The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Wow.  Yesterday was really a low point.  Thank you so much for all of your understanding and sympathy – it says such good things about all of you that no one felt it necessary to tell me to quit complaining and to be grateful for my miracle.

Speaking of miracles:

It would be nice if I could write ONE THING EVER that didn’t contain the line “because of my childhood”, but alas, today is not that day.

Although heck, maybe it’s not because of my childhood, maybe it’s just a personality flaw, but for whatever reason, I tend to get really nervous about STUFF.  Having the right stuff and having enough stuff.  When we were waiting for Eli, I bought FOUR hooded baby towels and I was worried that wasn’t enough.  I am well known for giving too many Christmas presents, making too much food for parties, taking on too many projects.  I like to yell out “go big or go home” while I’m picking $37 dollars worth of blueberries. I’m the girl with 46 tank tops, even though I only ever wear the top four on the stack.  I like to be prepared.

For this reason change can be really hard for me, and really expensive.  What I like to do while I am trying not to spend money on all the things in the world is to worry about how I cannot afford all the things in the world even though I obviously need them.  When Eli was on his way, it was not reassuring to me to be told that I did not need a Pottery Barn Kids rocking chair.  I FELT as though I needed one, and all I wanted to know was how I was going to get one.

And then of course in the end we had all that we needed and more, and it turned out that things we did not have, we bought. I found a chair just like the one from Pottery Barn Kids from Walmart for $200 dollars, but even if I hadn’t, Eli didn’t really take to being rocked.

And yet, none of that stopped me from worrying about not having those things ahead of time.

This time I am less stressed, in general, because we already have the rocking chair and the car seat and the kimono snap shirts.  We’ll find a way to buy a trundle bed and a double jogging stroller.  There is lot less worry about BABY things, but I enjoy transferring these feelings of distress and so this time I worried about what in gods name would I wear.

For reasons so varied and mind numbing it would take a year to go through them, I weigh 50 more pounds this pregnancy than my last.  This means that my sad collection of maternity clothes from last time mostly don’t fit me, and some of the things I borrowed last time are packed up because my friend is moving, or because someone else was wearing them and I haven’t gotten them back yet (and I am sure they are too small anyway).  The minute I found out I was pregnant my non maternity jeans stopped fitting me and this means I have spent the last month wearing two pairs of sweatpants and a pair of paint stained pajama pants.  I put hundreds of dollars worth of maternity stuff into my online cart at Old Navy, but right now, we just don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on maternity sweatshirts.  I mean,  I could have squeezed one or two pairs of Old Navy maternity jeans into the budget, but it wouldn’t have been pretty.   And then I would have had to try on maternity jeans.

Lots of worry about this.  Especially lately, when I realized that all I had to wear in Australia were sweatpants and summer dresses.  (And you might well wonder how we can’t afford PANTS when we can afford to go to Australia, and the reason is that our tickets were free, and we made the reservations before furloughs were announced, and now we’re going to Australia anyway even though we can’t really afford it.)

Anyway.  A few days ago I was IM’ing Maggie about how I was already too fat pregnant to wear my non maternity jeans and how I had nothing to wear and she just casually asked “do you want to borrow my maternity stuff?”  and I replied yes as fast as my swollen fingers could type YES and that is how this morning after my walk with Eli I returned home to find an enormous box FULL of clothes on my front porch, more maternity clothes than I could wear in eight pregnancies, like, a million dollars worth of maternity clothes, and Maggie refuses to tell me how much this GINORMOUS BOX cost to mail so I can send her a check, but all I can say is that it is things like this that make me think back to my post about belief and how god provides and feel truly amazed by life.  And normally I don’t like to assign these things to God, because I think we can all agree that in this case it is MAGGIE who is the awesome, rather than the LORD, but all I know is that all of those jeans fit me and Maggie is like nine feet taller than I am and today I ate a cheese sandwich and I am not wearing sweats and I am not wearing pajama pants I AM WEARING JEANS and I feel like a human being again and whoo boy, from where I sit, it sure as heck fire feels like a miracle.

