Archive for the ‘waily waily’ Category

It’s my party

March 12, 2015

At this point in my life I kind of like getting older. I don’t love the web of wrinkles spreading across the backs of my hands, but I have no problem admitting my age or owning it. It feels like an accomplishment.

So when I say it’s my birthday and I’m having a shitty day it’s not because I’m bummed about aging. It’s just a stressful month at work and things are slipping out of my hands like I’m carrying too many dishes to the sink and some just dropped and shattered. Silly things like getting confused about teacher workday at Oz’s preschool – I thought it was today and arranged for childcare all morning and then I got an email this morning reminding me that it’s actually tomorrow. So I guess tomorrow I’ll just take the morning off and stay home with my kid. But I’m still annoyed that he missed school today.

Anyway, these are little things, nbd, just the fact that it is my birthday makes it seem like a tragedy. And Gimli is out of town on my birthday for the 3rd year in a row which I have to admit does kind of bum me out.

Sir Terry Pratchett died today, so that clinches it – I’m gifting myself the Tiffany trilogy on my Kindle. RIP Sir Terry.



February 14, 2013

I’m having a moment. It will pass. So I’m just coming into this space to metaphorically run around like a chicken with my head cut off (have you ever actually seen one? I have… very weird sight…) because it’s just been decided that Gimli will be going to Afghanistan for 2 weeks, leaving next Tuesday night.

He’s squeezing the trip in between two short, in-country trips that I have scheduled. So we’re going to be ships passing in the night from February 18 until March 12 (my birthday… #40…. I’ve been nurturing all these dreams about how to spend my 40th birthday, and it turns out I’m going to spend it traveling with a group of Mennonite pastors – but that’s another story).

I’m having a freak-out moment right this minute. I don’t want him to go. And yet I told him he can. I’m letting him go. And yes, he did ask for my permission…

I know how much this means to him. I know that he needs these periodic trips in order to feel alive. I know how close to the core of his self-identity and feeling of place in this world these things are. I didn’t have the heart to tell him no.

We’re used to him being gone… we’re used to his traveling… but I don’t want him to leave. I’m not totally sure why it feels different this time – perhaps the new context, new responsibilities on my plate, the kids being in school and how tender that process has been for me and for them…

I think I need to create a plan for myself, for my own self-care, for a safety net, support network. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed here has been working within a close-knit, caring team – a lot of what I do is look after their needs; now it’s time to go to them with mine.


January 27, 2012

Sleep, oh sleep. Sleep is my Waterloo. Sleep is my Armageddon, my dungeon master.

Oz has discovered his ability to keep himself up at bedtime and what used to take 10 minutes is now taking 2 hours. It’s got me in a low, low place. I don’t know why I judge myself so harshly in this one dimension but I’ve observed this in myself recently – that how I feel about myself as a parent hinges greatly on the kids’ sleep patterns. I feel like if they’re taking good naps and going down easily, then it’s because I’ve judged their need and the best timing for sleep correctly, and created the right structures for them to have healthy sleep patterns. When they won’t go down… I’m the worst mom in the world. Last night at 11, after yelling at Illyria to just go to sleep already, and then she cried herself to sleep clutching her bedtime book, I was too angry to go to sleep myself. It’s just not worth it, I kept thinking. I should tell everyone considering TTC don’t do it! It’s just not worth it. I felt differently this morning… mostly… I’m still exhausted and feeling like a shit mom though. Gimli said ok, we need to get you some sleep. We’re going to try putting both kids in one bedroom, and Gimli will stay with them as long as needed while I sleep alone in the master bedroom (my mom is in the other kid’s bedroom – Illyria has been sleeping with us – well me, really – while Oz sleeps half the night in his crib and half the night with Gimli in the twin bed in that room). But it feels like circular reasoning to me. I’m not able to parent well right now because I’m so tired and sleep-deprived, but the REASON I’m tired and sleep-deprived is because I’m a crap mom who has ruined her kids’ sleep cycles through ineffective parenting. So what’s the point? It’s never going to get any better. I thought it was but it’s not.

I’m blogging from inside an irrational hole right now, and part of me knows this, but most of me just wants to give up and sell them to the gypsies.

Monday. And sleep.

October 24, 2011

So, my in-laws are coming back, Dec 8-Jan 4.


I’m actually pretty happy about it; daydreaming of sending them out with the kids some afternoon after naps, while I stay home and watch a movie on the laptop and knit for two hours…. and of course I’m working on a short list of stuff I want them to bring us that we can’t get here.

They’ll also be arriving while Gimli is away in Armenia for two weeks, so it will be great to have extra help with the kids.

I am so spoiled for help.

My mom is taking the US Citizenship exam this week, and should be sworn in as a naturalized citizen in early November, which opens the door for her to get a US passport and an EU visa, which means she can come visit us!!!! Should all go well, we’re planning on having her visit in January. Hopefully my dad can come too, although his poor health might mean the trip would be too much for him. We’ll see.

Our nanny is going to a conference this week so I’ll be full-time momming. It’s ok. The hours suck, but the perks are great.

