Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I forgot my mantra

Last night I was cooking and out of nowhere I started thinking about my mother seeing pictures of me pregnant from Thanksgiving that my sister e-mailed her and I started to feel this intense rage rising in me.  I thought, “You don’t deserve to be a grandmother!  You suck!  You don’t deserve to be included in any of this!!!”  I felt my blood pressure rising and started slamming pots around.  I thought about the few e-mails we’ve passed back and forth and how I feel like such a freaking hypocrite even doing that, that the whole point of cutting her off five years ago was to make the statement that I wasn’t going to put up with her – well, for lack of a better term, abuse – anymore and that I was standing up to her finally, and now here we are chatting away via email like all’s forgiven and nothing happened.  So…she just gets a free pass for her shit behavior, and gets to have the enjoyment of being in the loop of all the baby stuff.  None of this sits particularly well with me.  But I immediately reminded myself of my Pregnancy Mantra which has done wonders at keeping dark, disturbing thoughts away – “this is a happy time, and we’re only going to think about happy things.”  That cut it off at the knees.  I mean, she’s old, she’s sick (mentally and physically), and most importantly, she’s thousands of miles away and I’ll never see her again.  Including her in all this was my decision because I thought it would be cruel not to, and it would.  So, la lucha continua, huh?

Weight concerns have been abated slightly by having weighed myself since my return and not having gained because of Thanksgiving.  I really had this fear that just that weekend would have packed on ten + pounds and I’d find myself in this gaining cycle that I couldn’t stop.  But that hasn’t happened.  Still, the reason it hasn’t happened has been effort on my part – since my return I’ve eaten lots of big salads, fruit, vegetables, soups and whole grains.  I have dinner out tonight, lunch out tomorrow, dinner out Friday and a Christmas party Saturday, so when I’m home I’d better eat well!  I believe it’s good to have a small amount of anxiety about this because otherwise I’d just slack – years ago I decided I “just wouldn’t worry about my weight” and ate whatever I wanted and surprise!  Put on about 20 pounds in a couple of months.  I was so in denial I was convinced the dry cleaners had shrunk all my clothes!!!  After that I bought a scale, weigh myself every day, and started paying attention to what I eat each day, and that has never recurred.  I mean, we all know damned well how to eat to maintain a healthy weight, we’re grown women.  We just sometimes chose to ignore this advice.  But for the health of me and my baby I can’t ignore it right now.  I can do it.

Starting prenatal yoga Friday, can’t wait.  I’ve missed yoga SO MUCH, I dream about it.  I am already pretty calm and zen (you may not agree with this, but you didn’t know me a couple of years ago) but regular yoga again can only help this.  Also I’m dying for some exercise.  I can feel my muscles all weak and stiff and I don’t like it one bit. 

Yesterday I turned a quickie “I’ll just dust off this desk real quick…” into a five hour office cleaning extravaganza.  I hadn’t really tidied up in here since the most recent remodel in about 2006, and boy did it show!  I am continually amazed the toll running three businesses takes on a little house like this.  The piles of papers, the office supplies, the boxes of records – ugh!  I am nowhere near done with this project; I have at least two more days at it plus a big drop at Goodwill after (obsolete electronics mainly).  My goal yesterday was to clean out the service porch for use as a stroller parking area and I didn’t even touch it.  Sigh.  I’ve got my work cut out for me around here, for sure.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Food Stuffs

So I survived my first (heavily) preggo flying trip to the east coast (I flew in August to DC, but although I was very sick I didn’t have a big belly at the time).  It was delightful to see the family, and I often reminded myself how precious this time was, since it’s very likely nobody will ever see me pregnant again.  My half-sister’s dad (let’s just call him step dad for ease) made a lovely toast welcoming Bobby to the family over Thanksgiving dinner, and it was really nice to see everyone refer to the baby by name as if he’s already here and a part of things.  Not that I expected any different, of course…but the whole knowing the gender thing is so new to me that I am still getting used to it. 

I often wonder how much of my fear of exerting myself and general paranoia has entirely to do with just being a first timer.  I had all kinds of worries about being so far from home – what if I start bleeding, what if I can’t find the heartbeat for a few days, what if I get sick, what if I start to feel weird?  But of course none of that happened – even as I was served a spinach salad and had the word “Listeria!  Listeria!” screaming in my brain.  I kept telling myself, “if this was your second pregnancy, you wouldn’t be thinking about any of this stuff.”  On the way home there was a lot of hauling of heavy stuff, lifting, standing on crowded buses, and being generally inconvenienced, and all along I was worried about causing some problem with the baby.  But I just had some grapefruit juice and he’s happily dancing around in my belly.  I seriously need to chill out. 

