Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Crush With Eyeliner

If you've read any of my posts, you've probably gathered that I am (a) married, (b) a mother of two small boys, and (c) straight. All three are true. That said, I have a secret girly crush. No, not that kind of girly crush (you know, the kind your husband only wishes you had). The kind of girly crush where you think this woman is just so freaking smart and funny and successful and cool and you not only wish you were smart and funny and successful and therefore cool like her, but you want to be BFF friends with her and hang out and go to lunch and then go shopping with her. I have one of those big, fat girly crushes on Tina Fey. It would be so cool to be friends with her; our kids would have playdates and we'd sit around watching them play, shooting the breeze about parenting, marriage, and most importantly, snark on the world.

Maybe it's because I discovered that she's from Upper Darby, or that her birthday is the same day as my friend Stacy's, or we both graduated from high school and college the same year, or maybe it's because in my fantasy life I am that smart, funny, and successful. After all, I do have shoulder length brown hair, wear similarly-shaped tortoise shell glasses, but I'm about three inches taller. But that's neither here nor there... I like to think of Tina as my alter ego, the "me" I would be if I had gotten my head together a little sooner in life and was confident enough not only to know what I wanted, but to actually go out there and get it at any cost.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Shake the Disease

I hate when I get like this. I've been perseverating, no obsessing, about having a daughter. I just can't stop thinking about it, but not in a good way. It's gnawing away at me.

At the grocery store today I chatted up a woman who's due with her second child in two weeks. She has a boy who's a little over two and is expecting a girl. I'm happy for her, but that secret, little dark part of me was angry, wanted to know why I haven't felt that joy of awaiting my daughter. Fortunately I got over that pretty quickly. Then when I was checking out, I talked to a woman in the next lane who has two boys who looked about 4 and 5, and a baby girl who was maybe five months old. When I asked her what she did to get her girl after two boys, she gave me this serious look and said, "You want to know what I did?" and told me that she had in vitro with sex selection. I thanked her for sharing that with me. I really admire her courage to tell me that because people can get so judgemental and, frankly, angry when someone expresses the desire to balance their family.

So today I've been obsessing about IVF and PGD. How would I get hubby to agree to it? (we discussed #3 last night while we were out to dinner; he expressed his desire for pink but steadfastly refused my suggestion that we get his sperm spun to tip the scales to the pink side. his comment: "you get what you get" ...easily spoken by the man with two sons. I highly doubt he'd be feeling so cavalier if we had two daughters) How would I explain this to people? Would I explain it to people? How would I feel knowing I tinkered with the Almighty's domain to get a daughter? What if something was wrong with her? Certainly I would feel that I brought it on myself and was simply being punished for trying to play God.

So what do I do? Any low-tech method to sway for a girl seems to work just as well as simply doing nothing at all. Part of me wants to let go and trust God since He has a plan for our family, but part of me is terrified of being overrun by a houseful of boys with no daughter to grow close to, like I am with my mother. Part of me wants to try every low-tech method just so I could say, "Well, I did everything nonintrusive I could to have a daughter" should I have another boy.

I also worry that all this worrying about a daughter means that I'm definitely having all boys.

I need to get myself back into therapy before I get pregnant again. I can't keep having this obsessive thoughts. I need to be present and enjoy my boys since they're only little once.

In more serious news, I got an email from the husband of a friend today. She's pretty sick but he had little details to share except she's out of commission indefinitely. I don't like the feel of it, but I do hope she's okay and is back to her old self soon. I really like her a lot; she's a great person and I always enjoy her company.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Big, Fat Girly Secret

Now that I've been posting here for a while, I feel like we're friends. I feel safe sharing some rather intimate and somewhat embarrassing thoughts and feelings with you. And this, in my opinion, is my big one.

I want a daughter. I really, really want a daughter.

Please don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say. I absolutely love and adore my two sons and would not change them for anything in the world, nor do I wish that either of them were girls instead. I do not feel anything but pure love for them and amazing gratitude that I have been chosen to be their mother.

