Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Revelations

I broke down when we got home from my sister’s house on Christmas. I was feeling the pressure of all the things I’ve been putting off until “after the holidays”. Plus holiday and personality stress like my sister snapping at me earlier that morning and two pairs of Kirk’s brand new Christmas present underpants being accidentally thrown away. I need to feel like we’re making preparations for this baby. I definitely do not feel like Mr. b and I are on the same page as far as baby prep goes and even after talking to him about it I still don’t know that we are. But I did realize that I need to take control over something, anything.

I’ve joked about my procrastination habits for most of my life. I put off everything from school work to sewing projects and it’s continued into my adulthood, to an occasionally detrimental degree. I didn’t bother to submit the rebate paperwork for the dishwasher delivery fee in a timely fashion and we’ll likely miss out on that now. I still haven’t made an appointment for Kirk’s eyes or for my thumb, because neither are immediately critical issues so it’s easy to put off. I can’t allow myself to be so lacking when it comes to housework and homemaking and parenting and being a grown up.

My grandmother gave me a piece of advice that I’ve tried to follow: just do one thing every day so that your chores don’t pile up. The problem is that I’ve become accustomed to certain tasks and count them in lieu of others. Don’t feel like sweeping the floors? Well, how ‘bout I do a load of laundry that could wait until tomorrow instead. I rarely run out of clean clothes for the family to wear but the old stove top was usually a disaster. I recently read the sixth book in the Anne of Green Gable series. In it she’s a grown woman, married to Gilbert and raising their six (surviving) children. And she is constantly working, whether it’s in the garden or sewing something for one of the kids or something else, she is busy. When her friends come to visit they bring their knitting or lace making projects and they sit together and chat while working. Idle time for daydreaming is a luxury to be doled out sparingly. And I realized, I take my idle time for granted and it’s actually doing me a disservice.

I need to keep busy. I have excellent time management skills. At work I can juggle multiple deadlines and beat them easily. When cooking I can nearly always perfectly time out each element of a multi-part meal without actually thinking about it. I’ve known for years now that if I bustle about the house when I first get home from work, picking up or making dinner or something simple, that I’ll get a lot done but if I allow myself to sit on the couch first then the evening is a complete bust. So I obviously need to extend this to the post-dinner hour. Spending time on the internets is great. Watching TV is great. Reading is great. But I need to dial it back and make sure I keep it balanced. For me it’s not idle hands that are the devil’s playground but rather an idle mind. If I’m not focused on something then I start to over-think and over-analyze. Worry. Fret. And just generally freak out about life, the universe, and everything.

This afternoon I read this article about praise and boy did it lock in to place all the pieces of my previous revelation and self-awareness. I absolutely didn't bother to try at things that didn't come naturally. Putting in effort was for suckers and nerds; the "real" smart kids didn't have to work at it and I was always able to easily classify myself with that elitist bent. Besides, it’s not like there was an *actual* A+++ I could earn. (Extra credit? Of course! As long as it was easy.) College was a real wake-up call for me. No longer was Good Enough good enough when I was competing with students that actually tried. My Good Enough was no longer Spectacular in comparison. I do wonder how much of that old attitude is residual in what I now label as my natural procrastination? If I don't start a craft project until it's "due" then the only effort I'm putting in is the bare minimum needed to finish, right? Nothing extra.

I can also see that I already do praise the Captain very specifically. I will tell him that he’s awesome for a defined reason. He pooped in the potty all by himself. Why? Because he’s awesome. I praise him for trying something he’s previously declined to even attempt and give him detailed feedback when he’s particularly polite or does something completely on his own for the first time without prompting from me. I definitely think that must be a subconscious reaction to try to prevent the same thing from happening to him – being overwhelmed by too much adequacy.

