Thursday, September 07, 2006
That's just it! It's like he's growing up so fast.... and every single day he does something so fascinating that I seem to forget (or ignore, either one) to write about yesterday or the day before's fascinating thing. I can't keep up!
So herein is a "quick" rundown... I'm not making any promises, but I intend to get better!
For so many months, it felt like Ethan didn't do much but eat, sleep and poop. But now things are different. Almost every day, I notice something new. Yesterday, I was sitting on the floor trying to introduce him to all the new "developmental" toys mommy picked up from the store, and all he wanted to do was climb right up my chest like the small monkey he is... bouncing and giggling along the way. Mostly, he just wants to stand up. He'll almost always look for your hands/arms to support him. He's gotten really good at holding onto things and even pulling himself up. But he's also getting to a point where he gets cocky and lets go, thinking he can do it by himself. Trying to be independent already??
So yesterday, my baby got in a fight (and lost) at daycare which sent him home with a bruised lip. Apparently, he was trying to pull up on one of the shelves at daycare (probably trying to reach for a toy) and hit his face when he lost his grip. I calmly shrugged it off when the daycare teacher handed me an "injury report". She even apologized and said she tried to ice his lip, but Ethan just didn't want any part of that. He just wanted to keep playing. Truthfully, I'm a little surprised he's lasted this long to get something bruised... That boy had been pulling up and lunging bravely at things, that more often his face ends up planting on the ground. His rebound is so short though, that by the time he realizes he got hurt, he's already ready to move on to better things.
Oh and as of last Sunday, he is now officially crawling forward!!!!!!! None of that scooting backwards bs... which (and I have to say this as a proud mama) was still cute especially when he unexpectedly backed himself into a corner and couldn't figure out what to do. Now, he's ALL OVER THE PLACE.. which sent me and Mike on a much needed trip to Walmart to pick up some safety gates. We were so excited, that after driving back down from Ohio for 4 hours, mommy and daddy spent hours of musical furniture in the living room (including a VERY heavy 32 inch television), trying to figure out the best set up that will give Ethan the most playroom.
This is an especially exciting milestone for him at daycare, because now he can get to the toys that he want unassisted. He doesn't have to watch the other mobile babies longingly anymore, because he's one of them now! (Hence, yesterday's shelf incident...)
Sometimes, I tease Ethan to wait until he's home or on the weekend before he does anything new. But I can't help to be selfish, can I?
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Poor thing was miserable for a little over a week. Sunday, we noticed that he was a little fussier than normal. Monday, other than the fussiness, he didn't really show anything out of the ordinary so Mike and I assumed that he was "just teething". Tuesday, he had a fever so Ic ouldn't bring him to daycare. He had also started to refuse the bottle and would only take a few ounces at a time, but still, as rookie diagosticians, we blamed it on swollen gums. By Wednesday, he was shivering with cold sweat with high fever and a blister on his finger... so daycare basically booted him out and said he couldn't come back until his fever was gone.
The worst part of it all was not being able to console Ethan. NOTHING worked. Not a bottle, not Tylenol, not the toys, not even mommy-holding-him-close-and-rocking-trick... which I thought (up to that point) always worked. He cried profusely with what sounded like severe pain, not the whining kind, and I felt guilty that I couldn't do anything to help. I feel even more guilty now because at one point,a fter waking up every hour of the night with constant crying, I actually got annoyed and yelled for him to stop. I got mad at a poor, crying baby who couldn't help that he's sick! What kind of mother am I??
The fact that Mike is temporarily rendered slightly "inoperative" when it comes to any baby duties (other than making faces) didn't help any. But in his defense, he did wake up several times during the crying spells, which (oddly) made me feel just a tad bit better knowing that I wasn't the only one losing sleep. This was definitely one of those times I realized how badly I want to be back near my family, so they could help me from going insane.
But he's all better now. Back to his usual ol' self.. and back in daycare where he'll likely catch the next strand of virus to get around. The only consolation I have is optimism that by the time he starts preschool, he should be immune from most of these common viruses and diseases... at least that's what I hope anyway.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Mike let me cry for a while, but he just kept repeating, It'll all be okay, I promise. He meant well I'm sure... but I thought, how could anyone promise something they don't have any control over? I wish I could've tried harder to be more optimistic.
I must've called the headquarters about 10 times this morning before I finally got someone besides a voicemail. I was so nervous I thought I was gonna puke. I told the man who answered that I was returning a call about the decision on my packet, and he put me on hold for what seemed like forever while he rustled through some papers. Finally, he came back on, and told me the most beautiful sentence I've heard in a long time.
Your request has been approved.
APPROVED. That means I don't have to go anywhere. I won't have to leave Mike. I won't have to leave Ethan. I won't have to miss any goodnights or christmases or birthdays. I won't have to fight a war halfway across the world.
He also said my orders will be revoked and that I would be put on "standby" until they re-evaluate my case August 25th of NEXT year. I could care less about that, because by April 25, 2007, I'll be officially done with my 8 year contract and they can't touch me anymore. And I'm not sad to say, that I'll never be putting this uniform on ever again.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Which leaves me all freaked out until I can call them tomorrow morning to find out whether they decided to keep me here and send me out.
How does anyone get any sleep with that in their head anyway?
I put my baby down to sleep in his own bed tonight... and I cried. He had been sick so we've let him sleep on our bed for the past two weeks, so he needed to get used to his own bed again. Before he got sick, he had a routine. Lights off except for the light in the closet with the closet door only slightly cracked open... the mobile round up playing the Winnie the Pooh song... his lullaby cd playing in the background... goodnight kisses from mommy and daddy... and he knows it's time for bed.