The other thing that I admit has been getting kind of out of hand in my “list of worries” is the whole weight thing.  I know I need to just put it out of my mind and not worry about it…but I am worried about it.  I never knew how vital maintaining proper weight gain was to pregnancy – I rather naively thought you just eat what you feel like, that your body will guide you, and don’t worry about it.  But I now know eating healthy and keeping track of your weight is WAY more important now than it was before, which stresses me out to no end, as we are now in the holiday season.  And believe me when I say it has very little to do with “getting fat” or not being able to lose the weight afterwards…I mean, this is an element of it, sure, but only about 10%.  Mainly I’m worried about gaining too much weight and causing complications for the baby – getting gestational diabetes, causing birth problems.  I could tell my half sister, who gained about 70 lbs with her son, saw me and saw I pretty much look the same but with a belly, and was kind of dismayed.  She said, “you look great – when I was at about your time I looked-“ (blows up cheeks).  We’ve had MANY conversations about this on the phone, and her tack has always been to ignore the advice of physicians and just eat as much as you want, as long as it’s healthy.  She insists she gained all that weight by only eating salads and green beans, but her husband and I beg to differ.  I think pregnancy is an excellent time to trip all those compulsive eating triggers, and I am scared of this, although so far I’ve been able to contain myself (except for the following example).  I think it’s dangerous to let your body guide you, personally.  A nice elderly lady gave me a box of See’s Candies as a congratulatory gift, and despite promising myself I wouldn’t crack it until after the holidays, the second I got home I sat down and ate half of it and then felt sick.  Did my body guide me to do that, or did my mind?  Something tells me I was worried about money, about flying, and was feeling weird and lonely and so I ate the chocolates.  See, that’s the kind of thing that can’t happen during pregnancy. 

So I am facing a month of parties and sweets and bad food everywhere and am completely freaked out by it.  I think the only thing I can do is eat SUPER conservatively at home to try to balance it out, and finally get my lazy butt to some prenatal yoga.  I have literally no food left – ate everything down before traveling, as I usually do – so today I will do a mega shopping trip and make sure everything I plan to cook for the next few weeks is HEALTHY.  Rather than my favorite pasta with fake meatballs, maybe a little tian (spinach casserole) and roast Brussels sprouts.  Maybe some nice healthy black bean tacos instead of mayonnaise-y fake BLTs.  Or just homemade soup for lunch and no desserts (well, except for my beloved grapefruit of course).  I can do this.  I swear.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When the porter yells...

Tomorrow I head out to the hinterlands of Massachusetts for Thanksgiving.  I am looking forward to it in the sense that it will be a nice change of scenery, and I get to see pretty much all of my relatives in one go.  Part of me is very much looking forward to the attention I’ll get as the preggo in the room, and part of me finds that kind of intimidating.  I find I still deflect a lot – when people ask about the pregnancy, I still move off of the subject more quickly than I want to because I’m just convinced people are being polite and aren’t really interested (which I’m sure is the case at least some of the time).  I have not resolved my feelings about being public about all this – I still feel very conflicted when dealing with the pregnancy vs. other people.  And yet (Ugly Tunafish Sandwich Moment coming) I still get jealous when married friends announce their pregnancies on Facebook and get pages of congratulations, even though I denied myself this by not mentioning it on Facebook.  So there’s this endless conflict in me where I want to be private, and at the same time I do really get a kick out of whatever positive attention I get.  And then I worry that since I may only do this once, I’m not allowing myself to celebrate enough.  But at what point does my celebrating get annoying to other people?  At what point do I become that pregnant woman who always drove me nuts before?  I don’t want to be that woman.  So for now I’ve sacrificed opportunities for celebration in order to not annoy people.  I don’t really know if that’s in my best interests or not, or if I will come to regret this decision later.

Had lunch with a woman in her late eighties yesterday who wanted to take me out because she was excited about my “news”.  She never had kids of her own and said she always wanted to, but it just never happened.  I often wonder how many infertile women of her era had some minor issue that today could be fixed with just one round of Clomid.  It makes me sad to think her generation missed out on so many of our technological advances.  I was walking the dog today and thinking about my aunt and my mother – both born in the early 40s – and though both had two children and didn’t have fertility issues, still had to deal with the dogma of their times; being teenagers in the 50s, young mothers in the 60s and 70s when everything was changing.  How neither of them, really, got to do what they wanted in their lives.  How dependent both were on men and male attention and approval.  My aunt stayed married; my mother didn’t, and had to struggle with single motherhood at a time when women couldn’t even get a car loan without a male cosigner.  What a pain in the ass!  I absolutely give her all kudos imaginable for surviving in those tougher times, especially when society was so much crueler and more judgmental of women.  I don’t take my freedom for granted one moment of any day, believe you me. 

