April 26, 2006

Thanks for weighing in on the blog name question! I’ll let you know how it shakes out. I had this random paranoid fear when I emailed in my suggestions: what if they don’t like any of my ideas and they make me call it Baby Steps?


So, this morning I was reading another blogger’s post about homebirthing, and as an associated topic in her comments section, there was a discussion about the high number of hospital C-sections, the risks of medicated births, etc.

I admit when I first started thinking about Riley’s great arrival, back when he was walnut-sized and I could still go five minutes in a row without peeing, I thought homebirthing sounded batshit crazy. I know of someone whose child has permanent hearing damage from a tough birth where they had to abandon their home situation and rush to a hospital, and to my fairly uninformed mind that was reason enough to surround yourself in a traditional medical environment from the start of labor to mitigate all the possibilities of something going wrong.

Of course, anything can happen during birth, and being at a hospital instead of your living room doesn’t guarantee a perfect outcome. The more I read about birth options, the more I started feeling much more open-minded about the subject; I never decided that I wanted anything other than a hospital birth for myself, but I learned a lot about the choices I had. I became less afraid, and more interested; I didn’t have any hard-and-fast goals for Riley’s birth but I did have preferences, I was gearing up for the experience and curious as to what it would be like.

My friend Jen had a gorgeous baby boy in March and her husband wrote a wonderful account of the birth; after I read it I was so happy for them, and yet I realized a nasty undercurrent, a weird sense of sorrow even through my feelings of congratulations. It was simple and stupid jealousy, an undeniable feeling of regret that I didn’t have a similar experience: the realization that labor was happening, the excitement of the escalation, the trip to the hospital and even the hours of painful work to produce a child.

I wouldn’t say that Riley’s birth was traumatic, there was no emergency, no fear for his safety. The consequences were ideal, as the result was a healthy baby and the rest shouldn’t matter. And yet here it is almost eight months later and I’m surprised by the amount of bitterness I feel.

I can’t help wondering, was it all really necessary? Was my blood pressure really that bad, and how could it have been–I felt perfectly healthy! All that terrible magnesium, did I really need that? Should I have tried harder for the vaginal birth, should I have taken the Pitocin, would I have increased my chances of avoiding the surgery and the fuzziness with which I remember everything that happened? Wasn’t it completely unnnatural to pry Riley out of my body three weeks early, was any of it–the medication, the sickness, the haziness, the fruitless attempts at starting labor–necessary?

I know it’s pointless to dwell on it. I know you don’t fuck around with pre-eclampsia. I know the medical staff made choices based on health and safety rather than their own convenience. But still. Still.

When I read the arguments against hospital births and all the advocacy of controlling your experience and making a better choice for baby I feel so conflicted; on one hand, yay for homebirthing and midwives and naturopathic herbs and all that, yay for choices, but sometimes things get way the fuck out of your control and all the books and websites and well-meaning opinion-holders in the world can’t make things different. I’m not sure that gets acknowledged much in the sea of righteous defense. Or maybe there’s some other reason I just can’t help feeling like I did something wrong.

(I hope it doesn’t matter to him.)

April 25, 2006

Spring has finally sprung here in the Northwest; the skies are bright, the air is warm, and I want to roll on my back in the lush green grass like Dog, except more for the joy of the season and less for the benefit of grinding poop into my fur.

Yesterday was so sunny and generally fabulous I thought it would be a great idea to work on my vegetable garden box, and so I prepped the boy for travel (check diaper, offer bottle, de-booger nose [child’s nose, unless own nose requires similar], perform onesie Cuteness Assessment) and motored down to Home Depot, which I assumed I would have practically to myself since it was the middle of a Monday afternoon.

Au contraire, Pierre! Apparently the Home Deport garden center on a weekday is where all of Bellevue’s Diamond B’Dazzled Housewives Driving Beamer SUVs hang out. I would have guessed that particular demographic would all be at bikram yoga or the Bellevue Square Mall or flitting around the lake on their yacht named “The Microsoft Golden Handcuff” but no, they were out in full force at Home Depot, taking up the good parking spots and buying flats of pansies and marigolds and totally bogarting the herb aisle.

(Maybe I’m just bitchy because I drive a ’97 Corolla, but is it really necessary to wear formal jewelry with a pink velour sweatsuit? I don’t care if the label does say “Juicy” and half your Botox’d ass is peeping out, it’s fucking sweat pants. Lose the bling.)

