Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Feeling much better today. And so goes the roller coaster of hormones. Yesterday even the picture of the 20 week fetus on my newsletter from Kaiser was so upsetting to me I had to throw it on the floor of the car. Today I was able to read it and chuckle at the advice on safe sex with your partner during pregnancy - um, doesn't apply, thank you!
Thanks for your helpful comments. It's good to know I'm not the only one scared of childbirth and who considers the whole process pretty horrible. I've just come to the conclusion that there are two types of women in the world - mumsy types who are all into the miracle of pregnancy and birth and can't get enough of their toddler's antics, and people like me who see pregnancy and birth as the unpleasant gateway to the goal of having a child, and who would rather have a nice cup of tea and watch a documentary about how we're overfishing our oceans than squat on the floor and play trucks with our two-year-olds. I'm not saying this is the best, or even a good way to be, I'm just saying this is who I am, and I accept it. I hope the abundance of hugs, kisses, "I love yous" and the fact that my face lights up when he walks into the room makes up for the fact that I don't so much want his spitty fingers repeatedly shoved into my mouth, thank you very much.
We went to the music class again today. Again he was pretty freaked out by it - I have to say, though, I enjoy when he actually wants me to hold him or sit on my lap, because at home he just wants to climb all the furniture. It feels good to be able to comfort him; it's very healing. Especially when it works. What is it about a mother's touch that's so magical?
Monday, October 28, 2013
...as in, I hit it today, listening to Pink Floyd's "Mother" in the car on my way home from my OB appointment. I mean rivers of tears and deep, full body sobs. I needed that. I really did.
What can I say? I'm depressed, and have been for some time. I just can't seem to fight it. The things I'm depressed about, scared of, etc, are very real and are indeed as bad as I think. Nobody can help me. I just need to get through it.
I went to see the A list midwife today. She asked how I felt about the upcoming birth and I said, "terrified and depressed." She did give me some good resources - places to find doulas in training to help with costs, left a message with the Kaiser social services person to call me, etc. But right now all of that just seems like more work for me. Everything looks like a pain in the ass when you're depressed. At the end she took my hands, looked in my eyes and said, "you're going to have a better birth this time." I didn't say anything. "You don't believe me, do you?" she asked. I said, "nope."
And I don't. I feel like no matter what happens it's going to be awful and painful and exhausting. Even if I get the best case scenario and don't have health problems and don't get pre-e or GD or anything else. Even if I get to go into labor naturally. It's still going to be awful. And I know this is a shitty attitude. But I just can't shake it, I'm sorry. I am just sick with dread and fear. This was SO much easier last time when I could convince myself it wouldn't be that bad, that it would be empowering, that it would be quicker and less painful than I thought. None of those things were true. It's hard when you're already a pessimist and expect the worst and then things are even worse than you imagined. It's hard to come back from that.
The good news is, everything still looks good health wise although as anticipated I gained eight pounds this month and the midwife shamed me about that quite a bit. She wants me to only gain two pounds next month. Yeah, I'll get right on that! Also she put herself as my primary physician so starting in December it should be easier to get appointments with her. She also said I would not need NSTs if I'm healthy unless I hit 41 weeks. Which is a huge relief considering how much they cost and how inconvenient they will be with childcare. So I do feel some comfort that I'm in good hands with her.
Anyway, I had a good sob and now I do feel a bit better. I'm mostly just pissed off and disappointed that I've spent so much of this pregnancy depressed. I really don't want to feel like this. I want to feel joyful and serene like I did last time. But I just don't. Hell, maybe when B's room is done, everything is in order, and I have some of my coming event sorted out, I'll feel better. I feel like I'm spinning a million plates right now and am utterly overwhelmed.
In other news, B is happy as a clam and oblivious to his mother's private grief. Gotta love this kid.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
I've been neglectful with the bump pictures. Last time I felt weird about it; this time I have a toddler who can't be left alone for half a second to even take the darned pictures. But luckily at last night's singing gig I managed to recruit a friend for this pic. I feel HUGE even though I know I'm not. I have gained quite a lot of weight this month - it's hard to say how much exactly since the hospital scale is consistently 3-4 lbs above my home scale (probably due to being dressed at the hospital and it being the middle of the day rather than first thing in the morning). But according to the home scale I am about 13 lbs up (I think-?). Which seems about right considering I'm halfway through - but not when you consider typically people gain little to nothing in their first trimester and the bulk of the weight is gained around now, when you could eat the contents of a small barn every day. I'm not worried about the weight for vanity reasons - I think I've already shown I'm one of those lucky bitches that loses weight while breast feeding. It's more that I'm worried about my shitty food choices lately - a week of pasta every night, more Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes than I care to admit to, and many trips to Astroburger for veggie burgers while B has his midday car nap. Well, other than the flood of Halloween cupcakes and candy headed my way this week I am determined to do better - macrobiotic clean food for dinner and a lentil/feta salad for lunch, which I'm sure is 1000 times better than drive thru even if it's supposedly healthy.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Here we are. The halfway point of this pregnancy! I'll allow myself to celebrate a bit. Even though (this time) the easy part is behind me, still. I survived the tenuous first trimester and the genetic testing. I now know the gender, and the name. The future profile of my little family is now set. I will have two boys. For all eternity, no matter what happens, I will be the mother of two boys. Just like my aunt who's death spurned this whole "having a baby" thing to begin with. There's a nice symmetry there.
