Friday, February 27, 2015

Time bomb

When people ask how old the kids are, I always say, "almost one and almost three." And we really are almost there - Theo will be one in just two weeks. His development has been skyrocketing too - he started clapping today, is getting really good at self-feeding, and has even stood independently a couple of times. I am thinking about how many more weeks, or days, before I wean. It could be any time, really. We do one brief feed in the morning and that's it, and have for weeks. One day, rather than lying down with him up on the daybed in the attic I'll just take him downstairs, and just like that our relationship will be forever changed.

Always on my mind is the fact that the days of Theo being a sweet, compliant baby are numbered. And that breaks my heart. Because he'll never, ever be that again. Right now he's all smiles and love and little fluttery hands touching my face. 

Contrast this with Bobby, who is so, so difficult and infuriating almost all of the time. He now hits me out of anger, yells directions at me (every car ride now involves endless shouts of "drive, mama! Drive!!!" no matter how many times I explain that we have to wait for the green light, have to wait for the other cars to move, etc.). He has horrendous rages in which he turns bright red and sticks his hand in my face and yells at me to stop. And yet all of this is totally normal. Another mother at his school the other day was so fed up with her boy's unwillingness to get into the car that she started yelling to no one in particular, "does anyone want this kid? Free kid!" I told her I'd been there too (ummm...five times a day, actually). As we drove away (with Bobby yelling, "drive!!! Drive!!!") I saw her off in a corner talking and talking to her squirmy, miserable kid. I would have just forced his ass into the seat. But that's me.

So I look at Theo's sweet little face and I can't help but live in dread of the day I'm dragging him kicking and screaming from playgrounds or keeping my face arched away from him so he won't smack me. 

Maybe Theo will be "easy". But...I won't hold my breath. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dressing up & afterthoughts

I'm so glad I have a friend who insists on taking tons of pictures of us every time we're out somewhere. Saturday I went to a vintage event - a re-enactment of an air raid in SoCal in 1942 - so I put on my best duds and joined in the fun. Other than singing I never get to wear my vast store of vintage clothes (they are not practical for dancing) and these types of events are very rare, so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss it. And it was early in the day so for once the sitter got to do dinner/bedtime which meant for once I did not. 

My friend, a single gal in her 50s, and I grabbed dinner after. I told her about my "date" experience. I was sort of reluctant to mention it because at that point I wanted to just forget about it, but she actually made some good points. One was she said that as the youngest in our families we tend to take on "the baby" role in social situations; that we tend to get chummy with guys and want them to punch us in the arm rather than make a pass at us. She also said she doesn't believe I should entirely give up hope but instead just take the time to get to know this guy. I asked her if she was ever able to turn a long term friendship into something more, and she said yes, and that it was great.

My sister said as much on the phone today - that clearly this guy wants to get together again, so why not just proceed as friends and see if anything develops? 

Upon reflection it does seem a little weird to have expected so much from one date that wasn't even a date - I mean, really, if he had confessed his undying love for me after a two hour lunch, wouldn't that have been kind of weird and creepy? Now that my hormones have settled I can see everything a lot more clearly. We have all the time in the world - neither of us are going anywhere, and I've already had my kids. What's all the rush? 

So as we talked about, I'll see if he wants to meet us at Thursday's farmer's market that he can walk to, and if not, no big deal. Isn't the luteal phase great? I feel like a normal, rational human being. I know women get really mad when men say women can't run the world because of their crazy mood swings...but sometimes I wonder!

Friday, February 20, 2015

The "date"

Today I had my "date". The question posed was, how do you get a friend to see you as more than a friend? The answer don't.

I was a ball of nerves all morning as you can imagine; I had been listening to Grace Jones' epic La Vie en Rose all week to get in the mood, and so decided to treat this awesome 6 foot Jamaican entertainer as my guardian angel for my date. She would help me get through and do what I needed to do.

We had a great time. Two hour lunch followed by ice cream at another location. But no sparks. Zip. 

I threw down some flirty comments - but he deflected masterfully. In retrospect it's possible my flirty comments could have been interpreted as chummy; but it doesn't matter since he was so clearly not interested. At least everything was kept friendly and normal and I didn't embarrass myself. I just felt out the vibe and the vibe said "stop". So I did.

