Putting the "MO" in MOFO since 2004

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

 
It's 4 a.m... Can't breathe normally. Playing solitaire until the storm in my head blows over. Maggie turns on all the lights in the house (practically) 2 or 3 times a night. This wakes me up, but not really, because if it wasn't for that would just have to pee anyways. Getting kicked from the inside by this little boy. Thinking about the second thoughts I am having about the new job that I wanted so badly. No maternity leave. That risk seems a lot more huge now that I am feeling the weight of the pregnancy and the fatigue. The fear of a new job. What if I don't do well? What if I am too tired to function? What if I go a little bit crazy after the birth of this little boy like I did last time? The safety of a place I dislike seems preferable to the big bad unknown. For which I have not tenure or paid leave. So. Here I am, thinking I may ask them to wait until the next position opens up. After I assured them that I was okay with that risk. I just wanted to win. Now I am freaked and scared and anxious. Not good. Also doing just fine where I am... except for the hating it sometimes..

I have been dreaming of ex boyfriends - I always do when I am pregnant. Don't know why. Perhaps I am trying to bulldoze unresolved issues from my subconscious to get ready for the new arrival and new change. Getting angry about stuff that happened 12 years ago. Lies and bad behavior and the shame of being the last to know. And wondering why I spent so much time mourning a person who had proven themselves to be of so little value or real worth to me. It was perhaps, more that it was so shocking to my system that someone could take me down emotionally so completely. That someone's carelessness had made me wither from the inside out. But that was more than one person. It was about much more than that. That was me being drowned out by things and by people and by life.

I was thinking about moving out of my parents house for the first time. Into the sorority which I paid for myself (which I was later kicked out of because I couldn't afford it). On the day I moved, my parents weren't around to help. No plans. No worries. I don't even think they had arranged for a car for me. A really nice guy named Rob who I was seeing helped me. Rob, who I eventually stopped calling with no explanation. Rob who sent me romantic letters reminding me of the time we spent together in Madison sitting by the lake for hours, until the sun came up. He was so sweet, and I was such an asshole. But even then, I thought it was strange that my parents didn't help me move. It was an afterthought of course, like "maybe we should have helped you" was uttered at some point. But the damage was done. Walking into the sorority with a large comforter and the anxiety, cold in the pit of my stomach. Seeing all the other girls with their doting parents, who cared enough to ask about what kind of food we would be fed, worrying about the likes and dislikes of their daughters, and feeling that familiar feeling of "other" ness. Being on the outside, looking at the way normal people acted. Normal people who mattered to their families. Years later, my parents made a big production of moving my younger sisters into their dorms. That they paid for. And then later, into the house she rented with friends. That they paid for. And wondered why I was never worth the time or money or energy that they were.

Someday I hope to recover from the atrocities of my youth. I write that with the sense of humor of someone who does understand their own profound ability to wallow shamelessly. I also know, I will never. Ever. Do that to my children.

Friday, May 11, 2007

 

Pretty.


A couple of weeks ago on my day off, I brought Maggie in to work to show here around. I was sitting in my cube just now, and realized I had forgotten to point out that I had pictures of her hung up right where I can see them.

Then I thought about my parents at work when I was a kid, and how they probably displayed pictures of my sisters and me in their offices.

And I felt a little bit sorry for them.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

First Day

Dear Maggie,

Today was your first day at your new school. The first day we have ever left you with someone you haven’t known your whole life. I have been anxious about this day for weeks.

I tried very hard to act as calm and collected as I could as we got dressed and headed out the door. Today, I dressed you in your turtle pants, and matching green turtle shirt, and we put a green ribbon in your hair. You had milk and a banana in your favorite chair, and watched Pinky Dinky Doo while I got ready for work. I took a picture of you in your car seat as we got ready to go, and you gave me a smile, which you hardly ever do these days when there is a camera around. I told you to say “I’m going to SCHOOL TODAY!” and you repeated it back to me with a big, huge grin. We will save that picture forever.

We have been talking school up for about a month now. We took you for a visit last week so you could meet your teachers and get used to the new room and the playground where you will spend two long days a week. I was so worried that you would cry when I left, so I made sure you knew what the drill would be. We talked over and over again about how Mommy would bring you to school and play for a little while until I had to go to work, and you would stay with your teacher and the other children. Then you would play, and have lunch, and take a rest, and play some more, and then Mommy and Daddy would come and bring you home.

While you got situated, I filled out some paperwork about what you like and don’t like, and made sure to write down that you are left handed. They asked about behavior issues, and I wrote that you have the occasional temper tantrum, whining, and the rate episode of hitting. I broke out sweating as I wrote, and had to wipe my forehead under my nose several times, which means I was feeling more than a little panicky.

I wanted to get there early while it was still calm, and there were two other kids there. The entire class had been hearing about Maggie, the new kid, for over a week, and they have been very excited to meet you. Your first day was supposed to be a week ago, but you had a fever so we kept you home. I was secretly relieved that we had a little more time, because frankly, I wasn’t quite ready yet. So everyone knew you were coming, and every time a kid was brought in by there parents, the teachers, Jenny and Erika, said “Hello (so and so)! Maggie is here today? Remember how we talked about Maggie?”. I asked if you could say “Hi” to your new class mates and you simply replied “No” and went about your business.

You immediately found a box of dinosaurs and asked if you could dump them out and play with them. You got right down to business. Then you asked if you could play with the bugs, and the teacher told you that you could, as soon as you put the dinosaurs away.

