Whaddya Think?

October 25, 2006

It felt like time for a change, maybe to a slightly girlier-looking template. Ok, technically the template didn’t change, but the colors sure did. It makes the whole thing feel differerent, doesn’t it? I think I like it.

October 24th

October 25, 2006

It appears that October 24th is safely over for yet another year. I always breathe a sigh of relief when the day passes and nothing life-changing has happened.

The crazy superstition started nine years ago. I started dating my first serious boyfriend on Oct. 24. The date was forever ingrained in my memory because I fully expected to be celebrating it as the anniversary of our first date for years to come. Instead, the relationship turned into a borderline abusive relationship that I was hesitant to end because I feared he would kill himself over it. (Thankfully he broke up with me first. He is now married–although just how happily is up for debate.)

Two years later to the day, my most promising relationship yet ended quite suddenly. It’s quite a long story, but two days earlier we were happy as clams, tentatively dreaming up our perfect wedding. The break-up killed me emotionally, and ever since I’ve dreaded the anniversary of that date. (We, too, still keep in touch. He is married as well, just months after I finally got hitched.)

The years following that break-up I spent October 24 holding my breath. One year I went out of town with a friend of mine to meet many of her college friends. I still remember that anxious feeling all day with a potentially life-changing situation coinciding with a life-changing day. It’s probably the “magic” of the day that compelled me to believe I felt a connection with one of those college friends. I’m still embarrassed when I think back to the days and weeks follwing that weekend when I shamelessly pursued my perceived soulmate. I wonder if I would have found myself in such an embarrassing situation if I had met the guy on any other day. I suppose the event was somewhat life-changing, but certainly not in the way I’d anticipated.

Then last year, my dear son spent the day in the NICU, just one more day in a string of days filled with fear and anticipation. I was terrified to go the the hospital to visit him, afraid that we would be greeted with bad news. I was just as terrified not to go; hearing the bad news over the phone would be twice as devastating. Of course, a part of me also recognized the possibility of wonderful news, maybe that first mention of his homecoming. I was relieved when the day was just another false alarm of an October 24. The news was typical, pretty much what we had heard every other day and what we expected to hear that day.

And this year passed quietly as well. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t earth-shattering. Perhaps the day has lost some of its power. Perhaps the only power it ever had was in my expectations. Now that I feel comfortable and satisfied with my life the way it is, expecting nothing earth-shattering ever, I have no reason to expect any day to hold such surprise, even October 24.


October 23, 2006

M and I finally talked frankly last night about this whole trying to conceive thing. Although we are kinda sorta trying, it’s not quite as I’d assumed it was. M admitted we’re not taking precautions not to get pregnant because he knows I want another kid and now is a good enough time for another. In other words, he’s not excited by the thought of another, but he agreed long ago to have another so he’s following through with the promise. I think he also thinks that if he fulfills the obligation to have another now, then I’ll stop pressuring him about it.

I’ll stop pressuring him when he stops pressuring me to go back to work.

I strongly suspect at some point after having a second kid, I’ll feel ready and even anxious to have a third. I’ve always wanted a large family. At one point I thought I wanted more like six kids. I doubt now that I could handle that many, but I also know two probably won’t be enough for me. When we were dating, I told M I wanted four. He said two. We agreed to compromise on three. Now two is the compromise? I don’t get it, and I don’t like it.

I keep hoping that PJ and the next one will turn out to be such wonderful and charming kids that M will decide he wants another. Or maybe this next one will be twins and he won’t have a choice about a third kid.

As much as he claims sometimes that he doesn’t want more than two kids, he still slips and mentions what-ifs about the next pregnancy. For example, if the next one is as bad as the first was and if the next one is early too, we’ll definitely stop at two. Doesn’t that imply we might not stop at two? (By the way, I agree with him. I’m not suffering like that if it looks like it will be every time, and I’m not going to knowingly endanger any more kids’ lives with prematurity.)