But tonight I cried because I started thinking about all the goodnights I'm going to miss if they decide to send me away. I hid by the door and just watched Ethan toss and turn and look for his mommy until he fell asleep... and I quietly prayed the time wouldn't have to come when I couldn't even do that.
I don't know if I could live on if I were to be stripped away from my baby...
Sunday, August 20, 2006
But tonight, as we entered Walmart to do a much-needed grocery shopping.. an ad caught my attention. Their regular photo package was on sale for 88 cents. 88 cents! With it came an 8x10, a 5x7, 30-some wallet sizes and others I can't recall. I normally wouldn't eve give those store studios a second look, but I figured for 88 cents.. why the hell not.
Little did I know what we were getting ourselves into. The "studio" needed a serious makeover. Their camera equipment looked like it was made in the early 80's. Their backdrops were probably just as old, and the table Ethan was to sit on looked like a cut out from a 20-year old carpet. Still, I just kept thinking... it's only 88 cents.
Altogether, Ethan had 5 poses, and I only meant to buy the 88 cent package with 1 pose. But Mike got suckered into buying the rest of the poses on a disc for an additional 10 bucks. The catch was.... it was on a FLOPPY. Who the hell still uses floppy disks? I told the lady if all the pictures were to be put in ONE FLOPPY DISK, the resolution can't be any good, and she insisted that if we were unsatisfied, that we could return the disk for a refund.
Uhh.. yah. I'm definitely going back to get our 10 bucks tomorrow.
The prints, we won't even get for another 3 weeks... but I certainly hope they're at least worth the 88 cents, or believe me I'll be bitching about that too.
Thing is, just hours before, Ethan already had a private shoot in our living room. My shots are so much better, don't you think? Better yet, they were free!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
We're going on a cruise! After months and months of indecisive hours on the computer researching for THE perfect trip.. we have made up our minds. And albeit my concerns about possibly getting interrupted by a hurricane, we decided to take our long awaited vacation and venture to the Caribbean. Mike and I are super psyched! Sure, I'll be sad because it's a week away from my baby Ethan and I love him to death... but we desperately NEED this vacation.
Every once in a while, I'd catch myself trying to justify the trip by reminding everyone that we didn't go on a honeymoon last year. And it's true, but it's not the sole reason we're in DIRE need to get away just by ourselves.
I don't want to say that we're in a 'funk', because I don't think we are. I do think, however, that moving across country, having a baby, trying to maintain our work responsibilities, plus with Mike going to school... the mood hasn't exactly been "let's-get-crazy-cause we're-newlyweds" around here. But with a lot of patience, we manage. And finally... 7 days of cocktails on the sundeck, sunrises and sunsets, and well-deserved alone time.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I thought, that would mean he's 7 1/2 months already.. NOT the 6 1/2 months I've been that I'd proudly been telling everyone. Who wha huh? I'm usually to the tee with this, but somehow I missed a month in my son's life? After a couple of deep breaths and a couple of sips from my 3rd mocha frappucino (I needed a little boost this morning), I feel just a tad bit better. I sure didn't miss anything, I think I was just subconciously trying to keep him from growing too fast. But I can't help that he's a growing boy.
Monday, August 07, 2006
"How dare he?", joked my boss.
Jealous. They're alllllllll jealous.....
You would be too if your co-worker suddenly gets called by security in the middle of the day to pick up a dozen red roses sent by her husband... "just because".
Not my fault for having married one of the sweet ones :)
Thursday, August 03, 2006
It's the perfect love story. They're high school sweethearts and have been together since my boyband phase. I remember Leah shaking every time Daniel passed her by in the hallways.. I remember conspiring to break Daniel and his then-girlfriend up so that Leah could make the move... I remember when she told me they were officially dating... and I remember Leah admitting that he's "the one". I asked her how she knew for sure. After all, she hadn't really gone out with anyone else, so how did she know she wasn't missing out? But she knew. She just did. And on Saturday, it all came together like a dream.
Being in the wedding was a blast. I actually felt "pretty" in my dress... despite me bitching about not getting down to my ideal size (the oreos had a hand in that). Leah was stunning. I couldn't have picked to see anyone else in my original dress than her.
I felt bad when she got stressed, and it reminded me of how crazy my wedding day was.. but I had hoped I was able to calm her down a bit. But when she asked for some marriage advice (I was the only married one in the wedding party), I felt like I wasn't certified to give any. I kept thinking, "I'm just a rookie too!"
But the highlight of the day was when I got my first ever mother-son dance. I felt proud.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Fast forward to yesterday, when he finally went under the knife for his shoulder. As an innocent bystander, it all seemed complicated to me. And I have to admit, I was a little nervous... even after Mike tried tore assure me over and over that it's an outpatient surgery and he shouldbe out of there in a couple of hours. I generally hate hospital waiting rooms, but yesterday, I hated Surgery waiting rooms even more. Those who waited ranged from supporters for the smallest outpatient surgery to major heart surgeries (picked up from converstations here and there), so everyone there just exasperatingly waited at the edge of their seats. Not to mention the numerous posters on the wall that screamed "Keep at least one family member in the waiting room AT ALL TIMES", which made me a bit uncomfortable and frankly scared to even go to the bathroom in case something happened to Mike on the table. Ethan must've known I was a little anxious, because he behaved most of the day unless he got hungry and kept himself preoccupied by cooing at everyone else around. 2 hours later, the doctor came out to talk to me and confessed that it was slightly worse than they had anticipated. They ended up having to put several permanent anchors to attach the torn tendons in his shoulder back to the bone.