The ticketing company could not offer me a decent rate so I think I will pass. I just can't justify making my customers pay an extra $20 (for weekend pass buyers buying two tickets, which is mostly what people buy). They also didn't feel they could build some of the pass requirements I need, like if you buy this particular pass you can't then register for a dance contest, etc. It's very complicated and not at all like the events they usually work with. So, that's that. I am kind of bummed, but I guess there's a reason we little Lindy Hop events don't use professional ticketing agencies - we just can't afford it! In a way I'm relieved because at least my sleep-deprived post partum brain will be able to sleepwalk through the same system I've used for years rather than trying to learn (and then teach all my volunteers) a new one.
Now I have to decide if I want to take up a friend's offer to redesign my website. I desperately need a new look...but he wants to charge me $2000. I told him I have $0 and he seemed to be ok with deferring payment. I would like to do one thing to bump up the professionalism of my event...but part of me thinks I can spend these dull holiday months working on it myself rather than committing to a huge expense like that, even if it's down the road. I think I might just pull the plug on all these ambitious, costly projects with the understanding that this is simply NOT the year. Next year, we'll see. I need to get this baby out of me first.
Here is a picture of Bumpus "helping" this morning:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Today I spoke briefly with someone from the professional ticketing company for my event - I gave him the rundown, and he said he'd have his boss call me tomorrow. I am very nervous about it. I hate, hate, hate negotiating fees. I keep telling myself this is not meant to be a money saving venture, it's a time saving venture and a bump up for my level of professionalism. So honestly even if it somehow costs me more, I should still probably do it. There are so many advantages - a mobile app people can use to register (hurrah), incentives to get people to "share" my event for discounts via Facebook, a professional registration form instead of the clunky 90s-looking one I have now, etc etc. It's so hard when everything in my life right now is screaming at me, "Cut costs! Cut costs!" But in this arena I may have to spend. Ugh. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. But honestly I'd be crazy not to hire them. I feel like if I present this event more professionally people will treat it more professionally.
Sure enough, my house is covered in plaster dust. Even in rooms that had two closed doors between them and where the sanding was happening; I had to wipe down B's entire high chair before he could eat lunch. Jesus. Tomorrow, trim and paint. Which means another day of keeping B out of the house right up until bed time, unless I want his little fingerprints in the paint for all eternity. He currently has two big scratches and bruises on his forehead - one from falling off the edge of the bed this morning, then another from falling and skidding on concrete at a playground. Let the injuries commence!
I just spent a little time perusing my old medical records to see when everything started to "go south" with my health in the last pregnancy; much to my dismay it appears nearly all of the bad news was in the last few weeks. So yes, at the halfway point last time everything was still looking dandy, much like it is now. I am consumed with a feeling of a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head; that I will get pre-e again, have to induce again, or even worse, some other fucked-up thing will come entirely out of left field that I'll have to deal with. Since I'm now at the point where so many friends had to be put on bed rest and/or went into pre-term labor, I am consumed with fear about that - every ache or pain is a contraction; every heavy feeling is the baby dropping into my shortened cervix. Relax and stop worrying, right? There's nothing to worry about until there's something to worry about, right? Already two of my big fears - not being able to get pregnant, and having horrible morning sickness, have been proven to be baseless this time around. But, I don't know. I just feel like come the third trimester everything is going to turn to shit. Stop being so negative, think happy thoughts, right? I was so good about that last time. I think the problem is this time I know too much. Or maybe it's just hormonal.
Could I have my Hormonal Sex Fog back, please? That was WAY more fun than this bull crap.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I would like to point out that it's 11:30 at night, the house is dark as the inside of a cow's stomach, and one of B's V-Tech toys is currently talking to itself up in the attic. It keeps saying "it's music time!" and "bye bye!". Ahhhhh!!! Thoroughly creeped out.
Speaking of music time, I finally got off my ass and got us to a little neighborhood music circle today I'd been meaning to check out for ages. It was good - I will go back. Being hippy LA I kind of cracked up at the crunchy granola vibe - in particular when we sang this song "The Earth is Our Mother" that Kathy Griffin roundly makes fun of in one of her specials. And when I say "we sang", I mean everyone else sang with their babies on their laps while I tried to prevent Bumpus from climbing on to the stage, falling off, and cracking his skull open. And so it goes.
Bumpus didn't seem to care for it. He was very freaked out and clingy at first, then spent pretty much the entire session at the other end of the room playing with some little girl's ball until I finally felt the need to give it back to her because she looked upset (with resultant screaming on B's part bien sure). But I'll continue going because I think he'll get into it. He does love music, dancing, and banging on drums. What little kid doesn't?
The last of the drywall went up for B's room today. We are officially boxed in. It doesn't look like it'll get done this week, though. Tomorrow is the messiest day as it requires sanding. I have stressed to the handyman how I can't have the whole house covered in plaster dust - that he MUST make an effort to cover everything. They never do, though. I don't know if it's a guy thing or a contractor thing or what, but they always make a horrible mess. I can picture shaking white powder out of baby blankets for months. Ugh. I am SO glad I made that attic room when I did - I would never attempt something like that now. I was up there today just thinking how great it is and how glad I am I went for it even when I thought there'd be no more babies. Now "the kids" have the option of sharing a room or not.
