Mommy Guilt and Jealousy

I have recently been having lots of moments that have made me feel guilty or jealous as a mom. For example, I felt guilty when I accidentally headbutted Fox today when we were playing. He looked at me like I was trying to kill him or something. Another thing I feel guilty about is not coloring eggs for Easter. I hardboiled a dozen eggs, but then it was nice outside, so we never got around to coloring them. I asked Fox if I was a bad mommy because we didn't color the eggs, and he said, "Yep!" I am sure he didn't mean it...

And here comes my mommy jealousy: Fox calls his daycare provider, my friend Shannon, Mommy! It is crazy. I am mommy. But I guess Fox has two mommies. He recently called a couple other people Papa besides his beloved grampa, and that helped soften the blow. But still...


Bad Habits

Obviously, kids pick up the habits of their parents. For this reason, I try to hide all my bad habits from my son (not that I have a ton, but for example, I try not to swear around him). Lately I have noticed something that he has picked up that I am unhappy about.

Let me first say that we have a spirited dog and a possibly demon-possessed cat. And when you have animals that are spirited and/or evil, they must be disciplined. The cat, specifically, has proven herself incapable of learning. The only way I can really alert my animals that what they are doing (eating the couch, pooping on the floor, chewing up my flowers, hissing and scratching at me, etc) is wrong is to firmly and loudly say NO.

Well, lately I have seen Fox, who is now 26 months old, shake his finger and holler "NOOO!" when the animals are going about their business. And I don't like it. But what can I do? If the dog is pooping, I have to try and stop her. But I wish Fox didn't see me walking around yelling and shaking my finger at the pets. I want him to treat them kindly and I want him to know that we deal with problems by talking, not shouting at others. But these dang animals seem to be doing all they can to make sure that lesson is disrupted.


Labor and Delivery: Hollywood Style

We mommies know all sorts of things about delivering children. We know what we learn from our prenatal classes, our "What To Expect" books, the stories told to us by our mothers, aunts, sisters, and friends, and our own experiences (for those of us on baby #2+). And then there is the most entertaining, and likely the most ridiculous: what we learn by watching TV.

Last week on The New Adventures of Old Christine, I learned that it's possible not only for two friends to plan it out so they simultaneously conceive their children, but then that they can also both simultaneously go into labor by both having their waters break and then moments later begin feeling strong contractions when they had had none leading up to that moment. Very plausible on all counts. By the way, only 10 percent of women begin labor by having their waters break, and yet it is my greatest fear, probably because of how common they make it seem on TV. I worry daily that I will be in the middle of class and suddenly gallons of amniotic fluid will gush forth, flooding my students out of the classroom. Oh, and they share this fear. We have talked about it on several occasions. I have warned them that if something like that happens, they should all run out of the room and find a safe place to be, and send in the principal. Of course, he would probably have a heart attack, too. I should maybe have asked them to send in one of my girlfriends, but oh well. Oh, and one day I spilled my tea in the hallway and one of the 10th grade boys saw the puddle and RAN for his life. It was pretty funny.

Yes, many shows other than New Christine have shown us scenarios of women giving birth. Often, it happens in taxicabs or elevators. Often, the main characters have to deliver babies in unsterilized settings with little to no medical experience, and they do so successfully. And the babies they give birth to usually seem to be about 3 months old, and amazingly clean. It is all so realistic, right?

However, the show I find the least realistic is actually a documentary show: I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. I am shocked by how many women are featured on this show who (wait for it...) DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE PREGNANT. Then, suddenly they went into labor. What? With all the crazy things that have been happening to me, my mood, and my body, I can't imagine not being aware. But I know everyone's experience is different. But seriously, if a sitcom featured the kinds of stories this show has, I would change the channel because I would be so annoyed about how unrealistic it all is. By the way, did you know that if you go into labor when you don't know you are pregnant, you might have your baby in the toilet? Yup. It happens, or at least it has happened twice that I have seen on that show. Oh, and by the way, it is not only possible to be pregnant and not know it, but it is also possible to deliver the surprise baby only to realize that-SURPRISE!--it's twins!! Yup, that has happened at least twice, too.