The sad thing is he is way cooler and more interesting than I'd thought. He's actually kind of confident and sexy. And we get along great and have a lot in common. Sucks, right? I know!!! But what can you do?

I'm bummed but I'm glad I went through all that insanity and just went for it. At least now I know and can retire the idea and move on. And at the end he said, "let's do this again!" so I will call him for more daytime get togethers, because, why not? But no expectations.

Is love and romance for everyone except me? Boo.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Somebody stop me...

Hormones are wacky. Other than the times I conceived my two boys, I haven't had anything like a normal ovulation in over ten years. So this one - this one is killing me. I almost jumped on this hot dad when I went to pick up B from school today. A friend of mine and I were texting about my upcoming date and this poor guy who has no idea what he's walking into - "I just wanted some potato salad, I didn't want your crotch on my leg." Is this how men feel all the time? Like oversexed crazed honey badgers? How do they get anything done???

This has been the slowest week of my life. Yes, even slower than the various "two week wait"(s) I endured (at least those were post-ovulation!). The minutes have flown like hours. How the heck am I going to act nonchalant and casual on my date with all this going on? Let's hope that little eggie pops and dies before Friday. No, you're not being fertilized - move along, move along!

I stumbled upon my donor's pictures last night, which I hadn't looked at in years. I drew a deep breath as the pdf was loading and then gasped. It's funny how I remembered the older picture so differently...I don't think he really looks like either boy, to be honest, and looks a lot less like Theo than I'd thought. Of course I tend to be a bit protective of these boys and don't want to share them; it's still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that they are half someone else (and a stranger to boot). But Theo's wide-set blue eyes and prominent forehead do not come from him, at least not directly. The pictures I have look to be at about two and maybe six? It will be interesting to see what the boys look like at that age. They change so fast. I might be surprised how much they end up resembling him.

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's all in my mind...

Somehow Bobby and I have gotten on a Love & Rockets kick (mid-80s "goth lite" band made out of former members of heavy goth band Bauhaus). I guess I was sick of rotating the same five Beatles songs and out of desperation went for one of the only full albums left on my phone after switching to the IPhone 6 (like many users I'm chagrined to discover most of the music on my old phone has evaporated), which was Love & Rockets' odd, moody tome Earth, Sun, Moon which I listened to on constant repeat when I was fifteen, walking across Manhattan in the freezing winter cold to school. Who knew thirty years later I would be driving around Los Angeles with my two children listening to it? Life is indeed strange. It's All In My Mind is one of my favorite songs of theirs (though not on this album). I have successfully gotten B to eat healthy macrobiotic dinners if I let him watch their "No New Tale to Tell" video on YouTube over and over. Future Goth kid in the making? 

So, yeah. I have a date. Texted The Love Interest yesterday to see when he was free and he wrote back immediately that he was free Fri so I gave him the time and place and he said "ink it!" So I have a sitter and we're on. I've had many thoughts about all this as you can imagine but I have spared you the worst of it and have confided in my journal instead. I mean, there's nothing to say really, other than how the heck do you make a man you've known as a friend for ages suddenly see you in a different light, especially if it turns out they don't want to see you, or anyone, in that light? I plan on turning on the charm and flirtatiousness to the best of my (rusty) ability and just see what happens. I wonder if he or our mutual friends have given any thought to this lunch we're having. Maybe, but maybe not. I'm pretty convinced most men, including my darling sons, have nothing in their heads but upside-down turtles waving their arms and legs feebly even on the best days.

Friday, February 13, 2015

11 months & stuff

I can't believe it's been a week since my last post. After a couple days' respite we had four miserable days of no poop around here and it was awful...I was just about to call the Kaiser nurse advice line when I finally managed to get B to poop in the potty while it was perched in the bathtub and I was holding his hand. The following day we did the same. We've been all good for a couple of days now. Whew. It's such a relief to not have a child screaming and crying all day, nor being on the edge of your seat (bed?) all night listening for the inevitable crying to start so you can go in and comfort him, nor enduring the disappointment of yet another empty diaper in the morning. We're out of the woods for the moment. If nothing else this will seriously kick my butt into gear as far as making sure this kid eats a better diet.