I spend a huge amount of my time wondering what B will be like when he's older. In my experience boys rarely resemble their baby selves - it's usually "something around the eyes", but that's about it. If B grows up to look anything like the donor he'll be tall and angular with a strong jaw (so the clinic told me); it's impossible to reconcile that image with the plump-cheeked baby face I have before me on a daily basis. I recently watched a documentary where a man was spending time with his college-aged son before the father went to jail for running a Ponzi scheme; the son was red headed and angular and I wondered if that's what B would be like. The son spoke lovingly about his dad in interviews. I can't imagine B speaking at all, much less with a man's voice, and even less talking about ME. What will he think of me, when he's that age? What will he remember about his childhood? Will he remember today's music class and how I made him give the ball back and chuckled ironically all through "The Earth is Our Mother"?
Monday, October 21, 2013
In an attempt to fulfill a couple of my short term goals - Stay the F out of the House and See More People - I kind of overdid it today. Ran around town all day to various play dates and didn't get B into bed until his old bedtime (7 PM) with resultant inconsolable screaming hours later (you'd think I'd have learned from the last time I put him to bed late - oy). However, apart from the late bedtime I would kill for every day to be like this. No ransacking of the house, lots of time outside, B run ragged playing with little buddies and exploring playgrounds. Awesome.
I realized at my gig last night, for the thousandth time, how much I miss my friends and socializing in general and how much I need to make it a priority in life for my own sanity - but oh, it's just so impossible!! When it comes to dancing you just never know when the fun nights are going to be; it's such a crapshoot. And I have been arranging fun things to do in December for the holidays (a fancy night at a restaurant with friends, a comedy show), but it all COSTS. That is a major downside of not having the money I thought I'd have right now - a, I can't have B in some part time preschool, which I would totally do if I could afford it, and b, I don't feel comfortable paying a babysitter for nights out "just because". My mental state is suffering because of it. And I just don't see it getting better anytime soon. The bigger I get the less enjoyable dancing will be; then there's the whole newborn phase where it's not really feasible to go out at night much...and there will be no more money than I have now; in fact there will be less, as the hospital bills roll in. So unfortunately whatever I'm experiencing now as far as loneliness and alienation is only going to get worse, and for a long time - like, realistically a year, assuming I recover somewhat financially after the next event. So, I'm a bit stuck. I desperately want to participate more in nighttime adult activities but simply can't afford the babysitting fees; yet sitting at home all bitter and bored is really doing a number on me. What to do?
At least I have the band. It's the one thing I do that actually pays, and almost always involves dancing and seeing friends while technically working, which is great. Not to mention zero guilt because I always make money on top of the babysitting fees (well, almost always). I had a blast at our gig last night; it was SO rejuvenating. I wish that happened every weekend.
I keep telling myself that this feeling of being trapped at home and "missing out" will fade, or at least, that it's only temporary - soon enough I won't be pregnant and tired and uncomfortable anymore, and the kids will only get older and more self-sufficient, and money will improve, and the things I'm missing aren't that great anyway. And all of these things are true. I just wish I could do a better job of arranging social outings for myself and for me & B. Having several days in a row with nothing planned is just brutal. I definitely need to work on that. Although maybe today was a bit much.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Last night I spent four hours with my computer guy trying to set up my new computer. I knew getting this thing up and running would be a nightmare, which was why I delayed it almost a year. Turns out he could have easily cleaned up my old computer and got it running fast and clean much easier than setting up this new one - I'll have to remember that next time! So between the $50 software I bought to move the old computer programs & files (fail), the $99 I spent on the Geek Squad to do the same (fail), and now this guy (thank God he didn't charge me! He is also the MC of my event and felt bad about having to stand me up one of the nights because of a friend's medical emergency) - what a royal pain in the ass! I would like to point out that I still have almost no workable programs - most of mine were so old they're not compatible with the new computer; he will come back later and install Photoshop, a DVD creator, and all my office programs. Well, at least I have email, Internet, and a working printer now, which I have not had for weeks and which had caused me a tremendous amount of stress.
One very positive and interesting outcome of his visit last night was his suggestion that I hire a professional ticket processor for my event ticketing. I always shied away from this before because they charge fees - and it may still be prohibitively expensive, since they tend to do a percentage of your ticket price and many of my tickets are $200+. But he suggested I just make the customers pay the fees. When I looked at my PayPal account and saw that on average I eat $3000-$4500 in fees each year...it made me realize that yeah, they may not like it, but it's time to pass those fees on to the customer. Most events do. And as usual if I present an alternative - mail in this form and bypass the fees - people should be ok with it. Or if not, they'll get used to it. This year's dismal financial rewards showed me I need to stop being so freaking generous.
The upside of working with a pro ticket company is it would completely change the way I do everything - no more paperwork, period. People could check in with barcodes, I could use their database instead of creating my own, there would be no more mistakes or people swearing they paid when they didn't. Oh, it would be awesome. And it would save me tons of work right when I need it the most, with a new baby. The sucky part would be negotiating a good rate and getting everything up and running in the next three months. I hate the idea of starting over. But as with everything, change must happen. All we can do is embrace it, even if initially it's a huge pain in the ass.
In other news, B's new 6:00 bedtime is AWESOME. He sleeps to the same time (7:30 AM typically), and that extra hour at night for me is huge - I usually leave for gigs around 7:30 so having that extra time to eat dinner/get dressed etc is going to be a huge help. So, yay for that.