I read through my blog just now thinking of the Creme de la Creme… I don’t know… I have a couple posts that got a lot of comments, but I feel kind of shitty about submitting something when I didn’t actually read through last year’s list at all. I actually read ONE entry – the last one, at the moment when I pulled the list up, and I became a regular follower of that one blog – but it seems like if you’re going to put something in you should at least try to read through as much of the list as you can. Don’t you think? So I don’t know if I have the right to submit something this year.



I had a little encounter this morning with a neighbor that made me feel like crying; right after Dhurata arrived, I ran across the street to buy some milk before running off to my language lesson. I ran into our neighbor in the dairy aisle. “Why does your son cry so much?” she demanded loudly. “He cries and cries! Don’t you go to him?” I struggled to respond; I felt so attacked. She went on – “have you checked? Is it his teeth? What is his problem? Why don’t you bring him into bed with you?” She said some other things I didn’t understand, and I tried to explain that I know, I know it’s a problem I don’t know what to do about it, I do give him medicine when he’s teething for the pain, I hold him and give him water…

I just felt awful.

I told my language teacher about it. She sort of sighed and said “Yes, people always have suggestions, as if you’d never thought of it before!” making her eyes wide. She seemed to think I should just ignore the woman.

Oz’s bedroom is adjacent to this neighbor’s apartment; given how noise resonates through the building I’m sure they can hear him every time he cries. We’ve been doing some CIO this week; it seemed like Oz was going through a phase where he wanted someone near him all the time, so Gimli would go and lie on a mattress on the floor next to his crib, but instead of decreasing, the number of times he was waking up at night increased to like every hour. We have done some co-sleeping in the past, whenever we travel, he sleeps in bed with me, usually waking 4-5 times a night and nursing a lot. It feels like no matter what we do, we just never get enough sleep. Right now Gimli has taken over all the night-time parenting, at least until around 5:30 a.m. when he turns it over to me so he can get a few more hours before he has to get up for work. I still am not getting enough sleep. I go to bed at 9, but usually don’t actually fall asleep until 9:30 or 10:00. It’s just not enough for me. I’m tired of being tired.

The past two weeks, there’s been construction going on on the 7th floor of the building; we’re on the 4th floor but it sounds like the hammering and drilling is directly above us. It’s been awful for Oz’s daytime naps. Awful. It always starts at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., precisely his nap times. A couple times I just put him in the Ergo and took him out for a walking nap. I also tried putting him down in Illyria’s room but he wouldn’t go down in his crib, only in my arms on the bed. It’s hard to find a solution that’s sustainable.

I do feel bad that the noise of his crying bothers the neighbors. And I take this kind of criticism waaaaay too personally. I shouldn’t let it get me down, but it does. So I’m not sure what to do. We have talked about moving him into our room permanently, at the other end of the apartment. At least there he wouldn’t bother anybody. We’ll see.

A Tale of Two Cesareans, Part II

August 10, 2010

The first time, I would have had labor induced at 37 weeks except that V. was breech and would not turn.  We learned at her delivery that her cord was very short, and that’s probably why she stayed put regardless of all the tricks we tried (barring external version and acupuncture, because of my pre-e and hospitalization).  So I had a scheduled cesarean.  I was terrified.  But I had the support of our lovely doula, who helped me be able to stay present and focused during the whole process and to find meaning and sweetness and connection through it all.

This time we didn’t have a doula.  Ironically, G. was head down and at zero station and perfectly positioned to exit through the birth canal, but because of my hypertension we weren’t given the chance to wait it out and let me go into labor on my own.  Because of my previous cesarean, induction wasn’t an option either.  I was one fingertip dilated at the time of the surgery.  For some reason knowing this fact breaks my heart.  My body wanted to do it’s job, but wasn’t permitted.

The second time, I didn’t have a doula, and I wasn’t nearly as scared.  I felt much more prepared and I knew – in general terms at least – what to expect.  Some things were quite different, having to do with the two hospitals’ internal policies, which we had no control over; other differences had to do with the team of medical staff who worked with us.  In general, I liked the first hospital’s policies better and the second hospital’s staff (especially the anesthesiologist) better.  I experienced much less pain post-partum and a quicker recovery.  Breast-feeding also came much more easily and with MUCH less pain the second time.

What is making me sad right now is knowing that that’s it for me.  That is the sum of my birth experiences.  Two cesareans.  And I feel like a failure.

This all came to the surface for me today when I got an e-mail from a long-ago friend who has a toddler about V’s age and is about to birth her second child.  She’d heard from a mutual friend who lives in her city that I’d had pre-eclampsia again, and then went to my public/family blog and read what I’d written there about our journey.  I don’t write a whole lot there about my real feelings about things – I tend to make it a bit shiny for the grandparents – so she couldn’t know all my angst about the cesarean thing.  Anyway, she wrote to me about how she’d had pre-eclampsia with her first pregnancy but had an unmedicated (apart from the induction) birth, and with the second pregnancy she worked really hard to prevent pre-eclampsia again by exercising, drinking lots of water, and eating 90 grams of protein a day, and now at 38 weeks her blood pressure is normal and she’s planning a home water birth with her team of midwives.