Still, if hubby and I chose not to have any more children, I would feel that I was missing out on the experience of raising a girl. We do want more children, but that makes me worry because there is always a chance that I will have a third boy. I worry that, in that case, I will suffer from PPD that is more severe than what I've experienced with the first two boys, if only because hubby probably won't want to go for number four, and then my aching desire for a daughter will be unfulfilled. I don't know how to handle that.

If money were no option, I would pursue adoption for a baby girl in a heartbeat, or consider MicroSort to have a 91% chance of conceiving a girl. Or would I?

Whenever I start to think about either of these options for any length of time, I start to question myself, my faith, my ethics. If I adopt or have hub's sperm spun, am I playing God? If I adopt, is it less noble to specify that we only want to adopt a girl and not welcome a child of either gender with open arms? Since I had little trouble getting pregnant twice, am I tempting fate by spinning hub's sperm to tip the scales in XX's favor?

As much as I want to give it up to God and trust Him (because I really do believe that we get the children we get for a reason), the thought of actually letting go makes me panicky. It doesn't help that I still feel a pang when I run into women whose firstborns are boys who I haven't seen since they were pregnant pushing little pink bundles in their strollers. I try to push those nasty feelings away, and I am happy for women who "get" the gender they want, but there's still that voice inside me screaming WHY NOT ME?

I know this is petty and childish and a bit premature, especially since (a) I'm not pregnant with our third, and (b) we haven't discussed adopting or any other options, but I need to get this out there and off my chest.

I really want a daughter. I think the boys would love to have a baby sister. I love my mother dearly, and I want that same-sex relationship with my own daughter. I feel that I have a lot to offer a daughter, advice on peer pressure, mean girls, boys, and figuring out who you are and what and who are important to you. And I want to experience raising both boys and girls. I want to experience first-hand the differences between the sexes in addition to the differences within each child.

Thanks for the free therapy. Until later...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Exciting Thursday Night

  1. I'm on hold right now with HP Technical Support. Earlier today I had an online chat support session with "Patrick" and now I'm working with "David." Call me crass, but I highly doubt that these are their real names. I worked for a software developer for about three years and none of our engineers who were here from India on H1B visas had names that were remotely close to Patrick or David. I realize that these pseudonyms are an effort to make things easier on us dumb Americans, but most of us can pronounce Mahmoud or Ajay.
  2. Okay, so my support call is finished. According to HP's system the expansion base which is cutting power from my laptop when I connect the two together is no longer under warranty. The documentation I have says it is, so now I have to search my house to find a proof of purchase. The email order confirmation from the purchase was contained on a hard drive that has since been demolished by sledgehammer. Thanks, hon!
  3. Now I am looking at a printed copy of the transaction detail from my laptop/docking station purchase. Next stop, to see if I can get a proof of purchase to fax to my buddy David at HP.
  4. Crap, crap, crap! I didn't set up an account. Can I just use my email address and zip code to find my order?
  5. Yes! I can reprint the receipt, too! Yippee! Fingers crossed that this is all my HP buds need.
  6. I'm tired. Going to bed now. Good night.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stop the Ride, I Wanna Get Off

As I told you yesterday, I was on antidepressants for postpartum depression. Well, last week I quit them cold turkey, but not exactly on purpose.

I believe I mentioned before that the initial side effects of the meds sucked. I felt gross physically, but they certainly helped me mentally, so I kept taking them. A few weeks later I started feeling nauseous again, and really tired, too. I started to think I might be pregnant. That wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world, but if I were, it would have been nice to give my body a little bit of time to recover from pregnancy and breastfeeding. Heck, I would have liked to wean first! So I got myself a two-pack of home pregnancy tests just to make sure that wasn't why I was feeling so first trimester-y. Of course, both tests were negative, which led me to think that either it was the meds or something else.