As always, Mike was a trooper. Still half-sedated, dehydrated lips trembling and all.. he was wheeled into the recovery area not too long after and he was already asking for food and watching ESPN. The doctor wants to see him after 14 days, and until then, he's supposed to keep his sling on religiously (with specific instructions to take it out only for a couple of minutes a day so that it doesn't "freeze up"). They have a local anesthetic attached to his shoulder through a catheter, and with the pain meds, I'm hoping he'll be okay.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
"Say mama. Say mah-muh. Say mamamamamamama", I would chant.
"No, Ethan. Say dada! Say dadadadadadadada", Mike would counter.
And it goes on and on like that. I thought.... one day, in a desperate act of self-preservation, Ethan will finally blurt out a badly garbed version just to get us to stop acting like idiots.
And last night, he said it.
He was happily playing in his exersaucer and I had just finished putting away dishes from dinner, when I heard a distinct "mumumumumumum" coming from the other side of the room. My first reaction was to look at Mike, who looked just as dumbfounded as I was (I would imagine), and then looked back at Ethan to see if he'd do it again. Sure enough! He pouted his lips together and said "mumumumumumum". I was as ecstatic as if I hit the lotto jackpot, I was literally jumping up and down (partly to gloat that he chose to say a syllable close to "mom" than close to"dad"). Never mind that he doesn't know the true meaning and application of the word "mom" any more than he knows the square root of 893.
So it technically wasn't his first word. Nonetheless, I'm flying on Cloud 9 knowing that my child has just crossed a brilliant developmental advance. It might not mean much to some, but to me, it means he's learning how to talk! It's a step up from the usual "oooooooooooo" and"aaaaaaaaaaa", and it definitely tells me that he's realizing that he has the ability to make other sounds than cooing and grunting. I knowI'm probably prematurely celebrating, but it just sounded so beautiful coming from this little guy that used to live in me, being fed through an umbilical cord.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
I actually had planned to have bubbles incorporated in the shots, only to find out that Mike grabbed the bubble maker but not the bubbles :) It was still fun though!
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Friday, July 21, 2006
And that got me thinking..... is that how it's going to be for us in 50 years? The old lady reminded me of me, fancying people-watching... not just because it's fun, but because there ought to be something to do inbetween the beginning of the meal and the end of the meal. The old man reminded me of Mike, flipping through the menus... You can tell when he's really bored when he opens up the alcohol menu and starts pointing out the ones he's already had in his lifetime, and the ones he would like to try (he does this a lot).
Am I wrong to want to have a conversation beyond the usual banters of"How was your day?" and "What's for dinner?" ? God, I certainly hope not.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Ethan's sitting up! I mean, he's been sitting up for about 3 weeks now, but he's getting stronger and stronger everyday. It's an incredible milestone to witness Ethan learn how to balance on his own... sometimes, he'd even get cocky (I wonder where he got that from?) and lunge forward to grab a toy that's slightly out of reach and most often plants his face on the floor. But he doesn't seem to mind. Just yesterday, I saw him fall face first reaching for a pacifier, and I was sure he was going to let out a good cry... but he just rolled right over with a beaming smile of instant gratification as he puts the pacifier in his mouth. There's nothing like an "I got it mom!" look that makes me so proud.
He's also coming mightly close to crawling now. I made a note to his daycare "teachers" to make sure he gets a fair amount of tummy time everyday, but at night, we've been doing some exercises to teach him how to crawl and roll over. If you put him on his tummy, he would kick and kick vigorously until he gets tired and gives up. Surprisingly, actually covers some ground doing it. I have to constantly move him back to the end of the mat because I don't want him crawling on the carpet and get some rug burns. *sigh* I know, I can't protect him forever. I sometimes help him by tucking his legs under him to encourage more of a crawling position, but right now I guess he's completely content "scooting". I'd even put toys around him to reach for like his favorite banana guy, and after yelling "Go get it Ethan!" about a thousand times... he'd get frustrated and start fussing, so I just end up giving him the stupid banana guy anyway. Man, am I baby-whipped.
Mike's been encouraging Ethan to stand more too. If you hold out your hands in front of him, Ethan will take the first fingers he could grab and pull himself right up. Lately, he's been letting go of our fingers as soon as he realizes he's standing, thinking he could do it on his own (makes me a little sad that he wants to be independent so soon). "Come to daddy Ethan. Step out and come to daddy..." Mike always says. Ethan just stands there and wiggles and gives us a big ol' smile, with both legs firmly planted on the floor but obviously still lacking some control from his knees. He does love sitting in his Jumperoo though.. it gives him the illusion of standing on his own. Not to mention it gives me a little break to pick up around the house or do the dishes or stick something in the oven. Oh joy!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
When this annoying verizon guy won't even come to where you are....
Can you hear me now?
Ask anyone under thirty the first thing they think of after hearing that phrase and you'll likely hear back Verizon Wireless. For good or evil, the ads portraying this lonely Verizon Wireless employee asking the person on the other line if the connection is good, are everywhere. He probably can't even program his own contact list, but he could be at the most remote place, and sure enough, the other person on the other line never fail to hear him just fine. James Earl Jones, proves Verizon's campaign synergy ingenius, by topping the cherry at the end of the commercial. He sounds so damn convincing, doesn't he? He sure fooled me.
So Verizon prides itself to be the most reliable network in the nation. It works everywhere else, BUT West Virginia, apparently. Go figure. Why didn't we check the coverage map before terminating our contract with Sprint, you ask? I feel sorry for the customer service lady who had to listen to me bitch today for 45 minutes about how I just dropped my contract from another provider and purchased a new verizon phone for the exact same features that I am now being told I CANNOT USE due to my
geographic location... they can't even guarantee me a signal. How sad is that?
