Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rounding Up

Earlier this week I invited two of my cousins over for dinner and a movie. The new Sarah Silverman stand up, Jesus is Magic, had recently come out and I was so excited to share it with them. Cohen helped me prepare the meal by sitting in her Bumbo chair on the counter and alternated between sucking on green beans and taking jabs at her eyes with celery slivers. For the meal I thought it would be nice to pull out her high chair, which we have yet to use, and let her sit at the table with us. I left the tray off and pulled her up to the table between Dan and I. No sooner than everyone had been served Cohen began taking a ferocious poo at plate level. Luckily, these were my boy cousins, still in their early and more humble half of their twenties. We all proceeded to laugh, eat, and drink. And while abortion somehow did find its way into our conversation, I managed to keep my mouth shut about mine, and resigned to the old different strokes theory with which I am so often coming to terms.

At movie time, I attached Cohen to my breast and started the DVD. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the genius comedy that is Sarah Silverman, but it is no understatement to say that she could make a hooker in the Mission District blush. Everyone was rolling along with the first hour of the tape, but towards then end I noticed one of my cousins was not as enthused as the rest of us. When the movie was over he expressed disagreement with some of her selected subject matter. Again to each their own. I was a bit surprised, as I have always described this gentleman in particular as my most outspoken relative. He was the one that talked about masturbation openly in front of my mother after all! Only after watching the DVD did I put it together that outspoken does not always equal the most open minded. To be clear, I am not saying anything negative about my cousin, I am more open minded than I am outspoken and it could be said then that I do not always stand up for what is right, and that would be true. I don't. I am not judging him, the point is, I was surprised that he did not find all of it as amusing as I did. Bear with me cousin, you'll see why I had to lay you out like that.

So, this afternoon I am on the phone with my father and he asked how our dinner the other night had gone. I told him that all went well, but that one of my cousins didn't seem to enjoy the video as much as I had hoped. I explained that Sarah Silverman is an acquired taste, but that maybe my father would like her. I offer the tape. He asks me what about her is so offensive. I tell him that she does some jokes about the holocaust, and them give a brief synopsis of a joke she did about her grandmother's holocaust tattoo being personalized to say Bedazzled, or something of such a likeness. He not only does not laugh, but reprimands me and says that there is nothing funny about the holocaust. I said that obviously he shares my cousin's views and that maybe he shouldn't watch the tape. He goes on to say, "I think it's terrible to make light of the holocaust, you know, if it really happened." What?! If it really what?! I said, "What? What do you mean if it really happened?" To which he replied, "I'm just not sure that what they said happened really happened, I mean 6 million people is a lot of people." "Yes it is," I told him. He said, "I mean, maybe it was only 2 million and the jews have just rounded up over time, 6 million is so many, that's like an entire country."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Asleep at the Wheel

After a week and a half of wishing she would fall asleep anywhere outside of my arms, I find myself drinking coffee this morning, watching Cohen asleep in her swing, and using every muscle in my body, every ounce of my will, not to pick her up. I have forced myself into the office to use the time I have been praying for. This week was a heavy, as my father would say, and though Ive denied it since Monday, this week hit me like a fist and Ive been dragging since.

On Monday I had my 6 week gyno check up, which I was actually having done at 8 weeks because I missed my 6 week appointment. Not only did I weight 10lbs. more on the doctors scale then I have at home, but to top that off the doc told me I was completely healed, had no further restrictions, and could work out any way I wanted. I pretended to be excited but really I am still a bit afraid of my own body. I showed the good doc my stomach and asked about this flab, this flap of skin serving as the awning over my cesarean scar. I asked if this skin ever gets tight again, would the awning ever recede? He looked at me the way he used to look at me when I talked about my concerns regarding having Cohen vaginally, as if to say, I cannot be trouble to answer as this information will never apply to you.

