam placed an elf on her dresser overnight. She woke up to a TINY ELF hovering over her face and she didn’t even flinch. But a pre-recorded Santa saying her NAME? JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL. Or sleigh. Whichever.
*I am aware that they are not Live Elves from a freshwater tank or anything, but Sam does not. I mean, kid legit believes there are LIVE ELVES (steamer fresh!) in our house, WATCHING HER and she’s fine.
Oh my God, this was a painful exercise in elfdom, and I am so sorry.
Moving on! *clap clap* And this is EQUALLY PAINFUL, but I have switched to cloth diapers after a series of bizarre issues with Allie and her specific tushie (Huggies are a no-go and I LOVED Huggies), and though I will not go into here (UNLESS YOU WANT ME TO HA HA?), I will say that a) it is not a big deal, and b) um, I get why people want to talk about them all the time. You guys, there are FORUMS UPON FORUMS of women who talk about this stuff all the livelong day. FORUMS. BLOGS. Now, color me crazy, but infancy is a finite state of being, right? One hopes that your child will, eventually, NOT be using prefolds with a Snappi under a Flip cover (SEE WHAT I DID THERE), so it seems rather, um, dangerous, to tie up a significant amount of your identity and time into being a “cloth-diapering mama,” because I anticipate that eventually you will be a cloth diapering mama who has no one to diaper but the geriatric bichon.
THAT BEING SAID, it’s stupidly addictive, like some kind of GAME, and even though parts of it have been utter hell (eat shit, microfiber. OH WAIT HA), I will admit to enjoying it immensely, although it is not the DIAPERING that I enjoy, but the folding of the laundry that I find so completely satisfying. Part of me just wants to run off and start a diaper service just for the fluffy folding. This fantasy quickly comes to an abrupt halt, however, when I envision dealing with the feces of a child who is not a member of my immediate family, so no.
A regular fluff and fold, however, is totally my jam. I will wash strangers’ underwear for money, apparently, provided they are also mixed in with non-underwear laundry, and that they let me use Tide. This is sounding terribly fetish-like, and it isn’t, it’s just that I find laundry very soothing. Send me your laundry. I’ll fold it lovingly and nicely, but not in a pervy way.
Well. This turned into something I didn’t intend. Happy Monday to you! Or wait, it’s Tuesday. ALMOST. HEY HO!
December 10th, 2012
So I am having all of these unexpected FEELINGS about Allie being my last baby. It’s not that I necessarily want three children, I don’t think, it’s that Allie is my last BABY and after that, there are no more BABY babies. No more babies in the house. No more cribs and birth experiences and pregnancies (well, thank Jesus for that last one) and I just . . . hmph. It’s sad. But at the same time, I’m pretty sure it’s the right thing to do.
The thing is, I am not as zen about it as I thought I was. I keep wanting to say that I am — and I AM, in some ways — but then when I really think about closing the door and doing a permanent birth control solution (Jesus, Essure, oh my God, don’t get me started on THAT Twitter trainwreck), I balk. I don’t even want to get an IUD right now, for God’s sake. What is wrong with me? I was so DEPRESSED and MISERABLE during pregnancy and during Allie’s early newborn phase, I thought I would just DIE from the heartbreak that was Sam’s lack of attention, and a third baby would just . . . no. Trying for a third baby and going through all that again, plus pregnancy, is literally the last thing in the world I want to do.
I want to raise my girls. I want to focus, finally, on RAISING our family, rather than the weird limbo of growing it. I forget, as I did when I was having trouble getting pregnant with Allie, that not getting something new doesn’t mean that I lose what I already have. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it was a recurring thought as I went through those losses — as though each loss meant that I would somehow lose my hold on Sam, too.
I’ll be 37 in a few weeks. I’m done. But still, sometimes, I am sad about it. I love being a mom — truly, it’s what I was meant to do, and I live a remarkably happy, resentment-free existence with my kids — and sometimes I struggle with the idea that If *I* am not supposed to have a passel of kids, who IS?
Sigh. I keep remembering that there will ALWAYS be a last baby; this isn’t a state that could continue in perpetuity, nor is it one I really WANT to continue (and Adam might as well have “WE ARE DONE!” tattooed on his forehead). But it’s sad, I guess, to shut that door on a part of your life. Sadder than I thought it would be.
Allie continues to be the Best Baby Ever, however, and spends most of her days looking like this:
Sorry, I won the cute baby game. Try again later.
Sam is herself, and she is fantastically funny and bright and God, three is absurd, but so fun, and I know I say that every time, but JESUS, you guys, she is just . . . three. “I am NOT three. I am THREE CANDLES YEARS OLD,” she would yell if she heard me say that. “I am NOT FUNNY. I am Sam.”
So you know, I’m lucky, is what I’m saying, and I should be counting my blessings instead of mourning the loss of fake ones. Because the other thing is that I know that once that train is started — once the first positive pregnancy test comes in, followed by the first miscarriage — you can’t stop it. Giving up is not an option, and it becomes an obsession that almost feels like a desire to win a game, but with obscenely higher stakes.
**Side note: the first time I heard the word obscene was when one of my mom’s friends went as a flasher for Halloween and made a fake penis out of panythose. I remember my mom exclaiming with horror, “CAROL! That is OBSCENE!” and having no idea what she was referring to, or what the word obscene meant. Either way, I would not disagree with my mom on that front, though it was also obscenely hilarious in retrospect.
(See what I did there? Such a versatile word!)
Anyway! *clap clap* this is all very depressing, but it’s still on my mind, and I’m still working through it, particularly because time is FLYING. It’s flying. It’s Christmastime already, for God’s sake, and Sam is halfway through the school year. I mean, what the eff? Next year is pre-K and then kindergarten, and it’s all just whizzing by in a blur, and one of these days, I’m going to open my eyes in my Florida trailer park and call my daughters collect, you know?
Oh just kidding about that. I will be living in my Florida HOUSE. The one I still own, and have taken to referring to as my retirement plan.
Also, would you believe that all this stupid introspection was tipped off by Allie SLEEPING IN HER OWN BEDROOM? I mean, honestly. I’m acting like I’ve just shipped her off to Northwestern, FFS. No. She’s eleven feet down the hall, and I still go in there to nurse her at night. Yes, please. Someone get that kid a dorm room.
Anyway, random side thing before I go, and this seems very Swistle-like, I don’t know why: I was paying my Target RedCard bill by phone (GET A REDCARD!) and I was trying to pay off the whole balance, but it wouldn’t let me and I was SO PISSED, because it just kept bouncing me to different parts of the IVR, and then it finally bounced me to an agent, and I was all, “I JUST WANNA PAY OFF THE WHOLE BALANCE!” I mean, I was fired up. Take my goddamned MONEY, Target, this shouldn’t be HARD. And she helpfully explained that it would only let me pay $300 instead of $450 (bullshit numbers because I can’t remember) and I was practically SCREECHING at her that I wanted to pay off the $450, and TAKE MY MONEYS, NOW. But no. I could only pay $300.
I hung up, very dissatisfied that I only paid $300 until I remembered that my statement was $450 but I only OWED $300 because I RETURNED at least $150 worth of items (including a rug!) and this is all well and good and a long story, who cares, but the pont is, I had this BURNING DESIRE to call the woman back and EXPLAIN how I’d figured it out! I figured it out! I had a RETURN! Isn’t that great?
LIKE SHE CARED. But for some reason, I felt like she and I had worked through something TOGETHER and I found the resolution and SHE! She would want closure on this.
Really. As if.
December 6th, 2012