Tuesday, September 18, 2012

manufacturing happy

 
Here's how I felt on my wedding day:
 
Exploding with joy. From every pore. I've never felt so not-anxious or frustrated or panicked in my LIFE.
 
And why? One theory is that I was so. glad. to not be planning the wedding anymore. (Have I mentioned I fcking hated being engaged? It's in the Top 5 Worst Periods of My Life list.) I don't have any other theories.
 
Leading up to the wedding, we did a LOT of marriage prep. Pre-Cana (classes and take-home work), one-on-one with the priest, sessions with a peer couple, etc. And we talked. About all the things. Or at least as many of the things as we could remember to discuss. We didn't always see eye-to-eye on everything, but at the end of each discussion, I felt confident that I was making a good decision.
 
Because - let's be clear - you can love someone. And you can want to tie your life to theirs. But there is no BAM I LOVE YOU LET'S GET MARRIED I AM UNWAVERINGLY SURE OF THIS DECISION moment. At least there wasn't for me. I'm unwaveringly sure of it NOW but that's because I vowed to marry this dude every day for the rest of ever, so that's what I'm doing. So far, it's super easy and fun. We'll see how it goes later on.
 
Point is, I went through all the doubt-feelings before the wedding day. I'd already had all my freak-outs. I kept waiting for the panic to set in that holy EFF I was getting MARRIED, but it never showed. I would check in with myself, seeking out the terror, and all I would find was me, rolling my eyes, being all, "We've been through this. We're cool. OOOH MIMOSAS!!" Which boils down to: I felt pretty amazing on a potentially scary, transformative day. Because I'd done al the prep work.
 
Now I want to feel that on the day I become a mom.
 
What is more transformative than parenthood? Survey says: nothing. OK, parenthood and probably a stroke or some sort of spinal/brain injury. Those things can really change a person. But as far as stuff I can plan for goes, parenthood. And I know that giving birth COULD be terrifyng, frustrating, stressful. But maybe I can choose to make it joyful? There's no way I'm getting out of the pain. That's just ludicrous. But I can at least try to have the attitude that every contraction is bringing the kid closer (you know...figuratively). And remember that The Foliage is going to be a parent too, and that I'm not alone in the process. Nature says my body is totally capable of childbirth - the odds aren't so great for lifelong monogamy, so nature's on my side for this one! Handy.
 
Here are things I did pre-wedding that I think helped the most:
  • Chose to hang out with couples that were good role models. I still do this. If you surround yourself with negativity, it's much harder to be positive. As far as labor goes, I'm trying to read only good birth stories. Or if one comes up in which an emergency occurred, focus on the end result, of healthy mother and baby.
  • Completely stopped doing Wedding Things when I went to get ready for the rehearsal. If it wasn't done by then, it wasn't going to be done. I'm going to try to remember that anything that isn't done when I go into labor is still do-able post-baby, or isn't necessary.
  • Did the prep, based on real examples (we spent a lot of time talking about issues we'd seen arise and become destructive in couples we knew). I know exhaustion and body image are some things that will be a concern for me, so I'm trying to be as healthy as possible throughout the pregnancy so I can be strong and capable during labor and afterward. Trying to be the parent I want to be NOW instead of changing all my habits later. Except cursing. I really haven't addressed cursing yet, and I don't know if I will. Third trimester lines up well with Lent, which is when I annually clean up my mouth. We'll see.
Any other ideas? I'm trying very hard to avoid all the fear-mongering and the natural-birth-naysayers. But both are the status quo, so it's a little tough.
 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

smack talk

 
Ceej: LIONS PLAY THE 9ERS THIS SUNDAY NIGHT!!!! Yesssssssss
The Foliage: We're the Sunday night game?! That is so awesome!!!
C: I KNOW!!!
TF: It's a shame you'll go to bed angry
C: Try not to keep me up too long with your sobbing
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

unless we get a little crazy

 
It's really annoying that our legal address can't change from Delaware to Maryland until October 30th. Because that isn't enough time to change our addresses and vote on Maryland issues on November 6th. Gay marriage! Casino! The representatives that affect where WE live! Ughhhhhhhh. We have to do absentee ballot ish for Delaware instead. Also annoying: when you google "Delaware" most of the resuts are for Delaware, Ohio. MOST annoying: I have a lot of friends who live in DC, and they don't get to vote at all. Which is just 100% ridiculous. Taxation without representation? Um...?
 
But most things are annoying to me these days. Apparently this is a common pregnancy issue. And for someone who started out with as mercurial a temper as mine...this is pretty dangerous. For, like, our pans. And my, um, spouse. Here is when my moods are always the worst: the morning (then when I'm hungry and when I'm tired, in that order). Here is how my dreams are now: super cuddly and snoogley and awesome. So I'm superhappyawesome and then BAM! Awake. Annoyed. Very recently awesome, and aware of it. It is all sorts of first world problem, until I throw a (cast iron) pan and maim my husband. Though that's unlikely. Those things are so oddly weighted! I'd never be able to aim it properly. Unless I was trying not to hit him, in which case, I don't know. Could be dangerous.
 