So I’m left not knowing whether to be aggravated that we’re kinda sorta trying for what will possibly be my last baby or to be hopeful that a third isn’t altogether ruled out. I suppose that’s looking too far into the future. I guess I’ll take my own advice (to M even) and play it by ear, focusing on one kid/pregnancy at a time.

By the way, how weird is this? If my cycle returned to normal right after quitting the birth control, I could be pregnant even now and not know it. I’m crossing my fingers!


October 22, 2006

It’s Saturday night. There’s crap on TV. My son is asleep. My husband just left to go to Wal-Mart–sexy Saturday evening excursion, huh? I’m all alone and bored to tears.

The worst part is that I just finished reading a book…a series really. I’ve invested much of my last week or so in reading this series, so it feels like I’ve lost a friend now that the series is over. I can’t believe how involved I get in these fictional people’s lives.

I would start a new book, or ideally another series, but I don’t have any books I haven’t read recently that are calling my name. I could probably settle with something, but after that last series, I don’t want to settle.

So I find myself floundering without the friendly book in my hands, or at least taunting me from the coffee table. What shall I do with my time? How can I stay entertained? Maybe this is a good opportunity to start writing that book I mentioned several weeks back. After all, I should be inspired after that wonderful series I just finished.

Maybe that is what I’ll do…just as soon as I finish folding this load of laundry. Duty first, after all.

Days Like These

October 19, 2006

And then come days like this when I seriously consider my desire to have another baby.

PJ is in his room throwing a total hissy fit. The tantrums have been coming more and more often, but never this early in the day and never when he’s so well-slept. He screamed the moment he woke up from his nap. He screamed on and off through his bath, his favorite time of the day. He screamed through the diapering, lotioning, and dressing that followed. He even screamed when I brushed his hair, which has never happened before. He wants something other than what he’s getting, and I have no clue what it is. Not that I’d cater to him even if I knew what he wanted.

I’m beginning to remember what it was like in those early days with him, when he cried non-stop for no reason. I remember the devastating depression that hit me, especially when I was incapable of stopping the crying. It was always worst in late afternoon, like right now, because it was right at the end of the workday, the time I had to handle him solo. Once M got home and did what he could to help me, the hopelessness left somewhat. And now it’s all coming back to me again–the memories at least. The depression is holding off for now…although if the tantrums continue, I may not be able to hold it at bay for long.

I remember yelling at my too-small, too-young infant in his early days, simply because he wouldn’t stop crying. I hate myself for it. I hate that I thought yelling back at PJ would actually help anything. It was out of sheer frustration, I realize, but that doesn’t alleviate the guilt. And today I found myself speaking much more sternly with him than I have in a long time. I managed to hold back the full extent of my fury, but only just barely. I don’t know. Maybe he’s old enough now to understand me when I do get upset with him. Still, I never want to have to yell at him. Ideally, he would behave all the time so that I never even get the temptation to raise my voice.

But just like his mommy, PJ has an independent streak in him. I wish sometimes that he could talk and tell me what he wants so that I wouldn’t have to hear the crying, but I know words won’t squash that independence. It is just trading one frustration for another. In another year I’ll lament why he ever learned the word no, and in another fifteen I’ll wish he’d never learned to talk at all.

I think this all has to do with my own response to PJ, not his behavior alone. I can’t control his behavior or his tantrums, but I can control my reactions to him. And how exactly do I expect him to learn not to scream at me when he’s upset if I scream at him when I am? I hate to do it, but my technique of avoiding him altogether during his tantrums seems to be a better approach right now. He’s already starting to quiet down now…now that he knows I’m not going to rush in there and do whatever he wants. I’m much more responsive to him when he’s not crying, so now he’s not crying. I think it’s time for some positive reinforcement.

I Swore I Wouldn’t Do This

October 18, 2006

I already have a mommy blog. This one isn’t supposed to be to talk about mommy stuff. That’s what the other blog is for. Up until now, I’ve done a pretty decent job at avoiding anything more than the offhand mention of the offspring.