Its hard to be just me again, to have no excuses for not caring what I look like anymore. Its hard to imagine loosing weight with a new plan, as my old plan consisted of getting broken up with and living off of cigarettes and coffee for six months. I had always hoped that my life would change, and now that it has I have to keep up with it, change too, engage myself in the process of becoming this person I imagine myself becoming but never seem to fantasize the process of how I become her. While working on this theory I drove through a Wendys, got a bacon cheeseburger and fries, parked in a shady spot and climbed into the back seat to eat my hamburger with Cohen. Fucking doctors scale, Ill show you

That afternoon Cohen had her two month check up, which meant she had 3 shots coming her way. Not to mention, I woke up that morning and realized she had either gotten into the cottage cheese while I was sleeping or she had thrush. How? How did my baby get thrush? I gave it to her, thats how.

I bought Lily Padz, the stripper pasties of motherhood, the plastic nursing pads that adhere to your breast only to create a breeding ground for candida albicans. In my selfish need to sleep braless I gave my daughter a yeast infection of the mouth, but the guilt was not a sufficient punishment, instead I am sharing in the infection. My nipples feel like someone is inserting straight pins into them every time she nurses. When she is not nursing it feels like a vice is being tightened on each tit, shooting a pain through my breast up to my armpit and through my shoulder. Let this be a lesson to me, this is what happens when I seek comfort in pasties.

While, in my opinion this worked out better than it does for other women who wear pasties (i.e. strippers who end up calling some seedy little pecker named Johnny, Daddy, while they snort coke off of his chest in his studio apartment and make wedding plans of one day being the lucky girl to marry their pimp thanks for making that dream seem possible Ice T). As of today, Cohen and I are sharing an anti fungal and recovering in slow motion.

Tuesday I took the baby and the dog to my mothers house for a visit. While downtown, on a friends suggestion, I bought Cohen her first exersaucer. Originally I thought she might have been too small for such a large toy, so I put her in one at the store and she flipped out! Ive never seen her get so excited for anything that didnt end with double Ds. I bought it and proceeded to take a millions pictures, hardly one came out because it was impossible for her to hold still. She is figuring out how to reach for things, which is not the same as touching anything she reaches for.

When we were getting ready to leave I loaded the saucer into the back of the wagon and put Alby up front with the air on to let the car cool. I went into get Cohen and mom mother helped me outside. I got the car all loaded up, opened up the back door and put Cohen in her seat. Between the time it took me to shut the back door and open my drivers side door Alby saw a cat in the neighbors yard and lunged at the passenger window. I yelled at him through the closed car and he settle down. I laughed for a second with my mother about his bad behavior and then went to get into the car and could not. I COULD NOT GET INTO THE CAR. When Alby jumped at the cat, he hit the passenger door lock, in a Volvo this locks all of the doors. So, not only am I destined to never loose my baby weight, not only did I give my daughter a yeast infection of the mouth, but I just let me dog lock my baby in my car, while it was running!

Immediately I am looking for something smash the windows with, all of the windows will need to smashed I am sure of it. Thank god my mother was there. She kept saying Calm down, well just call the fire department, as she walked around to the back to try the hatch door. I said, That wont work, it locks with all of the others, but for some reason it hadnt locked. My mother opened the hatch and I smashed my face into her chest and balled like 4 year old. The let down from that adrenaline was the most soul sucking horrible feeling I have ever felt in my life. I let my dog lock my baby in my running car. What the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK? Who am I? Who does this? I was devastated.

But, I will tell you who does this, all mothers. All parents. At one time or another, you fuck up. Its what makes you realize that the things you feared the most sometimes do happen, and they get resolved, and you go on. When I first had Cohen I had a dream that I locked her in the car accidentally, and it was 110 degrees outside, as it often is here, and I kept hitting the window with a rock and the window would not break. This dream horrified me. The truth is, you only have time to be horrified in your fears, not when what you fear comes to fruition.

