The In-Law Stories

March 29, 2007

They left this morning, so I feel free to gripe about them now. On the bright side, the last two days or so weren’t nearly as bad as I was expecting. They were both good about doing things our way while they were here. I think they realized quickly that we weren’t doing anything stupid, just maybe different from the way they did things with their boys. Frankly, that sounds like a good thing to me.

Let’s start with the worst story from their visit. More than once I heard MIL make a Freudian slip. When talking to PJ, she would slip and call herself Mommy and have to catch herself and change it to Grandma. I don’t think she knows I heard, and I’m not about to tell her. I’m also not about to tell her it bothers me. M’s dad made the same sort of slip on the phone with him a week or so ago. Clearly, my in-laws at least on some level consider themselves PJ’s real parents, and we’re just substitutes in the meantime. I’d suspected this was the case already, but the repeated Freudian slips have convinced me I was right.

I also noticed what it is about my MIL’s regular behavior when she’s around us that annoys me so much. It’s not as much that she’s obsessive about PJ; I’ve learned to cope with that. She’s just so immature. She insists on being the center of attention, and she will go to extremes to make sure she is. The other day she hit M, and not a play hit, to make a point. She tried to get PJ’s attention before she did so too. It was entirely inappropriate, and I was glad that M called her on it. She also feels the need to chastise M if he doesn’t obey her immediately. I really wanted to remind her that he is now almost 26 years old with a kid (and a half) of his own. Even as his mom, the time for being able to tell him what to do has long passed.

Another great story from ages ago hits me on this topic. The second night I was in the hospital after PJ was born, M called me to let me know he was in the ER downstairs with his parents. His mom was having stroke-like symptoms. Eventually, the doctors decided it was an accidental bad reaction to some medications she had taken earlier. M suspects it was more of a not-so-accidental overdose. We both recognize her need for attention, and she clearly hadn’t gotten enough in the last few days. PJ and I had been the center of attention, and for good reason. She had to go to extremes to make sure everything was about her again. Seriously, it’s like dealing with a selfish child sometimes.

While I’m ranting, here’s one more story only kind of related to my in-laws. Yesterday when they stopped for lunch with PJ, a lady in line with them was raving about PJ. “How old is he? About nine months?”

“Um, no. He’ll be eighteen months in a few weeks,” my MIL answered.

“Oh. I’m usually pretty good at guessing. Does he have any disabilities?”

For once, I completely agree with my MIL’s reaction. I don’t know that I could have answered her as gracefully as my MIL did. How in any sense is that question considered appropriate? For the record, other than his prematurity, he has absolutely no problems. He’s tiny, partly as a result of his prematurity, partly because both M and I are tiny, and partly because he’s inherited my insane metabolism. (Seriously, the kid ate a whole BK kid’s meal yesterday for lunch. The whole thing. And he still doesn’t quite weigh twenty pounds.) He’s a little behind developmentally, but not because of any real issues. He just doesn’t care to try new things like walking. I’m sure if we were able to have him around more other little kids more of the time, he’d be more motivated, but his slow development is a result of motivation, not disabilities. Why should some anonymous person in Burger King need to know all of this? Is natural human curiosity severe enough that she should care?

I’m glad my MIL simply answered, “No, he’s perfect,” and moved on.

Not About In-Laws

March 28, 2007

Yesterday was a big day. Not only did my in-laws show up, but they also got to see PJ take his first steps. It was a big deal, and I’m totally excited about it.

I would love to go into all the frustrations I have with my in-laws right now, but maybe I’ll be less petty if I wait until tomorrow, after they have left already. They’re gone right now, with PJ on a day trip. As much as I welcome the quiet, how sad is it that I miss that kid with all my heart right now? I just want to hear some of his baby babble for a minute to make me feel at home in my own home again.