I managed to elbow my way through the tastefully highlighted throng and picked up this year’s attempt at homegrown edibles: broccoli, peppers, corn, tomatoes, and zucchini, which I’m sure will either grow freakishly out of control and become the housing for a million spiders (tomatoes) or produce a tiny mutant stilted version of its vegetable potential before being eaten by birds (everything else).

I even planted a container of “catmint” for Cat, despite the fact that she is most definitely on my shit list for having massacred a mouse on two separate occasions lately and left, right by the front door, 1) a tiny decapitated head connected to a naked spinal column and 2) a solitary severed paw.

Riley sat in the backyard with me while I was planting, propped in his bouncy seat waving around the scuffed plastic measuring cup he loves beyond all reason. I can’t adequately describe the simple animal pleasure of digging into the warm loamy dirt, watching my curious boy watching me back; it was a deeply wonderful afternoon that felt somehow transcended from all identifying details, like I could have been anyone, anywhere, working in the earth with my son nearby.

It’s awesome to see the good weather again, to look forward to long summer nights and puttering in the backyard and neighborhood walks, and everything is made extra joyous by our little boy; everything is even sweeter, the sun is even brighter.


In other news, I’ve been accepted as a contributing writer for a website called ClubMom. They purport to pay me actual U.S. currency for this effort, which is both vaguely thrilling and intimidating; I’m excited by the prospect of freelance blogging, I’m nervous that I won’t have readers or I’ll be up at 3 AM trying to meet my quota or I’ll just…run out of things to say.

A lack of quality content certainly hasn’t stopped me before, though, so carpe the fucking diem, right? I’ll be keeping a blog over at ClubMom about life with a baby, which I’m sure won’t be entirely dissimilar to many of my posts here except maybe not so much with the F bomb. I’ll still be posting here because I will give up this website when you pry it from my cold dead fingers, but I hope you come check out the new blog when it’s up and running, if only so I know I have friends in the audience and I don’t have to picture everyone naked.

Oh, and I could use your help with something for this whole venture: I need to submit a few names for my ClubMom blog. Ultimately they get to choose because hey, they sign the check, but I’d like to know your opinions. Here’s what I’ve thought of so far:

If You Don’t Like the Weather

You know the saying ‘if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes’? Like for an unpredictable climate? I thought this was a great metaphor for parenting a baby: smiles and laughter one minute, red-faced howler monkey shrieking the next. Plus, it’s got a homey sort of Erma Bombeck ring to it.

The Lime In the Coconut

Okay, so the “Coconut” song that goes:

She put the lime in the coconut, she drank ’em both up (3x)
Put the lime in the coconut, she called the doctor, woke him up, and said

Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take, I said
Doctor, to relieve this bellyache, I said
Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take, I said
Doctor, to relieve this bellyache

Now let me get this straight
Put the lime in the coconut, you drank ’em both up (3x)
Put the lime in the coconut, you called your doctor, woke him up, and said

Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take, I said
Doctor, to relieve this bellyache, I said
Doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take, I said
Doctor, to relieve this bellyache

You put the lime in the coconut, you drink ’em both together
Put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better
Put the lime in the coconut, drink ’em both up
Put the lime in the coconut, and call me in the morning

You’re totally singing that to yourself right now, aren’t you? Dude, it’s the best song and it’s impossible to feel bad if you’re singing it. Lately I’ve been singing it to Riley while simultaneously performing a most excellent dance number that involves lots of pointing, rump-wiggling, and exaggerated strides around the room. Add in a Dog-startling falsetto on the “DOCTOR…” part and, well, all I can tell you is that Riley finds it greatly entertaining.

So I’m just loving on the song lately, but also! You can take ‘the cause of your problems is also the cure’ from the lyrics, if you don’t mind reaching a little. The baby is driving me crazy, the baby is teaching me patience. The lime! The coconut!

Purple Is a Fruit

If you’re using the Simpsons’ episode storage center of your brain for something more useful, like remembering how to drive a stick shift or multiply fractions, here is the quote in context:

Homer: Lisa, would you like a donut?
Lisa: No thanks. Do you have any fruit?
Homer: This has purple in it. Purple is a fruit.

I like this as a blog name because it sort of embodies my general cluelessness about parenting. Purple is a fruit, right? Um…right?

Anyway, maybe they’re all super lame, I don’t know. It’s a blog title, I don’t want to obsess over it too much, but if you like one more than the other please cast your vote in the comments. Thanks, and you guys rule, did you know that? Because you do.


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