Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Volume of Silence

I think about the mornings I wake up and the kids are already fighting over whether to watch SpongeBob or Scooby Doo. I think about their afternoon games of 'Scream' where they, literally, try to out scream the other as they run back and forth around the hallway and living room. I think about David's full throttle, unabashed laughter as his sister makes silly faces at him and hers in return as he attempts to mimic her.
The sounds of my daily life. Sometimes it makes me crazy and I find myself wishing for a moment of peace. Sometimes it fills that leftover spot I missed from my own childhood. Mostly it just bleeds from one day into the next; an unalterable course of being. A simply matter of fact.
Now the house is quiet and I am unnerved by it.
Joe took the kids to a friend's house. I am supposed to be using this time to finish up some projects that never quite seem to get done; projects often interrupted by the noise of daily life.
Instead, it feels too hollow.
The radio can't quite drown out the absence of their laughter.
So I watch the clock and hope that they'll return soon.
I find it a little funny, but not in the ha-ha sort of way, that the very thing I've found myself wishing for is making me sad. A little peace. A moment to myself. I seem to have more of that with them here, not occupying my thoughts but simply here. Without the regular hum of their voices, the motion of their play, I feel off-balance.
I've grown accustomed to chaos and without it I am out of place.

What does that say about me?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It started at 8:30 in the evening. Bre was sitting at the table and the phone rang. I checked the caller ID, and then ignored it.
It's not that I don't think Bre should be allowed to talk on the phone, I really don't care. But 8:30 on a school night? No.
Her friend hung up.
5 minutes later, she called back.
I told Bre to let her friend know tomorrow that she couldn't get phone calls after 7:30 on a school night. Her friend left a message and I thought that was that.
Bre went to bed and I settled in to finish House of Scorta (very good, by the way).
It's 10 pm and the phone rings again.

Are you kidding me?

I answer it thinking I can simply explain to her friend that it isn't ok to call this late.

She said ok.

And then asked to speak to Bre.

At 10 pm on a school night.

Did I mention she's 9?

Am I crazy here? Am I just old-fashioned and doomed to be the 'uncool' mom?

I remember as a kid always telling my parents how my kids would be allowed to do whatever it was they were forbidding my from at that moment. Whether it be talking on the phone at 10 pm, or having an unsupervised party.
Now I see the neighborhood kids playing flashlight tag in the middle of the street at 11 at night and I shiver.
I see the 13 year old across the street in a mini-skirt, high heels and make-up done by Tammy Faye and I cringe.

I like to think that I haven't become my parents, but maybe I have.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So Not Like Me

Remember when it was Easter? And maybe there were like, pictures or something?
Remember how I'm always, um..... procrastinating?
Right. So...............

Hey! Look! Easter pictures! Because I'm not at all lazy and forgetful. No, not me!

Clearly impressed by the chicken that hatched the pink sparkly egg!
(Not to self: Do not buy the glittery egg dye ever again. Much hate. Really.)

And proof of my child's OCD. He wiped off every single egg he found before he would put it back in the egg tray (and yes, I actually have an egg-shaped tray just for Easter eggs for I am lame and I do not even know where I got the thing from but I keep it).
(Further Note to Self: Glittery egg dye= DEATH!! HATE!!!)

This concludes another lame ass, lazy person post.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Blank. Blank. Blank.
While I can think of a million things to blog about, I can't seem to get them down on... um... keyboard.
Pregnancy brain has taken over.
It started slowly.
Forgetting a check or a meeting. Things I had even made note of but then lost the note, or my day planner and then I got lost in a fog of pickles and grapes (a fine substitute for olives which I still refuse to eat because, ew).
But it's getting worse. And I know that it will continue to go downhill from here.
And then the dreams will come.
I'd search my archives and make a link but I'm afraid of getting distracted and then probably not remembering to come back, but I've mentioned the dream with the ice cream truck and the police before. And then there was the one where Dog the Bounty Hunter was chasing my husband because he farted in downtown Seattle and set off a panic that we'd been gassed by terrorists (it did get him to stop eating tacos before bed during the rest of that pregnancy so it wasn't all bad).
There have been dreams where the baby was more snake than human and was swallowing me from my toes up. Or the one where I gave birth to a 7 year old child (that was my first pregnancy and to be fair, she was nearly 2 weeks late by then).
Those dreams are so real. Real enough that I had to wake my husband after the ice cream dream just to be sure that it was a dream.
I wonder what hormone in the human body accounts for the insanity brought on by pregnancy?

