Friday, May 15, 2009

A Lift

I know it has been so very long since I last posted.
I believe I've been suffering from Ongoing-Traumatic-Stress Disorder. 

You see, I quit my high paying job in July of last year partly because I was pissed at how they treated me, partly because the high-stress, high-smoking and high-drinking lifestyle wasn't conducive to the tiny pup in my belly and partly because I grew up in a wild and loving huge family and wanted the same for my incoming baby.

So we moved, at GREAT personal cost.  We lost so much money, people.  Hemorrhaged it.  I lost more money that you might actually have at your fingertips, and I don't mean to be condescending, I just need you to know how much money we'd saved, how many stocks we cashed out, and just exactly how hard this move was for us.   And then my husband lost his job. And then my severance ran out.  And then my parents gave us money.  And then we were slowly ticking that away.  

I would lie in bed at night and there would be actual physical pain, a neck ache, muscle pains like I'd been in a car accident.  My heart would race and my chest would constrict.   Maybe this is a panic attack?  I'm not dying.  I'm just losing.  I'm losing and I'm a loser and I forced my husband to move like this and I ruined our lives and we have this beautiful baby and I'm going to ruin her life by my selfish choices and we have lost everything.  We lost everything.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the poorhouse.   I got my husband back.  I got my marriage back.  I was gifted with this incredible daughter,  and I got to spend five months with her, and it wasn't hard to forget about my life stress while she was awake.  Because the joy of this little girl supercedes everything else I've been feeling.  And watching my sensitive, articulate husband giggle and smile and play with this little girl, and father her with such love and joy?  Oh my god.  If I didn't love this man before, I LOVE THIS MAN NOW.  

I'm saying all of this now because I have a job.   I was offered a really high paying job, in San Francisco, where we both want to live, doing something that I'm interested in, without all the high stress of my previous occupation.  And I took it.

I'll be in San Francisco by June 8th.  I hope that my husband and daughter are not far behind.
The thought of being without my daughter for even one night is heartbreaking to me, because I live and breathe to see her happy.  But she's got a dad who knows all the tricks, bells and whistles, and teaches me new things about her each day.  

And I think..... What a lucky little girl, that her dad and mom were there for her every day of her life for the first five months.  What a lucky wife, with a partner like this.  What a lucky, lucky, lucky blessed family we are.  We had a life lesson that didn't break us.  Just taught us something really important that we needed to know.

I hope to write more.  I've been unable to be very cheerful, and unable to be very snarky, lately. I've been in an extraordinary rut, and I've been unable to do anything except stupid my pain away.  And I don't want this to be a blog about motherhood, because there are better ones for you to read than me.  

Besides which, my aunt told me I should write a book about motherhood (I send home pictures of my daughter daily to my Ohio family) and I am.  I am writing the guide to motherhood fueled with margaritas and a really kick-ass husband.  I could do nothing without my husband.  He thinks I could, and I think he's wrong, but for a compromise let's just say I'd rather not do anything without him by my side.  

Friday, March 27, 2009

Wow, It's Uh, Been a While

I wish I were more like Alison, but I'm not.

I'm me, and I'm not writing here.  And I'm not only not writing here, I'm not really writing anywhere.  Actually, that is not true.  I am writing.  I am writing copiously, I am writing fervently, I am inscribing on my mind and heart the first few months of my darling, glorious, awesome, incredible baby girl.

I have volumes to tell you.  I have full novels sprung from a moment, from a single laugh of Auden's.  I have learned more than anyone ever tried to teach me.  I've laughed more and had my heart soar more in these last three months than ever in my entire life.

I always knew I wanted to be a parent.  I grew up an Irish Catholic kid in Toledo, OH.  My mom is one of eight.  I am one of 38 granchildren  (for those of you keeping score at home, that means I have 37 first cousins), and now there are 11 great-grandchildren.  There are a lot of us, and not one of us in the family is uncomfortable around kids.  In fact, you could say that a predilection towards children is in our very DNA.  

But I had no idea how much FUN this would be.  I love my daughter, you guys.  I ADORE her.  There isn't a single part of this that isn't pretty spectacularly awesome.  I'm having the time of my life.

Yesterday I was rocking her, she was tired and fussy and doing her fitful "about-to-sleep" thing, and so I bundled her close to me and started rocking her and she calmed down and I looked at her and she was just staring at me intently.  She was looking at me like she was memorizing my face, like I was a map she could imprint on her brain and follow somewhere incredible.  She stared at me and stared at me and then all of a sudden, completely without warning, she reached up and touched my face.  It was the first time she did that.  It was the first time I knew she had purposefully reached for something.  I was floored, thrilled, bowled over, delighted and shocked, all in an instant.  And isn't that parenting?

That's parenting.  The awe and wonder.  

This is a wondrous endeavor.  

I've never felt anything like it.  Watching this tiny life flourish and flower in front of me. Despite all of my particulars, this girl is a darling, she is a beauty, she is a joy and she is a PERSON.