There aren’t really words for how it feels when someone lifts worry from your shoulders with nothing more than the goodness of their heart, simply by hearing what you need and making it happen, but I will try anyway:

Thank you Maggie.  Thank you so very much.

Storm

Try tropic for your balm,
Try storm,
And after storm, calm.
Try snow of heaven, heavy, soft and slow,
Brilliant and warm.
Nothing will help, and nothing do much harm.
“Of the Properties of Nature for Healing an Illness” by Genevieve Taggard

 

I spend my days with clenched teeth.  Breathe in and out, slowly.  Try to figure out minutes left – to figure out whether I can make it to naptime, whether I can make it through naptime, whether I can play another episode of Sesame Street, whether it’s worse to have to change a diaper or to keep smelling an unchanged one.  Mr. E calls and says he missed his bus and I want to cry, I haven’t prepared to make it to 6:15, only 5:35, and I think of the scene in Terms from Endearment and I want to stand in my kitchen and scream “GIVE MY DAUGHTER HER SHOT!” but I simply recalculate, 45 more minutes to make it through.

And I clench my teeth and I calculate how many days and minutes and seconds might be left until I don’t feel like sick hot dragged from the bottom of the trash can mess.

It’s a tricky business, complaining about a blessing, but I can only warp my true nature into so many optimistic frames before things break.  I am not an optimist when it comes to my body, because I spent fifteen years blacking out and throwing up every month and nothing not nothing could fix it, and because in the 1st grade I was the shortest and in the 8th grade I was the shortest and now I am almost always the shortest, and because I can’t eat real bread and because I cried on the boat trip to Alcatraz because I felt so sick in those fifteen minutes I truly wanted to throw myself overboard and I knew I’d have to get back on the boat to come home.  Or live at Alcatraz forever, which I did in fact consider.

I don’t know if it’s possible to explain how much I hate being pregnant.  I am a prisoner in my own body.  I walk into my kitchen and turn around and walk out.  Nothing can fix this, if I want to keep upright I can force down some rice and some green apple slices but NOTHING can fix this never ending nausea.  I am always cold and sick and things feel down right fizzy.  I can’t breathe, I stagger from the shower, gasping.  My belly button hurts.  I hate the clothes. I grow larger every day.  I have to pee all night long, and I hurt and my skin itches and every plan for the future has to be put off for another year and I have to think “next year I’ll get to do that, if I’m lucky I can run a half marathon NEXT YEAR” and through it all I am FURIOUS that this is how it works, that I will have to go through this  however many times I want to have children and I am reminded again why it took me over three years to want to do this again, and best of all you aren’t really supposed to complain about this because some people can’t even have children you ungrateful wench.

And you try to tell anyone, everyone, how being sick every waking of every minute feels and you ALWAYS know they are thinking “Well, that’s a little bit rich, isn’t it?  She’s taking things a little far this time.”

And still.  Clench clench clench.

I hate this, so very muchly.

 


About Last Night

An email I just got from Mr. E:

I’m just remembering now, but, last night… did we actually spend a not-insignificant amount of time designing a bra for female horses? And was it called the “Gal-Up”?  I mean, did we actually do that? Well, if so, I don’t know if there are two people more suited for each other in the whole world…

Sick of It

I’m wondering if this gluten free thing can be compared to the five stages of grief, or if it’s just that it’s fall or if it’s that I’m pregnant or what.

Whatever the reason though, I am here to tell you that for the first time, I am well and truly sick of being gluten free.  I really really hate it.  You could say I’m in the anger stage.