Right up there with strangers trying to touch my belly (and I am so getting to that in a minute), is the moron who asks me how much I weigh now.
Seriously? I barely know you enough to say hello and in case you didn't notice I totally coughed when I said your name because I couldn't remember you. I think that means that asking me how much I weigh is grounds for having a cantaloupe shoved up your nose.
You're just lucky you can run faster than me right now.
Even my husband, the man who has to sleep next to me and pretend not to notice that my ass has expanded to the size of a small walrus, knows better than to ask me that.
While I realize that my husband can be mildly intimidating, he is a big teddy bear. Nicest guy you'll ever meet. Also the guy who will protect your hand from being bitten off should you decide to be stupid enough to reach that dirty paw on over to my belly. Because while he may be a big old teddy bear, I'm a fucking grizzly. Don't touch me.
Last time, I simply told people that I bite. Or I'd reach over and start touching their belly.
Now I'm just a bitch. Keep your mitts to yourself.
Can you tell I'm pissy?
I think it may be part lack of sleep. Or the middle of the night nausea. Or hormones (I love having those hormones to lay some blame to). Or this never-ending rain is starting to make me crazy. Or whatever.
I don't usually swear this much.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


It's an odd little ritual of mine; hardly worth noting. But I find great comfort in the sound of those little white pills sliding around in the bottle as he takes one every night. I picture that pill as a little soldier; off to kill the very thing I fear and let my husband's liver repair itself a bit.
Every pill is another day away from That Thing We Don't Talk About, even if it is always there in the back of my mind.
It seems almost ridiculous to worry. At his last Dr's appointment there was almost no trace of what's been slowly killing him since he was a child.
But I do anyway. I know, worry is something I'm very good at. But it's more than that.
This is temporary. We don't know how long this medication, new and improved though it may be, will work. We don't even know what the long term effects will be, new and improved as it is. All we have is this hope. All we have is a little relief from the worry we faced last year.
I'll take it.
We've had so many downs that even a temporary respite is a high.
We have so much to look forward to that I try not to dwell on what will come.
We have now. Then is out of our control. My gratitude is for now.
My gratitude is for whatever time those tiny white pills are buying us.
His skin looks good. No bit of yellow to make me wonder.
And I am grateful.
He snores when he sleeps so that the only way I can get him to stop is to poke a rib or pluck some chest hair (subtlety is not in my nature).
And I am grateful.
We argue over something stupid but I find it hard to be angry with him because I am just so damn grateful to be able to argue with him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


His head is nestled under my chin, his body is molded to mine. Every time I breath in, I can smell the sweet fruity scent of his shampoo, still cool from his bedtime bath. His little hand is curled around my finger to ensure that I am there. His steady breathing, his sleepy sigh. I smile and kiss the soft curve of his cheek which holds the last bit of his baby-hood in it's delicious fullness.
It wasn't so long ago that he was a newborn, his every need dependent upon me.
Too soon, I won't even be able to hold him when he sleeps.
Too soon, there will be a morning that I wake up and his butt won't be in my face.
Too soon, he won't poke me in the eye and whisper "ake up mama, ake up!"

Maybe that's why I haven't pushed so hard to get him into his own bed (even if I still am not getting up with him in the middle of the night).

I thought we had escaped the separation anxiety stage. Or maybe I'm forgetting it.
Whatever the case, it's here now.
When Joe left for work yesterday morning, I could see it in David's face. He crumbled and cried. It may not have been so bad had it not been 4:30 am and had he maybe gone back to sleep.
Anytime we go anywhere, he wants us all to go. Even if it's a quick trip to the store.
If we need to run outside for the mail, one of us has to distract him while the other makes a mad dash.
He is anxious, nose pressed to the window, watching for our return.
It has begun to happen even with his sister.
I'm not entirely convinced that some blow-up look-a-likes would be a bad idea.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Old Friends

When I was a kid, books were my escape. I was the pesky little sister and often got left behind so I wrapped myself in words and got lost. I read everywhere.
In the shower, at dinner (drove my parents crazy until they finally gave up trying to have a conversation with me), walking to school (boy those busy intersections were fun!), nothing stopped me.
I loved those 'choose your own ending' books and The babysitter's club (I was 6!). I even read Sweet Valley High's series (I bet a few of you did too). Then I found Nancy Drew, and a variety of books I no longer remember the name of but it doesn't matter. I remember getting lost and that was amazing.
I loved John Grisham and Dean Koontz when I was 13.
My dad would take me to the book store so that I could load up and it made him slightly crazy (and a little pleased) to know that I'd be finished with my hefty stack of books by the end of the week. I knew every corner of our library and which boards creaked.
Those books were my lifeline. Each character would stay with me long after I closed to back cover and started a new one. I loved those creased spines and worn pages of my favorite books; ones I read over and over until they simply fell apart.
I've missed them. I hate that as I've gotten older I've made less and less time for something that so shaped who I am.
It seems that something always needs my attention. Laundry, dishes, clothes need mending, children need my help or to simply play, and so on. Just ordinary life.
So when my sister sent me a gift card for Barnes and Noble I had a horrible time choosing but couldn't help but to feel so excited.
In three days, I've finished two of the 3 books I ordered.
Maybe there is time after all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Random Bits

