Saturday, June 28, 2008

Six Things I Don't Understand

(Bottom right: Jennifer Lopez. I understand HER. I just don't understand the apparent universal appeal of her butt.)

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Life 3.9

I think about a lot of stuff all day. Important stuff like: why am I eating another cookie if I'm not even hungry? Who's the idiot that thought we should get a white rug? or Why does Jennifer Aniston always look so sad? See. I'm a deep thinker.

There's another question I ask myself with increasing frequency. For some reason it almost always hits when I'm refilling the Bug's glass. There's usually been some sort of protracted negotiation over what to drink, how much and whether or not finishing the drink will result in some sort of reward. "No juice. Milk or water. Which do you want? Lemonade counts as juice. Milk or water, those are the choices. No, you can't have a new glass. Do you want something to drink or not? That sort of thing.

It's in this humdrum-mom-in-charge-taking-care-business routine that the Big Question hits: "When did this become my life?"

Technically, it happened almost exactly three years ago when the Bug was born. I became a mother and I accepted a heap of new responsibilities, including but certainly not limited to refilling bottles and sippy cups and water glasses.

This is the same life that mothers all over the world take on every day. After a while, the diaper changing, the cup refilling, the dressing and undressing, the laundry? It's routine. It's just what you do because you're a mom.

The bigger question is: When did this become MY life? Because this what never what I had in mind when I pictured myself at 39.

I wasn't raised to be a mother. I didn't take Home Ec, I wasn't a Girl Scout and I never, ever remember my mom saying to me, "When you have children of your own one day......" My parents didn't do much to make parenting look like fun. In fact, my own mom seemed downright miserable most of the time so why in the hell would I willingly throw myself into THAT snake pit? My parents encouraged me to find a good man, travel, go to college, succeed in my career, but never to have children.

It's not that I don't like being a mother. Actually, I DO like it and I love my girls with all my heart. I just wish I were better at being a mother. I wish I had more "training" if there is such a thing. I wish it felt natural to me. I wish I had learned some good tricks or tips from my own parents, but locking the kids in the basement while I drink a 20-ounce Jack and Coke just isn't my parenting style. Yet.

Sometimes, Grinch and I ask each other, "Would you do it all over again?" The answer is usually "yes" which I guess is a pretty good sign. We're trying. We may not have been trained for this job, but we're learning as we go along. I'm learning a lot about being a parent. I'm learning a lot about myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Meanwhile, back in the real world

This week nearly kicked my ass. I have a nagging, death rattle of a cough that only fires up when I need to sleep. How convenient for the lady who has such a limited number of opportunities to sleep, right? On top of that, I had to hastily plan Dos' baptism with the added stress of in-laws being involved. People? Planning a baptism should NOT be a stressful thing. Seriously. I've seen some big time baptisms with crowds of 50 people or so and, ok, THAT can be stressful. But getting 10 people in a room on a Saturday afternoon should not cause nightmares.

Much to our surprise, things went well. The baby is no longer doomed to spend eternity roaming the halls of purgatory and Saturday night she actually slept through the night for the first time ever so maybe there's something to this after all. More than just getting our parents off our backs, I mean.

And, oh, the colonoscopy? All clear and not a big deal at all. Actually, I'm such a big fan of the drugs they gave me during the process I might just go back for another. Seriously. That was a damn fine sleep. You know the way you remember a great meal, or a good wine or sex so good you can't walk right for a couple of hours? That's the way I remember the nap I took during and after the colonoscopy. The best sleep I've had in nearly three years. To hell with Rum and Coke. Versed and Demerol is my new favorite cocktail. Straight up.

When the doctor told me I'd have to have a colonoscopy, I was pretty bummed. I automatically started thinking of excuses not to have it. Then I started thinking about who I knew who had had one and what advice they could give me. Then I remembered Belinda's story. Good. Great. What did she say again? Butthole. That's all I could remember. Belinda, in all her fancy word glory, used the word butthole. Giggle. I was still in the doctor's office, mind you, and I couldn't stop smirking. Butthole. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to giggle. In front of someone who looks at a lot of these things all day long and probably sees absolutely NOTHING funny about it. Which made me want to laugh even harder. I looked down at her desk in an effort to keep my composure and what did she have on her desk? A plastic model. Of a butthole. I finally left the office and got into an empty elevator where I proceded to laugh like an idiot over the word butthole.

My name is Heather and I have the mentality of a 10-year-old boy. It's Belinda's fault.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Making Family Ties

Seems like everywhere I go with Bug and Dos, someone asks Bug, "Is that your baby?"

Bug is a very literal kid. When someone asks her this stupid question, I can see the look in her eyes. "Nooooo. It's obviously NOT my baby. It's my mom's. Duh." But she's too shy to say anything so she just gives them the silent treatment.

The questions keep coming. "Are you a good sister? Do you love your baby? Are you sweet to the baby? Do you help your mommy with the baby?" Bug never answers any of these questions so I do the talking for her. The answer is, yes, she is a wonderful big sister and a wonderful helper.

Bug met her little sister for the first time on the day we checked out of the hospital. The moment they laid eyes on each other, Bug went silent and stayed that way for about four hours. She stared at Dos, watched me with her, held her in her lap, touched her hands and stroked her head. When she finally decided it was safe to speak again, she said, "I love my little baby sister." Did your heart just go ::squish:: or was that just me?

As Dos comes out of the CrySuckSleep Blob phase and more into the Real Live Little Person phase, she takes more and more notice of her big sister. When Bug cries, Dos looks concerned and muh-muh-muhs a pout. When Bug laughs, Dos is wide-eyed and chuckles cautiously. "Is this funny? 'Cause she thinks it's funny. I think it's funny, right? Huh. huhuhuhuhuhhhh...." Dos is just happy to be in Bug's orbit right now. It's lovely and I wish it could stay that way forver. But being a baby sister myself, I know that it won't.