My favorite thing in the whole world is a cold crusty doughy bagel with cream cheese.  I ate one every single day when I was pregnant with Eli, and I want my bagel, dammit! I want to be able to go to the Pita Pit and get a chicken pita and a smoothie and I don’t want to have to order a salad. I am tired of pancakes and pizza with a weird funky after taste to them. I want to eat fudgy slices of chocolate cake with thick chocolate frosting and I want to be able to walk into Trader Joe’s and throw 14 premade dinners in my cart and to not have to think twice about it. I don’t want to spend an hour and half making dinner or an hour and half feeling guilty because my husband had to make dinner AGAIN while I sit in bed moaning about why in god’s name it’s called MORNING sickness.  I want to pick pumpkins and eat a cinnamon apple cider donut along side everyone else.  I want to be able to eat a box Kraft Mac and Cheese for lunch if that’s what I want to eat.  I want to be able to call up Pizza Hut and half an hour later have a Veggie Supreme pizza arrive at my door.  I want to be able to go eat chinese food again, any chinese food, and I am not talking about the sub par gluten free menu at PF Chang’s, I am talking about crab ran goon and dumplings and greasy noodles and fried orange chicken.  I want to go to breakfast without having to smile wanly over a bowl of fruit while everyone else piles into pancakes and waffles and french toast.  I want to have big, soft, pillowy rolls with my Thanksgiving dinner, and I want to eat a hot dog ON A BUN at the ballpark and a pretzel dipped in mustard at the mall.  I sit down to one of seventeen new fall soups we’ve tried this fall and every single time I think “WHERE IS MY CRUSTY BAGUETTE THIS JUST ISN’T THE SAME WITHOUT A CRUSTY BAGUETTE.”  I want to eat roast beef sandwiches at Panera until I make myself sick and yes, sometimes, I just want to have a beer with my corn chips and salsa. (not while I’m pregnant, obvs, geez.)  I want to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on soft fluffy wheat bread, not flat, heavy, damp toe breaking gluten free bread.

Even more infuriating are the prices.  I am tired of paying $4 a bag for pasta, and $17 a bag for flour.   I am sick of ordering every kind of gluten free oatmeal on the market only to have to throw all of it out when it makes me sick, over and over again. I am tired of checking my receipt only to discover that I’ve just paid nine dollars for a loaf of gluten free bread.

I used to think that I LOVED being forced by my body to eat nothing but FRESH MANGOES! and CELERY!.  I said that if and when they invent the gluten antibody pill I wouldn’t take it.  Now I laugh hysterically at that notion.  Please note, I’ll be the first in line, reaching for that pill in one hand and a bagel in the other.

Invite Sixteen Bloggers Into Your House and Look What Happens*

pregnancy-test-after-use-positive-blue-lines-blue-cross-indicator-3-ANON

And please accept my apologies for those of you who guessed and who I blatantly LIED to, I am really bad at keeping secrets.

Due Date:  June 12th.  As in, ridiculously early for me to be telling the internet.

But Junebug is making me sick as hell and I need support from the internet so that when I tell you that I am about to start a nation wide campaign against telling pregnant women to nibble on saltines you can join in my cause.

Also, I have my first real doctors appointment this afternoon and I’m TERRIFIED and I need emotional support.

Things I am nervous about:

1. I will get yelled at for being too fat.

1a. I will get yelled at for the Lex@pro even though my brain doctor and I both think the benefits outweigh the risks.

2. I will get talked down to about feeling sick.

3. I will get rude looks for bringing Eli.

4. I will have to take off my pants.

5. They will be able to tell just by looking at me that the baby is dead and they will shake their head sadly and push me back out the door. I know! Horrible of me to even think.  But I really really really want this baby and wanting something so much is making me scared.

Sigh.

any calming words you have would be most welcome.

*Yes, I was pregnant at the Blathering. No, I had no idea.  If I had known I might have, uh, blathered a little less, if you know what I mean.

Jesus Obviously Knows How I Feel About Storage

So since October is traditionally the month where I post every day and run out of interesting things to say by day three and then post something really long winded, overly emotional, and controversial, I thought today would be a good time to tell you about how a $30 dresser brought me to God.  (And…Maggie just snorted so hard I heard her all the way in Sacramento.)

But let’s start at the very beginning.