Continuing to read the “Love & Logic” book.  Another issue that came up that I have questions about is the idea of punishing a kid for doing something wrong without giving any warnings or explanations.  The logic behind this is, “well, in the real world you don’t get second chances.”  Which is absolutely true.  But is it ok to punish a kid if he didn’t know something was wrong because it hadn’t come up yet?  If he was just experimenting or curious?  Should he just have “known better”?  Last night Sally peed on the couch.  I don’t know why she did this – she’s never done it before – and all I could think to do was say “no” a bunch of times, let her know I was “displeased” and then not let her back on the couch.  Sometimes she gets discombobulated when she gets back from the kennel, and she has been known to have the occasional accident.  I genuinely don’t think she does it on purpose to be bad or make a point.  She’s just old and when I didn’t respond to her barking to be let down (I thought she just wanted to be petted), she peed.  I decided to treat it like an accident.  I don’t know if this was the right thing to do or not.  So, if your kid does something because you didn’t communicate at that moment and he just didn’t know what else to do, do you punish him, or do you understand that it was an accident? I guess this is one of those case by case/age appropriate situations, in which at a certain point your kid does in fact know better and is just acting out or being naughty.  But when they’re really little and they don’t know better…?  Ah, so many questions.

So tomorrow I get to deal with the fun of Thanksgiving travel via LAX.  I am not terribly worried about the physical part – I’ll reserve all my worry for my New Year’s trip to North Carolina – but I do expect it to be “demanding”.  I’m going to try to be good to myself, eat well, drink lots of water, and get up and walk around the plane.  I booked all aisle seats for just this purpose.  I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The salad days

The weekend was pretty much as expected – except a bit more physically demanding.  Which begs the question – am I actually physically impaired at this moment, or is it more about fear of exerting myself/not having exercised in so long that I feel all lousy and out of shape?  I feel like I COULD do a lot more physically than I actually do, but I am afraid to “push it”.  It always gets back to that thing of, “well, you just don’t want to take any chances.”  So the weekend on Catalina involved lots of hauling of crap around, lots of walking, lots of walking up and down multiple flights of very steep stairs, and sitting in icy cold rooms.  It also involved sharing a green room with about fifteen men, all of whom turned the one bathroom into something akin to the Worst Toilet in Scotland from Trainspotting.  And when you have to pee just about every five minutes, and the bathroom almost immediately runs out of both soap AND toilet paper, and you’re already on edge because you’re exhausted and have been climbing stairs and frozen to the bone all day…well, let’s just say it was pretty unpleasant.  I finally lost it when at 2:30 AM we arrived back at the Long Beach landing and I could NOT find the entrance to the parking area because every door was locked because it was the middle of the night, and I started swearing like a sailor.  That felt kind of good, though, I have to admit.  As did the home made split pea soup and bad TV in my pyjamas about an hour and a half later. 

The best part of the trip (as is usually the case) was quality time with my band mates, in which I FINALLY got to tell them about my pregnancy.  They were, amazingly, clueless, which fueled my already ramped up paranoia that everyone just thinks I’ve been getting fat (again why I even care about this is another question).  At any rate the reactions were delightful, even from the one super right wing Christian guy who I was a little worried about.  It was especially fun to talk pregnancy stuff with our young drummer whose wife is about nine weeks along right now.  It’s always so heartwarming to me to see new dads and their enthusiasm – he says he’ll just be going about his day and find himself wandering off and daydreaming about the baby, that he wants to talk about it all the time but most of the guys he works with just don’t get it.  I think this is fantastic, and amazingly no, it doesn’t make me sad that I don’t have a man in my life who’s as excited about my baby as I am.  It actually gives me hope for the future of mankind that there are so many dedicated, committed new dads out there.  Hopefully my son will be one of these someday!