On the bizarre side, I noticed something interesting this morning. I actually miss the morning sickness now that it’s gone. I don’t miss the never-ending nausea, of course, but I miss the special attention and help I got when I was so sick. I can’t believe I was so anxious for it to go away, and now that it is, I miss it. I had a weird dream about this just before waking up today. I don’t remember too many specifics, but I remember being annoyed at some other pregnant women around me who were using morning sickness as a way to get attention and an excuse to get out of doing anything. I wonder now if that’s how I saw myself that whole time. In my dream, I was jealous of them for the attention they were getting. I kept wanting to yell, “Hey look at me! I’m pregnant, too!” It’s interesting what you can learn about yourself from dreams, isn’t it?


March 27, 2007

I didn’t think about the fact that if my in-laws are here, I won’t be able to visit this blog at all–you know, the whole secrecy thing. They’re on their way here and will be here any time now. I’d better disappear for a while. If I’m AWOL for the next two or three days, you’ll know what happened. Expect a story or twelve when I get back.

Monday Ramblings

March 26, 2007

M is back at work today, and life returns to normal. I’m really proud of myself and how easily I’m adjusting to being a mom again. Despite sleeping like a rock all last week, not even waking up when PJ started making noise in his room, I woke up at the first thump from his room. I pushed through the mild nausea I always have when I first wake up and got him up. He actually seemed happy to see me, even though he was calling for his daddy at first (I guess since his daddy had gotten him up for the last week). It’s amazing how well we’re both coping with yet another change, even if it is a change back to the familiar.

The nausea is better than it has been in months, too. I had one bad spell for about ten minutes right before lunch, and other than that, it’s been nearly nonexistent all day. I might just make it through. Before long, I might even be able to start weaning myself off the medicine.

M’s parents are still supposed to be coming to visit sometime this week, but it’s already this week and we haven’t heard yet when they’re planning to show up. They better not surprise me today or anything. This is actually the perfect time for them to come. I feel mostly fine, so they won’t be able to use my morning sickness as a ploy to get PJ to go home with them. But I’m still weak enough that I welcome any help I can get. I can do everything I need to do to take care of the two of us, but I don’t turn down offers of help. The timing couldn’t be better. I’m just not looking forward to the constant mothering criticism I know I’m in store for. My fuse is just a bit shorter than usual, thanks to these hormones, so I’m worried I’ll snap at some point instead of patiently defending my choices in raising PJ. That won’t be good for our relationship, I know.

Oh, we found out a few days ago that PJ can crawl back into his toddler bed now. He still doesn’t want to sleep there, but at least if he wants to, he doesn’t have to wait for us to put him back in his bed. I consider that progress. If only he didn’t get out of his bed by catapulting himself headfirst onto the floor, then we might be able to get rid of the feather bed we have on the floor to cushion his fall. That would certainly encourage him to sleep in the bed because he much prefers the feather bed when given the choice. We’re working on teaching him to slide off the couch and chairs feet-first, so once he masters that technique to escape his bed too, the feather bed will disappear.

I’m in a bit of a quandary right now. I’ve mentioned before the many friends and relatives who are also pregnant right now. They’re all keeping mum about possible baby names. I support that theory, as I want to keep the final choice of a name as a surprise as well. The problem is that we’re not exactly considering unique names for the baby, and I’m worried that one of the many other preggies will have chosen one of the same names for their baby. I know that shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if it’s a common name, but I don’t want anybody to think I might have stolen the name from them or copied their idea. I’m going to try not to make a big deal of it until I know the baby’s gender. I’m still guessing we’re having a boy, which means only one other baby could be in competition for a name. I’m closer to that baby’s mother too (my good SIL), so I can probably talk names with her and come to an agreement without a problem. But if we’re having a girl, we’ll have a real problem talking with the other four moms about names. I don’t know. Am I making too big of a deal out of this? I try so hard not to step on toes that I’d hate to accidentally choose a name that someone else claims as their own. But can they really get offended if they deliberately kept that name a secret until it was too late?

Random Pregnancy Updates

March 25, 2007

1. I finished off my last antibiotic on Friday night. They should be just about out of my system by now. I made it! Really, they weren’t bad at all, once we found the ones that my body didn’t reject. I just hope they totally got rid of the infection. Last pregnancy, the first round of antibiotics didn’t kill the bacteria completely.

