Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Aw Crikey

After talking to a few readers, despite my warning not to pity Dan, it seems you people cannot help but feel a little bad for the guy. After all, this is my forum. He can't even defend himself. And while he goes to work everyday so that I can stay home and raise our daughter what do I do? I go to my forum and make fun of him where he cannot defend himself. Is this admission of mine self deprecating enough for you? It's not enough, I know. You are not going to be happy until you know the root of my evil. I can hear your wilting voices saying... But this is Dan. He's amazing. He gets you through your depression, he says you look great when you're feeling fat, he considers veganism when you start reading aloud from animal cruelty brochures while he is trying to eat, he... is... perfect! I fear this is my own doing. You see while Dan is perfect for me, I would hate to think you believed I married the perfect man in the universal sense of the word.

It all started a few weeks ago when we went to look at some model homes in Queen Creek. We decided that we are at the point in our young married lives where it is time, not only to begin feeling badly that we do not own a home at our age, but to begin looking at homes we may or may not be able to afford pending the pre-qual. credit check we avoid with every bone in our respective bodies.

It was an exciting morning. It was exciting until I had to get dressed. I am at an awkward phase in my baby weight loss program. Here's how it goes. You go through your whole pregnancy buying up in size, in so much disbelief over your growing belly that you often overlook your growing ass and thighs. Then, when you have the baby you think you are going to slip right back into the clothes you wore at the beginning of your pregnancy, only to find that while your belly has deflated you still have the ass and thighs of a woman who is 9 months pregnant.

If you men thought you couldn't empathize with a woman's weight obsession pre-pregnancy, run for your lives postpartum. My daughter is 5 1/2 months old and I am just now fitting into the clothing I wore at 6 months pregnant. They are awkward at best, because they are all built to fit a huge belly. When there is no huge belly anymore, all you have left is a thick elastic band squeezing and segregating your postpartum tummy into the overflow above the waistband and the jellyroll hanging beneath it.

Men don't know. They just don't know any better. Any man who acts like he knows, doesn't. It's a fact. I dated one guy, one time, who knew what it was like and guess what? He was gay. Men don't know.

The reason I mention the weight loss is that when a woman's baby is only 5 months old, she has a strange mixed assortment of pregnancy and pre-pregnancy clothes to work with. I currently have 2 pairs of pants that fit properly. 2 other pairs of pants that I will wear if I have to. I have about 6 tops that vary in comfort. 2 that need to be ironed so they aren't worn much. Beneath all of this I wear nursing bras and old pregnancy undies, so forgive me if I am little sensitive about my wardrobe.

Like I said, we were on our way to Queen Creek and the morning was filled with promise. I wore my army green pants that fit perfectly, and was in such a good mood I ironed my beige shirt. If Dan had a voice in this blog he would correct me here by saying, "It was khaki".

We stopped to get breakfast on our way out of town and as we were leaving the restaurant Dan said something along the lines of being confident that we would have no problem finding a house with Steve Irwin in the car. Because I was dressed in all khaki. I was embarrassed to realize what I had done. How I had dressed. I told him he had to take me home so I could at least change my shirt. He refused. We were less that 5 blocks from the house and almost an hour away from Queen Creek and he refused to take me home to change, even after I threatened him with my silence the entire drive. It sounds funny now, but I was mad. And he didn't care. He laughed, said "Aw Crikey" when I spilled my coffee, and in an Australian accent, narrated my every move while I squeegeed the windshield when we stopped for gas. “It is all about perceived danger. In front of that winshield wiper she must remain in complete control. Absolute and complete control. That is her profession as the Crocodile Hunter" or some such crap. It was at this point that I swore my revenge. I threatened him with the wrath of my blog but he would not desist.

Dan doesn't fear the blog. I warn him constantly. The other day, he walked into the living room with a pillow in one hand and blanket in the other to announce to me that he was going out to take a nap in his van (parked in the driveway) and could I wake him in an hour. I told him then, "You know I will have to write about this" but his only response was, "Oh, and don't come a knockin' if the van is a rockin'".

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blanket Girl

Dan: Poop Charmer, Turd Tamer, Master of All Things Poo

We spent Saturday night at my mother in law's house. Cohen sleeps in a play pen in the guest room with us when we are there. We put her down to bed at 9 and by the time we came into bed at midnight she had rolled onto her stomach and was asleep flat on her face. Okay, not really flat, but her head was not fully turned to one side. I had to flip her over. I couldn't sleep like that. The first flip was successful, in that she did not wake and we got into the creaky bed and began to fall right to sleep. Then we hear... rustle, rustle, rustle... For the next hour Cohen did everything she could (in her sleep) to roll back over onto her stomach.