I have to go off on a little tangent here. When I was debating what to do about my PPD, I asked the kids' pediatrician for a referral. I also told her who my OBGYN referred me to, and she made this face like "You really need to see anyone else in the world but them!" I should have listened to her. I liked the counselor I saw (twice), but her hours just didn't work for me. I didn't want to see her at 7:30am, and there was no way I wanted to go while my mother in law was watching the kids (I love her, no really, I do, but there are some boundary issues I have with her that would need to be discussed with any therapist I'd see). The psychiatrist who wrote my prescription was pretty much useless. I don't think he even listened to half of what I said during my first visit with him. The ped even said that people complain that the doctors at this psych practice don't listen, and boy howdy was she right. But enough about that.

The week before last, I decided that I had had enough of being exhausted after nine plus hours of sleep, unable to drag myself out of bed before 8am (I even asked the ped at Jack's three year checkup if I might be anemic; she suggested I go for a checkup since I haven't had one in about a year and a half). I thought I'd try taking my meds before bed and see if that helped. I took them for one night, then forgot to take it the next night, and the next, and so on. Since I had missed three or four days in a row, I decided to just bag taking them altogether. And then I started feeling really dizzy towards the end of last week. I thought it was because I had too much dairy in my diet, but the WebMD Symptom Checker clued me in to another possibility, something far more insidious than too much ice cream before bed: medication withdrawal. I did some more surfing and lo and behold it seems that, most likely, that is the cause of my dizziness. Damn you, sertraline!

It totally sucks that if I choose to take antidepressants in order to have better control of my emotions, I will be physically exhausted all the time. How is that supposed to help me be a better wife, mom, and person in general? I am going to call the psych tomorrow, but the last time I called asking about side effects, he acted like calling me back was such a major inconvenience and that I was distracting him from something amazingly important. At this point, I do not want to go back on the meds, because the cure is just about as bad as the disease, and coming off them totally sucks, too.

There has to be a better way to deal with PPD. I signed up for a course at the local high school called "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" and I hope that might have some answers. I much prefer the alternative/natural health route whenever possible. It's just trickier to do that now since I'm still breastfeeding. Oh, and I have an appointment with my GP for a checkup on Thursday. Hopefully he'll request some bloodwork to rule out anemia and/or a hormonal imbalance.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mommy's Little Secret

No, I am not an alcoholic. I do not abuse my children, and my husband does not beat me. I was never raped or molested by a family member. Thank God my "secret" isn't a very dirty one, but it's something that I strongly feel should be discussed more often. Until recently, I took antidepressants for postpartum depression. There, I said (typed) it.

It started about four or five months after each of my boys was born, coinciding nicely with that time when you start losing all of that hair that doesn't fall out when you're pregnant. Although I consider myself the emotional kind, I didn't cry every day. I didn't have trouble getting out of bed, nor did I feel disconnected from my kids. I was still able to get myself out of bed, showered, dressed, and even get out of the house pretty frequently (you really don't have much choice about this when you have two kids... you need to get out so your older one doesn't get all pent up and drive you completely crazy, as all you moms of more than one child know). From the outside looking in, most people would never suspect that I was dealing with anything other than perfect adjustment to motherhood (or mothering two). We all know how appearances often deceive.

Instead of the just facing usual bumps in the road of life as Mommy, I would get so ragingly (and, in relation to the situation, disproportionately) angry at the drop of a hat. My then two and a half year old would do something completely age appropriate and I would start yelling at him as if he deliberately broke every piece of china I owned, then stuck a fork into an outlet. I would call the hubby to see what time he'd be home from work and if he said he was swamped and would be home late, I'd go postal on him. I hated how I was acting, I felt completely powerless to act otherwise in the moment, and afterwards I felt miserable for (a) having gone off the deep end yet again, and (b) not being able to control myself better. I knew I needed to do something.

