Saturday, April 30, 2011


There was no Friday post because we were at Bug's Nana and Papi's doing this:

And no Week in Pictures because while we were doing that, I left the diaper bag with my wallet and phone in it (with all the pictures on my phone) at my parents' house. That post is now scheduled for tomorrow, when I get it back.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birth Control: Unlocked.

So, today was big. I guess it's yesterday now, but this totally still counts as Thursday's post. And there won't be any images because I forgot to take any pictures and then my phone died when I remembered, so you get to suck it up and look at all this pretty text instead.

Last night was stormy- bad stormy. There are over 200 dead across the southeast, and there were 11 tornadoes in my state alone. Tens of thousands are without power, and so many homes are now piles of rubble- not even recognizable as buildings anymore. Fortunately, the storm passed us by, though we were under a tornado warning for a while. We went and hid out in our (extremely large) crawlspace. Because of this, I slept less than four hours last night. Because, as it generally goes when you have to stay up late, I had to get up early.

I had a doctor's appointment at 11, and we're a one car family, so I had to drive Z to work and then drive to his mother's house to drop off Bug for her to babysit. I left her with 10 oz of pumped milk, and even though it was going where it was meant to- to feed Bug- it was still pretty hard to part with. I work hard for that stuff!

The appointment was for my six week postpartum, as well as a Paragard IUD insertion. I had heard from several people that the insertion was generally painful, and read online that it could cause cramps and minor pains, which might result in fainting. Yeah. Fainting. Not something I'm a fan of. I've never done it, and I didn't want to start when I was all by myself and needed to drive. Fortunately, the insertion wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I was actually more bothered by the Q-tip the doctor used to swab my cervix clean than I was the insertion- I barely even notice when she slipped the IUD from my vagina to my uterus. Plus, I got to see my non-pregnant uterus on ultrasound, and it was pretty cool. The tech even showed me where my eggs were forming in my ovaries.

This appointment was the first time I've been completely alone since Bug was born. I've left her before, once to go to dinner with Z, and once to go to work. Neither of those were hard, because I was with people I knew, and I was busy doing things. Sitting in a waiting room all alone for an hour- I cried, totally. I was so nervous about getting the IUD inserted, and no one I called was answering their phone, and I had only gotten three hours of sleep, and there was a baby in the next section over making alternately distressed and adorable noises that made me miss my own baby so badly... I would have done anything to have Z with me at that moment. (One day I'll write a post about how I love him more than Bug, and why that's okay... even when I was missing her terribly, it was him I really wanted and needed.) I've never felt more alone in my life, and the nervousness about the procedure and the loneliness were feeding off one another and just building and building... it took a lot of willpower and the intrigue of Aretha Franklin on The View to keep me calm.

Once the appointment was over, I appeased my unhappy emotional self by going to lunch with Z on his lunch break, even though we really couldn't afford it. I'm chalking it up as a necessary expenditure, though I suppose I could have sucked it up. We sat on the curb outside Subway because the shopping center had no benches in an effort to prevent loitering. We loitered, and kissed. It was nice. We should loiter and kiss every day. Also, those kisses were the precursor to our first postpartum sex tonight, which I may discuss in another post.

In other news, my hair is blonde again instead of pink, and I'm a sad kid.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The First Easter

Easter is probably the holiday that I am most ambivalent about celebrating. On one hand, there's chocolate, and all kinds of specialty candies you can't get the rest of the year. And I do love me an egg hunt. But on the other hand, as an atheist parent who was brought up very strictly Southern Baptist, being inundated with the resurrection message gets old quick, and I know that because this is the most religious holiday we celebrate, it will be the one to prompt questions first. While I'd like to believe that I will calmly explain that some people believe certain things and I do not, I don't quite know what we'll do about the whys.