Dan suggests I get up and check on her. Dan suggests I get up and move the big box of diapers blocking our complete view of her. Dan protests he cannot get up to do these things because the dog is laying on his side of the bed and it would be too hard to get up. I get up. I go to move the diapers, but there is junk all over the floor from when I asked Dan to empty out the playpen so I could put her in it at 9 and he just threw everything over the side. I grab the box by the flaps and it creaks so loudly I freeze waiting for Cohen's cry. Nothing. A flip flop. A rustle. I get back into bed with a huge creak. Dan whispers, "Way to go ninja". She is awake, flipping, flopping, and non stop working on rolling back onto her stomach.

As we are both drifting off to sleep Dan suggests, "Why don't you just keep an eye on her". This elicits the kind of anger that comes when he suggests I feed our daughter in the bathroom of the restaurant or when I am holding the baby and sorting through groceries to cook dinner and he tells me he is going to go take a bath. I whisper-scream, "Do you mean that I should keep an eye on her while you close your eyes and go to sleep!!" He said he just meant it was hard for him to see her from his side of the bed - and right when I had him. Just when I could have ripped into that lame excuse, I ripped ass instead. Mid argument he looked at me like a helpless doe and asked, "Did you just fart?" I felt like the Grinch pre-change of heart, pleased with the gas I had worked so hard all night to conceal. Yes. "Yes I did, did you catch that?" With his shirt pulled up over his nose I left him in bed to go check on Cohen again. I flipped her back over. Dan spent the rest of the night facing the other direction, until he could not take the heat on his leg anymore and went to sleep on the couch. He took the baby with him and I got to sleep in.

I can tell at this point a few of you might be feeling sorry for Dan. Don't. He's had this blog coming for a few weeks now.

Last night, during a dinner party at my mother in law's house, while playing a game of pass the baby, I noticed she was wet and asked Dan to go change her. He complied. Moments later he screams. His mother runs into the room to find him dangling our baby upside down by her feet and covered in baby poop. Both of them covered in baby poop. The poopy diaper is laying open, poop side down on the bed in the guest room. Dan is gagging and acting as if acid has been poured directly into his eyes. I tell him to relax, it's only baby poop. He exclaims, "No. It's gross and it's poop and it's on me. No one should ever have to have poop on them, no matter what it comes from."

It's not entirely his fault. The guy is a poop charmer, a turd tamer, luring all things shit related into his direction with the slightest of efforts. I cannot tell you how many nights he has come home from work, tired, grouchy, and excited to see Coco. Within 15 minutes of being on her father's lap she explodes and fills her pants with poop. This happened nightly for at least two months. So, while I can see his disgust, what I wonder is how he got along pulling things out of our dog's butt for so long before we had this baby. Our dog Alby has had quite a few mystery poops, where whatever he ate won't come out without a fight. I have watched my husband wrestle miscellaneous objects from our Bulldog's ass more times than I have seen him empty a dishwasher or make a bed. Cohen just pooped. If you'll excuse me, it seems even when I write about her father his laxative like effects work their magic on our daughter.

This is Cohen "caught in the act" pooping on Dan today when he arrived home from work.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Motherhood Overcome

If depression is like a fog, postpartum depression is like a wet wool blanket stacked on your chest. It stifles the natural joy you manifest. Amidst all of the humor in my day to day life, and there is so much to laugh about, I am trapped beneath this blanket. This is not as dismal as it sounds. I know it is the wet wool blanket weighing me down. And while I cannot express my joy, experience my joy as I would like to, I feel it. I am aware of it and constantly working in it's favor.

I take this depression seriously. I take motherhood seriously. It never occurred to me, the shame that one of these undertakings would cast on the other. How self indulgent to be depressed, to fall apart. How good I had when I used to lose it before. I do think this way. But I do not mean to imply that it is a choice to be okay. While I would choose to be so, I am not okay. I am doing my part by getting help. I am reaching out because in order to be a good mother I have to ask for help.

I cannot talk about this here, yet. Finally, something she cannot share! I can say that I am seeing a shrink this week. I am changing my diet and working out regularly to contribute as much as I can to this body that houses this brain. I can say that I write this blog when I am the most alone so that at least one mommy who reads it might feel less alone in what she struggles with.

I fall apart and this wonderful husband (that couldn't load a dishwasher the way I like it if a gun were held to his head) stands right next to me, picks up the pieces and helps me reconstruct a wife and mother out of a pile of nerves smothered beneath this damp... wool... blanket... So for all the shit I give this man I want you guys to know I didn't marry someone who likes to keep house like I do, I waited for a man that would stay. That would lift up this blanket to see me beneath it and help me. And love me anyway. And say yes wife, you can handle today. You are a great mother. This is just a phase and you will triumph because there is no other option. While we cannot always heal ourselves it is always within us to seek out help. To call out. To say this is worth exposing myself to overcome. Motherhood overcome.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

1 Minute and 47 Seconds

Being your mother takes me aside, it is a whispered law, accepted by all. The science of our relationship is as undeniable as a craving. I crave you. It took me 6 weeks to get you off of my tit and out of my bed, then last week you were back. One hand on your father's cheek, the other on my breast. You were delighted. "Isn't this great fellas?" you implied, looking left, then right, then left, waiting for our agreeable reply. Just less than one hour ago I was hitting my head against the wall hoping between the rhythm and the osmosis of my exhaustion you would put yourself back to sleep in your little froggy pajamas from your uncle Jeff. Instead, you let me rock you. You rested your head on my shoulder and relented. You laid in your basinet and I covered you up and rubbed your belly. For 1 minute and 47 seconds I got to feel like your mother putting you to bed instead of a fuel station tanking you up.

