Monday, October 31, 2005

Later that same day...

But for all of the tantrums that W.T. threw over the weekend, when I walked in the door today, and he looked at me with his big darks eyes, smiled, pointed and said 'Ma-ma', I melted. Of course I did - how could you not. I crave a big, close-knit family, but when I really stop and think about it, I have to agree with K. I have him and I have W.T. I have a few close friends. Life is good. It's time for me to stop feeling somehow cheated because things didn't turn out how I thought they would. It's time for me to stop looking around longingly at what other people have, and appreciate what's right here in front of me. Yes, the grass may always be greener on the other side of the fence, but the roses in my garden will always smell better.

Ugh. My driveway car-seat tantrum of yesterday morning has resulted in a pulled muscle in my lower back. K, thankfully, was off work today, so he was home to rub me down with Icy-Hot before I left for work this morning. I'm sure the people that sit close to me are appreciative of the menthol cloud hovering over me today.

Today is one of those days I have occasionally when I feel acutely how meaningless what I do is. Shuffling papers from one file to another. No satisfaction. No feeling that I'm contributing anything of value to society. How in the world did I go from earning a degree in music to this? It is a mystery. Is it awful that at my age, I'm still trying to figure out what I'd like to do when I grow up? Someday it will come to me.

And I am pensive today. K and I were talking a lot about family this weekend, with the holidays coming up and all. For all purposes, my family is gone. My mother died 7 years ago, and my father about 6 months ago. I have an older brother, but he chooses not to be involved for reasons that will never be clear to me. It makes me feel very alone... and although at times I can only tolerate my in-laws, I was wondering out loud if we should have them to our house for Thanksgiving? Of course, K looked at me as if to say are you sure you want to do that? I crave being part of a close-knit family, but I don't think that's going to happen at this stage of the game. But at least going through the motions of getting the house ready for company and making the big meal will give me the illusion, at least for a day, of what I dream of. While we were having this discussion, and I was saying that we need to find some 'couple' friends that also have children but how do you really make new friends at our ages, K looked at me and said 'Well, I have you, and I have W.T. What more do I need?'

And I cried.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

As we rush head-long into the terrible two's, there are days when I'm convinced that my son is the spawn of something evil. Today, for example. Since getting up at 7am, he has thrown 2 large tantrums. The first at McDonald's where we went as a treat for breakfast, the second at the grocery, not to mention my tantrum in the drive-way as I was trying to adjust the $#%*!@ car seat. I think the neighbors are now circulating a petition to have me heavily medicated. As he is mid-tantrum at the grocery, I wonder to myself if anyone around me would say anything if I just walked away and pretended he wasn't mine? Hmmm. Right now he is on his 3rd watching of his Wiggles video, because that is the only thing that seems to keep him calm today. We do try our best to limit the tv watching, but there are days. And I can handle the Wiggles much better than the Teletubbies, but the blue wiggle gives me the creeps.

These are the days that I can barely get through. These are the days when I really feel like motherhood was thrust upon me without my consent, because after all, we were preventing such a thing when we found out little W.T. was coming along (SURPRISE!!). We were in no way in a place for a baby at the time. My father was still living with us. I was still trying to get my health on track. Instead of enjoying my pregnancy (as much as you can enjoy something like that), K. spent time arranging to move my dad to a nursing home, and I focused obsessively on eating the right things so that my blood sugar would stay under control, so that my readings would be good when I called them in to the doctor's office twice weekly, so that they wouldn't increase my insulin dosage or tell me I had to take more than one shot a day. Then suddenly he was here and I'd never had a chance to get mentally into that 'I'm going to be a mother place.' I'm sure this isn't any worse than what any other new mother goes through. But am I still a 'new' mother since he's almost two, or am I just not adjusting correctly?

Ut-oh... I hear the tape ending. Must go rewind.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

You've been invited to a fancy ball but the only thing you have to wear is an orange wooly jumper. What shoes do you wear?

Black strappy sandles... you can never go wrong with black strappy sandles.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A perfect Friday morning

K gets up at the hideous hour of 4am, to leave for his equally hideous manufacturing job (read: euphemism for working in a factory) by 5am. I will not miss this once he's laid off and back to school full-time.

But, since this is the way our life goes, his car wouldn't start this morning. It's 4:45am (trying to start the car a few minutes early so it can warm up, because it was 33 outside this morning) and we're in our drive-way, flickering flashlight at the ready, me with the owner's manual for my car and K holding the jumper cables in the air so they don't touch and spark, since the positive was already connected to my battery. And keep in mind that my husband and I are BOTH mechanically inept, to put it lightly. We did not, I am sad to say, get his car started. My battery has no negative post to attach the second 'jumper' to. It was dark and cold and confusing, and it just seemed easier for me to take him into work... even though that meant getting the little pumpkin up at such an awful hour.