But today I’m going to break my own rule. I had a really sweet moment with PJ earlier. He had just finished nursing and for once was content to just sit in my lap for a few minutes, not attempting to crawl out of my lap or off the couch or grab the remote control or climb me. He just reclined against my arm and got comfortable. He may have been focused on the TV during that time, but at least he let me be his TV pillow.

I’m twice as glad that he was willing to just chill with me today because I’m seeing a definite turn toward weaning. I’m honestly surprised the nursing has lasted over a year, but PJ is clearly beginning to get tired of it. He sits and nurses for less and less time before getting distracted every day. Often I can redirect his interest back to eating once or twice after the squirming begins, but again that’s happening less and less often.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I hated breastfeeding at first. I hated that the full feeding responsibilities fell on me, especially in the middle of the night. I hated that my boobs weren’t my own, and I hated the feeling that they leaked all the time (they actually still do). Once I finally got used to all that, and when I had solid foods to help ease the feeding responsibilities off me some, nursing became easier. I still didn’t really like it, though; I just tolerated it.

Now that weaning is so close, though, I’m starting to realize just how much I’ve grown to like it. It is the only quiet bonding time I get with PJ any longer. I’m actually going to miss it when it’s over. It’s time, though. PJ is ready to take that next step towards independence, I think. At least now I see why so many women swear by it.


October 17, 2006

I hate these words: “when you go back to work…”

I cringe every time I hear them, which is far too often in my opinion. Before the prospect of a baby ever showed up, M and I agreed I would take some time off after the kid(s) was born. I thought we’d talked about that time off being until they were in school. Maybe not, though. I can’t remember for sure. Either way, that was my assumption.

The first part of that is working out. I’m a stay-at-home mom, like I’d always dreamed of doing, and I love it. I absolutely dread the thought of going back to work, especially while PJ is still this young. I don’t want to think about missing even one moment of him growing up, even on his bad days.

But M is apparently uncomfortable with the idea of us being a single-income family. Technically, I think he’s uncomfortable with the thought of being the only one supporting us. We’re doing great on that one income. It may be due in part to our combined thriftiness, but M is a good provider. I have faith in him and God to provide enough for our family. I feel strongly that now is not the right time to go back to work.

Have I mentioned that I hated my teaching job when I quit a year and a half ago? I suspect the stress from the job contributed to the awful pregnancy I had, and I was already planning to quit my job at the end of the school year long before I got pregnant. I was burned out on teaching and I highly doubt I could go back to it any time soon after leaving the way I did.

I’ve considered tutoring. I’ve done it before, and in a pinch I could do it again. The problem is I have no connections to get my name out there to find tutees. Add to the fact that I am not a people person. I know…I taught for five years. How could I not be a people person? I never have been, and I was trying to be somebody I’m not when I taught. I think that’s part of the reason I was never really content with it. It doesn’t help that staying at home with PJ has begun to turn me into a hermit and I now dread any interactions with people. It’s bad enough that I shy away from even going grocery shopping if I don’t need to.

So I guess that means if my husband gets his way, I’m getting a job before long, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. But I would only consider a job that wouldn’t force me to do much interaction with people at all. Anybody know of any jobs like that out there for the taking? And for someone with nothing more than a worthless teaching degree?

M did at least compromise some with me tonight. We agreed that unless some tragedy hits us, I won’t look for a job until PJ is in preschool. Then I’ll get a part-time job during the time he’s otherwise occupied. I’m happy with the compromise, but primarily because that means I don’t have to worry about it for several more years. And I can probably extend that time by having another kid or two in the near future.

Unfortunately, I sincerely doubt that compromise will truly end my worries about it. I know my husband well enough to know that he will continue to throw those detested words my way from time to time just to make sure I haven’t forgotten my end of the deal: “when you go back to work…”