I'm awed.  I'm humbled.  I'm buoyed by my daughter.  She is perfect and I'm the creator of something perfect.  And if you've never believed in God, she will make you do so.  Because there is no way that something this perfect and precious comes to the world without God.

Now, check in with me in 15 years, and I might sing a different tune, but for now:

Isn't she fabulous?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Correspondence File: 2/15/09

Dear Large Companies Posting Jobs on Monster:

Thank you for your time and consideration. I am overjoyed in this terrible recession economy that you have so much as POSTED a job. These are troubled times. I am troubled. You are troubled and the news tells us that everything is going to hell faster than we can imagine and our representatives in Capitol Hill don't have a clue and are losing their grip on the handbasket. But let's look past that, shall we?

I have a favor to ask: Please don't make me submit my resume and cover letter through your bullshit, bug-ridden employment software. I upload and it auto-fills everything wrong. I cut and paste and painstakingly reformat, and then the goddamn site crashes and I lose everything. Even in these troubled times, if your posting says apply only using our online system, I say Go Fuck Yourself.

I've been sitting here for three days doing this and your site has crashed 17 times. You may attract patient candidates that way, but none of them will have the wherewithal to open a can of corporate whup ass (when necessary, or slightly indicated) the way I do.

I Need to Have Standards, But Don't Hold Me To It,

I've applied for a few more jobs, and today was a good searching day, in that the available jobs looked interesting. I read the job postings and I thought, Yeah I'd LIKE to do that! Of course, I would have to give up my current job of being suckled on and barfed on and peed on, which would strip me of the benefits of baby smiles, baby laughter and that feeling of a sleeping baby in your arms, but still, some of this stuff I can not only do, but I actually kind of want to.

I am debating on whether or not to post an honest birth story post. I've invited a few more people to read this heretofore anonymous blog (which was being furiously ignored by everyone except four of my friends) and it is making me think twice about writing what I feel like writing. Like gross analogies and swear words.

But do you think Pat Conroy ever dithered about and didn't write something? I think not. He published Beach Music, did he not? I'll give it a shot. I could always remember that there is a save as draft button, so I don't need to vomit words and immediately share them with the internet. Probably won't but could happen.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I have sent out six resumes in the last few days.  I am starting to really worry here about how we will provide for our daughter.  There is nothing, and I mean, NOTHING out there for my husband at the moment.  

There are a ton of property management jobs, but I read the job descriptions and it makes me want to reach for the bourbon.  Commercial property management can be so incredibly high stress, and I become such a crappy person, all jangled nerves and irritation.  And believe me, added stress to my already irritable nature does horrific things.  I don't have much patience anyway, but under duress I actually have negative patience, sucking the calm out of those around me.  I even can stress the Pope out, and he's well, pretty mellow, all things considered.  

Besides which, if I go to work, I will miss the opportunity to throw this on the kid and take pictures:  

Ooh, that reminds me:  I have moved the computer.  After nearly 5 months of cramming my brain into a too small space, next to the refrigerator and sharing space with the home phone, I have spread out on my old desk, which has been in our bedroom holding cat fur and dirty clothes for the above referenced 5 months.  

This is a look at what you'll see in the background from now on.  In various states of cleanliness and general upkeep:

Ps, I wore that shirt two days in a row and she threw up on me each day.  I forgot from one day to the next.  Tonight, when I realized it, I changed into clean pajamas.  We've done the cry it out method and she is actually going to sleep in her crib and staying there, asleep!  

I miss her.

You know, I really need to get more interesting.  I have just sufficiently bored myself.  I'm going to go wander the house while I wait for my baby to wake up so I can hold her.

Friday, February 06, 2009

New Parent Smackdown

While things are getting clearer, and we're both getting more comfortable in our abilities with the baby, I still find that the clocks in the house blitz through the hours, and each night I'm stunned to realize it is night, and the world is again asleep.

I am suffering from some insomnia, made all the more harsh for the early hours my daughter wakes up.  Luckily my husband will take her at any hour, even very very early hours.  He does so with no protest, and talks to her so lovingly that it melts my heart.  

Breastfeeding has not gone well.  We supplement with formula and even though I am thankful for some extra hours of sleep or freedom that this affords, I just opened a box and found breastmilk bags in the bottom, items I will never need, because I do not make enough breastmilk to have any extra to store.  My throat closed up and the tears started.  I can't control the surge of shame and disappointment I feel when my failure as a functioning woman is revealed to me in tiny ways throughout the day.  

I will be sending resumes out tomorrow, and I am devastated.  What if I get a job, and have to take it??? Because I would have to take it.  I didn't want to return to work this early, not when she is learning something new every day, and not when I still have a glimmer of being able to give her some benefit of breastmilk, however little I can.  Once I go back to work, there is just no way.  She is two months old next week, which seems so old but is really so little.  In that odd paradoxical way that babies get so big and yet remain so tiny and unbelievable.

I just remembered that a urine soaked diaper fell facedown on the floor by her changing table, so I'll go clean that up.  