2. Today is M’s last day of his impromptu spring “break.” I don’t feel the same dread today that I did last week at recognizing I would be on my own during the day all week. I feel weak still, but better enough that I know I can handle taking care of myself and PJ. I’m so, so, so glad that M took some time off this past week, though. It was much more relaxing for him, even though he spent much of every day caring for me and PJ.

3. My boobs randomly shrunk the other day. They’re still bigger than they were pre-pregnancy (I guess pre-PJ, since I was weaning when I got pregnant, so they were still pretty big then), but they’re not as big as they were last week. Any theories about the random shrinking? I’m trying not to worry, but any unusual or unexpected change in my body is going to make me worry right now.

4. I’m fourteen weeks now. I’m fully expecting to feel the baby move much more in the next few weeks. I was only 15 1/2 or 16 weeks when I felt PJ move for the first time, and I’ve lost more weight as of right now already. Besides, I hear that you typically feel a second baby move earlier. I don’t think it’s crazy to expect movement this early given my past. I’ll let you know when I feel that first unmistakable flutter.


March 23, 2007

The other day Whitney told the stories of some of the most unbelievable moments that have happened to her. Not being too proud not to steal, I thought I’d share some of my own unbelievable, straight-out-of-a-movie moments. (Is it stealing if I give her the credit?)

I think I may have told this first one before, but it’s good enough that it’s worth a retelling. It was near the beginning of one of my many college relationships, late in the spring. The guy and I had gone to one of our town’s many parks to hang out and talk at the end of one of our dates. Night came, and with the night, so did the cooler air. Ever thoughtful–or trying to buy some points–the guy ran (literally) back to his car to grab a blanket for me. When he came back, we cuddled together under the blanket to stay warm. Being forced to huddle so close obviously created a romantic mood. Suddenly the conversation dwindled, leaving an awkward silence. In that awkward silence, the guy slowly leaned in, very clearly going for that first kiss. Our lips were nearly touching when we suddenly heard a new, unusual noise. And then we felt the drops hitting us, just as we recognized the new noise as the park’s sprinkler system clicking on. Instead of that perfect first kiss, we found ourselves running to the car, dodging water drops as we ran. The whole situation was so unreal, absolutely perfect for a romantic comedy.

Another time, I was living the wonderful single life in my cute little apartment. It was that magical time of year when it was time to renew my car’s registration. Anal about those things that could potentially get me into legal trouble, I’d renewed the registration weeks early. Unfortunately, I had been lazy about replacing that little sticker on my car. The day the previous sticker expired, I needed to go somewhere for an outing. I was too rushed to change the sticker before I left, so I decided to chance it. No cop would be rude enough to ticket me for one lousy day, right?

I had a quick errand at the apartment’s office on my way out. I was crestfallen when shortly after I entered the office, a cop followed me in. He hadn’t been in the parking lot when I pulled in, so I tried not to worry. Then he singled me out of the four or five people in the office to ask if I owned a particular car in the lot. Hoping the conversation wasn’t headed where I thought it might be, I slowly admitted that gay looking car was mine. Immediately he launched into a lecture about keeping your car’s registration up to date and how it supports the government, blah, blah, blah. I was too stunned this was actually happening to keep listening very long. I mean, I hadn’t even driven on real roads yet with the expired registration! Was it even legal for him to ticket me for it yet?

I guess he sensed my repentance for letting my registration slide, and he decided to let me off without a ticket. It didn’t matter, though; I was just as humiliated by being chastised in front of all those people. After meekly thanking the cop for not ticketing me, I slinked out of the office without completing my business there, just to avoid the eyes of anyone who had witnessed the event. As much as I wanted to shout the real circumstances to all of them–that it was only one day overdue and the new sticker was sitting on the counter in my apartment–I knew that would only attract more attention to my grievous mistake.