Anyway, after seeing all this craziness on TV over the last twenty-some years, I am pretty set on what I want out of my delivery. On my due date (or actually, the friday afternoon before it) I want to feel some contractions that are not too bad, so I have some time to get things in order. Then, I want to go to the hospital and deliver a healthy baby an hour or so later. I want no craziness, no emergencies, no getting caught in the elevator, no water breaking in public, no surprise twins, no baby in the toilet, and no camera crew to catch any insanity that does take place to put it on TV. I hope this isn't too much to ask.


How To Make a Pregnancy Fly By

Today, I am exactly 34 weeks pregnant. But to me, the whole pregnancy has gone so fast I feel like I should not be even halfway done yet. I am at the point where most pregnant women begin to go crazy waiting for the due date to arrive, and yet I still don't have a crib set up or my hospital bags packed or anything. I am impressed with myself. 

Granted, this is not my first child, so the first time excitement and obsessiveness is not quite the same. But I don't think that is it for me. The key to my seemingly super-quick and easy pregnancy? Getting involved with something outside of home that is all consuming.

I have been working with a couple other teachers at my school to direct Grease. I teach a drama class as an elective, but I have never actually directed a full length play, let alone a musical, and I have no theater background. It's a pretty big job. I scheduled the performance date for a month before my due date, in case I have the baby early, but at this point, I think if the performance had been any closer to the baby's arrival, I would not even have time to pick out a middle name or hug my pets and firstborn before running off to the birth center.

Pregnant women tend to have crazy nightmares about their babies, the delivery, family problems, their changing bodies, and anything else that might relate to pregnancy. I, on the other hand, dream almost exclusively at this point about what could go wrong in my play. What if someone falls off stage? What is an actor is sick and I have to fill in? I have dreamed about the other directors and all the students in the play. I guess it doesn't end when I wake up--the other day I almost sprinted out of the bathroom dripping wet after a shower to make a To Do list of 4 things that occurred to me while I was washing my hair that I just COULDN'T forget about (except Mommybrain of course made me forget one anyway). With all this, who has time to obsess about being pregnant?

So, pregnant ladies of the world, I suggest you find something overwhelming and chaotic to keep you busy while you are pregnant. It doesn't have to be directing a play--you could organize a fundraiser, plan and host a family reunion, or run for political office. Anything that keeps your mind off your belly. Then, when the chaos dies down and you have a few short weeks to go, all will seem perfect. At least, that is what I hope happens for me once my directorial debut is over.


Pregnant Women: What We Don't Want to Hear

There are lots of things you should be careful about saying to pregnant women. We are emotional, moody, and full of self doubt and fear. I will give the world some advice about how to handle us in casual conversation.

Here are a couple don'ts:

~Don't tell us about your first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage. This happened to me when I was pregnant last time. I know the woman was probably working through some stuff and felt she needed to talk about it, but I was not the right person for that. Blah. Tell me about good stuff, and leave the rest for wen I am not stressing out about my own potential pregnancy problems.

~Don't say things that imply we look anything less than awesome. I have had two of these mistakes in the last couple months:

1. Today, one of my 10th grade students heard me mention my son. His reaction? "How old is he? 15?" I was like, "2." I mean, really now. Why would you guess a number at all? How old do I even look? Hint: I'm 28. And by the way, I'm like 8 months pregnant. Do most people have a 14 year hiatus between pregnancies? Come on!

2. When I was a mere 6 and a half months pregnant, my dad told me during Sunday dinner that I should have the doctor double check that I am not having twins, because he thought I looked "enormous." Seriously? Who would say that? Like I haven't struggled with self-esteem enough in my non-pregnant life. I know I have put on a couple pounds. But guess what? I'm pregnant! And oddly enough, he doesn't seem to have noticed that I have gained significantly less weight with this pregnancy than I did with the last one--like 15-20 pound less. Come on!