When we got married we said traditional vows. All that blather about love, honor and cherish in sickness and in health, blah blah blah. I wish now that I had had the foresight to insist that we right our own vows.
The first thing on my list would be that it is an offense punishable by your wife being allowed to wax any body part she wishes for the next year would be to diet while said wife is pregnant.
Yes, there's nothing more comforting than watching your ever-expanding waistline, hoping that no one notices that your pants aren't buttoned, as your husband talks about the 5 pounds he lost last week.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against fitness and being healthy and so forth. But I have no desire to play Hardy to his Laurel (and yes, I do regularly view our marriage as a comedy routine and am perfectly happy this way).
I took another huge step (for me) in becoming less hermit-like. I am now treasurer for next year's PTA board. I'm not entirely sure how it started but I'm kind of happy about it. At least this way I know I will have to leave me house once a week to do related duties and twice a month for meetings. Is that enough to draw me away from hermit status?
I meant to post more this week, really. But then the books I ordered for me birthday showed up and........
I've missed reading. Even now I'm thinking of my current selection (started just this afternoon and a bit more than half way through) and wanting to read more but knowing I should just go to bed.
I finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter rather quickly (isn't that always the trouble with books? You get so lost in them, savoring each word and then it's over. Too quickly, the story ends and I find myself still thinking of these characters who had just been so alive to me).
Now I'm engrossed in The Secret Life of Bees.
Both are must-reads though I think The Secret Life of Bees is a more... fluid?
Anyway, both very good.
David has felt it rather important to point out where things belong lately. Or even where things have been.
After Joe changed his diaper (Shut up about potty-training) the other night I asked him if he had been stinky.
"Yup. In dare!" and he happily pointed at his bottom.
Well. Yes. I would hope so my dear boy.

He will open his mouth and point before telling you that that is where he put his crackers.

He points to his shoes and smiles. "Tay go here. On my beet!"

This morning he informed me that I had his chocolate Easter candy in the wrong spot. Since it was on the high shelf where it had been since Sunday I asked where he felt it belonged.
"In dare." and he pointed into his mouth.

I believe this is smoother that his previous attempt which was to 'answer' the phone and have a conversation with his dad. After he hung up his sister's (not connected) pink lips phone, he informed me that Daddy said I was supposed to give David chocolate.

I don't remember Breanna being so... devious?... at this age. I do remember catching her with chocolate chip cookie smeared across her face and she still denied it.
She only 'fessed up when I peered into her belly button and claimed to see the cookies swimming around in her belly.
That belly button thing worked for 2 more years.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Routine

Every night at bedtime, David likes to play hide and seek. It's become part of our routine and he insists that I hide with him. The whole thing would probably be more effective if he didn't hide in the same spot every time but he's 2. And the only acceptable place for a 2 year old to hide, in his humble opinion, is in the space between the wall and his headboard.
We duck down into this little space and puts his finger to his teeth and "shh's" me and smiles in anticipation of what's to come. Because while his hiding space is always the same, daddy's method of finding him is always different. Sometimes it's Mickey Mouse who finds us by hanging his head over the side and squeaking in that high pitched voice (and this explains why every time one of David's stuffed animals speaks to me it comes from a very squeaky, whispery voice that only a 2 year old boy could produce). Sometimes Daddy hides and David has to go find him. Sometimes I lift him up to the top of the headboard to surprise his dad.
Whatever the case, it's become his routine.
Once found, he climbs into his bed and waits for his prayers and kisses.
A few months ago, Joe stopped leaving David's room until long after he had fallen asleep.
Apparently Joe forgot the months and months I spent trying to get that kid back to sleep every night for hours on end until I completely lost my shit because guess what!!
Every damn night.
1, 2, 3 am.
Only this time? I'm not getting up with him.
I know it's kind of mean because Joe does have to actually leave the house for his job but whatever.
It's his fault and he doesn't want to do anything to change it. And I refuse to be waking up with 2 kids all night long. The thought of that alone is enough to make me want to stick my hand in the blender.
I figure a few more months of this (and the added benefit of having to get up with an infant as well by the end of the summer) and maybe he'll change his mind.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Later Regrets