Video and Picture messaging feature? Useless. Web applications? Useless. Bluetooth capability? Useless. Basically, it's paper weight sitting in my purse with potential of acting like a phone ocassionally, depending on the "extended network's" mood that day. The decision of switching to Verizon seemed everything BUT stupid since my family and Mike's family are both on Verizon AND it was logically cheaper, but now
I'm sitting here wishing I had found this out before trekking to the Sprint store yesterday to cancel our contract which we've had since we lived in California. I didn't have a fancy phone... but at least I had signal.
Not "goooooood" Verizon guy.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Yes!!! Despite my intemperate defiance to drop my double stuf oreos and McDonalds breakfast diet.. I continue to lose weight (probably credited to my recent immunity blowouts). But nonetheless, yesterday while I got ready for blue jeans day at work, I reached for my old jeans just wishful thinking, and what do you know!!! My ass fit in my size 6 jeans again!! Let's rejoice to the heavens of all clothes non-maternity. It probably makes me sound vane, but I don't care. It feels good to be able to reach into my closet again and rummage through pre-Ethan clothes safely tucked away in the back, where it hasn't seen light in almost a year. I was so estatic I even called my size-4 sister to gloat.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
So let me give you a refresher test. Answer to the best of your knowledge, or lack thereof.
1) Turn signals are optional. True or False.
They're NOT optional, you fucking idiot. They're there for a reason. You switch on your turn signals according to which lane you want to merge into, check if it's clear, and merge WHEN it's clear. And unless you're driving your dad's 1980 minivan, the damn signals should turn itself off, you don't even have to do that. And notice I said WHEN it's clear? That doesn't mean "barely" missing my car, asshole.
2) I must slow down if there's something remotely interesting on the side of the road. True or False.
Wrong again dim-wit. You're just about the single most annoying thing on the road. Don't slow down because you see the bright flashing lights of a tow truck on the OTHER side of the highway... it doesn't concern you and believe me, it will not make your life any less inane. If you really want to see how bad of a wreck it is, watch the damn news, you'll get a much better view AND you won't be backing up traffic just to satisfy your curiosity.
3) Drivers are permitted to cruise in the passing lane. True or False.
You might think you're not being a jackass because you're driving the posted speed limit and you've got your car on cruise control but then suddenly you come up to someone who's going slower than you because they're only going a mile less than the posted speed limit, so you decide you'd cruise in the passing lane but maintain your law-abiding speed. Newsflash, jackass. Get out of the passing lane. Common human
decency should tell you to move and let people pass you. I think you're the same kind of inconsiderate asshole that don't start writing the check in the grocery store until AFTER the checker rings up all your stuff... like you have to wait for the final amount before you can write the date. Who still uses checks anyway????? But I digress.
4) There's no such thing as following too close. True or False.
If I tap on my brakes and your hood ends up in my trunk, that's because you were following too close dumbass. I shouldn't be able to see what color eyes you have just by looking back on my rear view mirror. And if you really think that riding on my ass will only signal me to go faster, you got another thing coming to you. The only thing it will do to me is piss me off and make me want to drive even slower to tick you off.
If you answered True to any of the following questions... not only should you consider yourself on my shitlist... you should definitely consider changing your driving habits (before you piss someone off into roadrage and blow your head off in the middle of the highway while you play with your ipod) OR perhaps consider taking up public transportation.
Monday, May 01, 2006
So if most of you didn't already know, Mike got hurt playing basketball (again) about 2 weeks ago and tore his ligament on his right ankle in half. He has since then been walking (or hobbling) around in crutches and is scheduled to get a cast put on tomorrow that he has to keep on for 2 months. It's not too uncharacteristic for him to get hurt, I guess. In fact, he's made a legacy out of getting injured, but usually he bounces right back -- though this time might be a little different. Although the orthopedic surgeon wanted to sound as optimistic as he could, he says we'll have to wait until the cast is off to find out if Mike's going to need reconstructive surgery or just "jump" right into physical therapy. To me, it means seeing my husband hobble around for another 2 months, waiting miserably to find out wether he'll need to get under the knife again. Lately he's resorted to playing basketball on the playstation, and watching the playoffs.
Believe me, I don't mind one bit taking care of him. Mostly, he can do everything by himself unless it involves carrying anything that might spill, or carrying Ethan around. But of course, as luck would have it, my strep came back over the weekend (apparently, the doctor says it might not have fully went way the first time around), and not to mention they also diagnosed me with a kidney infection. Supposedly, I'm on "stronger" antibiotics this time... though it's hard to submit to complete bedrest when I have a husband on crutches and a baby to take care of. I'm going to take a couple of days off from work, but unfortunately, I can only muster up enough energy to take Mike to work but I hesitate taking Ethan to daycare (since it's another 30-some miles out of the way). So what's a super mom to do?
Generally, we're surviving. Ethan has mostly been cooperative and has been sleeping through the night again which is when I get all my rest.
Friday, April 07, 2006
A: One, but the light bulb has to want to change.
I read in some magazine somewhere that people who often seek out therapists are not in a position to get better in any substantial way because they have no commitment to making any real changes in their life. I completely disagree. Although seeking out professional help made me extremely uncomfortable in the beginning, I knew I needed help. In the beginning though, it felt as if I was admitting failure, or much worse, I was seeking out to subject another human being about my mayhem. I thought I could get by with Mike's insights and using blogging as my own therapy. Although nowadays, having a therapist has probably become a modern accessory.. right next to cell phones and a frequent visitor card from Starbucks. Anyway, at the time I made my fateful decision, I was getting by OK. There were days when I was happy beyond words, some were miserable, and in general, life was just manageable. But in no means did I want to keeping living by those standards... so I met with Elizabeth.