We gain the weight, we give our children thrush, bang their heads into the wall, accidentally let them roll off of the couch before we realize they are old enough to roll, lock them in the running car with the dog, and so it easy to forget that we have the will to get back to our former selves via a new path. I have this kid on me in some way 98 percent of the time, its a miracle she has sustained so little injury.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

For the Love of Christ

Cohen in my Christening dress...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Conversation Over Coffee

Lawton: Did you have your hand over my face last night in bed? I vaguely remember your hand over my mouth and you repeating something.

Dan: Yeah, I was saying, "Don't even think about it." I think I was dreaming that you were the dog and that he was misbehaving.

Lawton: What did I do?

Dan: You said, "Get your grubby little hand off of my face"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon

This weekend I bought a new car. Actually, Dan bought me a new car and for that I cannot thank him enough. What a husband. He misses out on a lot of the day to day with Cohen and I know that he struggles with that, but still he goes to work to bring home the bacon so I can stay at home and tend to our daughter. On top of all of this he sold his Texas cop car, his only true love, despite the deepness of his affection for Cohen and I. Had Dan gotten to have it his way, I would be driving the Texas cop car with Cohen in it and he would get to feel safe knowing that no one would dare try to pass or speed in the presence of his wife and daughter. This is in fact why Dan cherished that car as if it were our safety and well being incarnate. To him, it was. This is the Texas cop car, may it rest in peace.

Instead, I wanted a Discovery, a Rodeo, an SUV I could feel cool in. I rationalized needing something this size to get around town with both the baby and the dog in tow, not as easy as one might think when there is still a good chance that the dog might eat the baby, if not accidentally pop one of her eyes out with his huge paw while jumping over her to bark at a flag flying in front of a car dealership.

Dan suggests a minivan. Perhaps the MILF mobile.

Not only do I make the mistake of promising to call about it because it is in fact still under warrantee, but I also mention it to Dans mother before realizing that she has no idea what a MILF is. Meanwhile Dan is in the office laughing as he taunts me to go ahead and explain it to her. I begin, you know, a Mom Id like to @..*! I expect she must know what the F stands for. She does not. Not in anyway. Dan is in stitches in the office. Fuck. I say fuck, but now she has forgotten what it was I was explaining to her and now I have just said fuck to her for no reason. So I explain that a MILF is a Mom Id Like to Fuck. Not me really, its not an expression I use. They do. Who uses this expression, she asks? I am in an awkward place. Uncomfortable? Yes. As uncomfortable as I would be if I were forced to drive this van? I dont think so. Id rather explain a Turkish Snowcone to the PTA than drive this van.

However, in order to get my new car I had to sell the Ford Explorer Dans parents had given us. This money would go towards our new purchase, so naturally I wanted to get as much as possible for the truck. While discussing with Dan and my mother in law the lowest offer I would be willing to accept Dan offered some insight to my situation. While attempting to make a generalization about a culture with a precursor to avoid sounding racist Dan proceeded to say that many Mexican mechanics (it had been exclusively Mexican men that had inquired about the truck) would be willing to work on a car bought by someone in their family as a courtesy, therefore I should not undercut my selling price for fear of the work that the person who buys it will have to put into it. However, before Dan can finish his thought, into which he put every effort possible to be politically correct, his mother interjected. It went like this.

Dan: Not to sound racist but many Mexican mechanics are willing to work on a car bought by someone in their family. . .

Dans Mom Because they have nothing else to do?

Dan No. No that is not all at what I am saying!

Long racist story short . . .

I took $1000 less than my original asking price from the second person to look at it, because the first guy had irritated me so much I could not bear the idea of meeting with one more Mexican man that would pretend not to speak English as a low balling tactic. I learned that men do this from my one day as an exotic dancer (read as dayshift stripper in a non alcohol serving establishment) in downtown Phoenix, many years ago, only then my amigos were negotiating lap dances not automobiles.

We took our funds downtown and bought me a Volvo Station wagon the very next day! While we did spend some time looking at minivans, in the long run I explained to Dan that I have a hard enough time feeling good about myself as it is right now. So when I say I am not up to driving a minivan, no matter the warrantee, no matter the mileage, and that I need some support, he supports me.