Fortunately, that day is a long way off, and I have time to think about it. In the mean time, I can't resist the flouncy dresses, and Z couldn't stop himself from joining the egg hunt- by helping Bug, of course. She slept through it, so he had to pick the eggs up for her. We didn't originally have the triceratops egg, but Z pulled a smooth trade with Bug's 7 year old aunt for it. And yes, we left the rest of the eggs for the bigger kids to find.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In A Perfect World

This is what my kitchen looks like right now. Fresh rice krispie treats cooling on the table (along with handwashed breast pads drying... yes, I do put these things on the internet), a clean stove-top, no overwhelming pile of crusty dishes laying around. Fresh fruit and hot herbal tea on the counter. It's not perfect by any means, but it's presentable. Fingers crossed I can keep it that way this time. I didn't realize how much energy I lost while I was pregnant until I got it back- this kitchen hasn't looked like this consistently in at least seven months.

My kitchen and I do not have a good relationship. The sink is way too shallow. The valves under the counter that go to the sink and dishwasher close at random, and the hot water handle on the sink is messed up so I have to manually open and close its valve so that it isn't constantly streaming water. The floor has a very subtle marbled pattern that makes me think it's always dirty. There isn't enough cabinet space, and the table has gaps around the leaf that fill with flour anytime I roll out dough.

Despite all of that though, when it's clean and organized like this, the kitchen is my favorite room in the house. The bright red paint, the tea towel I embroidered to match hanging on the towel rack, the apron a friend made me hanging on it's hook, the 1943 stove with it's tiny one-rack oven- this is the place I feel most at peace when it's clean, and the room that makes me most frustrated when it's a mess. Now that I'm finally feeling mostly like myself again, and Bug's feedings are slowly getting further apart and allowing me to do other things, I hope it can stay clean. That would make my whole world just a little more perfect.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Example We Set

This totally counts as Monday's post. It's before midnight!

I am sort of a crunchy mom. We're cloth diapering. I breastfeed without any supplementation. I wear my baby, and we co-sleep as often as we don't. I prefer to make things we need myself, but if I can't, I try to buy local and organic where we can afford it.

But I never remember our reusable bags. And I don't recycle. And I'll probably let Bug cry-it-out at some point. I don't check my labels to be sure things I buy are from ethical companies who pay a living wage. I eat meat every meal, and it all comes from factory animals.

I know that there are no rules about how far you have to go one way or another, and it's more important to be a loving parent than to follow any one specific set of rules for parenting. But there are a lot of things that I feel are ethically right that I don't always do, and I worry about the example I'll set for Bug as she gets older. I don't want her to take the things we have for granted. I want her to know and appreciate where our clothes and food and possessions come from, and the cost they have to the people who make them, and to the environment they come from. I want her to value those things.

On the other hand, I can't afford to buy all organic veggies and fruit, or free range, conscientiously raised meats. Nor can I afford to buy clothes from anywhere but the clearance rack, which means ordering the gender-neutral, responsibly manufactured things I love online is just not happening. When you live on $1600 a month, those things might be environmentally responsible, but they're financially, well, not. My hope is that someday we will be able to live the way I'd like. Until then, I'm trying to content myself with doing what I can.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Falling in Love

So I was reading this this morning, and it got me thinking, tangentially, about how hard it was those first few days to really feel like I loved Bug. I didn't feel exactly as the post I linked to describes- I was tired, but not down-to-the-bones exhausted. I never thought about trading my daughter for a hot meal or shower, and I made sure I had one of each of those things every day. I didn't ever sleep during the day, and I functioned just fine, though I did get frustrated more easily than normal. But I kept looking at Bug and wondering when I would start to love her.

Z didn't have this problem. He was head-over-heels the moment he watched her slip out of my vagina. And he developed the ability to sleep through anything, so he wasn't tired at all. I tried to explain it to him. "It's like, yes, I love her, but it's because she's this little lump I pushed out of my body, not because I love her for who she is. I don't really feel it when I look at her or anything." Fortunately, he didn't freak out about me not loving our daughter. He just put one hand over mine and told me that I would get there. And I did, somewhere in week two.

Relevant to this is an experience I had our first or second night at home, one of the few nights Bug spent in the bassinet. I woke up to see her throwing up- not spitting up, this thing projectiled- while she was laying on her back. She started to choke on what didn't fly through the air out of her mouth, and I think I moved quicker than is actually physically possible, because I don't remember standing up and grabbing her, she was just suddenly in my arms. I was terrified. What if I hadn't woken up? What if she had choked to death, right there, two days old and only two feet from my bed?