As is my wont, I did a bunch of online research for post partum depression (PPD). Based on most descriptions, I was pretty sure I had at least a mild case. I called my OBGYN first because I wasn't sure who else it should be. A therapist who knows nothing about me? My GP who I haven't seen since before I got pregnant for the second time? And once I called her, I wasn't sure what my doc would say, especially since I "passed" the first PPD screening at my six week checkup. Honestly, I think anyone who is moderately functioning and doesn't pose an immediate threat to themselves or their child passes this screener, but I digress...

I told my doc that I felt like I was having the worst PMS of my life, that I was constantly angry and this all coincides to when I started losing my hair. I asked if it was a hormone imbalance (I'm still breastfeeding and my period still hasn't come back at almost nine months postpartum, so who knows what's going on in my body). She said that normally the practice will prescribe a low dose antidepressant that's safe for breastfeeding mothers, but since I was four months postpartum when I called, she referred me to a psychiatric practice.

To make a long story short, I was prescribed 50 mg of Sertraline, which is the generic form of Zoloft. I was to take 25mg per day for the first week, then increase the dosage to the full 50mg. At first I was terrified to start taking it. I had so many questions: Will I feel "normal"? Is it really okay to breastfeed while taking this (the pediatrician and my OBGYN gave me the go ahead; haven't seen any adverse effects with my little guy, thankfully)? What if the 50mg isn't enough? How long will I have to stay on this? What if I get pregnant while taking it? I seriously considered not taking the scrip because I had a good couple of weeks, but then something ridiculous set me off so I decided I needed to suck it up and take the meds.

The initial side effects were pretty awful (nausea, horrible stomachaches), but thankfully the 25mg was enough to take the edge off (whatever that "edge" is or was I may never know). I actually felt like myself! Yes, there were still many days when I would get angry, but no more so than before I was pregnant. I could talk to my hubby and not go haywire on him! I felt more in control as a wife and as a mother. It was really a huge help right when I needed it.

More later...

Friday, September 7, 2007

His First Day of Preschool

Jack started preschool yesterday. I guess it went well. On the car ride over, he asked if I was going to stay with him during class (we stayed last week for orientation). I told him no, preschool is only for three-year-olds and not for mommies or babies. That seemed acceptable to him.

So I walk him into class where he's greeted by his teachers. They show him where to put his backpack and folder and I ask him for a hug goodbye. You would have thought I was invisible. Jack didn't even turn to look at me or say goodbye, so I waved and told him I'd see him at 11:30. I guess he was ready. He said he had fun and played with the trains, but that's about all the detail I've gotten so far.

Ted and I had fun while Jack was at school. We went to Wal-Mart (its own ring of hell), then came home so Ted could nap until it was time to get Jack. I'm looking forward to some one on one time with the Tedster while Jack's at school. And I'm so proud of Jack.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I am old.

I just looked through the website for the 20th reunion for one of the high schools I attended (for those keeping score, I went to three different high schools. In three different states). It was neat to see the people I was friends with and what they look like now, although some of them must have moved (got left back, maybe?) since they weren't listed as class of 1988 alumni.

What made me feel really old was seeing pictures of people's kids. Not the ones who, like me, married at 30 and have kids who are entering preschool, but the ones who have fifteen year olds. Yes, there are several alumni who have children in middle school and high school. Granted, these people live in the midwest and a lot of them married right out of college, but still... I can't get my head around having a middle schooler right now. I'm still working on getting Jack to consistently poop on the potty and stay dry all day.

In other news, Jack starts preschool tomorrow. That means I need to get to bed so I can be dressed and ready before he and Teddy wake up. Updates tomorrow.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Further Adventures in Laundry

I am such a geek. Then again, you knew that already.

I'm excited - we got a new washer and dryer today.