*Sidenote: I do hear wonderful compliments all the time, as well. For example, my friend Becky, who is also pregnant, told me today that she hopes when she is 8 months along she is as little as me. How sweet! These nice comments are way more common than the mean ones that are probably not intended as such. But guess which ones stick with me?

~I also don't think most pregnant women want to hear about overpopulation, birth defects, or the 96 hours of labor someone else went through. Nothing but sunshine and smiles, please. It will make everything so much easier for us.

I'm Back!

I don't blame you if you don't believe me. But I am going to try blogging again. Consider this my first post.

And done!


Tragedy in Minnesota

Recently in the City Pages, the cover story was about Ty Mooney (my stepbrother, whom I have never met) and his wife Stacy. If you have time, you should read it in full. In case you don't have time, I will summarize.

Ty and Stacy recently adopted a little girl. It was a private adoption, and to make sure everything went smoothly, they hired a lawyer. They went along on the prenatal visits with the biological mother, they were at the hospital when the baby was born, and Stacy even was the one to cut the umbilical cord. When the baby was a month and a half old, Stacy got a phone call from her lawyer that in a half hour, she needed to meet the biological mother in the park to return the baby. If she refused, she was told she would be arrested for kidnapping. The baby was then adopted out to another family. Stacy and Ty are suing their lawyer for adoption malpractice, since he clearly did not know or bother to research adoption laws.

I hope this story is widely read and gets much publicity so that other families don't go through such a horrific ordeal. Lawyers are supposed to be experts you can trust, and these two believed in theirs. They believed he was leading them down the right path, that he was doing all he could to help protect their growing family, and that he was trustworthy and honest.

I can only imagine what Ty and Stacy felt during this ordeal. Parents deal with loss all the time; I deal with loss all the time: the loss of a pregnant belly, the loss of a chance to deliver a baby naturally, the loss of a gummy smile, the loss of a former social life. In unfortunate situations, parents must deal with the actual loss of a child. In this case, the parents have to deal not only with the loss of a child, but with the knowledge that the baby is out there, adopted into another family, being raised by other parents.

When this happened, my mom was really upset. She was the Grama, and she loved the baby. Suddenly, the baby was gone. When she told me about it, I thought the whole thing seemed fishy. How could that really have happened? When I read all the details about it in the City Pages, I was furious and terrified.

I have never gone through the adoption process, but the one thing I have gathered from people I know who have is that adopted children are as much a part of parents as biological children are. If I adopted a baby, in theory I would consider him/her to be as big a part of my life as Fox is (though I can hardly imagine loving anyone as much as Fox:)).

What must that have been like? What would I have done in that position? It is easy for me to say that if it were me, I would have done something differently, but the truth is nobody knows how he or she would react to that situation. So, I have made a plan. If someone, for whatever reason, were to try and take Fox from me, I know exactly what I would do and where I would go. None of you would be able to find me (except PV, because I told him my plan. But then I made a backup plan in case I need to hide from him). For obvious reasons, I cannot tell more details about my super awesome escape plan. Some of you may be reading this, thinking I have wound you into my little plan somehow. I assure you--none of you will be getting a call for help from me. You are all too obvious. My plan is complex, my contact people obscure, and my route untraceable. I hope I never have to use it, and I sincerely doubt I ever would (what grounds would someone have to take Fox?), but the plan is there.


Life is Fine, Fine as Wine, Life is Fine

I am a happy person. It is Tuesday of Spring Break. Life couldn't be better.

Each week, I am able to fit into more and more of my cute skinny clothes. I am almost into my favorite jeans (I think by Saturday I will be able to feel confident wearing them in public). In 6 weeks, I am down just over 13 pounds. Go me!

I got some cute shoes a couple weeks ago that seem to go with everything I own. Rock on!