Theo is eleven months old today. This means I was eight months pregnant this time last year, full of anxiety over what was going to happen in the last few weeks. So glad that's all over with and I can be in the moment this year! I wrote a bit in my private journal today which I hadn't touched since March 11 of last year. To catch up, I started today's entry with "the day after the last entry I went into labor. Baby was born on the 13th and everything has been fine since." Way to sum up a year, huh?

I saw The Love Interest at this monthly meeting we attend last night. We chatted about his getting used to the new neighborhood. As we were all saying goodbye I took a deep breath and said, "what are you up to next week?" And he said, "having lunch with you!" So I said I'd text him, and some jokes were passed around that he would show up at my house and I'd ask him to babysit my kids while I went to lunch with someone else (apparently he's the go-to babysitter in our group of friends). Oh, if they only knew (rubs hands together with glee). So maybe next week I'll go on an actual "date" (at least in my mind).

Friday, February 6, 2015

The bitch is back!

Well, hello, stranger! Guess who showed up yesterday after a long hiatus? Ms. Flow. This would explain a lot about my mad rages Tuesday.

It's funny how I'm kind of in denial about it. I've been bleeding heavily for 2 1/2 days and yet I keep telling myself, "it's just a little spotting." Nope, the lady is back. And I'm pretty sure I coughed out a dried-up egg two weeks ago when the jasmine was blooming.

This marks one of only two (or three?) periods I've had since May of 2011. I'm so out of practice with this stuff I kind of forgot how to count the days to the next one; I haven't bought tampons in so long all the packaging has changed and I don't know what's what anymore. I do plan to pick up a diva cup before the next one, though. I do not intend to buy tampons for the next ten years.

Bobby's system is back to normal as evidenced by the giant pile of poop that escaped his diaper into his pajamas last night. Man oh man is this a different kid when he's regular. When I went to pick him up at school yesterday another little girl had the same panic attack B did about pooping and the kind teacher came over and rubbed her back and told her to "just let it out." Who knew this was such a thing at this age? Afraid to poop? Pooping is like my favorite thing. 

Today at the store I loaded up on prunes and digestive biscuits. I'm taking this thing on with both guns blazing next time! In other news, Theo is enjoying his food more (thank God) and we had such a lovely time at the Farmer's Market yesterday that I'm really going to try to make a habit of it even though I can't afford to buy much there on a weekly basis. It's times like these with Bobby playing in the trees and the baby cooing on my back in the fading afternoon light that I start to feel like a half-way decent parent.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A "shitty" day

Today was so awful I debated about being honest about it. But I decided to indulge my need to vent over your need to read something pleasant, so here goes.

So...are you aware of this phenomenon in which toddlers get constipated, have a hard poo, and consequently become terrified of pooping and hold it in for days, causing more constipation and, even better, almost non-stop screaming and crying, day and night? I was not. But apparently it's a thing. Apparently many young children are medicated for this every day until they're five because it's so fucking horrible. All I can say is WHAT.THE.FUCK.

Bobby has dragged me out of bed several days in a row at 6 AM (and much of the previous night) with his screaming and crying, complaining of "poop issues" (yes, I used this phrase once and he adopted it) and just wanting to be held. And of course I indulged him because I am not going to leave my kid screaming and crying in his room. But it's no joke having your two-year-old up that early. It's ruined our routines and left me exhausted, sleep-deprived, and scrambling to catch up. Because when he's out and about I can't take a shower and leave him and the baby unattended, so the baby has to be left screaming in the attic while I frantically try to "hose off the big chunks" and throw on whatever clothes happen to be handy from the day before; then I have to try to breastfeed the baby while Bobby is wreaking havoc and distracting the baby, causing him to of course clamp down on my nipple and drag it with his head as he turns to look at his wacky older brother, etc etc. In the meantime Bobby is having these episodes every few minutes where he turns bright red and starts screaming and wants me to pick him up. He asks for food and then won't eat it. I can barely throw a couple of spoonfuls of cereal down my throat between catering to B's every whim, holding him and rocking him every time he starts screaming in agony, while also thumping the baby's back to bring up the lump of banana he's currently choking on, and/or trying to spoon some dribbly purée into his mouth as he slaps the spoon out of my hand and it sprays all over me and the kitchen. Suffice it to say, between this and the endless fights/cajoling/bargaining required to do even the simplest tasks - wiping noses, brushing teeth, putting on socks and shoes, getting down the stairs to the car - I am raw and over it before the day has really even begun.

