Friday, May 30, 2003

My darling sweet husband was working on his laptop tonight and mused out loud ... "I wonder what's going on at MomBrain? I haven't checked that out in a while." I was suddenly very self-conscious about my last post. While I have truly found peace with the small size of our family, I hadn't exactly gotten around to telling the Big Guy. So I turned my back as he read it, bracing myself for an emotional conversation and willing the tension in my back to go away. After a lo-o-o-ong silence, I said "Well?" And God bless him the Big Guy said "Is there really a Web site for Dippin Dots?"

Oh yes.


posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

I have finally found peace with having an only child.

Throughout eight years of infertility we thought we would have no children at all. The rollercoaster of emotions was grueling, the treatments barbaric, and the cost high -- in every respect. So when the Big Guy turned 40 we decided it was just too hard to continue ... and less than a year later the Little Guy came along. A true miracle! But as soon as we floated back to earth the clock started ticking for a second child. (Who knew I had *another* clock???)

Ideally I didn't want our children to be more than three years apart. In fact, three years was really my deadline. So as LG's third birthday approached I was feeling more and more grief-stricken for something I (and LG) would never have. For me, life is simply not worth living without my sisters. Plus, the Little Guy has older parents -- he will lose us at a fairly young age. And I don't want him to be alone in the world. I want him to have someone who shares his history, who knows him and loves him when we're gone. We considered adoption, and were devastated when one strong possibility fell through. That one experience was enough for us to realize that after all the painful years of infertility, we no longer have the emotional reservoir to absorb the risks and pain of the adoption process. Likewise, we can't stomach the thought of more fertility treatments. And no babies are appearing at our doorstep.

So. On Monday we were at the playground. The Big Guy was chasing the Little Guy, who was shrieking and riding a tricycle around and around in circles. I was sitting on a wooden bench, enjoying the warm sunshine and a light breeze. I thought about LG's birthday and how the clock had run out. And I felt ... relief. I don't have to agonize about it any more. I don't have to lie awake at 3:00 AM and second guess our decisions. I don't have to keep hoping that an adoption will somehow miraculously happen. And then I thought -- This is good. This is our choice. I choose this.

I still cry when I think of the little girl I will never have. Heck, it took me forty years to learn to apply eye makeup, and now I can't pass it along. I will pack the little dress I wore as a baby and hope it will be worn by a grandchild. I will stop drifting through the adorable clothes for little girls whenever I take the Little Guy shopping. Likewise, I will stop dreaming about two little boys playing on the same baseball team. I will stop fantasizing about the endless sports tournaments, the empty refrigerator, and the happy chaos of a house full of boys. And I will stop worrying about the Little Guy's ability to make his way without us.

He will be okay. We will be okay. We're a team, the three of us, and it's time to move forward ... together.


posted by Marjorie
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Sunday, May 25, 2003

A lovely day that didn't start that way! We had tickets to a 1:00 baseball game. The Little Guy still takes a big mid-day nap, so we arranged for a sitter and off we went, surprised there was no traffic ... OOPSIE! The game didn't start until 5:00. I don't know how I screwed up, but I did. Thankfully the sitter was available for the duration, so the Big Guy and I went furniture shopping for our new house, then went home and picked up LG and the sitter and took them to the game with us. A good time was had by all.

It's always fun to bring the Little Guy to a baseball game. The chief attraction for him is the peanuts. That and the folding seats. He ate continuously for the first 5 innings, sitting on the Big Guy's lap and snarfing peanuts as fast as BG could shell them. I also bought him a cheap little pom pom, which was no end of fun, and a cup of Dippin' Dots, which in my opinion is the most ridiculous form of ice cream invented. Dippin' Dots are little granules of ice cream that look like mothballs, only smaller. They're crunchy but melt in your mouth as soon as you start chewing. LG ate every single teeny piece.

Only one little blemish on an otherwise perfect day. I was cruising the ballpark concourse when I saw a former coworker in the crowd. We had worked together for several years on sports-related products, and when he knew me I was a runner who was 15 pounds lighter and a whole lot more energetic. But I quit that job after LG was born, almost three years ago, and that part of my brain (and body) went bye bye. Seeing him was a jolt -- like a ghost of my former self, and the contrast with my current self was painful. I suddenly felt old, haggard, and bloated. Then there was the load of french fries in my arms, which seemed shameful. So I avoided my old friend and walked the other way, confused, fighting tears. Then I ate all the french fries. Of course.