Then I drove my car right back to my apartment, grabbed that new registration sticker, and slapped it on my windshield with an extra “That’ll show him” oomph. Within minutes, I was driving by the apartment’s office again. The cop was already gone. It was like he had only gone into the office to yell at me. I ended up late for wherever I was headed, without doing my errand at the office on the way, but at least I got the all-important registration sticker updated on time.

Seriously, could that have been any more weird? I am one of the most law-abiding citizens you’ll ever meet. I don’t even speed (which makes the one speeding ticket a little suspicious–another story for another day). So why, on the one day I decided to bend the rules just a bit for a short outing, do I end up in some sort of trouble with the law? Do you think the FBI or someone wonders if I’m really as good as I seem, so they’re tracking me to watch for any slip-up I make? How else would that cop know to be at that specific place right then? I don’t know; it’s just too weird to explain.

Confession Thursday: From Glee to Guilt

March 22, 2007

Last night, I got an e-mail from my mom with my brother’s flickr account address because he had posted new pictures on it at last. They were pictures of my SIL’s growing belly (the one I don’t particularly love). At first glance, I didn’t know what to think. Although I’m somewhat jealous of how big her belly is, it’s really not a full six weeks bigger than mine, as it should be. Then I scrolled down to her older belly pictures and figured out what it was about the new pictures that struck me. J’s belly isn’t the only thing that’s grown. She looked like she’d had an allergic reaction to something and had swelled up everywhere. It was particularly noticeable in her chipmunk cheeks and J-Lo butt.

I took much pleasure in scrutinizing the pictures, noting the stress lines etched on her plump face and the utter shapelessness of her new body. I carried PJ all in the front, hardly gaining weight anywhere but my belly, so it shocked me a little to see the all-over weight gain my SIL was experiencing. She is not a pretty woman with extra weight on her.

As I scrutinized the picture, though, I realized that a photo on the wall in the background of the photo looked vaguely familiar. Could it be a copy of the photo of us four kids from my brother’s wedding that he sent to each of us? No…the blurry colors in the photo don’t match with what we were wearing at the wedding. Then it struck me like a blow. It was a photo of M and me and my brother and SIL at my brother’s graduation last August. That was the super-sweet sentimental gift M and I gave them at Christmas. Knowing my SIL’s tendencies to exchange any gifts she gets, I’d searched high and low for a gift she couldn’t easily exchange. I assumed her saccharine reaction to the framed photo was a good show and that she’d chuck the picture out of the frame as soon as they got home. I never expected she would actually put the photo up in her house. And in a place of prominence, as the belly picture indicated. I would have guessed it was a ploy to get family sympathies if the picture had been intended only for my family, but their flickr account is for all family, even hers. And the framed picture in the background was blurry, barely discernible for what it was. They would have brought it to our attention more if that was the point. I think they actually have our picture displayed openly in their home.

I will never again make another comment about those chipmunk cheeks while she’s pregnant, even if I can’t help but smile a little when I think about them. I’ve obviously underestimated her opinion of us, and it may just change my opinion of her a bit.

A Weak Attempt at Humor

March 21, 2007

I feel as though on this, the first day of spring, I should write something deep and philosophical about new life and optimism and crap like that. But it’s been spring here for weeks and I just can’t get in the right mood to care about that deep stuff.

I should also probably get to that meme Kristin tagged me for the other day–I haven’t forgotten, I promise–but if I attempted it, I would surely be admitting to everyone just how pathetic my life truly is. I’ll let you all see a glimpse of my true nerdiness eventually with this meme, but not today.

How about instead I regale you with stories of the wonderful side effects of this new medicine? It’s not nausea, at least not to the extent as I’ve felt for months. It’s not diarrhea, thank goodness. Even the relatively mild dizziness and drowsiness among the listed side effects have escaped me. The only side effect that seems to be bothering me at all is the gas. When I read that was a possible side effect, I laughed. It’s funny. It’s even funnier when I think about the fact that I’m already gassy because I’m pregnant. I didn’t think I would be able to tell if I was hit with this particular side effect.