Maintaining my own temper has been a lifelong struggle, so I'm just going to have to get more better at it. Because it's that easy. Of course.
 
Here are awesome things from this weekend:
 

My sister "headlined" at a poetry night thing! Got a great response from the crowd. Her poems are great already, but they really kill as spoken-word. With the voices and sometimes-songs and explanations (which may or may not average 12x the length of the poem itself).

I made sourdough bread that's actually like sourdough bread! After consultation with my Granna, it seems that I let the first rise go too long, but the point of this recipe is to let the flour soak for a long time, to break down the antinutrients in it. And that's supposed to happen during rise #1. So. I don't know how to get around this. Maybe a different type of flour would work out better. It ended up pretty dense, but did bake all the way through, so I'm pleased. Great for sandwiches. 

We met our new landlords and saw the new house again. Good news! We still love it and are wicked excited to move in! Also the landlords are super nice and want to fix tons of stuff! We'll see whether or not they have the time/money/energy to actually make these repairs, but whatevs. We signed the application for the as-is house, so any upgrades they do are just bonuses for us.

Potentially handy: the wife kept telling me about the neighbors and their histories. Eventually I realized the neighbors she was talking about were either dead or didn't live there anymore. Because that's how super old people roll. WHAT DO YOU MEAN SOMEONE ELSE LIVES THERE NOW THAT DOESN'T MATTER. At least I now know which houses to avoid for possible hauntings (read: the house directly behind ours holy EFF).  

Also we were there for over an hour and a half, and there's NO furniture or food in the house, so preggo here had to interrupt Mrs. Landlady at one point to sit down on the floor. Because that's not weird! Everyone! Keep going about your business! Don't mind me, just need to take a little rest on the kitchen tile! Sigh. Thanks, baby. You're a pal.
 
The Lions won against the Rams on the First Sunday of football! I really need some legit Lions gear. I clearly understand the word "need."
 
I've popped? I don't know. On Sunday I woke up and was decided LARGER than I had been before. This whole kid business could probably still be passed off as too many nachos (not a thing), but it's getting a lot closer to looking like a pregnancy. I'm now wearing maternity pants exclusively. Here's the thing about maternity pants: the stretchy part get stretched out. Really fast. And then it's saggy. And your pants are constantly falling down. I got a LOT of clothes off of CraigsList, which was awesome, and included a TON of pants/jeans. But it seems like only a few of the pairs of pants are actually viable. Unless I get a few inches shorter or gain WAY more weight than I'm expecting to. Also the shirts are all, like, parachute-shaped? If I'm going to wear maternity clothes, I want to look like I need them. I'm not wearing tents to hide my belly. Maybe in future pregnancies I'll feel like hiding behind huge panels of fabric, but not for this one. Sooooo I think I need to go through and get rid of a lot of the clothes. Along with all the stuff left over from the...
 
Clothes swap! In my living room. Holy majoli so many clothes. So. Many. Clothes. Goal for tonight: bag and donate the clothes. Also books we don't want to move. Then we can start packing. Oh, didn't I mention? We haven't packed ANYTHING. I put a bunch of our Good Wine in a box. Aaaaand that's it. And our new lease starts this Saturday. Luckily (or not, whatever) we have until the middle of October to be out of the current place. But we really need to try and be mostly in the new place over the next two weekends. After that, weekends are pretty busy. Even THOSE weekends we're pretty busy. Ugh I hate moving.
 
And also football at family's! Apparently we're getting cable at the new place, so maybe we'll alternate hosting. But I'm pretty much in anywhere there's guacamole and salsa. So.
 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

 
We got a mailer last night from Cultural Care Au Pair, a company I'd looked into briefly a few weeks ago, but then determined to be unethical, due to their compensation for the au pairs. Then I mostly forgot about it. This mailer, though...geez.
 
Here's the bottom line: on average, it costs you $350/week (for 51 weeks), when you add up all the fees the company charges on top of the au pair's stipend. About $7.80/hr (because they are GUARANTEED to provide you with 45 hours of nannying time per week, including some other household work). That is only $0.55/hr more than the minimum wage in my state. For someone (aged 18-26) I'm trusting to take care of my kid(s). OH THE VALUE!
 
However, when you look more closely at this card, you see that the au pair actually receives a $196.75 stipend each week. Which is $4.37/hr. And they get THAT 51 weeks per year. So there's one week each year when they get to live on their awesome savings!!
 
Granted, they live with you and eat most meals at your house, so that saves them money. But would you ever evaluate a job applicant, and reduce their compensation if you knew they lived at their parents' house? Or that their spouse made enough to cover all their expenses? One of the benefits is supposed to be that they're available 24 hours per day. But 45 hours per week BARELY allows for parents to have full-time jobs. I'm typically at work 45-50 hours per week, but my commuting time adds 7-8 hours to that number. If you call on the au pair to assist you in the middle of the night, do you take time off work later in the week to make up for it? My guess is that most families (unintentionally or not) wind up exploiting the availability of these workers. How are they supposed to afford a car or car insurance on these wages? Read: they're stuck with you. All the time.
 