I absolutely believe that being Good at too many things but Great at nothing is what has led me to my current I-just-fell-into-this career. I know my mom believes that the same thing happened to her and led to her becoming a teacher, because then she didn’t have to focus. I could never pick a minute enough topic for a dissertation and that was definitely as big of a factor as finances and general dissatisfaction with contract archaeology which allowed me to finally let go of the idea of grad school. And I think it has a lot to do with my inability to pick a career path now. I keep telling myself that I just can’t think about it until after maternity leave. But why? Why can’t I start researching and investigating my options? I’ve had countless job performance reviews where I’ve heard, “You’re just so much smarter than everyone else that it’s intimidating” but no real mentoring advice. So I’m on my own I guess. I need to take this newfound self-awareness and apply it to something more than just doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom and sorting through Kirk’s old baby clothes to find the gender neutral stuff. Intelligence absolutely can be learned. Your brain absolutely can be exercised. I need to believe that I can stop this cycle of just taking the HR mandated promotions as they come and actually earn something. But godsdamn it’s going to be hard. And trying is just so foreign to me.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

25 Weeks 6 Days

I had my doctor visit and glucose test yesterday. This time it was fruit punch flavor. The thing about that stuff is...it doesn't start out tasting so bad. And it's only 10 ounces. But you have to drink the whole thing in 5 minutes or less and frankly about halfway through it starts to just be Too Much. Hopefully the fact that I had just had pizza at my holiday lunch at work won't skew my results any. I definitely felt myself crashing once the sugar rush wore off later in the afternoon.

Weight-wise I've shot up 6 pounds since last month. That took me by surprise, though it really shouldn't have. My clothes have been noticeably tighter, even some of the maternity stuff I had saved from before. And I've been eating more. Many of the taste issues I've been having this pregnancy have suddenly lessened. And holy cow those savory breakfasts I've been favoring sure have a way higher calorie count. Plus my salt tooth has come back, though my sweet tooth is still going strong. So basically now I'm having twice the evening snacks since I'll have some chips or popcorn or something first and then move on to the candy or ice cream or cookies. Bad, bad, bad. I need to dial it back.

But hey, at least we have a working oven again! Mr. b found one on Craigslist earlier this week for the cost of the part to fix the old one. So he and my dad went to pick it up this morning and now it's in and I guess I should decide if I need to do any holiday baking or not. Certainly I don't need more sweets around the house. But I wouldn't mind bringing in something to share at work or at least bringing something to my sister's house for Christmas Day dinner.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fa La La La La

Being pregnant during choir season has been a considerably different experience this time than last. In 2004 I had only just found out I was knocked up and by the time we finished our holiday concerts I was still in the first trimester. Sure, the ladies all fussed over me and I didn’t feel 100% the whole time but it was relatively easy to get through.

I didn’t notice how much more difficult it has been this year during our three months of rehearsals. We sit down at practice. We go over trouble spots and have announcements and there’s fuckery between songs and it’s just not that intensive. Being in a concert? You’re standing and singing, nonstop, for an hour. I was fine during our charity concert two weekends ago because that’s a total of 7 songs, broken into two sets. I was mostly OK during the concert at my corporate campus last week but I definitely felt a bit woozy by the end. And then of course I missed the next one when I was recovering from being violently ill.

Monday was when our official, downtown-at-the-big-location shows started. And it was tough to make it to the end. I powered through and was relieved when we were done. I lip-synched through quite a few of the high and sustained spots but still made it. Yesterday? I had to sit down. I just crouched down on the risers and sat during an entire song, figuring that would be good enough. I couldn’t even finish the very next song, even with lip-synching. I left the risers and sat behind the group for the remaining 10 or 15 minutes. It wasn’t just weakness, though I definitely felt like I was going to pass out. I think it was a number of factors. I was hungry (our shows start at Noon). I was tired. It was frickin’ hot as hell in there. My choir clothes are ill-fitting because I don’t have any suitable maternity substitutes. But mostly I think it was the breathing. Being pregnant means you have reduced lung capacity. Physically your lungs are squished up and you can’t take in as much oxygen as you normally would. Before singing, most people start yawning as an unconscious way to sort of “fill up” on oxygen. I was trying to suppress yawns in the middle of the songs, especially when I was lip-synching. Essentially, it’s an hour of rhythmic hyperventilation.