One day, they'll be fighting over toys, the next it'll be clothes. Please, God, let them never fight over a boy because that just isn't worth it and how do you moderate an argument like that? I can't use the "share" command with that one.

Sometimes I feel sorry for the Bug because having Dos in the picture has rocked her world like nothing else. She went from being star of "The Bug Show" with no co-stars and two adoring fans to being a bit player in "The Family Von Nutters." I feel sorry for Dos, too because she'll never get the crazy amount of attention that the Bug got the first two years of her life.

Grinch was always sure he wanted two kids. His two older brothers had each other as playmates and seemed happy as clams to him. He got left out a lot and figures if he'd had a sibling, he would have had a lifelong playmate, too. I took a lot more convincing. I had six older siblings and they regarded me familial bacteria until I was well into my 20s. I didn't think having siblings guaranteed anything other than two decades of misery.

So here we are with two kids and the optimist in me says, "Look! They love each other! Yay!" the pessimist that still feels the sting of a million brotherly wedgies says, "Give it time. They'll be killing each other before you know it."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I've Seen You Somewhere

Can we lighten up the mood around here a little? I mean really. It's been about five months worth of "blah blah blah I'm so sad, life sucks, weh." Get over myself, please.

Schmutzie has taken up a challenge to write about a different person every day for a year. It's usually just a couple of lines and the person can be someone who made a huge impact in her life or just crossed her path for a moment. I don't think I have enough of those kinds of stories (or time) to fill up a whole year, so here's my abbreviated version.

Thomas W. You kept my ego in check when it was in danger of growing out of control. We had some hilarious adventures together. I actually remember some of them, despite the drugs. I remember climbing up flight after flight of stairs with you, stepping out onto the library roof and feeling like I'd fall right over the edge if I moved a muscle. Somehow, you got me to lean over the ledge to feel the hot, city wind rush past our faces. Another day we snuck into the basement to gawk at the aged power station, groaning and shooting sparks at our feet. I miss the doodles you drew for me and our long, rambling conversations about EVERYTHING.

Donna L. One of the meanest, most ruthless people I have ever known. You were my childhood playmate by default. We lived next door to each other and were close in age. I was desperate for companionship and you were desperate for someone to dominate. You gave me some of the worst beatings I have ever endured and yet defended me from other bullies. You promised to be my best friend, then told me not to speak to you at school because your "cool" friends didn't like me. I'm pretty sure I have some trust issues because of you.

Buddy Everytime I saw you, you opened your little plastic change purse for me and told me to "grab some silver" and go buy some candy. I thought you were being nice. Now I wonder if you were just trying to get rid of me. Still, whenever a see a big display of candy, I think of you.

Marylynn You were heavyset and had a penchant for floral blouses and too much perfume. You were one of my sister's friends. I loved it when you came around because you were nice to me, unlike her. You took me to my first concert and let me hang out with you at the pool. Was it because you liked having someone look up to you?

This was kinda fun. Maybe I'll do this every so often. What do you think?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Checking In

Oh, hi! Remember me? Yes, the wayward blogger. Big on promises to share stories from my life, not so big on delivery. I'm new at this and I do have two full time jobs in real life. We're cool, right? Good.

One reason I've been blogquiet lately is that things have been very busy at home and work. I've also been feeling pretty gross and NO one wants to hear about that. Trust me. You do? Really? Can we just leave it at "scheduled colonoscopy"? Thanks.

It's also occurred to me that one reason for starting this blog was that I wanted to share details of our adventures/experiences as tag team parents and I haven't really done that. I hesitate to write about it now because I don't have a lot of good things to say. I don't want to scare anyone away from tag team parenting, but I guess I should be honest about it so that if you're thinking about doing it then you can go in with good information. Bottom line: tag team parenting sucks. Hard.

After the bug was born, we jumped into the ring feet first, fists pumping, determined to show all the nay sayers that it COULD be done and that we weren't crazy to take it on. We did that. The first few months were awful but after a while we hit our stride and everything worked nearly seamlessly. There were misunderstandings and miscommunications, I was tired all the time and seemed to catch every cold that went around but generally we did ok.

Then the schedule changed and everything went to hell.

If you're thinking about tag team parenting, let me urge you this: make sure you and your spouse have at least one day off together. It makes a huge difference. When I started working weekends (Not by choice. No fucking way.) it put an end to any adult time for the Grinch and I. No conversations, no movies, no cuddling. Is it any surprise that I got pregnant BEFORE the schedule change?

Working weekends also put an end to any "me" time. No workouts, no pedicures, no gardening, nada. I'm either at work, parenting or asleep. It's exhausting. Never mind the stupid hours.

When I went back to work after maternity leave for Bug, I cried on the way to work every day for a week because I was leaving this beautiful little baby who I loved so much and how could I leave herohmygoodness. This time around, I started crying two weeks before my return to work and pretty much haven't stopped crying since. Not only because of the beautiful baby factor, but "good lord I hate working overnights and never seeing my husband and it's been so nice seeing him and being a real family and I wish I could stay at home waaaaaahhhhhh. sniff."

I find myself aching to see Grinch, to get the chance to fall asleep in his lap again or nuzzle his neck. I want to spend quiet time reading to the Bug or putting her to bed instead of rushing off to bed myself. I want to feel rested more than one day a week. I want to feel like I have my act together instead of feeling like I'm a frazzled, barely washed, bumbling idiot. Harupmh. Want, want, want.

There are good reasons we do the tag team parenting thing. But I wonder if there are better reasons NOT to.