Elizabeth's my new therapist. I ought not to say the word new, it's probably misleading... since I never had one before. I don't know how to describe it, but she makes me at ease like one of those Grandmothers you go to to make you feel better with her chicken soup when the rest of the world falls apart behind you. Like Mrs Doubtfire. She seems like a pretty enlightened woman, with years and years of advice from experience (which I honestly think is far more valuable than just learning theories in college).
I found her through a program in the Army where they provide you with six free sessions with a local therapist.. and I anxiously wondered if I could be "fixed" in 6 sessions. But it was as if Elizabeth knew how to read minds too. She gave me a list of symptoms of somebody who was depressed, and she assured me that she would keep seeing me until all the items were crossed off. I felt a little discouraged. It was a ratherlong list. That's a lot of head-shrinking is all I'm saying.
I should mention, pessimism was part of the list.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I love life (as ironic as that sounds), and I love to photograph life. Life comes at us so fast... we now live in the generation of text messages, frapuccinos-to-go, and Tivo, that we almost feel guilty about slowing down to enjoy those moments that really count... we merely know them as the "kodak moments". That day you play "hookie" to escape to Mexico after getting engaged. That first dance as husband and wife. That gumfull of smiles in the nursery. One minute it's there, the next minute it's gone. That's just it. Photos are forever. Now, I've always had the passion for photography, and I take much pleasure in being that "crazy camera lady" who has a camera almost permanently attached to her hand during her life travels. But it's only recently that I've started to ruminate on the value of a tripod and critically consider lighting techniques. I hope to someday be able to make the transition from hobby to an esteemed career (or if I could really get my way, a pleasant balance of both).
Double Stuff Oreos
This is a fairly recent craze, I must say. When I got home from the hospital, I was welcomed by a bag of Double Stuff Oreos sitting on the kitchen counter, and our kitchen has never gone a day without one since then. Forget about all other kinds of cookies, I HAVE to HAVE Oreos... and not just the original kind.. it has to be the Double Stuff kind. Dunk. Lick. Yum.
I might be running the risk of being called a hillbilly, but I do love love love Super Walmart. Going to Walmart has become more than just a chore... it's become another way for Mike and I to spend time together (cheesy but true). We often go to buy a few essentials, and end up just wandering aimlessly through the store, stopping periodically to hold each other, while putting semi-random things in the cart on the way to the baby section. I mean, I'm sentimental to the fact that a business this big would easily drive a mom & pop business off with their comparative pricing, but I'm all for saving $$ and the convenience it offers. Where else could you do your regular grocery shopping, price match for a new set of tires for the car, buy baby essentials, and shop for furniture all under the same roof? And who could compete with Walmart's generous return policy anyway? You don't even have to have your receipt, and they will take the item back no questions asked and even give you cash if the amount isn't to hefty. Hell, you could probably buy almost anything there, use it for a couple of weeks, put it back in the original box and return it for a full refund or store credit!!! (Not that we've done that or anything).... And the best part of it all? It's OPEN 24 hours a day.
Okay, so I'm a hillbilly and a geek. But it's become more than just a cultural phenomenon.. it's a lifestyle. Everyday, before I go to sleep, I log in and take pleasure in seeing that I've got New Messages and New Comments and New Friend Requests. Nevermind the increasingly annoying advertisements, I'm not surprised that advertisers are taking note. One powerful draw is that MySpace is chock full of 16- to 34-year-old consumers, one of the most sought-after and elusive demographic segments... in which of course, I fall right inbetween. What I love about it is the flexibility of customizing my page however I want, without the hassle of actually having to pay to maintain my own .com (although I have that too). Not to mention, my ever growing friends list consisting of people whom I've met in almost all phases of my life: distant high school friends, old church choir pals, buddies I've accumulated during my years in the Army... would I have kept in touch with 90% of these people if it weren't for MySpace? Probably not.
Well, that's about all the rejoicing I could do for one day. Must go back to work.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
With that said, Ethan's been such a good boy today. Only made a noise close to a fuss when he got hungry, entertained himself on the swing during his quiet time, and actually soothed himself to sleep as soon as I put him down on the bed (he's been sleeping in daddy's spot). It's as if he knows mommy's not feeling too well. He slept most of the day, which made it a lot easier for me to steal quick naps here and there.
But even though I'm sick, and it took a LOT of energy to go downstairs to grab my camera and crawl back upstairs to take this picture.. it was all worth it. The kid's only 9 weeks old, and his picture's probably been taken more than the president's ---(okay, slight exaggeration, but only to make a valid point). The photo ops have obviously been reduced since I went back to work, and that makes me feel guilty sometimes... although I probably ought to start bringing my camera to daycare at lunch so I don't get so behind.
But who could resist that face? At 9 weeks, he's definitely getting cute. He's plumper, and softer, and rounder. His legs have straightened out, his little hands no longer clenched in angry fists, his cheeks bulge defiantly with big sucking muscles. Not that he wasn't cute when he first popped out. In fact, if you watch the video of my delivery, you'd hear the first thing that came out of my mouth when I first held him was "Look, he doesn't have a conehead!" -- which by the way, was ridiculously a HUGE concern for me. I didn't want my son to come out with a pointy head. It makes for very scary hospital pictures.. not to mention, you get stuck with diplomatic remarks like "What a precious baby.. he looks SMART...."
Now Ethan's actually getting baby-food-label cute, all round eyes, chubby cheeks and funny waving hands. He looks us in the eye now instead of somewhere off into middle space, and his smiles make Mike and me pull on the metaphorical hip-waders to go mucking about in baby goo and mush....
Mike: "Look at his face. He's so cute."
Me: "Let me take a picture!"