I didn't think I loved her yet, but I knew my life would be destroyed if I lost her. It was a weird realization. I think, now, that maybe I did love her and just didn't recognize what it felt like to feel a mother's love for a child. As a child, you love your parents because they care for you. You love your siblings because they're always there, and at least sometimes are nice to you. You love friends because they've somehow attracted you. You love your partner because of who they are and how you fit together with them. But you don't love your baby for any reason other than that they exist. Babies don't earn love. And early on, before they begin interacting with the world, there's not a lot about them to love, really. They just exist, and you love them. Or don't. I'm still not sure.

I will say that now that she does something besides sleep and chew on my nipple all day, it's a lot easier to look at that face and feel the love.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So I guess rules were made to be broken. In my defense, I left the house at 7:30 Tuesday morning and didn't get back until after 10 that night. I have no excuse for Wednesday though. I'm going to try to start writing posts at night to be published the next morning, which might help- this one handed typing thing makes writing an entry pretty slow.

I've been thinking a lot lately about gender stereotypes and how I want to approach them with Bug. As much as I admire people who are trying to raise their children gender-neutral, I don't feel like that's a viable option for us. On the other hand, I don't want her to feel like there are things she can't/won't do or have because they are 'boy stuff'. And likewise, I would hate to hear her bring down a peer of the opposite gender for playing with 'girl stuff.' And, I won't lie, I really don't want to be one of those households that are all-princess, all the time. I don't want her to be afraid to get muddy and run around and climb trees and throw balls. I would like for her to spend more time in dirty jeans than frilly dresses.

On the other hand, I'm not devoid of girlyness myself. I like to get dressed up and put on makeup that's glittery and paint my nails. I can't imagine that Bug won't notice that and want to be just like me. And for now, while she's tiny and can't make her own wardrobe choices, I do make sure to put her in girl clothes if we're going somewhere that she's likely to be noticed and held a lot by other people. We have a ton of boy hand-me-downs that she wears when we're around the house or running errands, and I'm not afraid to shop in the boys' section at Babies'R'Us but when it comes down to it, I want people to know that she's a girl. I'd like to say that's just to avoid the awkwardness of correcting people, but it's not really. It's because I'm glad to have a daughter, and until she tells me she'd rather not be, I want people to know that she's an adorable little girl.

The other problem with raising a child gender-neutral is that we don't exist in a vacuum. My mother-in-law makes hair bows for a living. There's no way I could stop her from making bows for Bug (or headbands, as pictured) even if I wanted to. And I don't want to stop her, anyway. I like bows. But where is the line between raising a little girl who likes to wear bows, and a little girl who refuses to go out of the house without make-up on? Because honestly, I don't want to cross it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Pumping, It Sucks

This is a picture of milk I squeezed out of my boob. It is 55 milliliters of milk. That's 1.9 ounces. It took me over an hour and a half to pump. I sat, milking myself with a weird handheld electronic thingie suctioned onto my boob, for nearly 2 hours, and that's what I got.

That sucked. Literally. After all that time, I was sore and frustrated, and thinking that this was totally not going to work. And I was right... it didn't work. I went to work, and two hours later got the call. "Come home, the baby's been screaming for more food for half an hour, and I can't get her to sleep." Poor Z. It was Bug's first bottle, and the first time he'd fed her. I was hoping it would be some nice daddy/daughter bonding time, but it wasn't at all. And he HATES hearing her cry and knowing he can't do anything about it. (Sometimes in the middle of the night, I hate hearing her cry and knowing I HAVE to do something about it.)

I'm getting a better pump, which should help. And pumping is a learned skill, so I know it will get easier, just like breastfeeding is. But this first experience with it really did suck.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog Rules and General Update

It's been a long time since I've been here. I've changed the title and layout of the blog to better suit where I am now, at 23, but I am leaving the (few) old posts here, as I think that they serve to explain where I came from.