What would Dr. Phil say?


posted by Marjorie
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Friday, May 23, 2003

Ahhh, energy ... Today, for the first time in weeks, I feel like myself. Warm sunshine, exercise, a vitamin pill with iron, a good night's sleep, lots of water, a light lunch, and the triumph of my immune system have combined to make me feel more energetic, smarter, and happier than I have in a long time. This is no mean feat considering I am also in the throes of PMS and ate way too much birthday cake today.

We celebrated the Little Guy's third birthday today, a couple weeks late since he was so sick the day of. We had a little party this morning with his best friend, and I was very proud of myself for being flexible and spontaneous. My plan was to have a cake already made, but I overslept and the guests arrived early. So instead of finishing it I gave each kid a layer of cake, a bowl of frosting, a red gel decorating pen, and a plastic knife and let them go crazy. It became a party game. They had a blast and got very messy. And I didn't have to frost the cake.

Here's what I will think about when I'm going to sleep tonight. I went for a walk today and passed an estate sale in my neighborhood. The two twin beds on the front lawn looked forlorn, surrounded by the flotsam and jetsam of someone's life. Their life. A huge crowd was gathered -- eBay hawks, bargain hunters, and nosy neighbors. It made me sad, but I also couldn't help noticing the colorful box of Fiestaware in the back corner. How can our brains possibly feel grief and greed at the same time? I kept walking.


posted by Marjorie
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1. What brand of toothpaste do you use? Usually Crest, or whatever the Big Guy buys. I'm not picky!

2. What brand of toilet paper do you prefer? Northern

3. What brand(s) of shoes do you wear? Franco Suarto loafers. They're so-o-o-o comfortable and last forever.

4. What brand of soda do you drink? Diet Pepsi

5. What brand of gum do you chew? Extra, but only the light or dark blue kind
posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Just received the June issue of ePregnancy Magazine, with one of my articles published, plus a round-table interview. Hooray! I exist. I am not invisible. I take up space in the world. (Perhaps too much space, but that is another matter.)

My entire family has been flattened by a bad flu, and we are only now crawling back to health. Of course I've gotten nothing done, so my to do list is unforgiveably long. Today I am supposed to choose bathroom fixtures for the new house, balance the checkbook (I'm 4 months behind), finish unpacking, write and submit three queries, schedule two interviews, and plan the Little Guy's delayed birthday party. I think I will just have a cup of tea instead.


posted by Marjorie
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Saturday, May 17, 2003

The Friday Five:

1. What drinking water do you prefer -- tap, bottle, purifier, etc.? Bottled -- specifically Crystal Geyser.

2. What are your favorite flavor of chips? Salt & vinegar, baby!

3. Of all the things you can cook, what dish do you like the most? Toast with cream cheese and jelly. (I'm low maintenance.)

4. How do you have your eggs? Over medium, with buttered whole wheat toast to sop up the yolk.

5. Who was the last person who cooked you a meal? How did it turn out? Our friend Lisa made us a casserole when we moved. It was great -- orzo with feta cheese, tomatoes, zucchini, and other veggies.

posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

We are still under quarantine, and now I have the Plague myself. LG has bounced and should be his old self tomorrow. I did not bounce. I just hit the floor and stayed there.

Wah. Wah. Wah.
posted by Marjorie
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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Not blogging much since I have a sick 3-year-old attached to me all day every day. The Little Guy has had a 102(ish) fever since Sunday night. He's coughing painfully, won't eat or drink, and complains that his teeth hurt. We spend the days camped out on the couch, watching Thomas videos and cuddling. Night-time is a series of hourly visits to his crib. We're buying stock in Tylenol.

I escaped to my book club tonight, with LG in the care of the Big Guy. Many tears and much reaching for Mommy ... it broke my heart. But I keep reminding myself that it's just one night a month that I claim for myself. Just one night and that's really not that much. And it's good for BG and LG to spend 1-on-1 time together.


posted by Marjorie
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Saturday, May 10, 2003

I have a boy. He has a Y chromosome. It has nearly subsumed his X chromosome.