Here is a rare picture of us taken last weekend by someone else:
Friday, October 18, 2013
It's amazing how adaptable we are as human beings. I'm already so used to Bumpus on the loose it seems like it was never any other way; I can scarcely remember him in his playpen now (folded up and put away for Ruckus), and that was only a couple of weeks ago! Ditto playground drama; I am so used to the war over common toys and big kids ploughing over my kid and bitchy three-year-old girls in torn polyester princess dresses it's now par for the course. Sure, he throws a fit when someone takes away what he perceives to be "his" toy, and almost always wanders into the path of kids on swings about to kick him in the head. But you know what? For every frazzled mother of a toddler like me, there's a soon-to-be mother of a just crawling baby on the playground, pulling leaves out of the baby's mouth and looking for a good spot for a diaper change. Sunrise, sunset. And so it goes.
Listening to some older kids' conversations today reminded me that, for the most part, kids are pretty horrible, and are pretty horrible to each other. And everyone survives. God knows I was a mean little snatch when I was seven, yet managed to grow up into (I think!) a kind and empathetic person who lets people merge on freeways and saves drowning bees. It pains me to think innocent little Bumpus will soon have to navigate those rough waters of childhood socialization - and deal with kids with bad home lives, emotional problems, anger issues, gangbanger parents, etc. I want to scoop him up and protect him from all of that. But I can't. He has to learn to cope and I can only be there to give advice or comfort. It's scary.
His room is framed; drywall and finishing next week. I'm so glad I went for the option of the single wall rather than the whole building of a room within a room. When I think about having my room back I become positively giddy - being able to read, watch TV, or listen to podcasts at will, to put laundry away after B goes to sleep - huzzah! It's going to be great. For the next five months, anyway.
I am missing out on a lot of fun things this weekend due to lack of babysitting funds, and am quite bitter about it. Tomorrow I have zero plans, and there's a big dance all my friends are going to that I can't go to, and I just have to sit home and watch TV, and I hate it. It's times like these that make me wonder what my life would be like had I not had children; where would I be now, how would I feel? At this point I'm fairly certain I would have come to the decision to have a baby on my own anyway; my social circle is so baby-heavy I doubt the idea would have passed me by for long. But what if I hadn't? I think I can be honest and say my life would have continued on as before - traveling, working on my event, working on the house, constant and needless refurbishing of myself. But all with this undercurrent of sadness that only would have been largely ramped up by turning 40, and seeing even more of my last holdout friends get married and have one, and then two, babies, while I was still single and childless. It would suck. I think I would be very depressed and lost. So yeah, a little whining and tossing of pots on the floor and not getting to go to a dance? I'll take it!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
So, 24 hours after my gender scan and big reveal (called various US relatives, who did not even know I was pregnant, and e-mailed the Brazilians, plus put out the announcement on Facebook, which was a whole "thing" in itself). How am I feeling about boy vs girl? Am I experiencing "gender disappointment"?
I can honestly say no, and you know I wouldn't bullshit you. When I saw his little winkle on the screen (and this may sound kind of pervy, but little baby penises are pretty much the cutest thing ever) I just sort of knew it was our destiny, and did not feel a pang of disappointment. I knew it was right for B - he needs another guy in this family. This is for him, after all, not me. So my desire to work out my childhood issues by having a girl is trumped by Bumpus' need to have someone to share his maleness with. And so once again it is very clear to me how very much it is not about me anymore. Dammit.
The 'rents were expectedly surprised and happy for me. As much as I bitch about them, on this particular topic they are extremely supportive, for which I am very grateful (but really, if they weren't...who cares? Just another reason not to have anything to do with them!). My mother said she thought I'd change my mind, only because so many women, herself included, do. Her first birth experience in the 60s sounded pretty nightmarish; yet ten years later she did it again. So, there you go.
Facebook has been interesting. I'm really glad I made a formal announcement about the pregnancy which I did not do last time...but really should have. Of course everyone who commented was thrilled and supportive and most of all, surprised. It makes me wonder how many people think B was an "oopsie". I'm sure some must, since I've never breathed a word on FB about B being donor conceived or my being in those circles (ie, I don't forward links about being an SMC, etc). And even today, when a single woman has a baby, people just don't automatically go to "donor!" They think one night stand, or failed relationship. Which is natural, I guess. But I will admit there is a little part of me that's glad I'm having two just to prove to the world that yes, this was all intentional. Here are my two red headed boys - they were not unwanted mistakes. I'd have to be pretty lame to accidentally get knocked up - in my 40s - by the same person - twice!
Progress on B's room is slow, but it is happening. Tomorrow the guy starts framing the wall; he may drywall it Friday, and then next week all the trim/painting/door hanging. He baby proofed some cabinets for me, and did a few other minor repairs around here. I have no idea how the transition to the new room will go. Like everything else, it will either be a snap, or an ordeal. I figured I would maybe put the pack 'n play in there for sleeping first so at least that part of it is familiar; then try the toddler bed and see what he thinks. Who knows, he might totally dig it. Or it might scare him. All I can do is not push anything and be patient. The most important thing is getting his room set up well before the baby arrives, and that will happen.