And on top of that, I started getting foot cramps. Both feet, in the arches, at the same time. The entire time I was sitting down, trying to catch my breath and recuperate, I was fighting off foot cramps. I suppose I could have dealt with one thing or the other but not both issues at the same time. I vaguely remember hearing about the cramping being a preggo thing. I’ve gotten them off and on my entire life (thanks dance!) but I can rub or stretch them out. That didn’t work yesterday. Tenacious little pains they were. So now I’m getting ready to head downtown for our last concert of the season and I’m totally paranoid. I guess I’ll stand on the edge of the risers so if I need to make a quick getaway it won’t be as disruptive. But frankly I’m kind freaked out about the whole thing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Worst. Night. Ever.

Last night I got up with Kirk at around 2:40. That's pretty common. He frequently ends up with a wet bed because those damn pull-ups just seem to leak all the time. The problem this time? I couldn't fall back to sleep. And it wasn't regular insomnia. I started having nasty cramps.

My first thought, of course, was to freak out about the baby. How many weeks am I? I can never remember. It's somewhere around 24 I think. Definitely not far enough for a premature birth. But then the nature of the cramping didn't fit with the actual early labor pains that I experienced last time. This was more violent. Could it be food poisoning? I had been out to dinner with some girlfriends earlier that night. Still, it wasn't until the puking started that I finally eradicated the notion of it being gestationally related.

Two and a half hours later I was finally able to head back to bed. The chills and the hot flashes and the issues at both ends all made me wonder the whole time if this was somehow bad for the baby. The little girl, however, was extremely active during the entire ordeal. That was a comfort, if you can call anything comforting while going through that. I guess she thought it was a party in my tummy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Bigger on the Inside

Recently we finally got a dishwasher and we naturally gave the box to Kirk to play in. It comes equipped with two doors and two windows.


Kirk has been referring to it as his spaceship. Mr. b has been calling it a TARDIS. Either way, it’s been fun to watch him play in it. Of course now it’s relegated to the basement but still. Kirk would announce, "Bye! I’m going to space. See you later!" and then disappear into the box. I love his imagination and his fascination with space.

I don’t feel like having us as his parents has in any way forced science fiction upon him. If anything, it’s simply made it more available to him but the tendency has always been there on its own. Kirk quickly focused his attention on Buzz Lightyear, rather than Woody, when first watching Toy Story. We have had nothing to do with his preference for The Incredibles over Ratatouille. Sure, when he was in his Star Wars phase last year we had a selection of lightsabers already on hand for him to play with. But even when he was a baby he was captivated by the planets and robots in the Baby Galileo video. That’s not something you can predict.

I do remember having the same natural predilection when I was little. I loved the Maurice Sendak "Little Bear" stories but my favorite one was where Little Bear went to the moon. I would tape the Wonderful World of Disney Sunday Night TV movies and only keep the ones like Earth Star Voyager. My first hazy memory is of seeing Star Wars at the drive-in with my parents. I didn’t know it was a specific genre that I was drawn to. I never even made the connection until decades later.

There’s the concept of the Stealth Geek that I enjoy. (Though lord knows in our hipster music circles everyone is pretty open about their Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica and Lord of the Rings obsessions.) I think that Kirk is already showing awareness of a receptive audience. When a friend of the family was over recently and she mentioned Star Trek he started chatting excitedly about the show. He’s got his favorite couple of episodes and showed off how he put action figures in his Little Einsteins rocket to use as the Enterprise. But when he was around his cousins over Thanksgiving he didn’t mention anything of the sort. They talked about Cars and whatever attack-Mr.-b’s-cousin game they were playing. I’m impressed that he’s already that cognizant of the cultural divide. And that he finds common ground with people to discuss something they find interesting, instead of just going off on his own topics. I’ve realized I do that, too. I unconsciously keep a mental catalogue of common interests with rarely seen friends and acquaintances so that I always have an easy conversation starter when I do see them.