Yesterday we were blowing bubbles in the front yard with a little girl who is also three, and is the Little Guy's best friend. Correction: She was blowing bubbles, delicately and with precision. LG was chasing the bubbles and smashing them with his wand, yelling "Mars invaders! Mars invaders!"

His favorite game is Dispatcher. He wears my telephone headset, which is connected to my speaker phone. What follows is a bunch of "Roger that" and "10-4 good buddy" and "We need some emergency vehicles on the scene." It's my job to round up the emergency vehicles and drive them to the dispatcher's office. I would like a turn to sit in the swivel chair and bark orders while he drives, but in this game LG is always the Dispatcher and that's that.

Despite being born to gender-neutral parents who encourage him to enjoy cooking, gardening, and trips to the zoo, he is intent on being all boy. Cars and trucks rule, and Superman is a good guy (though Batman is scary). Bugs are cool and any playground is an invitation to roll in the sand, dirt, or woodchips. Firefighters are meant to be adored and worshipped.

I can only hope to be what one old friend once wished for me and my boy ... a most excellent dude mom.

posted by Marjorie
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Friday, May 09, 2003

The Friday Five

1. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Why or why not? "Organized"? I think the phrase "control freak" is closer to the truth. But yes, you could say I'm organized. I'm not a neatnik by any stretch, but I know where everything is and I'm distressed when I lose track of things.

2. Do you keep some type of planner, organizer, calendar, etc. with you, and do you use it regularly? My sisters make fun of my Family Notebook, a 3-ring binder with everything from a calendar to grocery lists to zoo passes to yoga schedules and cleaning checklists. And I keep several project notebooks -- the remodeling job, house buying and selling, writer's guidelines. It's really just a filing system I guess, but more portable.

3. Would you say that your desk is organized right now? Of course! We moved last week and I organized my office before I even unpacked my kitchen.

4. Do you alphabetize CDs, books, and DVDs, or does it not matter? Everything is alphabetized within categories. The Little Guy kinda blows this apart, but I try to keep up with him.

5. What's the hardest thing you've ever had to organize? My husband! Actually he's never let me organize him, but I keep asking if I can. His office is one big fire hazard of paper, and he's always missing something (currently his wedding ring and a credit card). I have to keep reminding myself that my inner control freak is not the most attractive part of my personality and probably not the part of me he fell in love with. So I try to keep my hands off his stuff, though I'm dying to go into his office with a bunch of Hefty bags and file folders.


posted by Marjorie
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Thursday, May 08, 2003

Today was supposed to be my big day off, when I do all the things that make me feel guilty: read a book, take a nap, watch TV, go for a walk. But the Big Guy overslept and was suddenly unable to take the Little Guy to preschool as planned. So without breakfast or a shower I dashed off to take BG to work and LG to school (an hour late), then ran to the grocery store, then stopped at the new house to deliver a rare hot lunch to the workers, then drove back to school to pick up LG, then dashed home to feed him lunch and put him down for a nap, then once the sitter arrived dashed off to meet BG for lunch, then back to the new house again to deal with a crisis. I got home at 4:30. Once again my day got away from me. I don't know how it happens, because every day is different, but I have the hardest time just staking out time for myself. And when I do I feel enormously guilty. But when I don't I feel enormously stressed. I get whiplash veering between the two. I dream about striking the words guilt and stress from my emotional vocabulary.


posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Ahhh ... online again. Moving was much more difficult than we anticipated -- our computer network got blown to bits, we still don't have phone service, and I can't find my blow dryer, the oven mitts, or the wipe warmer. Although I did find our baseball tickets at the bottom of the Little Guy's toy box, after a 2-hour panic search. LG has adjusted surprisingly well, as has kitty. And the Big Guy and I are trying to stay upbeat, even though we're moving *again* in July.

Sylvia Plath is this month's poet. At right is a passage from The Bell Jar, an image I read in college that has stuck in my brain for 20 years. I so identify with this idea, sitting in a fig tree starving to death because I cannot decide which fig to pick. I am over 40 years old and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. My friend Heidi says the same thing. She is recovering from ovarian cancer and is trying to figure out what's next. She's completed the chemo, her hair has grown back, and now she's on the clock, just waiting for the five-year bell to ring and say she's officially well. But she's been so focused on recovery that the rest of her life has just vaporized. How to rebuild when you may not have a future?


posted by Marjorie
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