At least at my mommy meetup today we were able to determine that B was in fact refusing to poop and not technically constipated (I had loaded him up with poop-inducing food the night before so I was so frustrated when this morning he was worse than ever). One mom told me her son has been on Miralax for a year. I made a very unpleasant stop at the drugstore for this one item on the way home and spiked his water with it.

The rest of the day was so frustrating. Bobby would be fine one minute, then screaming and crying and demanding to be picked up the next. And he stank horribly from constantly letting little streaks of poo escape but fought me if I tried to change him. I insisted he have a bath because he was such a mess, but that turned into a battle royal, resulting in my yelling at him to "sit down, god dammit!" as he screamed and fought me not to rinse the shampoo out of his hair. I felt such an intense rage that I left the room, intent on walking into the hallway and just screaming my head off, but then I remembered I would probably wake the baby, so I just stood there and breathed long and slow. Came back into the bathroom to find he'd pooped in the tub. And - surprise! We're completely out of bleach. FML.

If anyone ever told you that parenthood would push you to your absolute limits, they were so, so right. I can't remember being this out of control and rage-filled since I was a child myself.

Thank God this kid has such a short memory for this stuff. Literally minutes later he was laughing and playing and handing me my watch to put back on. I chalk this up to: a) he's two, and b) he's a dude. I, on the other hand, will be traumatized for quite some time by today's events, the two mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches I just ate notwithstanding.

I often think of my mother and grandmother at these moments. All the times I felt my mother was being unfair or unkind when I was a kid. All the times my mother said her mother was unkind to her, like the time my grandmother hauled my mother away from the dinner table and beat her for not eating her food.

I want to say to myself and everyone who's ever felt this way about their mother - did it ever occur to you that you might have been a monumental pain in her ass? Did you ever think of that?

Picture my grandmother in the stifling 1950s, dreams of going to Cornell blighted by the times, instead a hardworking secretary married to a philandering non-contributing alcoholic, just trying to hold it all together, cooking nutritious meals from scratch every night after a long day's work, and your daughter won't eat because she doesn't like it. Was it ok to beat the crap out of her? Of course not. Do I kind of get it? Yup.

And yet it could be worse. So, so much worse. Measles is ravaging our state and I am panicking that Theo can't get his vaccination for it for another six weeks. I can't even handle a little constipation, can you imagine an actual life-threatening  illness? And tonight I had the pleasure of paying my utilities, remaining property tax payment, and giant credit card bill. Can you imagine if I hadn't made the money I needed...?

For now I am going to collapse into a stupor, try to find something humorous about today, and shake it out of my system like an Etch-A-Sketch ready for the next masterpiece.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Opening Night

My event opened for the year last night. I have never cut things so close financially - in fact, I didn't technically "make it" as my bank account is -$71 (following a frantic attempt to deposit a gig check on my phone Saturday night so my mortgage payment wouldn't "bounce" this morning - the stupid check deposit is still "pending" as of tonight, so bounce it did). I also owe $5000 on my credit card, still have to pay my second property tax payment, and have a few utilities pending. I played fast and loose just to make it to Feb 1, but I did it. Didn't go further into debt and didn't borrow from anyone but myself. 

AND opening night was a huge success. About 80 people snapped up my first two pricing tiers in a couple of hours - just to get some perspective, I have had years when one person signed up on opening night. So, 80 people is frigging awesome. It means I have enough to pay all of these bills and live until about mid-April, by which time I will have made enough to make it to summer, and so it goes. 

I had terrible anxiety all day yesterday as I always do on opening night, convinced something would prevent me from sitting down on my computer and linking the registration system to my web page - a car accident, power outage, Internet down, crying baby, vomiting toddler - but none of those things happened. I sat down with a nice cold glass of water and my computer, hit "save", and watched the fireworks. It was a good night.