The people we were buying the Volvo from were in their early 50s and had a 4 year old son. For some reason when I asked how old their son was the mother felt compelled to mention out of his hearing range that they had a surprise pregnancy later in life. Feeling awkward to be receiving such personal information I responded by telling her not to sweat it we had an engagement baby. Engaged in June, pregnant by July! I know thats awkward. I have got to stop consoling awkward people with my own awkwardness, it just isnt fair to Dan.

While we were driving the car the 4 year old asked his parents if we were going to buy their car. They said they hoped so to which he replied, How rude! We got it home and couldnt wait until the morning to touch all the buttons and see how it worked. Here are the buttons.

What I did not realize at the time of purchase was the danger zone I was entering purchasing a car with this many buttons while married to Dan. It is common knowledge that I am about 3 inches taller than Dan, and this does account for some moving forward and backward of the driver seat, I can handle that. What is a little harder to handle is that when a button geek gets into a car like this, a button geek that is Dan, he must not only adjust the proximity of the driver seat to the steering wheel, he must also adjust the air conditioning, rear tilt, steering wheel tilt, height of the seat, radio stations, open the sunroof without showing me the button that closes it, reset the clock, reset the odometer, etc. I had to drive for 10 minutes today thinking that the air conditioner in my NEW CAR!! was broken until I figured out how to undo what Dan had done and got it working again. But I did, and I love my new car. I feel like a cool mom in my new car. And when I drove my Volvo station wagon to the store today, while Cohen slept for the 7 minutes that she was willing to nap for the day, I forgot all about banging my head against the wall earlier because she would not stop crying, I forgot that I lost the part of the curtain rod that attaches to the wall to hang the curtains I am getting around to hanging 2 months after moving into this house, I forgot about that baby that within 30 seconds would be awake and screaming, and for 6 minutes and 30 seconds I was just a 28 year old that had always wanted a Volvo driving a Volvo.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

So... What's New?

This past week was an easy one. In the beginning with Cohen I could have a good couple hours. A few weeks later I could have a good day and no more, finally I can have a good week. Cohen and I fell asleep face to face on the couch last Monday. I woke up first and watched her for five minutes as she tried with all of her sleepy might to get her thumb into her mouth. She would open her hand, pull her thumb to her mouth, and just as she went to close her fist and suck her thumb, her thumb would curl into her fist and she would close her fingers over it having no idea where the thumb had gone.

Watching this I finally lightened up. I realized that no nanny would be watching this happen and think to mention it to me. No one at a day care would record this event to replay for me as joyously as I relayed it to Dan. I love that when she opens her eyes she sees me. I don't have anything better to do. I can't believe I ever thought I did. I am not saying that staying at home with your child is the most important thing you can do with your life and that all mothers should do it. Some mothers shouldn't even be having children, more than less spending all of their time with them only to rear the little monsters that run into me full force coming around the corner of the WAL MART aisle with their sticky fingers and whatever piece of shit toy they are screaming for this trip.

To be clear, all I am saying is I have nothing better to do. Still I am compelled, when asked what I am up to, to produce an answer beyond that captivating nap and thumb story I mentioned earlier.

An old friend called me last week to inquire as to how my marriage and quest into motherhood were treating me. He asked what I was up to and I shared a few quick antics about Cohens giggles, gurgles, and milestones met. He talked when it was his turn, mostly about the traffic he was in and anything else he could come up with to avoid my asking about his new bride. At a lull in the conversation he asked, So, what else is new with you?

While the consistency of Cohen's poops, along with the frequency, is a topic of peak interest for me, I know better than to try to pass this information on to anyone other than our pediatrician or Dan and try to make it count for real conversation. I panic. What is new? Is the baby not new enough? Is 7 weeks old news? Should I be onto something new by now? I am trying to get enrolled in school again. I dont have to mention to him that this is only to get back into the warm arms of deferment, a lover I wonder if I will ever be able to leave. School, yeah, say youre going back to school! And work, mention that you are going to try to work from home. Work out regularly. Get new mommy and baby video and work out. Learning to sew? No, too domestic, hes obviously challenging your identity as a person by asking whats new after youve updated him on your NEW BABY!