As I was headed to work 2 hours later, I noticed on a billboard that our mega-million lottery is up to $147 mil. Maybe I'll buy that ticket on the way home tonight.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tom Cruise can kiss my a**

I grew up watching Tom Cruise on the big screen and dreaming of the day he'd come rescue me from my mundane life as a teenager in Ohio. Only a die-hard Tom fan would remember his 1983 (not) hit Losin' It (high school boys travel to Tijuana to lose their virginity, and hilarity ensues). And of course I'll never forget sitting in the tiny, darkened movie theater in my home-town watching the (in)famous love scene in Top Gun and melting into my seat. And even recently (recently as in the last 2 years) I was ultra-impressed with the interview he gave James Lipton on Inside the Actor's Studio just before the release of The Last Samurai. But I have to say... this 'new' Tom that has emerged this year, since firing his publicist and hiring his sister (also a Scientologist) to do the job has really, well, turned my stomach. The Matt Lauer interview for me was the last straw.

Just for fun, I went to the official Scientology website and took the personality test that they offer. Some of the questions intrigued me:

Do you consider the modern 'prisons without bars' system doomed to fail?

Do you consider more money should be spent on Social Security?

Do you sometimes give away articles that, strictly speaking, do not belong to you?

Do children irritate you?

Are you ever ill at ease in the company of children? (I certainly hope Tom and Katie answered no to these last two!)

Now I'm sure there's some deeper meaning to all these questions that I'm missing. And I'm almost curious enough about it to go to my closest Scientology center and meet with someone to discuss the results of my personality test (which, by the way, confirmed how mentally flakey I've been thinking I am). If I could pull this off under an assumed identity, so I wouldn't have to worry about them knocking at my door next summer along with the Jehovah's Witnesses in the neighborhood, I'd do it. But, alas, I don't have that much chutzpah.

My guess is that the Tomkats will never read this, but I just have to get this off my chest. Depression is a very real and at times a very serious thing. My son is almost 2, and I'm just now starting to feel the fog of the postpartum depression lift. I'm sure I should've gotten help for this long ago, but I'm just too stubborn for that. But I have great respect for anyone who is willing to stand up and say (in a sense) that they just can't deal sometimes, and seek out the help that's available.

And did I miss Tom getting a uterus somewhere along the line? Because if he hasn't, then he can never truly understand what the woman goes through when she carries and gives birth to a child. My God... the CIA should find some way to replicate those pregnancy hormone surges and mood swings to use on people they're interrogating.

I hope for their sake that dear Katie doesn't go through this when their child comes along... but actually, in some small way, I hope she does (is that evil?). Maybe then he'll see the light.

My angel

My angel W.T. ... taking the plunge into the corporate world at the tender age of 21 months...

Wow... being a parent is just plain hard. And this is one of those evenings when I'm just not convinced that I'm cut out for it. K is at school - Algebra on Monday and Wednesday evenings until the quarter ends the third week of November. So it's me and W.T. tonight. He's at a very high-maintenance age (which I'm sure will continue until he's grown and out of the house or I'm dead, whichever happens to come first), and he's got a bit of a cold, so he's at the high-end of the fussy scale right now and it's setting my teeth on edge.

It all came as a surprise, you know... this parenting thing. Oh, we know where babies come from and all that (something about a big white bird with a long neck), but what we didn't know 2 1/2 years ago was that the medicine my doctor put me on to help me get my blood sugar under control can make you ultra-fertile. So eight months after 1) a miscarriage and 2) finding out about the type II diabetes and 3) working my a** off (literally) to lose some weight, I was back in the doctor's office saying, "Um, well, I've taken 4 EPT tests and I think I might be pregnant..." Starting a family was the furthest thing from our minds at that point in time (did I mention that my father was also living with us at the time because he'd had a stroke about 2 years before?), but there we were.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I'm afraid that if I didn't think this way I'd lose all hope and faith in humanity and the world, and then it would just be all over for me. Maybe I'm naive. But the days of looking at him, usually while he's throwing a tantrum of some sort, and thinking "I just can't do this" are getting fewer and farther between. So I think we'll be okay.

Who am I ... or who I am...

Finally, at almost 36 (shudder) I think I'm starting to get a sense of myself and who I was/am meant to be. I only wish I'd come to some of these realizations sooner, instead of wasting so much time worrying about what other's think.

I am a daughter... who is trying to work through the death of both of her parents

I am a sister... who is trying still to figure out why her brother seems to reject her

I am a wife... trying to support my husband as he tries to start a new career

I am a mother... doing my best to raise a son in a troubled world

I am a type II diabetic... still trying to get things back on track after a high-risk pregnancy, and still trying to get over the fact that McDonald's is not considered a food group or included on the food pyramid

I am a Christian... whose faith and belief in God has been shaken violently over the last few years

I could go on, and probably will in a future installment, but right now I (unfortunately) have to get to work.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Potty Training = Nightmare?

Is it possible that every parent dreads this as much as I do? Where do you even begin when it comes to teaching your child how to use a toilet instead of a diaper? Amazingly, at least to me, there are widely varying opinions on when you should start this process with your child. Some books give you a long list of signs to look for that will tell you your child is ready and open to the idea of using the toilet. Others say there's no reason a child can be toilet trained by the tender age of 18 months. Shouldn't using the toilet be instinctual, like the cat knowing to use the litter box? Apparently not.