I'll admit I had a bit of a craptastic day today. I slept hardly at all due to awesome pregnancy insomnia, and it was wicked hot and we were out in the sun all day, and then had another awful afternoon of B tearing the house apart while I sat helplessly wishing he wouldn't. I hate these afternoons. But I don't see a way out of it - I can't afford classes and activities, and we're up so damned early these days I take the mornings to get us out of the house when he's his most active. He does get super whiny and cranky around six, though; I am considering putting him to bed earlier, maybe 6:30 or even 6:00; it's dark now, and he just seems tired. I just don't want him waking up any freaking earlier-!
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
So, I know many of you don't want to hear what's in this post. I know many of you would give your eye teeth to be able to stay home all the time with your child and not have to work. And I still feel very grateful for this fact. However. Spending all day, 24 hours a day, alone with a toddler, with no help and no breaks, right now - totally, totally blows.
I would give my eye teeth for a little part time pre-school or daycare right now. But apart from the occasional few hours on a weekend, that is completely out of the question financially. I am so envious of people who can escape to a job during the day and then really spend quality time with the kid(s) in the evenings and on weekends.
It's not that I was unprepared for how hard it would be, or how hard this age would be, or how hard it would be when l'il B finally escaped his playpen. Much like being induced, I knew it was going to be horrible. And it was. And at this moment the toddler phase is just as awful as I had anticipated.
I spent the day with a child who would not stop screaming. He's not mad or upset - he just enjoys it. And it makes my ears ring and gives me headaches. Nothing makes him stop. Not covering his mouth, not ignoring it, not pleading or threatening. Today I had to endure fellow shoppers covering their ears and glaring at me, no doubt thinking what a horrible parent I am because he won't stop screaming. If I were a different kind of person I would have hauled off and slapped him. HARD. But please know I would never do that, ever. I can only imagine the look of hurt and betrayal he would give me and the guilt that would plague me for the rest of my life. So no, no hitting. But boy did I feel like it for a minute there-!
Every day he tears the entire house apart. It's like a hurricane hit that I have to clean up after he's gone to bed every single night - when I'm already exhausted and fed up and my new belly makes bending over already very unpleasant. He doesn't play with anything - just dumps everything on the floor, climbs on something, falls, and screams. That's our day. And it fucking sucks.
Fortunately I was able to spontaneously meet up with a friend with a similar aged child and we were actually able to sit and have lunch, and she made me feel slightly less of a horrible person. She said that yes, being home for any length of time with a toddler is miserable, and she also hates the screaming/dumping of toys etc etc. Thank God, I'm not just an evil control freak!
I do believe many women just LOVE kids of all ages and think everything they do is precious and a gift from the baby Jesus. I SO wish I were one of these sweet women. But I am not. I lead a very adult life for a very long time and this is all a total shock to me. The last couple of weeks I've felt like a marauding rhinoceros has moved into my house and there's nothing I can do about it - and that complaining about it makes me an ungrateful witch.
However, I would like to point out with much gratitude that B's sleep has been awesome (not so much as a toe over the edge of that pack 'n play since I told him he'd better not dare get out one more time); because he dropped naps he now sleeps until almost 8 sometimes (awesome); he eats like a champ, actually enjoys brushing his teeth (God bless 'm), and from what I witness in my mommy groups is still a really good, easy kid. It pains me to call the kid I endured today "easy", but believe you me, I know there are a lot of mothers of toddlers out there suffering way worse than I but in silence because it's not ok to admit motherhood is anything other than kettle corn-scented rainbow-striped unicorn farts.
In other news, going for my anatomy/gender scan for little bro or sis tomorrow. If all goes well I will know the future profile of my little family tomorrow. I'll know whether my old Barbies will be played with or stay on the shelf until grand kids come along; how long the kids can share a room; and whether we'll be talking about a Baby I or Baby T. Stay tuned!
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Here are some more cute seasonal photos. I'm just going to post these in lieu of talking about the crazed hormonal 13-year-old boy libido I've had lately which has lead to a lot of Facebook stalking (thank God people can't see how many times you look at their profile-!) but thankfully no acting out. Suffice it to say I know it's all hormones and will pass (same thing happened last time) and when it does I'll be really glad I never breathed a word of this to anyone, since it's stupid and embarrassing and all in my head. I call it a Hormonal Sex Fog. Which, by the way, is also the name of my new band (not). Ok, on to cute kiddie pics of our trip to yet another pumpkin patch today, while I go take a cold shower and try to stop listening to Etta James' "I Just Want to Make Love to You". Ahhhhhhhh!
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Today was the first rain of the season, which of course in Southern California means tons of freeway closures and accidents and general havoc on the streets, so I decided whatever made up errands I had could wait and instead kept us inside all day.
Not one to waste all that time, I decided to do some necessary nesting. I cleaned out the top two drawers of my linen cabinet so I can put baby towels, burp cloths, and wash cloths in there. What was in those drawers that I haven't opened in over a decade? Cassette tapes and odd framed pictures from my high school years - an 8x10 of The Beatles, a photo from a magazine of Tom Waits, an odd little drawing I did of U2's drummer. After carting these things around for almost 25 years, I quite gleefully tossed them in the garbage.
Then I tackled my hallway closet, also piled high with junk I haven't even thought about in over a decade. I threw out all my crappy bootleg VHS tapes and boxed up the real ones for donation. I kept all the dance performance stuff, my film school film projects, and of course any family stuff. Just the bootleg tapes alone filled almost ten garbage bags!!! I also decided to sell nearly all of my DVDs - most of which have never even been opened. I can't even remember the last time I sat down to watch a DVD - now that I have streaming video from Netflix on my Roku box, what's the point?