When I started posting, I was 21. Z and I were living together, but not engaged. I was in college, and he was working full time as an audio/video tech. I was trying to keep up with birth control pills, even though I wanted a baby more than anything. I'll save the specific stories of these events for other posts, but here is a general timeline of what's happened since:

September 2009: Gave up on birth control pills.
October 2009: Z proposed!
November 2009: Z unemployed.
December 2009: Graduated with a BA in English/Creative Writing and minor in French. Moved cities to be closer to Z's family.
February 2010: Z back in food service.
April 2010: My 22nd birthday. Z found job in locksmithing.
May 2010: Got a non-food service job.
June 19 2010: Wedding!
June 22 2010: Conception!
August 2010: LOST non-food service job.
August-December 2010: Unemployed.
December 2010: Z lost job. Went back as part-time audio/video tech.
December 2010: Back in food service.
February 2010: Z got job as website tech.
March 17 2010: Bug's birth day.

It's been a really big year! Right now:

Bug is one month old and hungry all the time.
Z hates his job.
I am mourning my pink hair, which will have to be dyed before I go back to work.

I am going to try to be better about posting regularly and making sure to include at least one image in each day's post, because I feel like Bug's little life is already flying, and I need to document that, as well as write out how I feel about certain big events before I forget. In accordance with this, I've written out some rules for myself:

Rule The First: There shall be one post every day, save Sunday, which shall be reserved for time away.

Rule The Second: Entries posted on Saturdays shall include only images from the week, and shall not require any writing or explanation.

Rule the Third: Everything posted herein shall be completely and totally from the heart, and shall be published regardless of the opinions of others. There will be no fear.

Rule the Fourth: This is not a parenting blog. Right now, Bug is the biggest thing in my life, and so many posts may center around things she does, or things I'm thinking about as I learn the kind of parent I want to be, but I will not restrict myself to that, because I am not just a mother. I am a whole person, and sometimes that will mean blogging about things other than motherhood.
These rules may be changed or added to as I develop a routine and settle in.

Here's hoping I can keep up this time!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Just... Forgot.

All right, so my history with birth control pills is pretty sketchy. I've started taking it three different times and stopped twice for various reasons, i.e: I didn't have a boyfriend anymore so why bother, and: I misread the label and took the wrong pills transitioning from the first month to the second, which resulted in a nine day long period the third month. Yeah, I wasn't really into that.

This time around, I've been doing great! I take my pill as soon as I remember, every day. Usually that happens sometime between waking up and about three in the afternoon. But this week? I forgot for a WHOLE DAY and had to take two on Tuesday, and today, I didn't take it until almost six-thirty.

I don't think that Boyfriend will stop using the pull-out method regardless, but I swear it's my subconscious trying to get me pregnant. I SWEAR.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why I'm Weird (And It's Not My Mom's Fault)

When I was a baby, my mother locked me in the car. No, she wasn't abusive. I may be unbalanced sometimes, but that's not her fault! She just got stuck with a weird kid.

The story, as I remember it, goes like this:

She and a friend had gone grocery shopping together for a dinner get together. They were unloading the groceries from the back seat when somehow, the door ended up closing. Locked. With me still sleeping in my car seat. And the keys still inside. Oh, and by the way, it was definitely summertime. In Georgia. (I learned on the radio this month that inside a car with no A/C, the temperature gets as high as 140 degrees in about half an hour. Scary.)

My mother, understandably, was frantic. She called my father, he rushed home from work, and they got me out of the car with no ill effects. Apparently, I slept through the whole thing.

I don't know a lot of the details of this story. It's not one that gets told a lot. I'm sure my mother considers it one of her failing moments as a mother and would prefer not to talk about it.

I considered the full implications of the situation for the first time today when my Fiction Workshop professor said something about asking our parents for stories about our childhood for writing inspiration. I imagined what it must have felt like to stand in the sweltering July heat, able to see baby!me, but unable to help me. I imagined the fear that must have grown exponentially with every minute that my father took to get home with the spare keys. And how much worse must it have been for baby!me to be asleep, utterly still and quiet? Screaming and crying would have been horrible to watch, but babies die locked in hot cars. I'd rather see a screaming child in that situation than one that isn't moving or giving any sign of life.