Side Note:
Sometimes I dont even know what is bothering me until I begin to write these blogs. I sit down to write about something completely different and out comes this.

The point of this blog being that I am happy doing what I do with Cohen. I am happy with somedays getting up at 5 am and somedays not getting out of bed until 9 am. I am happy with only having eaten a piece of cake, an egg and bacon burrito and 2 beers today, I am happy being forced to sit down throughout my day to hold my daughter despite whatever I was trying to get done. I am happy taking this time off from work, even though I got an offer for some work on this side this week that I am semi excited about. I am happy with my new priorities, my work space, my headspace and my heart. Speaking of work space I thought I would share where the magic happens, this is my office. It's like Highlights magazine. Hey kids, can you find the breastpump? Good. How about the beer? The boppy? Excellent.

Friday, June 02, 2006

How Sweet It Is

Last week I decided I needed some pants that buttoned, and that I could no longer fear what size I may be. The damage that can be caused by wearing all elastic was mounting. It has been 6 weeks and I still cannot fit into the clothes I was wearing when I was six months pregnant. I spend some time assuming this is because I am a lazy fatty that will never be thin again.

The only thing powerful enough to break my cycle of self loathing are the nights I go to sleep and feel like a creaky old ship. Too tired to get up for Motrin, too afraid to wake the baby, whatever my excuse - I lay there in bed aching as my hips find their way back together. The elastin in my system relaxes, having completed its job of stretching me out to maximum capacity and the ache of putting me back together begins. All of my joint pain compounds to form an ache equivalent to a wet wool blanket being folded onto itself just beneath my skin. This pain is the wage of little factory workers deep in my bones reconstructing woman into mother. Healing.

So I called my mother and asked that she join me on a pilgrimage to the Chandler mall, where what is sacred is made of nonexpendable waistbands, however vast in their lacking elasticity. The idea was that she would hold Cohen, as dutiful Grandmas do, and I would try on pants. Instead I spent 15 minutes breastfeeding Cohen in a fitting room while my mother perused Lane Bryant and brought me clam diggers big enough to dig up whale bones. When it was time to switch so Grandma could hold Cohen and I could shop, my mother was holding a handful of Hersheys kisses. Thinking little of it I gave her the baby and watched her put the chocolates in the cup holder of the stroller.

I went to the sales girl and explained that I needed pants with a finite waist and could she please tell me what size I am so that I can find said pants. She looks me over and says I am probably a 20, because I do seem a little smaller than her. She is about a 26. She does not make eye contact during this conversation and is obviously disappointed that I am the smaller of the two of us, however large I still may be. Her self loathing is laid on so thick that if she felt good about her self for a few days she would probably drop a dress size. It was then I looked around for that BBB of the LB. Where was my big, black, and beautiful Lane Bryant sales clerk? I dont know what it is about black culture that a black woman can put her weight on with pride, but I needed a guide not a shrinking violet. Instead I walked out with two pairs of jeans that I got on a great sale, and an ear full from the clerk that rang up my purchase about her shirt getting tighter and tighter everyday and there is nothing she can do about it.

At the car as I was loading Cohen in, my mother took the chocolates from the stroller and said, I guess I better throw these away. I asked why she would throw away perfectly good chocolate and she replied that this was not perfectly good chocolate, she had found it in the pocket of a pair of pants in Lane Bryant. Used pants? Nope, brand new. The sweet irony made me forget that I had just purchased a total of 42 finite inches of waistband. You have got to be a big beautiful someone to be so committed to your sweets that you must stuff your pockets to try on new pants. Yeah, the 24s seem to fit, but is this realistic if my pockets arent stuffed with candy?

The Day to Day

Motherhood is wrought with conditional secrets. I cannot say what compels me to keep them.