The company provides "basic health insurance" but urges au pairs to spend their measley stipend on MORE BETTER INSURANCE, through a partner company. The support in the USA bit basically seems to mean a guidance counselor/parole officer type of role. And here's their training: some books/miscellaneous materials they receive while still in their home country, and then FOUR DAYS of training. Four days. In real life. To handle not only the job of nannying, but also how the eff to live in America. That seems super effective. Who wouldn't be totally comfortable with a brand new culture and raising other people's kids after 4 days of training?! No one, that's who.
 
People in other countries want to come to America? I am ALL FOR IT. But when they get here, I want them to be treated like fcking human beings. This is glorified slavery. And I'm so pissed that so many Americans are selfish enough to fall for this BS.
 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

first anniversary special edition


Earlier today, The Foliage posted on his Facebook wall:
Several years ago I met a woman I didn't see coming. Every time I thought I'd figured her out, she unveiled a little more, and a little more. Then, as I learned to know her better and better, I realized that she'd unveiled me a little more, and a little more.

We realized that to keep going, we would need to be together forever. So a year ago we promised each other that we would. Our friends and family thought that that was a great idea, so they all came out and ate and danced with us. Until 10 pm, until 11, a little more, and a little more.

So now we're two people having fun all the time, or most of the time, learning a little more and a little more. We're having so much fun together, that we decided to make another one of us. So in a few months, the two of us will be a little more, and a little more.

One year down - forever to go. Happy first anniversary, Ceej!

Later, on GChat:

Ceej: YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO MAKE ME CRY VIA FACEBOOK DOUCHE
The Foliage: HUZZAH! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, SCHMUCK


Happy anniversary, indeed.

the space between

 
I really need to stop talking about how I haven't had an ultrasound and that's weird, but...it is. It super super is. It's not like I EXPECT to have one, and that an expectation isn't being met. I just see all the posts from friends who are as far along as I am, and it seems like their checking-upping has been BUSY. Because what can you compare yourself to, really, but your peers who are in the same position? At least for the first kid. For kid #2 I'll be all, "no heartbeat means mama's having a beer (or seven)!" On the other hand, most of the people I know who are "as pregnant" as I am are going through the 100% western medical model, or have had trouble conceiving, and therefore are doing a lot more monitoring.
 
So we had our first midwife appointment today. And there was no heartbeat. And I had braced for that. (Thanks, Carrie!) So I wasn't freaked out. My stomach's still being a jerk and not letting me find most foods appealing, and my uterine area is getting more bulbous. I can feel it stretching out (very localized, sharp cramps). So I know things are happening in there.
 
But still.
 
The Foliage and I had taken off work for the morning. We answered all the midwife's questions, eagerly anticipating the exam part. She felt around for what felt like forever. Good news! I have a really strong pulse around my uterus! The blood is a-flowin' down there! Great. Also a good sign of ferreal baby action (see above). She told me my "bump" is actually my abdominal-area organs trying to figure out where to go as the baby-cave grows. I think THAT was a bigger blow to me than the heartbeat thing. You mean when I've put my hand on my lower stomach, thinking I was holding my kid, I was really cradling my intestines? Apprently yes. I've written extensively about my struggle to find this whole process to be endearing/cute/whatever. So this new visual really didn't help. Also, screw you, pregnancy diagrams! Don't act like that fetus is so high up when it isn't! I have no desire to lovingly caress my bladder, you tricksterjerk!
 
Also it's our first anniversary. So there was extra pressure on the appointment. To be all Best. Day. Evar. !!
 
We don't really have plans. Usually, we are the surprise-each-other-with-plans-and-stuff people. But this year? Meh. It's the FIRST year, though, so there's some self-applied pressures to be A Great Spouse or whatever. But also, I am tired? Like really really beyond tired. So even if The Foliage surprised me with the greatest surprise there ever was, it would pretty much be wasted, because no matter what the plan is, I'd rather be napping. Also we hopefully have a bazillion anniversaries left, so.
 
I do feel really badly that I didn't come up with SOMEthing, though. Any little gift for him. I am a gift-giving machine! And especially when they pertain to -aversaries!! But a couple days ago, we were in the living room, and I turned to him and said, "So, um. Our anniversary's on Tuesday. I haven't gotten you anything. Like...anything. Is that OK?" And he hadn't gotten me anything either! Perfect! And we thought about doing a nice dinner, but I'd hate to waste that on my hating-most-food self! Also so expensive! So. I dunno.
 
We have a good plan for this evening. I really like it. It doesn't make me anxious or feel like I'll be exhausted. It feels comfortable and sweet and relaxing. Which? Is all the sh*t I want right now! So perfect! We pretty much had the best, most enthusiastic wedding ever, so I think a year of vegging out in its memory is appropriate. Right? I mean. We can't familydance to "Eternal Flame" every September 4th. That's just unsustainable.