We took a walk tonight, because mommy had a lot of stress. Because sometimes mommy wants to scream at you even though she knows that you are not whining to try to kill her with your newly discovered tonal daggers, rather you are listening to your new voice. A voice none of us knew two weeks ago. I am no fool. I have excelled at many jobs, do not doubt motherhood has been mine from the taking. So I gathered you up, and we left the house.

The house that holds the kitchen where your father tried to make instant mashed potatoes and instead used the rest of the margarine to make salt soup. The same kitchen that holds the microwave I finally got around to cleaning after making that bad bacon two weeks ago. That microwave that I cooked ham in tonight and once again reeks of pork. And we walked.

I propped you up in your stroller so you could see the neighborhood, and when I wanted to talk, out of awkwardness, out of some need to be your tour guide to life, I didn't. I shut it. I let life come to you. And me. I walked harder and faster and for the first time understood why our $300 stroller is worth every penny. I rolled you over curbs effortlessly. Train tracks, broken glass, and a tree branch fell quietly beneath our tread. I fumed. And released. I loved your father. He drives me crazy sometimes and all I can think about is watching him gray. Getting old with him, and knowing that I will contribute my fair share of his gray hairs is just another story I will tell you when you're older. Tonight, I walked you through our old neighborhood and missed nothing.

I put you to bed, made chicken salad for Daddy, and settled into the couch with a cup of Chamomile tea to watch the last episode of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. I used to think this was the "real Lawton" time. When I got to just be myself. Then, the other day, I cut your thumb nail too short and you bled without a flinch. I put your thumb in my mouth and tasted iron. A few weeks ago you figured out that if you let out a scream bloody murder into dead air I come to you faster, and when you screamed I ran so fast when I arrived I couldn't remember having left your side in the first place. This is the real me. This is a chemistry I longed for and never understood. This is ownership, a commitment, the first promise I truly promise no matter what. And it is great Cohen, every tonal massacre, every co-sleeping night, the aching back the remaining 40 lbs., the 4 a.m. feeding you've given revival to... all of it. I love you frog face.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Pettiness of Parenthood

As Dan and I acclimate to parenthood at a relatively equal pace, I cannot help but feel that our parenting style is neither permissive or authoritarian, rather a sophisticated game of hot potato. Originally it was attachment parenting that appealed to us the most, but over the past four and half months we have succumbed to a parenting technique even more our style. We barter, negotiate, trade off, trick, push, pinch, beg, and sneak away from the other in order to determine who will tackle what task. We call this the 5 stages of parenthood.

As soon as Dan and I are in a room together the game begins. If we come to your house, you are in the game. Anyone can play. Anyone we see fit is automatically counted in. Dan and I will play this game Saturday morning. Cohen will wake up between us and begin rolling back and forth with the ferocity of a fish out of water - swatting at our faces to see who will wake up first. Dan and I will take turns pretending to be in the deeper sleep, each of us nudging the baby towards our opponent while the other feigns sleep with their eyelids tightly shut. The first one to wake up and deal with the baby takes the lead, and from there may suggest that the other parent get the coffee started, request breakfast, and order any drink to quench the thirst brought about after a long night's sleep. At this point, the parent getting out of bed must huff to express enough anger at being the one that always gets up to rally the guilt of the parent staying in bed (note: No matter who is getting up, that person will complain that they always have to get up, despite however many times the two parents alternate). As the one parent prepares the coffee and the other plays with the baby a yelling match between bedroom and kitchen ensues.

Bedroom: Can you bring a diaper and a wipe back with you?

Kitchen: Where are the coffee filters?

Bedroom: Can you also grab the boogie sucker?

Kitchen: I can't tell if this milk is bad, do you want to smell it or should I just pour it in your cereal?

This is our pathetic attempt to draw our opponent into whatever room we are in, as we are forever desperate for one another's company. In the final stage we settle onto the couch swapping baby for coffee cup, hold her while I get a muffin, I forgot to put sugar in my coffee can you take her, pick her up the dog is coming, put her in her swing, if you get her from the swing I'll make more coffee, if I make breakfast will you do the dishes so I can feed her, do you want to feed her, can I just have her, take her, etc...etc...etc...until all of us are showered, dressed, and out the door on another adventure marked for the Team Jackson photo album. This weekend, house hunting in Queen Creek!