Somehow, I've managed to get infected with strep. Late yesterday afternoon, I started to feel a little worn down accompanied by a really annoying headache. Figuring my immune system is probably just shot from the lack of sleep of the previous nights (Ethan had been cranky since he got his first set of shots Monday), I popped a couple of Tylenol Extra Strength and kept on trucking. I was extremely exhausted by the time I had to pick Ethan up from daycare that I nearly fell asleep in one of their rockers, but decided I would show up anyway (like I said I would) to a dinner event I had been invited to at the catholic church by our house before heading home. I figured it would at least spare me from having to cook dinner or settle for fast food. And by the time Ethan and I got home at 8, I was ready to go to bed.
I woke up shivering an hour and a half later, which baffled me a bit since it's unusual that you would find the fan off and me tucked under the comforter. It felt like forever before I could muster up the energy to get out of bed to put a sweatshirt and some thick socks on. I knew then I must be coming down with something. And when the digital thermometer read 103.7, I was about ready to pass out I could hardly even get the Tylenol bottle out of the medicine cabinet.
Conveniently enough, Mike has been out of town for work and won't be back for another couple of days. It didn't help much talking to my mom and her telling me that this is what I get for moving so far away, although I'm sure her intentions were fair. By midight, Mike had made an executive decision to have one of the guys from his work come and drag me to the emergency room, which was the last thing in my mind... People don't go to emergency rooms because of fever, do they?
I HATE hospitals.
I HATE the emergency room even more.
I've seen people with blood gushing out of a head wound waiting in emergency rooms, yet it's considered "normal" and expected. It confounds me how hospital staff service is always at its worse when you seem to need it the most.... when you're the only one sitting in the waiting room and it takes the girl behind the cheap plexiglass 30 minutes to call your name and take your information down, and then she spends another 30 minutes exasperatingly pressing buttons on her keyboard (which by the way, irritates the shit out me. It's 2006. People who still use DOS programs should be hung and burned at the stake), while inbetween she manages to joke around with the other girl who's apparently not doing very much of anything either.
An hour later, a male nurse finally escorts me to one of the beds, while Tran (Mike's friend who came and took me to the hospital) stayed in the waiting room with Ethan. By that time, I think I might've been hallucinating or just plain exhausted (or a combination of both), but I couldn't stop thinking about the male nurse and Gaylord Focker... and how he looked awfully fruity in those green scrubs.
Anyway, the only thing I probably like about going to the hospital is the feeling of that warm blanket on your skin for the first few minutes... I must've fallen asleep waiting, and I was still a little bit woozy when the doctor finally came in another hour later to stick a swab down my throat. He said my lymph nodes on my neck were swollen, and I've got white pus on my tonsils ( YUCK ) so he suspected it was strep, which the swab test later on confirmed. I've never had it before, but it sure sounded bad. When he said I'm going to feel worse before I get better, and that it'll take at least 36 hours before the penicillin they shot in my butt will even start doing its job and another 4-5 days before my symptoms go away..... I just groaned.
I had been thinking that I sort of miss spending time with Ethan at home, but these conditions weren't exactly what I had in mind. I called the pediatrician first thing this morning though and they said that I should be fine to be around my baby... and that I could even continue breastfeeding so long as I don't have a fever.
I guess it's the perfect way to end possibly one of the worst weeks ever. And my ass still hurts from that shot.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Ever have those times when you feel like your life has turned to shit, and you’re just waiting for the final flush? I always tell myself that when that happens, I just need to wait just a little longer and it will turn around again. It's amazing how fast your state of mind can go from enjoying the best to expecting the worse...... fraction of a milisecond, really. And in my experience, life has always somehow managed to turn itself around. Someone must be really fond of me up there... Though sometimes (sort of like now), it sure seems like it takes forever.
And where are the people who are supposed to help you go through the shitty episodes of your life when you need them? The truth is, I have been so utterly befuddled I've managed to repel all forms of help. Friends. Even family. Message Boards.
What makes you think a professional will be able to break me down?
Most people have figured out, either by trial and error or through an auspicious accident, their own way to channel their frustrations. And for me, I think that's what blogging has infectiously become. First, it started out as just a little escape from the tedium, but it has gradually evolved to something much more worthy of interest. At least to me anyway.
But I digress.
Where was I ?
Ah, yes. Life can be awfull shitty sometimes, but someone told me once (and oddly enough, it wasn't my mother) that I'm a survivor. So in honor of Gloria Gaynore, I WILL SURVIVE.
In the small picture, it probably just means 4 days worth of either take out, cereal, or TV dinners for me. At least, I'll consistently be getting very little sleep.
Monday, March 27, 2006
I cried after the doctor explained to me that at this stage, my own child won't remember who I am if I am to be away from him longer than 3 weeks. It's nature, he said. He's so young that he just isn't able to retain information for very long. Now I don't blame nature, nor do I loathe the doctor for telling me the truth. But a part of me wished that the doctor would tell me that yes, there is a magical bond between a mother and a child that keeps them connected no matter what -- a bond unbreakable by distance... unweakened by time. It breaks my heart that there's a chance that there might be a time in his life that he won't know me.
As adults, we have a cognitive understanding of what's going on, but we still have our primal emotional reactions to separation. When love ones are separated, we can still 'detach' because of the pain of missing. The thought of being away from Mike breaks my heart just as bad. But at least I can endure with the thought that he won't forget who I am.
But I have to be strong right now. And I have faith that God will help me through... just like He always had.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Yesterday afternoon, after deciding to cut my workday a little short in order to steal some mommy time.. I was introduced to one of the worst feelings I think a human could ever be subjected to.... the feeling of abandonment....
The worst fucking feeling ever.
"I can't be married to a deserter", he said.