So I log on to my library account to comb the 'card' catalog. Ah ha! Dozens of books on the subject. This will be a breeze. I request 10 or so and wait for the emails telling me they're on hold at the counter of my local branch. The first book I pick up is written by Fred Rogers. Can you go wrong with Mr. Rogers? I open it eagerly and begin to read. Two or three pages in, I decide I can't get past Mr. Rogers referring to the #2 as "BM's". I put the book down and move onto the next one.

I tell myself that this second book will be much better. The first half of the books is a guide for parents, the second half is a picture book to read with your child. Let's skip the advice for parents and go straight to the picture book. It's always better if there are pictures. I feel victory just around the corner as I begin to read...

Let me paraphrase this one. When you're wet, you've made wee-wee. When you're dirty, you've made do-do. Everyone makes wee-wee and do-do. Daddy, Mommy, the mailman, the policeman, grandma, grandpa, etc., etc., etc. And, of course, there are pictures of everyone as they sit on the toilet, doing their business. The 'Daddy' picture is particularly striking as the drawing resembles Gabe Kaplan ala 'Welcome Back, Kotter'. My heart sinks. To assuage my blossoming fears that this will be impossible, I tell myself that W.T. obviously can't be ready for this, since he's just beginning to put complete sentences together. Or is it Mommy that's not ready?

I return the books to the library. We'll try this again in a month or two, when he seems more prepared to take this next step. Maybe next time we'll look at the classics Once Upon a Potty and Everybody Poops.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I am a math widow

A gray, rainy Saturday here in Ohio. K is off at school studying before a tutoring session. He's in his second of three Algebra classes. Math is not his strong subject. After he finishes all the Algebra, he will move on to Statistics, then Tech Math... God help us all. So today, at least for 5 more hours or so, it's just me and W.T. I think W.T. is coming down with a cold... he hasn't been his usual energetic self this morning, and instead is laying on mommy & daddy's bed watching the Disney channel. I certainly don't want him to be sick, but hopefully this means he'll at least be subdued while we shop for groceries and other sundry things at the super Walmart, and maybe we'll have a cuddly afternoon since we can't go outside.

I think it will be somewhat of a miracle if I survive K getting through school. It is important... and it is for the good of the future of this family... but I HATE spending so much time alone. Alright, technically I'm not alone because W.T. is with me, but really how much company is a 21 month old? No other friends have children his age that he could play with while the mommies talk. I suppose this means I should start looking around for some sort of play group or something, the thought of which makes me cringe. Trying to make new friends at 35 is not a happy thought.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A few of my favorites...


My life is like
crooked blinds
a tad bit skewed
a touch off center
my hair is never "perfect"
and I only buy on sale
my clothes aren't vogue
I admit I've never had a manicure
my room is a disaster
my styles, eclectic
yes, I have seen the inside of K-mart
and if my sense of humor
is a little out of whack, that's okay
so's my brain.
But my heart's where it should be
and if you don't care for my
silk suits and generic high tops,
then close your eyes
because I've never been able
to pull the blinds straight.
Besides, I like crooked blinds
and if you truly love and
accept me for who I am
you'll leave my blinds alone
-Stephanie Kovacs

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somwhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
-Robert Frost

What am I thankful for, this day?
I heard a poor man softly say
A chance to earn my daily bread
A place each night to lay my head
A soft, warm hand to ease my care
A child's small voice to rise in prayer
A special friend both kind and true
To help me right the wrongs I do
To dwell where tyrants fear to tread
Where freedoms flag floats overhead
The faith to ask on bended knee
God, may all men be rich like me.
-Paul Ferguson Love

Here we go...

Here I am... I am 35 going on 36... married for almost 8 years with a son that will be 2 in January... hopefully someone will find my thoughts on things interesting... Happily married, you ask? Most of the time. Enjoying motherhood? In all honestly, it has shaken me to the core. I still have quite a few moments when I don't quite know what to think about it. Like my job? What can I say? It's a paycheck. Since I have yet to win the lottery, there's not much of a choice. So let's see where all this takes us... and blame my friend Mou, of the internationally famous blog 'Mou on the verge' for all of this. After taking a look at what he had to say, how could I not start a blog of my own??? It would be unthinkable.

As I said, motherhood has shaken me to the very center of my being. I feel very much as though I've lost my sense of self, and I just have not figured out how to find it again. I guess at heart I'm a little selfish, and I haven't quite adjusted to the fact that life no longer centers on my, but on my son. I live now with a constant feeling of fear and dread in the pit of my stomach that something out of my control will happen to my son. It's an awful feeling. And it's made me realize very quickly that the line between appropriately cautious and maniacally paranoid is very, very fine. Therapy, perhaps? It probably wouldn't be a bad idea, but it would be a waste of time and money. I freeze up. I spend too much time wondering if they're thinking 'Wow, this one is really f-ed up...' I'm much better at working these things out in my own head, in my own time, than trying to spill them to someone else. (Ah, and who knows... could blog = free therapy? Hmmm....)