And I started to sweat some more, and had to wipe my upper lip again, because I got so worried about leaving you in a place with all these new rules that you didn’t even know yet. And what if you no one understood that in big groups of kids, you really like to play by yourself, and what if they thought that was rude? And what if they thought that meant you didn’t like them, and what if then they weren’t nice to you? And what if they didn’t understand how sweet you are underneath it all, and how unabashedly loving you can be? What if you don’t speak all day, and they have no idea how smart and funny and wonderful you are?

And of course you simply put the dinosaurs away, and then took out the box of bugs like it was no big deal at all. Like you learned new rules every day, and learning the ropes was no biggie.

My plan was to stay until they served breakfast and help you get situated. I wanted to ease you in to the day, without making things harder by staying too long. That is a very faint line as a parent, and it’s so hard to know if you are doing the right thing. I worried that the teachers would think I was a nervous Nellie. Most of all I worried about whether me sticking around was making things easier for you or harder for you.

We sat you in a chair, and the teacher poured you some cereal in a bowl, and some yogurt in one cup, and milk in another, and you dug right in, like you had been going to school for ages.

My heart pounded as I got ready to say goodbye. I was as jumpy as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, and I didn’t want my nervous energy making you nervous. I don’t think you noticed at all. At least I hope you didn’t. I knelt down, and kissed you on the cheek, and I said “Mommy’s going to work now! You are going to stay here and play with the teachers and all the kids!” in a cheery voice that masked the fact that I wanted to sit right down and cry and about to have a full fledged panic attack.

You kept right on eating your cereal and nodded. “I love you!” I said as I started walking away. I blew you a kiss. “Do you want to blow me a kiss?” I asked.

“No.” you replied. And kept right on eating.

I turned and picked up your paperwork with shaky hands. I walked out the door, and to the car. I shed a few tears in the car on the way to my meeting.

I called an hour and a half later to ask the teachers how you were doing, and they said that you were fine. You hadn’t cried at all yet. And that the other kids were VERY interested in you, but you weren’t so interested in them. Which didn’t surprise me, because that’s just the way you tend to be in large groups of kids. You like to find some toys and a quiet corner, and stay out of the fray.

Your Grandma Vi called me at work to ask about how things went, and your dad called to check in this morning too.

I am biting my fingernails, and about to call again, because it’s nap time right now, and I am worried you won’t be able to sleep in a strange place, without your usual blankie and bed.

This really hard.

But you seem to be fine.

And that makes me very very proud, and very very happy, and more than just a little bit sad. All at the same time.

You are doing great. And I am so proud of you.

Love, Mommy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

 

Where did Attila the Hun come from?

Apparently, Attila the Hun Sprang forth from the conjoined DNA strands of my husband and me.

The terrible two and three quarters are upon us. I always thought that MY CHILD would never hit the terrible twos. Miss Madge is as sweet as brownies with M&Ms and gumdrops. And ice cream. The days of wine and roses have come to a screeching halt.

Saturday, after the 9th total and complete meltdown, Jim and I were looking at each other like "what the Hell happened to our kid?"

We set a record for number of time-outs in a single day. She screamed ALL DAY LONG. She hit Jim in the face with a plastic microphone, and then refused to say she was sorry.

She received time-out after time-out until she finally uttered the words “I’m SORRY”. It was a showdown of epic proportions. The old west theme song (you know…ooh-ee-ooh-ee-ooh, WUH-WUH) played in the background as young Madge dug her heels into the Oriental hall runner and screamed with the intense heat of a thousand burning hot suns. The paint on the walls and woodwork blistered as hot tears leapt from her eyes and sprayed the walls. She and her father stood face to face, neither backing down, as she repeatedly refused to apologize for nearly taking his teeth out with a cheap plastic microphone.

Then she gave even me a double-handed slap (one on each side of my face). As my friend Jen said “The kids’ got Chutzpah. Chutzpah would be an understatement. OY FREAKING VEY.

After much hand-wringing and wailing, we finally got a mumbled “Sa-wee.”

We finally set her in front of the TV with a bowl of chex mix to watch “Go Diego GO”. We skulked away on tiptoe and spoke to each other in hushed whispers. “What is WRONG with her?" Coupled with some shrugging and head-shaking.

Then, yesterday, she was fine. Right back to her sweet, agreeable self. Until it was time for her bath, that is. She refused to take off her diaper and wailed with alarming indignance "NO!! I HAVE TO POOP REALLY SOON! YOU CAN’T TAKE OFF MY DIAPER!!!" Then she refused to sit in the tub, so I had to wash her hair with her standing up, and me pouring a bucket of water on her head while she shrieked.

Please send in all available reinforcements.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

 

I am being featured today over at Mommybloggers!

Go here to check it out: Mommybloggers

It’s actually my official farewell. I loved collaborating with Jenny and Jenn, the incredible, talented, warm and lovely ladies that they are. We really have had some fun.

However, working full time, managing this site, contributing Mommybloggers, parenting a preschooler with a new baby on the way left me feeling a little haggard and spent and something had to give. The good news is, I decided to keep the kids and the job. The bad news is that I am not superwoman (who knew?) and sometimes one has to simplify a bit to preserve ones sanity.

I have met and interviewed so many incredible writers by being a part of Mommybloggers. The good news is that I am still here, and will continue to be in touch with all my pals.

It’s been an incredible ride. Thank you!