Their purchase was a bit of a sore subject around here last week. It started when I went to dry a load of laundry and the drum didn't spin when I hit the Start button. I had to push it a few times before it actually started turning. Fortunately, when we bought the house the previous owners left the washer and dryer, so it's not like we had to buy one, ever. But still, when we went to look at them, John wasn't exactly thrilled when I showed him the front loading washer and insanely large capacity dryer that were $1400 for both (but we'd get another 10% off for buying both! AND pay no tax on the washer since it's an Energy Star model! AND there's a rebate on the delivery charge!!). He thought $1000 tops was sufficient for a "no frills" pair. Mind you, I'm the one who does the lion's share of laundry around here. I'm not complaining that I do it, I'm just sayin'.

Here's why I wanted a front loading machine:
  • it's more water and energy efficient (especially important since, in addition to our electric bill increase, the water bill will soon go up too)
  • they're HUGE - you can wash a buttload of stuff at once
  • as the boys get bigger, we really are gonna need a serious washing machine
  • if we're going to get a new machine, we should get a good once since we'll have it for (hopefully) at least 15 years

Well, we looked at them last weekend and John balked at the price. I didn't say anything all week. Then on Friday, there was a Sears circular in Friday's paper advertising a 20% sale on washers and dryers. When I mentioned this to John, he replied, "Just order them." And so I did.

Of course, this meant projects for John: replace the old plastic dryer vent (aka serious firetrap) with metal venting, which led to rewiring an outlet, and replacing the chains on the basement lights. He wasn't too thrilled with that, but once the w/d were delivered, I think he's actually glad we got them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Better Late Than...

No, we're not expecting number three. I just haven't posted anything in a long time. You know, because I have so many amazing things to blog about.

Last Saturday we took the boys to the Bronx Zoo. It was a gorgeous, autumn-like day; absolutely perfect for strolling around the zoo. Jack had so much fun, and John and I loved taking in everything through his eyes - the gorillas, the reptile house (reminded me of the first Harry Potter book), the butterfly gardens, the children's zoo. Ted was good for the most part, but I think eating on the run made him especially gassy (it's hard to nurse while people watching). As all you moms know, what do gassy babies do? Usually, they cry. A lot. Which, of course, Ted did. So why was I getting dirty looks from other moms? I mean, really - your kid never had gas? Please. The only thing major bummer about the day is that John has no concept of hunger. Thankfully Jack is usually fine as long as he has snacks (have goldfish, will travel), but going from 11:30 to 4:30 and stopping at 1pm to share one pretzel between the three of us, then stopping for lunch at 3:45, was completely insane. Still, it was really nice to have a fun family day.

Not much else happened this past week. Jack finished swimming lessons for the summer. The weather was like fall, and it seemed like every kid was off. Jack spent Monday being completely contrary and very touchy the rest of the week. Ted's been cranky, which is pretty unusual for him. He's got about four teeth in various stages of arrival, so that would explain it. But I lived to tell, so all is well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Tedster

I feel like I've given Ted, our second son, the short shrift. All of my entries so far seem to have focused on Jack with nary a mention of the Tedster.

I knew that it was possible to love two children equally and with all of your heart but, wow, is it an amazing experience. And even though I've already been through all of Jack's milestones, witnessing all of Teddy's are like seeing them for the very first time all over again. The novelty just doesn't wear off.

I love that you can tell that he and Jack are brothers, but Ted looks like Ted. He definitely has John's eyes. And what a pleasant surprise that they've stayed blue! Because of Teddy, I learned that my great grandmother (who I knew as Babci) had blue eyes. A small detail, I know, but I never knew that.

I love his laugh. I love listening to him shriek with glee and babble when he's in his crib in the morning. I love watching Jack make him laugh. I'm excited to watch him try to keep up with his big brother, and I'm excited to watch him grow up.

Oh, did I mention that he's a wookie, too? Ted makes these amazingly adorable gurgley trills that sound like Chewbacca. He is just too freakin' cute.