The last two days I have been running around like a madwoman driving in traffic and rain doing all these errands that simply cannot wait.  Tonight however I ditched out on a free screening to just get in bed and CHILL.  Tomorrow I have to run around like a crazy person again doing all those errands that simply cannot wait until after Thanksgiving, and then Wednesday AM I’m on a flight to Massachusetts.  And as much as I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to see my family, I expect it to be entirely over-stimulating and exhausting as holiday trips always are.  Just wait until I get to do this with a toddler – woop de doo!  At least for now I can lie in bed with the puppy, watch subversive documentaries on Netflix, and know the baby’s just chillaxing in my belly; no feeding, no changing, no comforting required.  Ah, the salad days.  I’m going to miss these, on some level.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fake it 'til you make it

So I started reading the “Love & Logic” parenting book(s).  It’s pretty interesting stuff.  I can’t say I believe all toddlers and small children will behave in the perfectly angelic manner that the children in the case scenarios in this book do, but there are definitely aspects of this parenting theory that I like.  One, that it’s better to let kids make mistakes and have small choices so they feel more in control and have more confidence in their abilities than it is to constantly protect and hover over them.  Two, to not overly praise kids so they then expect to be constantly praised in life (which we all know is not how the real world works).  I remember my mother being very critical of a family we knew who always asked the kids to make choices about things – do they want to wear this jacket or this jacket, do they want this juice or this juice.  Her whole thing was just give the kids what they get and that’s it.  As far as I know, both her kids and the kids in this other family grew up just fine.  Does any of this stuff really matter?  I don’t know.  But if so much of what makes really little kids (like, toddler aged) misbehave is frustration and the new need to show independence, then I suppose a few basic, harmless choices during the day couldn’t possibly hurt. 

I’ve already had in mind the idea of having my son very early learn to participate in household stuff – help me sort the laundry, help me cook (here, you put in this teaspoon of salt), help pick up things, help take care of the animals, and make it fun, not a chore.  I’m pretty appalled by how little kids do to help their mothers these days.  I mean I was doing my own laundry by 12, doing dishes by six or seven.  I didn’t cook until quite a bit later, but it was understood that you helped with household chores.  And I don’t recall getting an allowance, either.  It was just part of your responsibility as a member of the household.  I think it’s especially important to teach my son that it’s not the woman’s job to pick up after him.  Of course this is all just theory – I may get down into it and be like, “here, let me, you’re taking too long.”  But hopefully I’ll have the patience to teach him how to be a good little helper.

I am also reading Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott.  My half sister sent it to me.  It’s a real time journal by an author of the first year of her son’s life – the father disappeared shortly after the announcement of the pregnancy.  It’s a good book, but I have to admit it’s stressing me out a little bit.  Being as it’s all written right in the heat of the moment, I’m reading the phase where she’s up all night with a colicky, screaming baby, and it sounds just dreadful.  Luckily her love for her son seems to overcome all of this, even though she does occasionally fantasize about throwing him out the window. 

My half sister and I talked about the fear of lack of bonding.  She had this same fear when she had her son some eleven years ago – but said, as corny as it sounds, as soon as she looked into his eyes for the first time there was no doubt in her mind that she would be bonded to this boy forever.  I’ve mentioned here this fear I have of seeing my son for the first time and feeling nothing.  And continuing to feel nothing.  However, she and I have something in common – we both have mothers who abandoned us for large swaths of time when we were children.  It’s hard not to worry that you’ll end up being just like that, that you have that same disease as your own mother.  But she overcame it, and I know I will, too.  I guess for me other than a physical or mental problem on my son’s part, fear of my not being able to bond with him is right up there in my list of concerns of all the things that could go wrong.  Still, I think women who have this issue probably usually have extenuating circumstances – severe depression, a history of issues like this, weird relationship issues with the baby’s father at the time, an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, being too young, etc etc.  I really don’t see myself having this problem.  And if I do, I’ll just fake it ‘til I make it.

Heading to Catalina island this weekend for a long, arduous band gig which I expect to be entirely unpleasant.  We’re making almost no money (the event promoter didn’t get the turnout he’d expected) and for me being there overnight means having to board the dog, which is a whole hassle and expense (and sucks for her because as soon as I pick her up on Sunday, Tuesday I have to take her right back for my trip east for Thanksgiving), then I get in about 3 AM Sunday morning and have to get right up and drive all the way back down there (Long Beach) to go to a meeting that involves intensive going over of contracts and lots of strife.  So this is going to be one of those weekends where I just have to take a deep breath, slap on a sense of humor, and take pleasure in the small things, like a York Peppermint Patty or a good song on my Ipod. ‘Cause the rest of it is pretty much going to blow.