I have no notion of being a hero, nor am I fed with intense patriotism. The only thing I miss was the comraderie. But at this point in my military career, (for what it's worth) I feel that I have done my time. Write me up another counseling statement and deluge me threats of involuntary separation.
But I am NOT leaving my child.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
n : a picture of a person or scene in the form of a print ortransparent slide; recorded by a camera on light-sensitive material
I walk around and I see people as portraits, very much like I view daily life in frames. I know that some people think that a photo captures their soul, and in a way I believe it does... but not in a negative manner. I see it as preserving a moment, documenting life as it happens... The camera is the tool that allows me to immortalize that moment, capturing its essence in its most artistic expression.
And so, I have a new partner in crime. A VERY expensive partner in crime. One that I hope will eventually rescue me from the unrelenting curse of working only to make ends meet, but give me a fighting chance to be able to do something I actually love.
For now, I take pleasure in taking pictures of everything and anything. So if you see me around taking photos of the sky, the run down building down the street, or you nonchalantly trying not to look like a Calvin Klein ad... don't mind me.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
Mike often kids me about being a "cheap date" because I can be fine with a hotdog and lemonade (for a $1.50) from Sams Club and a back rub, but that's because my priority isn't some wild romantic night with him, but just some alone time with him. Sometimes, I think that that's where things go astray -- when one expects a date to be all wine and roses when sometimes it could be a cuddling hour of watching a CSI rerun. And since the lovely addition to our family, that "alone" time has come from far inbetween to almost non-existent. But this past weekend, with every intention to secure a default babysitter (thanks to Grandma Mary), Mike and I went actually managed to leave the little one behind and go on a date.
Dinner and a movie might sound too cliche but that's exactly how our night started. He took me to a quaint Italian restaurant across the community college he used to attend, and enjoyed a superb chicken and veal marsala. Mike wanted to order wine, which sounded really nice, butI was inclined to pass since I'm breastfeeding. Later on, I told him it was because I couldn't stand the smell of alcohol (which is partly true), but it was mostly because I didn't want to be stuck with guilt later on about consuming alcohol and having to delay feeding my son until I was certain it was out of my system. After dinner, we might as well have tossed 18 dollars to the trash since we spent that much on one of the worst and plotless movies we had ever seen. Still, we took pleasure in cuddling in a dark room for an hour and a half with the armrest folded out the way. We found ourselves at the bar after that and later on migrated to the dance club upstairs. Even though it wasn't just us anymore, we very much enjoyed the freedom of worry-free dancing and hanging out with some friends until 2 in the morning. Though I have to admit, I was tempted more than once to call and check on my baby (but resisted), knowing he was in good hands anyway.
I woke up the next morning happy (being able to sleep in until almost noon was just icing on the cake), knowing I got to spend even just a couple of hours alone with him. But I worry that it'll take us another 2 months before finding the time (or the means) to go on another date!! I sure hope not....
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Of course, it wouldn't be complete unless something went wrong. Enroute to our connecting flight to Chicago, somehow they lost the stroller and the carseat that we gate-checked in Los Angeles. They were supposed to deliver it to the gate where we landed in Chicago, but it never came. I was LIVID. I probably wouldn't have been so fumed if the counter agent would have been a little bit more helpful and sympathetic to the fact that I then have to run across 2 terminals to catch our connecting flight while carrying a 7 week old baby and a 10 lb carry-on. Instead, she smugly told me they didn't know where our stroller and carseat went... and said"next". If I wasn't carrying Ethan, I probably would've kicked her ass and then some.
Other than that, our spur of the moment visit to California went as smooth as it could be ,although we are disinclined to admit that we might've brought the cold weather along with us. It was rainy the first 2 days we were there (ironically it was warmer in West Virginia that weekend), but the sun finally let up the day before we left.. leaving me just enough time todrive to a beach I had never been to and introduce Ethan to the ocean.The next time we take him to the beach, he'll be old enough to crawl on the sand. Aside from my mom and my sister (who were the only ones who have already seen him since they flew out here to West Virginia when I delivered), Ethan's debut was a spectacle to everyone.. and I took pleasure from everyone taking turns to carry him during the day while I enjoyed the "brief" break by taking photos with my new camera.
It felt good to be back. At the same time, I felt a little guilty because Mike couldn't come with us, although we're all going there again for one of my best friends' wedding in July and to celebrate my mom's birthday weekend.
But as our plane ascended back towards what we now call home, I looked back at Los Angeles and my heart sank a little. Perhaps someday, the only time we'll be looking back at Los Angeles is if we're going somewhere else for a visit.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
and I just couldn't stop crying...
Even with a great deal of preparing for it mentally and practically, I am left with a loss for words. Combing through a ball of emotions, I think I mostly feel guilty. As if I'm about to "pawn" my son to someone else to be taken care of... but I know that this arrangement is what's best for everyone right now. Although I know it's wrong to even nearly entertain the idea that wanting a life outside changing diapers doesn't make me a bad mother... I can't help but expect many days of 15-minute breaks spent crying in a bathroom stall. On one hand, I don't want to miss the first words and the wobbly steps, and wipe away the tears when he bruises his knees... but on the other hand, I dread being "stuck" (for lack of a better word) in a domestic treadmill where the greatest satisfaction is being able to finish the second load of laundry that day.
It's tough especially when my support system, outside my husband, has been degraded down to delinquent long distance phone calls and sporadic messages from distant friends on myspace. When I go back to work, colleagues will ask about how I'm coping and offer sympathy... sadly, it'll probably be comparable to the kind of sympathy one would get if someone close to you died. I'd personally rather do without that...
I feel helplessly wedged in an emotional tug of war.