I am not sure how a white bread Californian such as my father came to such a place, but I have the feeling it had something to do with my waspy New Englander mother.  Regardless, a tiny version of me was baptized an Episcopalian at two weeks old, long white dress and bonnet and all, and for the next eighteen years or so, I went to A LOT of church.  There were many weeks where I went to church twice – during the week in Catholic school we had the kind of mass with felt banners and hand shaking and singing about Eagle’s Wings, and then every Sunday without FAIL I was in the pew at St. Mark’s for the kind of church with latin and incense and genuflecting.

To be honest with you, I am not sure when I fell out of believing in god and church and what would Jesus do.  I do know that my parents raised me to question things, and I am not sure that they meant for me to question the things that THEY believed, but that’s what they got anyway.  I can’t honestly remember having a strong belief in  god or in jesus or heaven or hell, despite all the church I was attending.  I remember thinking that abortion was the killing of babies and that the Russians were FOR SURE going to bomb us, but that’s most of what I felt strongly about, wrapped up in a nutshell.  Mostly I didn’t like the fact that I had to get picked up from sleepovers at 7 am on Sunday morning, and that I wasn’t allowed to watch any movies that weren’t rated G.

What I do remember is that one night I had a dream I still vividly remember – I was an 8th grader, and I had to sit on the edge of the bathtub in my parents house and tell my father that I was pregnant.  It was the most vivid dream I’ve ever had.

I’ve never forgotten that feeling, and my feelings about killing babies were never the same.

And then I started to wonder at this world in which a man stood up in a pulpit and told us that Jesus said to love everyone, EVERYONE and to wonder how it matched up with the world in which my father railed about fags and anyone who looked different from us.

Maybe that’s when I started to question.

When I moved to Chicago to live with my mother, we didn’t celebrate Christmas. My mother and my step father aren’t big on god, and although sometimes we lit the Hanukkah candles and I still went to Catholic school, I had great social acceptance in my family to be an intellectual, to not believe in anything.  The Catholic school I went to was so confrontational, and so old school, I think it pushed me even farther away from god.  I was attending a school where it was ok to post pictures of aborted fetuses in the halls, where girls were kicked out for getting pregnant, but the football players who got them pregnant weren’t.  Where the same students who covered the walls with pro life banners argued violently for the death penalty and dropping bombs, and the irony of it all made me righteously furious in my non beliefs.  It felt so very much like I was right and they were wrong.

And then I left for college and no one talked about God anymore.  It just never came up, and when I met Mr. E, it was a non issue – neither of wanted to go to church or make a big deal about any of that sort of hoo ha.  His parents sort of wished we had been married by a priest, but no one really cared much one way or the other that we didn’t go to church, that we didn’t talk about god or say grace.  They don’t do any of that stuff either, anyway.

But every time I had to go to the doctor and fill out a seven page form about something, for my laparascopy or for when I was pregnant with Eli, I still wrote “Episcopalian” on the blank line.  And one year I made Mr. E go to the Rite One church for Midnight Mass just so he could see what it was all about, but it wasn’t the same.  You can’t go home again, I guess.

I have always loved the pomp, the circumstance, the rituals, the intense organization of church.  I have a rosary collection.  I’d love to see the Holy Land.  I have a Mary night light and I still say a “Hail Mary” when I hear an ambulance because I spent 12 years being taught by nuns and old habits die hard.  But you can say a thousand rosaries, you can know the Our Father backyards and forwards, you can know the story of Our Lady of Fatima like you were there yourself, and it still doesn’t add up to belief.

Everyone (and by everyone I mean two people) said that when I had a baby things would change.  That it’s impossible not to look at those tiny fingers and those baby eyelashes and to see yourself blended into a miracle and not know that something greater than you is out there, running it all.  And so I waited for some kind of mysterious light to shine itself into my soul, to make me believe, and still, there was nothing.

And in the mean time I worried.  I worried and I harbored all sorts of crazy making anxiety and I whipped it up into a frenzy of angst that anyone would have crumpled under, and pretty soon the worry over how we would afford heat and a rocking chair and diapers and why wasn’t our baby growing and was I doing something wrong and was I bad mom and why did I feel so angry and had I made a terrible mistake deepened into this depression that felt like a pit, a crack in the world, and I just wanted to crawl inside and hide away from it all and for awhile I did and through all of this, at no time did I think of god. He was, for whatever reason, the last thing on my mind.