I was wrong. Any time of day or night, I’m liable to let a big one loose. It would be quite embarrassing if M and I weren’t already quite open about our bodily functions. I’m just glad I don’t have any reason to need to leave the house for a few days. I have this mental picture of myself walking around with a cloud of green gas following me everywhere I go, just like a cartoon. Between the noise and the smell, I feel incredibly conspicuous. It’s a good thing it’s such a humorous problem, because otherwise the embarrassment might get to me. Instead I can laugh it right off.

Night and Day

March 20, 2007

Today feels like night and day compared to this weekend. I am beginning to have this strange feeling called optimism for the first time in a long time. It is increasingly more clear to me that I was not overexaggerating my symptoms from the last antibiotics at all. I had more than severe side effects; it was a bad reaction to them altogether. Only one day into the new antibiotics, and I’m already mostly healed from the bad ones as well as the infection.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel perfect today. I still have come-and-go mild nausea and am extremely weak, but I feel like I’m finally on the road to recovery. Considering it’s recovery from the morning sickness as well, that has been going on since I was six weeks pregnant, it’s about time. I just hope I’m not so eager to hope that I’ll end up disappointed if the morning sickness doesn’t go away altogether right away.

I expect by the time these antibiotics have run their course–early this coming weekend–I’ll feel mostly normal most of the time. Naturally, M’s parents are coming to hang out next week. I would have loved the help when I was at my sickest, but it is certainly for the best. If they see me being a good mom to PJ, without the excuse of morning sickness, etc, they will have no argument about taking him home with them. They’ll probably still criticize every parenting move we make, but I’ve come to expect that. At least they’ll see us parenting.

With all the drama from the last few days, it feels like I’ve completely forgotten what it means to be pregnant. I managed to forget that this fat belly is housing a new little being, my own son or daughter. Feeling the baby last night–or even just thinking I might have–was a great reminder why I’m going through all this. There’s a tiny, fragile life inside me that needs protecting, and if that means feeling like death for a few weeks, isn’t it worth it? It’s crazy how one tiny nudge (or gas bubble) can give me a complete reality check.

A Little Better

March 19, 2007

When my grandpa died, Grandma came to live with us for a while before moving on to a nursing home. I remember her health being a big concern in this time. Every day my mom would ask Grandma how she was doing. It became a family joke when she would answer in a whiny, pathetic voice, “A little better.” Since then, I’ve always been reluctant to answer with “a little better.” Still, that’s how I’m doing today–a little better.

The day didn’t start off that way. I think the term “violently sick” is appropriate for the morning. In between runs to the bathroom, I called the doctor because whether or not these symptoms are normal side effects, they had become intolerable. I finally heard back from the doctor a short time ago, and she is putting me on a different antibiotic that I only have to take once a day. I’ve heard the side effects can still be harsh, but if I take it right before bed, I should sleep through the worst of it. I’ll give an update about that tomorrow–if I can–because I’m starting on them tonight.

The best news, though, is that my husband is the most wonderful husband in the world. He was so worried about me all day today that he had trouble focusing at work. He finally approached his boss this afternoon to explain what was going on. When the boss heard I would likely be sick all week, he told M he’d see him next Monday. In the meantime, he is “working from home.”

I can’t begin to explain how relieved I feel. Stressing about how to function at all, much less well enough to take care of PJ, was making me sicker than I should have been. As you might have gathered, it was making me somewhat depressed last night. I feel like maybe I can make it through the week now. M also needed a bit of a break from work, so this will work out well for him, too.

By the way, thank you to all of you who jumped up to answer my plea for friends and support last night. The next time I need someone to talk to (and feel good enough to spend time on the computer), I’ll definitely take you guys up on your offers to e-mail. It means a lot to me that you were there when I was in such a low point.

Oh, yeah, the other important news…I swear that last night I felt the baby move. It’s a bit early, I thought, but it was an unmistakable nudge several times in a row in the same place. It didn’t feel a bit like gas and reminded me very much of the early flutters with PJ. What else could it have been?