I took a deep breath and sorted through hundreds of cassettes - all from the early eighties - late nineties. So, basically, my entire youth. And being such an obsessive music fan, there's a LOT of it. But honestly, I long ago replaced nearly all of it with digital files on my iPod. I do still listen to most of the favorite music of my younger years - The Beatles, U2, The Smiths, Beck, Jimi Hendrix. But as mentioned, it's all stored on my iPod now, and my favorites are on my phone. Again, why hang on to these space-sucking things? Another five garbage bags.
There was a certain poignancy to seeing the shelves that had been filled with my girlhood now filled with diapers and breast pump supplies and things for not just the current baby but the new baby. Add this to the dramatic changes with our home life lately and I'm really feeling like this is it - this is what real parenthood is. It's putting away those old, useless parts of yourself that you would have otherwise clung to, and embracing the new.
I still have this image of myself walking into that hospital a year and a half ago as a girl and emerging as a woman. It was a death and a birth all in the same moment. But as Nina Davenport's birth coach tells her in her SMC documentary "First Comes Love", that even though she will have a baby, the new mother in her will be "slow to emerge". I think about this a lot. I don't think the mother in me has emerged entirely yet. But letting go of those things today - and a lot of the pain/drama/heartache those things carry with them - was a major step.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Had a minor freak out today. All this "freedom" is just not working for me. And I know I have no choice in the matter, which is maddening. I just can't get anything done, spend the entire day cleaning up the havoc Bumpus causes all around the house, and am constantly on edge that he will hurt himself or worse with all this climbing and shenanigans.
He only got out of bed once tonight. I have no idea if he's learning or if he just wasn't in the mood to try again tonight. I am very worried for the next time I have a sitter...! Thankfully this isn't until the 17th, so maybe I'll have a sense of how frequent these escapist moments are going to be.
I drove up to ikea to look at toddler beds today...but fell short of buying one. I'm not convinced he's old enough for that...but it's got to be safer than his catapulting himself over the top of the pack 'n play all the time. Some Facebook friends recommended a "crib tent", but when I googled to find one all I got were reports of how they've all been recalled for strangulation hazards, and they're really expensive, and it's a moot point if it really is time to move him up to a bed.
So after an exhausting day of moving crap out of reach and closing doors and chasing him around and cleaning tons of crap off the floor, I was at my wit's end, and nearly in tears, and was thinking how much easier things would be if there were a man around here - he could baby proof the place, install all the doors I need, and build the wall. A friend called and I said this to her, and she just laughed. Having a grown son herself, she said if I were married all that would happen is the husband would never get around to doing these things, wouldn't allow me to hire anyone to do it (because he's going to do it when he gets around to it), I would be stuck alone with a rampaging toddler all day being tortured, and then he'd expect a clean house, dinner on the table, and me looking put together when he gets home. I had to laugh out loud when I heard this, knowing it's true of practically every marriage I've ever been witness to. We Single Mothers By Choice types do tend to romanticize the advantages of having a partner - forgetting that mostly they're just another pain in your ass. Would a husband have been ok with me watching documentaries all afternoon while Bumpus tore the mail into little pieces? Yeah, no.
So thanks for the reality check! The fact is soon enough this house will be settled, B will be in his own room in a big boy bed where I don't have to worry about him getting hurt, and I will no longer have to be concerned about hazards. We'll figure it out. And in the meantime I don't have to worry about having dinner on the table for anyone but us. My sister once overheard a woman in the Bronx saying to her friend, "the only men I want in my house are my son and the baby Jesus." Amen, sister! Snap-snap.
Monday, October 7, 2013
We're on Day 2 of Operation Free Bumpus. Once again taking him up to the playroom in the morning in the hopes of getting more sleep was utterly futile. He wasn't shoving felt fruits and vegetables into my mouth but he was far more interested in climbing all over my recumbent body than playing with his oceans of toys. Boy am I glad he'll have an age-appropriate playmate soon!
Today was more securing the perimeter - more moving things out of reach, strategic closing of doors, and taping of lamp cords to walls. There is a lot left to do. Luckily Bumpus does listen to "no" - when he grabs for something I don't want him to touch and say no or "Bumpus!", he actually gets it (for now anyway!). He looks to me before touching a new thing to see if it's ok. It's clear he's figuring out the boundaries of his new environment, one that he's seen all his life but now is suddenly within reach. And it's scary for both of us.
This morning started with B bounding over the top of his pack 'n play and tipping over a very heavy room divider, taking out a TV and everything else on my dresser. If that had fallen on him it easily could have broken his neck. Good morning! His room can't be ready fast enough.
Tonight was a first in that I put him to bed...then an hour later I heard a crash and he came running into the kitchen. I freaked out and laid him back down...only to have him do it again. And again. And again. The final time I caught him about to open the door and his little face filled with fear as I snapped at him "don't you DARE get out of that bed one more time!!!". I laid him back down and put his blankie over him and rubbed his belly, telling him I know it's hard but he really has to go to sleep now and I know he can do it. It'll be interesting to see if he keeps doing this - he might, or tonight might just have been a trial night. I can really tell he's just testing all this stuff out to see what's ok and what isn't. That's why it's SO important that I set those boundaries - firmly - now. I see what happens to those kids whose parents didn't!