And then I started to climb out of that pit.  I started to find friends.  I started to talk to someone about how I felt.  People told me that they knew exactly what I meant.  That it would get better.  That they would sit on the phone with while I called the doctor.  And then every day I took that tiny white pill and it took a really long time, there were fits and starts and steps entirely backwards but it did get better. It is so so so much better.  Now, I can look at my son and I marvel at him.  I watch him, fascinated, for hours.  His face is like a lightning storm or time lapse photography – an endless movie reel I never tire of.  It took me two plus years but I finally feel that wave of love I’ve been hearing about since the day talking about your baby was first invented.

I laugh at bad jokes and I almost never cry anymore unless I am watching narrated documentaries and I feel genuine moments of joy many times a day. I feel like my life has a purpose.  I feel like a good mom.

But most of all, I feel like someone is looking out for me.

When I start to worry and make lists and wonder about how we will pay for a new dresser so that some day we can fit two kids into one bedroom, for the first time in forever it feels like maybe if I step back and quit worrying about it, somehow it will all work itself out.  There’s a voice in my head telling me to let it go and it will be ok.    And somehow, crazily enough, it has been working out, it has all been ok, and sometimes it has worked out in a way that is better than anything I could have twisted and forced and made happen, and as much as I would love to remain a too cool for school non believer for the rest of my life, it just feels like somehow, something is different now.

I am sure that it horrifies those of you out there who are following all of the god rules to hear about my version of god light, but I can only tell that this is how I came to this god of mine, and that these things sometimes have to build slowly, and I am still figuring just what it is that I think about God.  I can only tell you that I searched all over the known universe of furniture stores for a long, low, wood dresser with tons of tiny drawers and then one day I wandered into a random parking lot and there it was, a long low solid wood dresser with fourteen drawers,  and when I asked how much it was and they told me it was $20 dollars but they’d have to charge me $10 to deliver it, somehow I felt like there was an order to the universe that was beyond even me, and I still do not know why god kills moms and dogs, I still do not go to church, I still am not going to send my kids to vacation bible camp and I still will always always always support a woman’s right to choose, but somewhere under and in between and through all of that – I believe.

Thursday Is The New Friday

1.  My child is currently forming his uneaten mashed potatoes into hills and valleys. It makes me feel strangely like I’m trapped in 1955.  Who knew kids really actually did this stuff?

2.  We had a glorious two month grace period where we actually got to sleep through the night and now Pants has gone right back to waking up a trillion times a night.  Yesterday after the first wake up of the night Mr. E asked him why he woke up, and he looked right at us and said “Well.  I was terrified.”

3.  What is he terrified of, you ask?  Oh, just the TURKEYS.  THE INVISIBLE TURKEYS UNDER HIS CRIB.

4.  Does anyone know how to perform an invisible turkey exorcism?  If so, please advise, I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in weeks.  Damn invisible turkeys.

5.  Thanksgiving dinner is either going to be Pants’ best day ever, or his worst.   I can’t decide. Maybe I should put the Butterball under the crib and make a big hoo ha out of removing it and violently stabbing it and then cooking it.  Maybe?  God. I should just start putting the therapy money aside right now.

6.  Mr. E is reading out loud to me  from Dairy Foods’ Monthly.  Uh huh.  That’s just how exciting our lives are. Apropos of nothing, we are both totally peeing our pants about the new Push Up that has Smarties embedded in the push up stick.  SMARTIES.  And ice cream.  Together at last.

7.  I caved to the pressure of the entire internet and the free world and watched the first three episodes of Mad Men last week.  I already have the world’s biggest crush on Betty Draper.  Her huge ass skirts! Her icy demeanor! Her smooth blond curls! Her gimlets!  Her tendency to drive onto lawns! LOVE.  I still think it’s kind of boring, although it does make me want to go buy eight tubes of red lipstick.