Then I'll go to bed so I can lie there, unable to sleep, wired by the joy and the hurt and the worry and the love that shakes my mind awake.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Phoning It In

I am phoning it in today, because I have spent a great day napping with the baby and now I'm playing Rock Band with my husband.  He is playing Medium, I am playing Easy and spending more time updating my hair and outfit than I am playing songs.  Every dollar I get, I immediately go and change my hairstyle.

So instead, here are some recent pictures of the baby:

Hello, my name is McScreamy.  I don't like that toy, no, not at all.

Top Chef is so prosaic, you know?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Random Thing I Thought Today

You have to stop crying before you walk into WalMart.  
That's TACKY.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Correspondence File: 1/13/09

Dear Lady at Target with the Open-Mouth-Coughing Kid:

Give me a break, lady! I've got a three week old here! One of the reasons we are at Target right now instead of Walmart is that I can't expose her to that level of degradation yet. And here you are with your kid that is coughing continually, open mouth and all. Just spewing all kinds of illness around everything, like a firehose of germs.

And you're following me!!

Like a homing missile petri dish, just everywhere I go I hear that KOFF KOFF KOFF and see your kid hacking all over everything. We are trying to keep out of your way, but the goddamn stroller turns like a palsied flamenco dancer* and this is our first trip to a store with the baby and we're one big cluster-you-know-what.

But seriously, get out of my baby's airspace or I'm going to full-body tackle you and your typhoid family and slather you with Purell.

In Good Health,

* turns out the stroller's front wheel was locked and I didn't know. I discovered this halfway through my first walk around our street with Auden. I reached down, fully prepared to bust the wheel in order to make it turn, and realized it had the lock set. Hee.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I am hopelessly in love with my daughter.

Every expression on her face.  
The way she jerks her head randomly.  
The way she does this huge squeak inhale.  
The way, when she's getting mad, she pumps one leg rapidly, like trying to start a tiny baby motorcycle.  The mad look she gets when we delay getting her food to her.  The blinking awake of this tiny life.  

I don't know how much of the behavior we're seeing now is an indication of her personality, but this newborn is goofy.  She's smart.  She's generally good-natured, but possesses a fiery temper. When she gets really furious she cries in a way that sounds like an angry duck.  WAH WAH WAH.  

I wonder if she'll ever know, 15, 20 or 30 years from now, how I held her in my arms and tried to keep my heart inside my body, tried to keep my emotions from pouring out of my skin and flooding the city I live in.  I so incredibly love this little girl, I am so completely and utterly charmed by this person, I almost can't stand it.  I look at her sometimes and I'm surprised my husband doesn't hear the pop of my heart as it swells beyond its borders. 

And she's not even smiling at us yet!  
Her tiny smiles, right now attributed to gas, or urination or the contentment of falling asleep, are enough to achieve world peace, they are enough to quiet my screaming heart.  They are enough for me, forever.  

They melt me, utterly.

For so long I have examined my life and my decisions with a critical air of disenchantment.  

I now look down at my sleeping daughter's face and I feel I've accomplished greatness.

Friday, January 09, 2009

She's Not Sleeping

She's not sleeping, and it has been five hours.
The Pope isn't feeling well, he retreated to his quiet guest room hours ago.
HOURS AGO and still, she does not sleep.

She is now fed twice, rocked three times, and jiggled in the way she likes many times, too many to count.  Diaper changes:   two.  She's been swaddled, she's been unswaddled, and the whole time she will not stop fussing.  She will doze, she will catnap, but she will not sleep.  

I am losing it, folks.  She needs to sleep, goddamn it.  
I will lose my fucking mind in a second.

In all of this, every time my patience just wears out and snaps, I look at my baby girl and love her more than I could possibly express.  I roll my eyes, I curse out loud and then I reach down and see her alert eyes, and I kiss her cheek, I kiss the soles of her feet, I whisper to her that I love her so much.  

What she does to me!
This kid is killing all the toughness inside of me.

Lucy picked tonight to need me again, after three weeks of being the most perfectly behaved cat I've ever seen.  Tonight, she is trailing beside my feet, winding her way in my walking path and yowling at me.   I love her dearly, so will not kick her, although the temptation is great.  She finally climbed up on the baby blanket and slept beside me.  

I can wash the blanket.  
I love the cat.

So, how are you doing?

Monday, January 05, 2009

17 days old

We're hanging in. I haven't worn clothes other than pajamas in three days and I'm not sure when I last showered. The days blur into the nights, and it seems like I have nothing to show for my hours awake. I'm sleeping fine, but today started crying about a $60 heating bill on our empty house in Seattle. Seems like someone set the thermostat up and left it like that, in our vacant house, with us having no jobs. $60 seemed to unwind me. I am now having a wee glass of white wine, to bolster my Irish heart.

Our daughter is LOVELY. The hugest joy of joys. My darling girl. If you've called, thanks for calling. I'm nowhere near wanting to be talking on the phone right now. It would be awesome if you want to reach me, to email me. The phone ringing right when I'm going down for a nap, or getting her down for her nap, really bothers me. I won't answer if I'm feeding her, and the answer to your question is I'm ALWAYS feeding her.

And now for the photos!!!