I feel like overnight I've graduated into real parenting, as opposed to whatever bullshit I was doing before, basically just keeping Bumpus alive while I went about my business. This here is the real deal - discipline, constant watching, constant interacting and entertaining. Am I up for the challenge? I *think* so.
In other news, a nice man from The Geek Squad came by today and fixed my Internet issues and set up my new (ten month old) computer for $99; I also requested to be contacted on the Obamacare website in the hopes that maybe there is a policy out there that will allow me to have this baby without going bankrupt. It doesn't hurt to ask, right?
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Woke up today full of energy and ready to tackle all my new challenges. Why? It might have something to do with yet another attempt at ceasing my B6 + Unisom regimen. I do tend to feel a bit less cloudy in the morning when I haven't taken the Unisom. But also, I'll be damned if I'm going to let this sudden change in our home life and routines lick me. I can beat this thing, dammit!
Spent many hours strategizing how to set up the house in "zones" to be safe for B. I don't think I can leave him entirely unsupervised anywhere - but I can certainly make everywhere as safe as possible and make sure he and I are always in the same "zone" (until his room is ready; he can be in there alone ). So I am going to do a lot of cabinet securing, door adding, hook-and-eye lock placing, and doorknob protecting. Until he has his own secure room, I may just have to shower at night. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but there is nowhere I can leave him alone for 5-10 minutes while I can't see or hear anything. Again, this is just temporary. Once his room is set up (by the end of the month, I hope!) then I'll have a lot more freedom. And after he goes to bed at night I can do things like run out the garbage and have fires in the fireplace and do concentrated computer projects.
This morning I thought I could grab a few extra winks by taking him up to the playroom. I did get to lie down, but sleep...not so much. He was too busy sitting on my head and trying to shove a felt banana into my mouth to let me sleep. Still this is a nice mellow place to start the day, so maybe we'll continue to hang out up there in the mornings, although it does suck to have no access to a toilet or food.
As much as I dreaded these changes, I'm ok with it - change must happen, and B must move on to the next phase. He has to be allowed to grow up, and his own room and freedom to move about the house freely is part of this. Now excuse me while I go pick up the cribbage game he just spilled all over the floor.
Yeah, so the moment I've dreaded since last year has at last arrived. Bumpus has figured out how to climb out of his playpen. I realize for many the playpen has never been an option, and I was super lucky to have it as a baby containing device for as long as I did. It allowed me to sleep, shower, dress, clean, work...well, do just about everything. And in the blink of an eye it's over. And my whole world has been turned upside down.
I knew I was in trouble a few days ago when he climbed out of his pack and play into bed with me...I knew it was only a matter of time before he'd figure out how to swing his leg over the top of the playpen, too. This morning I was cleaning the kitchen while he was in the playpen in the living room...and then he ran into the kitchen. Uh oh.
The rest of the day was a blur of chasing him around the house and cleaning the havoc he left behind - piles of books, overturned garbage cans, baskets of stamps and checkbooks strewn about. And I had to cook dinner, put on an elaborate 40s getup with makeup and hair, and prepare to go sing tonight. Oh, it was a nightmare. With nowhere for him to be contained it was impossible to do anything. Welcome to my world, you're all saying. I know! How the hell do you function?
I did manage to do all of this, get him fed and teeth brushed and changed and in bed, AND the tornado-hit house cleaned up in time for my very late and sick babysitter, so I could race over to my gig within seconds of it starting.
The whole time I was plotting how to manage from now on - I have to get those toxic cleaners locked away, get a lock on the fridge and toilet, and probably start taking showers and cleaning the kitchen after he's asleep at night. Oh, and to add insult to injury, he is no longer napping in the afternoon, so I now have NO break at all during the day to get anything done. Thank God this unwelcome development didn't happen right before my event-! Can you imagine?
So I was able to put one of my old doggie/toddler gates on the kitchen so at least he can't get in or out of there; and he can't turn knobs yet so I can at least close a couple of doors to restrict his movements. I have an octagonal gate type thing that I could try, but I'm pretty sure he could scale that with zero effort at this point. Boy do I wish his room were finished! That may be my salvation, to just make that room fun and comfortable and restricted so I can shower and cook and do things where I can't keep an eye on him. It can't be finished fast enough.
But my life is going to change dramatically now, and not for the better. My sleep is going to suffer as I can no longer safely nap during the day. It will be very hard to even sit down and relax during the day at all. Cooking and cleaning and showering are going to be rough. Basically, everything is going to suck. As if things didn't suck enough lately already.
Tonight after my gig I went up to the playroom and took the knob off the little door leading to the unfinished portion of the attic (which would mean pretty much instant death if he got in there), taped up the boxes stored up there so they can't be opened, and put sheets on the little daybed so when he drags me out of bed in five hours I can take him up there and at least lie down and rest if not sleep. And I guess plan to spend as much time up there or out of the house as I can until his room is done.
Here is a picture of how I'm managing stress these days:
Friday, October 4, 2013
So, I thought 2014 was going to be the year everything would change for the better for me. My event would finally consistently kick ass because of the move to Labor Day weekend, and Obamacare would kick in saving me thousands in health care costs.