Monday, March 06, 2006
How many times must we hear the infamous "Life is like a box of chocolates.. you'll never know what you're going to get" before we realize that submitting ourselves to this exact kind of bullshit is what will break us... not make us.
On the contrary... I believe that life is in fact not like the unpredictable chronicle Forrest's mom depicts it to be... BUT it is very much like a candy shop... with limitless array of choices and possibilities waiting for us to decide on.
Friday, February 24, 2006
As a child, I once lost a town anniversary's singing contest to a preacher's daughter, and I remember telling her that God was just being nice to her that day so He let her win. In college, I performed at an open mic night but sucked so bad I spent the rest of the night blaming it on the single tequila shot I took for some "liquid courage" before taking the stage. And even when I was deployed in Bosnia, I lost a mock up of American Idol to a lieutenant who admitted his strategy was to try to be funny to cover up his lack of talent.....
And while my odds of being the next American Idol are about as slim to none as me winning the lottery, I admit I often fantasize of what it would be like if I was really good enough to score a recording deal.
So today, I'm feeling a little ambitious and thought I'dd bravely add another bold aspiration to my list of Things To Do.....
101. Go on an Americal Idol Audition.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Things instantly change when a woman gives birth.... I was taught to expect that. But how things change took me completely by surprise: the intensity of emotions, unexpected strains in my marriage, a new connection with in-laws, the unintended disconnect from friends without children, the undenying pressure to refrain from things that might be deemed irresponsible...... the list goes on.
Though I must admit, for at least a couple of hours this weekend... after being convinced to strap myself on a 5-foot piece of fiber glass and throw myself down a mountain of snow..... I felt human again.
I realized that life doesn't stop here... nor does it go downhill from here. It's just the beginning of a new phase.... one where Mike and I can enjoy the rewards of parenthood without necessarily having to give up things we used to enjoy.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Despite all the anticipatory parenting done during pregnancy, despite weeks of feeling movement within and fantasizing about my baby, despite months of having strange dreams, worrisome thoughts, and musings about what kind of parent I was going to be, the first time I held Ethan in my arms and was called mommy... an awareness (up to this day) floods over me that life will never be the same again. Another human being is now dependent on me for survival... and guidance. And more than anything else, I want to be the best parent I can possibly be. That's a big responsibility.
I guess in a way, it's a bit similar to when my parents decided to teach me responsibility by giving me a dog -- except with cocker spaniels, you don't have to worry a couple of years down the line about midnight phone calls from the precinct or a gold-digging whore they might call a girlfriend. But I digress...
The past 4 weeks have been an experience beyond words. I never thought I could worry so much about miniscule skin imperfections, or whether 4 hours of inconsolable crying warrants a call to the pediatrician. It's like being in a maze, completely oblivious to where I should go and when I'm going to get there. Getting out of the house takes all day (no matter how much planning gets done beforehand) and some days I don't even achieve that. Part of the problem is sleep deprivation which makes every chore twice as hard. Night feeds mean having been up two or three times, possibly up to two hours at a stretch to 'settle' Ethan back to sleep. I wish sometimes Mike would make the extra effort to get up at least once during the night to change him, but I guess they're not programmed quite the same (That's something we'll have to seriously work on when I get back to work). And I have yet to master the obvious advise to pass out whenever he does during the day... especially when that is the only time I find I can use to get anything done around the house... including finding time to fix myself something to eat. Many times, I have to resort to TV dinners since I can at least handle holding Ethan on one arm while maneuvering the microwave on the other.
The conspiracy of silence surrounding these first few weeks have left me feeling like I was ALL ALONE in facing a minefield of identity crisis, confusion, out-of-control emotions, exhaustion, lasting physical pain, and sometimes mourning for my former life. Until I realized that I got a bout of what they nonchalantly call the baby blues, around a week after giving birth... not too long after my mom went back home and Mike permanently back at work. But let's just look at the facts: crying baby (seemingly for no reason at times), no sleep, hormones all over the place, sore breasts, and going back to sanitary wear not seen since the age of 13. Is it any wonder I was in tears? Mike sneered everytime I showed the slightest evidence of a mood swing, but I didn't care. Eventually, I just told him I was sad, and he understood that was his cue to try to be the understanding one. I'll take all the sympathy I get.....
Monday, February 13, 2006
I agree that it's over commercialized. But so is Christmas, and Halloween, and every other holiday on the calendar. That doesn't mean it's not fun to celebrate them. We shouldn't look at it as a "put-upon" to make an extra effort to be nice to our significant other... we should see it as just another opportunity to show them how we love them, right?
Lucky for me, I married a simple man. He's the greatest.... but he's simple, much like me. We're not expectant of grand gestures (although those are nice to run into every once in a while). We're more like homecooked-meal-and-cuddling people. Simple.
Personally, I like all that mushy stuff. I like asking him to be my valentine, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that he thoughtfully brushed off the inch of snow off my car today in 20 degree weather (something I had been dreading to do). AND in light of his greeting card holiday conspiracy theories, he gave me a February 13th gift today of a gift certifiate for a much needed hour of postnatal massage therapy and an hour of hot stone therapy... after coming home unxpectedly for lunch with my favorite meal from the mexican restaurant. That my friends, is far better than getting a cliche of 2 dozen long stemmed red roses which probably would cost just as much.
I, on the other hand, just got him this Valentines song (which I thought, if you listened beyond the cheesy karaoke feel, was really cute -- http://instasong.com/710294282S ), and I wrote him a love letter that he'll find nesting in one of his uniform pockets tomorrow.. something I definitely haven't done in quite a while. And I'm hoping he'll accept my proposal to go out and do something nice this weekend, as I'm sure grandma won't mind being the default babysitter...