It struck me today as I felt this baby drop kick my bladder. This year you will have been gone for 8 years. I'd like to say that I don't miss you, but if I were honest, I'd say I've been missing you my whole life.
I don't think of you very much anymore. While I know that there were some good times in there, they are tainted by the memory of your words, of your careless disregard. But sometimes......
I catch a glimpse of you in the way my son absentmindedly plucks at his pillow; or in the way that my daughter smiles to herself at some happy thought. Sometimes I find a picture of you and it's always the same. No matter your hair color, your clothes, your age. It's that same half smile and no eye contact. The same face I remember through most of my life. Unreadable. Unreachable.
I was organizing photos when I came across a picture of you holding my daughter in the hospital. Even then, you held yourself apart. I wonder what you were so afraid of? What was it in that tiny pink blanket that made you so reserved you couldn't just let go with your own grandchild?
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised at your reservation. You couldn't let yourself love your own daughter, how could you love someone that came from her?
Oh I know you occasionally said the words, usually after a lecture on what I'd done wrong or how I was dressed wrong or shouldn't I lose weight?, but it was always so..... robotic.
And I wonder if I'm giving you too much credit when I feel like you knew what you were doing. Like you knew how much you were hurting me and didn't care. Or worse, enjoyed it.
But then I think of those 'family' vacations. You know the ones. All those times you took my older siblings and my younger siblings on vacation but never me. I was 'too young' and when you found out that I knew my younger siblings were going, you knew I was 'busy'.
Because suddenly I was.
Did it shock you when at 16 I stopped talking to you? Were you surprised that I refused to come to your home anymore? Did you even notice?
I noticed that it took 6 months before you even called me to see what was going on. And then all you asked me about was gloves. That was also the year you got me underwear for Christmas. Underwear that was 4 sizes too big.
I smiled.
But we did start talking again. It may have taken 3 years and me making that first move, but we did.
I had hoped that my pregnancy would have softened things between us.
I was a fool.
You were just as manipulative as ever.
Except now you were drunk, on Prozac and manipulative.
You caused a major blow out between my brother and I because of your very cruel lie.
Still. I wanted so badly for it to work.
I wanted so badly to have a mother that I willingly subjected myself to your criticism. I never really measured up and yes, I felt it.
And then you died.
And I never got to tell you all the things that I want so desperately to tell you now.
In those first months following your death, I think I was in shock.
In my mind you were the mother I had always wanted and not the person you really were. I grieved for you. But really, I think, I was grieving for what I wanted you to be.
Many times over the years I have thought that I'd forgiven you.
Now I'm not sure that I ever will. I don't know if I can. Maybe I have to be OK with that. I don't hate you. Most of the time, I don't hate you. I'm not really sure why you were the way you were. I'm not sure what I did in my birth to make you resent me so much. But at least now I know that it was your issue. That there isn't something broken in me. Whatever was broken? It was about you.
I was fortunate to have my father and stepmother.
Because now I know that I can love and be loved. I'm not that monster you made me feel like.
You once told me that I was turning out just like you. I think you meant it as a compliment and it was probably the nicest thing you had ever said to me.
But it scared the hell out of me.
I remember looking at my daughter and thinking "hell no."
I have made it my purpose to not be you.
I tell my kids every day that I love them. I make eye contact. I hold them, I kiss them, I tuck them in at night and come running when they have nightmares. I care for them when they are sick.
And I protect them.
Sometimes I wonder how things would be had you lived.
Oh, I know how you would be. The same. Incapable of ever being wrong, or ever feeling compassion for your own offspring.
What I wonder is......
What would I have done?
Would I have continued to allow you to damage me and my daughter?
Or would I have finally had the courage to give you the big kiss off and leave you to your later regrets?
I'd like to think you were capable of regret. At least then, you'd still be human.
Of course, I'm stronger now. It's easier to walk away from something you've always wanted but can never have when you have something so amazing to go home too. Having Joe and my kids..... I almost feel sorry for you because you never had that. But then, I remember that you could have had it all.
I wonder why you didn't want it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On Turning 30

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. For months I've been hearing tales from friends who, upon reaching this 'dreaded' age, went a little nuts or became depressed. In sympathy, they would tell me it would pass but it sucked.

I'm still waiting for the insanity to kick in.

I don't feel any different than I have on any other birthday (except for maybe my 21st when I was so hungover I couldn't remove my forehead from the cool tile of my bathroom floor).

Maybe it's naive for me to believe that it's not such a big deal, but that's where I sit right now.

While the whole turning 30 thing didn't bother me, certain other lack of things did. A lack of things which I've vented to friends about but am refraining from mentioning here in an effort to spare myself the head ache and you the eye-rolling.

A very dear friend who occasionally comments here (Hi ~M~!) surprised me last night with cake and balloons and the sweetest gift and a very dirty card (really! Your mother would be shocked!) which meant the world to me. I am very fortunate to have such great people in my life.

In other news.......

I need to go buy some maternity clothes. I am frightened. You may remember the last time I went shopping and how well that turned out.
Now I will be attempting to shop with a belly. But unless I want to spend the rest of this pregnancy naked or in the one overly floral maternity night shirt that survived my pregnancy with Bre, a-shopping I must go.
Mannequins beware.