An Embarrassment of Riches

We had Jack's birthday party this past Saturday. Instead of having everybody over to our house, we decided to have the kid party at Next Dimension Gymnastics. What a great time! There's nothing quite like watching twenty three-year-olds having the time of their lives, jumping on trampolines, sliding into the giant foam pit, running through obstacle courses, rippling a parachute, and climbing up a rope ladder.

And Jack got such great presents. I get so weird about that - don't get me wrong, I honestly do appreciate the generosity shown by all of Jack's guests and their parents. But sometimes I wonder if, and worry that, any of the parents think I've invited them/their child so we can get a present. Honestly, if everyone showed up and gave Jack a coloring book, I'd be happy. I'm sure Jack would be, too. Like I said, I get weird about stupid stuff like that. Like I'm embarrassed and uncomfortable to have such wonderful friends. I'm such a geek.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Faulty Wiring

My mother-in-law gave me a book of essays about how having a baby changes your relationship with your spouse (too bad I didn't have it when I was pregnant the first time around). It's called Blindsided by a Diaper and so far it's pretty interesting. I wouldn't have picked it up myself, but it's still interesting.

Here's a quote I've been, I don't know, meditating on: "(W)hile a woman measures her husband's efforts against what she is doing, most men measure their contributions against what their father did" (from "Not Perfect but Lovin' Him Anyway" by Lisa Earle McLeod).

Obviously this little nugget isn't the magic bullet that will suddenly make my marriage perfect and remove any future issues about division of labor where raising our kids is concerned. Still, it helps me begin to understand how John views his contributions as Dad.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Three years in the blink of an eye

Today is Jack's third birthday. In some ways, it feels like we've been a family forever and in others, it feels like he just got here yesterday. I hope he had as much fun today as I did.

When I went to get him this morning, I asked him how old he was. He said two, and I said no, not any more. His face brightened and he said, "I'm three!" I wished him a happy birthday and gave him a big hug. What a great way to start the day.

After breakfast, I took Jack and Ted to the Garbage Museum in Stratford. I didn't tell Jack where we were going until we got on the road. I wanted it to be a surprise; on Sunday at about 4pm he announced that he wanted to see Trashasaurus and was crushed when I told him that he couldn't because the museum was closed. Jack was very excited to see Trashasaurus today. His favorite thing is to look for pieces of old toys amongst the mishmash. If you've never been, Trashasaurus is about ten feet high and twenty feet long (I'm terrible with estimating this kind of thing so don't quote me on it) and made entirely out of garbage. Not nasty, slimy stuff, but things like old tires, license plates, five-gallon paint drums, shoes, broken toys, that sort of thing. We ran into some friends and had an impromptu playdate at the museum, which was fun.

Back home for lunch, then a late afternoon playdate. It was great to catch up with friends we haven't seen since the early summer. The kids all got to play chase, which is Jack's all-time favorite game, and it's always fun to hear the kids laughing as they tear around the house.

Dinner was the birthday boy's choice, pasta, of course. Afterward I put a birthday candle in Jack's ice cream and John and I sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Then the usual bedtime routine, with the added bonus of lots of giggles between Jack and Mommy. He is such a funny kid. I am amazingly blessed, and I just love Jack so much. Both him and his brother. And their Daddy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Well, here goes nothin'

Hi there.

Welcome to my blog.

For someone who's spent as much time working with technology as I have, I'm really late to the whole personal webpage/blogging game. The blogosphere, if you will. I'm not really sure why I'm starting a blog now. Probably because two women I know and admire have their own and I figure hey, if they can do it, why can't I? Plus, I have this fantasy that I'm an incredibly witty and insightful writer, and what better way to live out that fantasy than right here in cyberspace, with all of my close personal friends hanging on my every word. But anyway...

In case you're wondering what "being have" means, please allow me to explain. It's not "Do you have the time?" have. It's the reply to your mom when she tells the toddler you to behave, and you reply, sincerely, "but I *am* being have!" That's the "have" I mean.

Okay, enough of my blathering for one post. I'll add more stuff later. Thanks for humoring me.