Oh my God, no. Couldn't be further from the truth. I got a big package from Kaiser yesterday explaining all the changes to my plan starting next year. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw my monthly premium is only going up $7 - but the rest of the costs-! My yearly out of pocket maximum jumped from $3500 to $6250. All of my co-pays for doctor visits, prescriptions, emergency room visits, etc, about doubled. And the scariest, most nebulous one that affects me directly is instead of a blanket $500/day hospital stay, it's now 30% of total costs. And those total costs could be in the hundreds of thousands if this birth gets really complicated. What I don't understand is, is my out of pocket maximum REALLY all I would have to pay in any given year, or is it that PLUS 30% of costs for a hospital delivery? Which could be $10,000, $30,000, more? Anyone know the answer to this?
Since I got stuck paying what was then my out of pocket maximum for both B & I when he was born, his birth ran me $7000, which was shockingly high when I expected to pay my deductible of $1500 and no more. However it looks like any baby born in 2014, with a similar birth scenario, will cost me $13,000. Now I ask you - how the hell am I going to be able to afford this when I have no money to live on as it is???
I nearly burst into tears this morning just thinking about it. How could I have been so horribly wrong about everything - what my health care costs would be for this baby, how much money I'd make off of my event. I thought I'd try to call Healthy Families, the low-cost health care B has (and thank God for that!!) to see about enrolling the new baby, and mainly, if the coverage would take care of any nicu charges, since technically the baby is supposed to be covered once enrolled. At first the guy on the phone said yes, but when I pointed out that their website said the baby isn't covered until two weeks after birth, he said no, I was right, no birth charges are covered. Great. Once again confirmation that people on phone lines are a wealth of misinformation. Well, at least a) Healthy Families still exists enough to allow new members, and b) hopefully this time I'll have the new baby enrolled early enough that I won't be stuck paying almost $2000 in full price premiums while my paperwork is shuffled around for six months.
I'm really glad I went and got knocked up before I knew how destitute I'd be or how bad this health insurance stuff was going to get. Honestly if I'd had any idea I might have just passed and decided to stick with one. One of my Facebook commenters said today she and her husband were delaying having a child because under the new rules they can't afford it. I think it's a sad day in America when people don't have children because they can't afford the cost of bringing the child into the world or covering their health care. What the hell is going on???
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
The day did not start or end particularly well, but the middle part was fun. I have had little to no Internet service for about a week now - thank God for cell phones and 4G otherwise I'd be completely crippled. I've struggled with trying to find the source of the problem - I'm on my third wireless router in as many months; but even when I plug the computer directly into the modem the computer says it's connected to the Internet, but I can't get email or go to web sites. And so my Roku doesn't work, my printer doesn't work, and much worse, my burglar alarm doesn't work and occasionally beeps out a series of "trouble" signals. Which it did at 3:30 this morning, waking me from a sound sleep. So when I got up I decided to call my Internet service provider to see if maybe the modem was old and not working properly - and I was on the phone with them for ALMOST TWO HOURS while we went over and over turning it off and on, turning the computer off and on, etc etc etc. Finally I said I had to go and hung up. They seemed more interested in trying to get me to agree to a $40 upgrade to faster service than fixing my problem. I then called the Geek Squad, figuring they could at least get a handle on this problem, AND I could get them to set up my new computer which has been sitting in the box for nearly a year, which also may solve the problem. The only thing is - the earliest appointment isn't until Monday. And I have a sitter the next three nights. What if the burglar alarm randomly starts beeping while she's here? I don't particularly want to give her the code so she can turn it off. So I may try to set up the new computer tonight myself. Ugh! I hate technology!!!
So, utterly fed up and pissed off, I decided to take Bumpus to a pumpkin patch I've been wanting to check out. It was really cool and enjoyable. When we got home he was super cranky and whiny and I was just counting the seconds until bed time. I think he was just worn out. But we sure had fun at the farm. Here are some pics:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Let the injuries commence. L'il Bumpus tripped on a dirt path today (well, more like a dust and sand path, in Southern California) and tore up a forearm AND bit through his lower lip, producing a little trickle of blood. He was over it almost immediately, but I couldn't help but think - this is the beginning of a lifetime of little scuffs and dust-ups!
I love it when he climbs up on something - a bench, the couch, to sit next to me like a big boy. He looks so pleased with himself and kind of bounces around. He doesn't like to stay long, but really enjoys the few seconds he's there.
The other day we were up in the playroom and I was reading on the bed as I often do and before I knew it B had climbed up next to me with his decimated Goodnight Moon board book and plunked down, intent on reading, too. It was so frigging cute, I hope he saw the delight in my face and keeps doing it. And I hope to keep up my promise to myself to institute a reading time for us.
I have been in the habit of handing him either a hand mirror or hairbrush from my 1930's vanity set while changing his diaper so he's entertained and doesn't try to crawl away; he's so used to it now that the second I lay him down he sticks his hands out, just waiting for his "toy".
Every morning B is a huge ball of energy - when I try to pick him up out of the pack 'n play, he drops to the bottom and pretends to still be asleep, laughing hysterically. Lord I don't know how I'm going to be able to pick him up when even tying my shoes becomes challenging-!
I am hoping to go apple picking sometime soon - there are a few farms about 1 1/2 hours east; we did things like this when I was little and I'm eager to get started for B. Can't wait for the photo ops.
In other news - B's Halloween costume arrived yesterday. I'm giddy with anticipation.