I am realizing, slowly, that I might one day turn out to be the world's most paranoid, nervous mother. Or perhaps just the weirdest. I mean, who wants to see their baby crying?

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Open Letter to My Boyfriend

Boyfriend, you have worked quite a lot this past week. Seventy-one hours in five days is a lot, especially when your job requires a lot of physical activity and heavy lifting. You are still tired, even after three days off-- so tired that you can't stay awake to do things you would normally do in a heartbeat, like wait for me to get off work at 1 AM. Because my car is broken, still, for the seventh week running. And I don't mind that at all. I can get rides from other people. I want you to rest.

But it's hard to express to you that even after you've been home all weekend, I miss you. I didn't get to spend enough time with you between work and other people, and I miss you terribly-- it's like someone carved out part of my stomach and hid it from me. I need it back. People say that when you have children, you love them more than you knew that you could love anyone, ever. But I don't know. Because if that love hurts worse than this, well... I don't know if I can handle it.

On the other hand, all the love in the world does not stop my annoyance when I come home to the kitchen I cleaned five minutes before going to work, and find that my teeny tiny kitchen is so full of dirty dishes that I don't know if they will even all fit in the sink. I am so glad you had fun, hung out with good friends, and enjoyed a good meal. But for Christ's sake, couldn't ONE of you at least RINSE the dishes before everything got all crusted on?

I was thinking about those dishes just now, because they've officially been sitting out for over 24 hours in the kitchen that has one of the worst roach infestations I've ever seen, and I hate feeding those damned bugs. And you do this all the time, not just when you're tired. And combined with my current out-of-control hormones, the thought of cleaning that up makes me want to burst into tears and crawl under my blanket until someone creates a world where there is no such thing as a roach, or a dirty dish.

But then I look over at you, sleeping restlessly because of the light from my computer-- or possibly for some other reason (hopefully for some other reason, so I won't feel quite so guilty). Our child-replacement of a kitten, Icarus, has just curled up on your chest, purring loudly from the pleasure of being near you in a way that he doesn't with me, and even though he's just a cat, I can tell he has a special bond with you. In a way, you're his daddy, and he loves you.

Dirty dishes don't matter so much in the face of that kind of love, because I know it's the kind of love that you will one day inspire from our children, and the kind of love that you inspire in me every day. If dirty dishes are the biggest problem in our relationship after a year and a half, I think I might be okay with them.

But could you maybe rinse them, at least? Pretty please?

Hugs and kisses forever,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Want Them

I want babies.

I am 21 years old.

My boyfriend and I have been living together since two days before we started dating, since April 5, 2008. That was my twentieth birthday, by the way, and he was the best present I could have gotten.

Except, maybe, babies.

And now that we've gotten to the point where it's not if we'll get married, but when, this irresistible urge that has been building in me since I was eleven years old is really presenting itself.

I see him play with his five-year-old sister and I see what a great dad he'll be. I see a woman with a baby in a grocery store and I feel a pang of longing. I see a pregnant woman come into my workplace and I'm jealous. I stop in the middle of fantastic sex and think... we could make a baby, right now.

I'm a ball of hormones that birth control pills will, hopefully, contain and control. But until all my crazy urges are in check, I'm crying when I read mommyblogs, not because they are sad, but because I want that experience too. I'm sobbing over my kitten, because he's not quite what I want. I wailing over nothing at all, set off by the sound of a child's laughter on television. And so I join the ranks, blogging, not about my own children yet, but about what I see, what I think, what I anticipate.

It might be a few years before I finally get my babies, but until then, I'm here. I'm writing, getting out all of this emotion, all this irrationality. And if things go according to plan (as they never do) I will graduate with my B.A. in December, have an engagement ring soon after, be married by August 2010, and have that baby-- that beautiful, long-for baby-- by mid 2011. We'll see. For now, I'll post about my silly crying fits, my moments of overwhelming joy, my explosions of anger and frustration. And maybe, just maybe, someone will even read it.