We got an awesome new stroller today (on sale!!!) that is cute, gender neutral, and smooth gliding. It has a huge basket (great for shopping), and the handle is nice and high for Joe to use. Yay!

I have been searching for a new purse for almost 6 months. I found one at MOA on clearance for 5.99 that is SO cute I could die (but I won't). It is the perfect size to fit all I need. It even has a pocket insode (with a zipper!) that is big enough for a diaper and a 10-pack of wipes. There are two external holders--one for a phone, and one for lotion--and three internal holders for other items of import. It fits nicely on the shoulder, and the straps are cloth, so they stay put and don't slide down. And best of all, it has no leather at all! What a great purse. I would have paid 30$ for it (that is a lot for me, in case you don't know), but it was only 5.99. If there was a purse competition this summer (which I am aware there is not), I would totally win. Awesome!

I set up my U of M email today so I can keep in touch with everyone as we are preparing to teach our new public speaking class. In order get it going, I had to call a tech person for my password, and I got to say, "I am a new faculty member, and I need to set up my email account." I sound so grown up! Sweet!

Because I am a teacher, I got a free membership at Underwater World. Shark, lobsters, fishies, and turtles, here I come! Yay!

These are just some of the fantastic happenings in my life of late. Who knows what the future holds? Maybe a winning lottery ticket? hhhhhmmm...


We Meet Again...

I am uncomfortable in general with the idea of running into people I used to know--co-workers, high school friends, whatever. It isn't that I'm not interested in the lives of people I used to care about (most people who know me know I am very nosy, so I like to know what people are up to). But I always wonder if they will remember me. It is really awkward for me. I never want to assume someone will know my name or who I am, especially after 9 years, as is the case with my old high school friends. It is just an icky situation. If I spot someone I used to know, I generally keep my eyes busy elsewhere and stay out of sight. I kind of figure, too, that if the person sees me and says hi first, then it's ok. But I don't want to be the one to initiate contact. So, I pretend I don't see them.

The other main reason I dislike these types of reunions is that I never remember what happened the last time I saw people. What if I was a jerk to someone? What if I was a big jerk to the person, and we left on bad terms, and then I just act like nothing happened? That would be weird.

Anyway, this system has served me well for the past few years. And considering I live, work, and shop in the same neighborhood where I grew up and went to high school, I see surprisingly few people I used to know as I go about my daily life. But in the last couple days, I have seen two old friends.

First, I saw my friend Nicolle at the mall. I didn't actually see her until she called my name. It was great to see her--we had fun chatting, and I now wish I had kept in touch with her. We had lots of fun together, and she was a really good friend to me in my JHS/Perkins days. Then, today at school, my friend Matt walked into the computer lab. It turns out he is trying to register his kid for our preschool. Again, it felt really good to see him, and it was of course lots of fun to hear about his life and the lives of our classmates that he kept in touch with.

The point is this: I think I should be trying harder to maintain relationships with friends I don't see often. I also think I should change my policy about pretending not to notice people when I see them. They may not have a clue who I am, but oh well. Humiliation be damned! I am henceforth friendly.


Googling myself just got interesting

You know how when we have spare time, we google ourselves? Yeah, don't pretend you don't do this. It's irresistable. Anyway, I googled myself today, and I found not one but TWO Harry Potter fanfiction stories (here and here) featuring a character named Sadie Fischer (and no, they are not erotic fanfiction stories, so no worries). They appear to be by two different writers, but maybe one was inspired by a character the other created. I am a pretty big Potter fan, and I think I would have remembered if there was a character named Sadie Fischer. I'm pretty sure. So, yeah. It's fun to google yourself.

This is much better than the time I googled myself in college and found a local band called "Kill Sadie." That was just scary. I kept wondering who I had pissed off and hoping it was just a clever title, not a manifesto. But their wikipedia page explains the origin of the name, which I don't recall involving me...