It’s intriguing to hear people’s reactions to Kirk’s interests though. Some just shrug it off as inevitable. Others think it’s cool that we don’t have to put up with the usual Barney and whatever garbage. But it’s not like he doesn’t watch any of the standard PBS/Disney Channel/Nickelodeon kid’s shows. He just mixes it up with stuff that we genuinely enjoy as well. And frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Breaking Fast

Just when I think I've got this whole breakfast thing finally figured out...it seems like my tastes are changing yet again. It made a certain amount of sense that I was wanting a protein infusion in the morning to get me started and then carbs late in the day to fuel the overnight baby factory shift. Lords knows the squirminess is at disco proportions in the evenings. And dairy in general has given me heartburn so it also makes sense that I'd be avoiding that. A couple people have suggested protein shakes instead of eggs and that just sounds revolting. I'm not even having yogurt as second breakfast anymore and I've done that for years and years. Frankly, most of my calcium is coming from late night ice cream and Rolaids!

So now that I've adjusted and have been trying all the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls and other savory quick meal options, cereal is starting to sound attractive again. I still haven't been brave enough to try a bowl before going to work in the morning. None of the cold cereals I have in the cupboard sound tasty to me. And I haven't even been buying myself skim milk lately because it's not like I'd be drinking it. But hot, whole grain cereals have been calling to me on the weekends again. I had a bowl of oatmeal this morning with Kirk's 2%. I haven't yet figured out how to interpret that.

The strangest craving that I'm dealing with this pregnancy is candy. I don't mean chocolate. I don't even mean cookies or cake or sweet-tooth stuff in general. I mean candy. Skittles and Starbursts and Dots and gummy bears and that kind of thing. Can't get enough of it. I usually manage to resist all day and then end up eating a bunch at night an hour before going to bed. Which can't possibly be good for either being currently inhabiting this body. And yet, I can't stop it. It's so weird. Objectively, I'm kinda freaked out by this behavior. I'm normally a salty snacks gal. This is just plain odd. But yummy!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On the Road

Taking Aim

Driving nearly 10 hours with a freshly potty trained 3 year old went surprisingly well. We pulled over once each way for a side of the road pee break but the rest of the time Kirk made it to a rest stop or gas station with no problems. Well, there was that one instance of a little turd nugget escaping into his underpants but it wasn’t really a Big Accident. And since we’ve been home he’s been pretty dang good about pooping in the potty instead of his overnight diaper. So that’s a good change!

He did start a new habit of stalling out bedtime by getting up to pee a hundred million times after being put to bed. He had a bout of insomnia one night (thankfully his cousins weren’t kept up by his constant movement) and would ask for more juice and then pee and then ask for more juice and then pee and then ask for more juice… Our new thing is to not allow him to get a refill – and by refill I mean an inch or less of beverage in his sippy cup – unless he pees first. Even if it’s 2 in the morning. I’m just plain sick and tired of changing sheets every frickin night. Next step is convincing him he can get up and go pee by himself. Last night he got up 5 times! “I gotta go pee!” “Well then go!” He doesn’t request an escort during the day so I’m not sure what the difference is. Then again, he doesn’t ever get out of bed on his own, even in the morning. He waits until someone opens the door or turns on his light or something. Which is great for preventing any unannounced appearances during Mommy and Daddy Time, ahem, but is definitely something we’ll have to work on for bathroom visits.

Mr. b is thinking of getting a portable DVD player. And not actually to use in the car. Kirk keeps himself entertained with toys and singing (hearing a little kid sing the Ramones “Beat on the Brat” is pretty much the cutest thing ever) and looking out the window and talking to us and everything else that you do while on a long drive. I just don’t think watching movies in the car is something we need. But I agree that it might be fun to have the TV to ourselves now and again when Kirk is dead set on watching something he’s already seen 50 billion times. On Sunday afternoon, while we were recovering from the Thanksgiving trip, Mr. b was in the bedroom watching something, I was in the living room watching the episode of Top Chef I had missed, and Kirk was in his bedroom watching Cars on the laptop. It was silly and modern and perfect. It’s not like it would be a common occurrence either. But hey, we live in the future so why not go for it?