Yay for her, but you know, this just made me feel like such an enormous, colossal failure.  I know that ultimately many things are not in our control, but I also know that I didn’t do all those things.  I didn’t exercise, other than playing with my toddler.  I didn’t eat a lot of protein.  I did try to drink a lot of water, but I feel like I just didn’t try hard enough – especially with the diet aspect of it.  I’ve been crying about this off and on all day, I guess I just had to get it out.

I was going through some old file boxes in preparation for moving and found all the stuff from my master’s thesis which I completed in 2001.  It’s so freaking organized!  Every detail accounted for and in its place.  I compare this to my haphazardness now and I wonder what the hell happened?  When did I lose that focus?  Was it when V. was born?  It actually goes back earlier than that – it goes back to the start of our TTC days.  I feel old, I feel scattered, I feel ineffectual.

I love my children.  I’m having a hard time right now loving myself.


May 20, 2010

I messed up my urine test.  After collecting a huge jugful of pee for 24 hours, I forgot to put the lid on the jug (it was in a cooler with ice, so I didn’t see it for some reason…) and just as I was walking into the lab I heard a slosh… opened the cooler and realized I’d spilled like a cupful of pee.

So I have to do it over again.

The main reason this is so frustrating is that T. is scheduled to leave Monday for Albania, and the outcome of this test, and subsequent decision tree that follows (like, say, if they decide the baby has to come out RIGHT NOW), he might have to cancel the trip.  If they think I can hang on for another week or two, he could come back early and be here for the birth.  It’s just really hard to know what to do.  And now, we won’t know the results until Friday at the earliest.

I feel like such an IDIOT.


May 19, 2010

Everything depends on tomorrow’s urine test.  Today we went to the big fancy hospital for a second opinion, and learned that the baby is “great” and “perfect” and doing really, really well.  But having my proteinuria as high as it is?  Well, if it stays that high, I have to go on hospital bedrest.  And because we’re only just at 31 weeks, the recommendation is that we go straight to the big fancy hospital with the NICU.  An hour away from home. 

It absolutely tears me up inside to think about being that far away from V.  I cried and cried in the car coming home just thinking about it.  I want to be here to feed her breakfast, to see her playing and laughing and reading her books, to see her adorable smile every day.  I don’t want her to have to deal with the confusion and disruption of only seeing Mommy in a hospital bed once a day.  And if she has to ride in a car an hour each way?  Oh lord.  As V. herself would put it, “NONONONONONONONONONO!”

Please, I just want to stay home.  I’ll lie on the couch all day, I’ll do whatever they tell me to, I just want to stay home.  If I can make it to 36 weeks I can have the baby here at the local hospital.  That’s my fervent hope and desire and prayer right now.


May 7, 2010

Yes, it’s almost 7 and I’ve been awake since 2:40.  V. was awake for 3 hours …  I’m just worried about how this cumulative lack of sleep is/will affect my health and the baby.  And I feel like I SHOULD be able to control this situation but I just can’t seem to get a grip on things.  I feel so unable to do the things I should be doing to take care of myself so I don’t end up on bedrest/C-section again.

Husband gets back tomorrow.

28 weeks

April 27, 2010

28 weeks.  Today I had my GD test, routine check-up, and started monitoring my blood pressure at home.

The GD test was a bust – the lab called and said their machine is busted, adn can I come back in again tomorrow?  So that was a wasted morning… except I got to spend a lot of it reading, which was nice.  I didn’t even try to take work with me.

The check-up was…routine.  Only my BP was 128/80, which is higher than it’s been so far. 

So when I got home at noon, I took it again – 132/92.  BOOOOO.  140/90 is the threshhold for concern.  So this is not good.

I know I’m stressed, and not getting anywhere close to enough sleep.  I may have our sitter stay overnight sometime this week so I can get a real night’s sleep at least once.  At 4:30 a.m. this morning I just started crying – V. had been up for an hour and a half at that point and just would – not – settle – down.  I’d gone to bed at 11, after doing a bunch of catch-up housework after she went to sleep.  Keeping house, spending time with her, and doing my husband’s job for him while he’s out of town… I just can’t keep up.  Right now the housework is the piece I’ve been letting go – but it really bugs me when the sink and countertops are so full of dirty dishes I can’t even prepare a meal.  The floors are disgusting too.  So many friends have offered to help out while T. is away but housework isn’t something I can ask friends to do for me – it just seems wrong – and taking care of V. while I do the housework would be great except then when do I get to see her and play with her? 

Maybe next week I can get some rest and catch up on stuff a little bit.  And then T will be home again.  Although of course he’ll be busy writing the report on his trip…


February 12, 2010

Yeah, so feel free to skip this post because it’s nothing but one long whiny complaint about everything under the sun, and unfortunately I’m not as funny as Stephanie (seriously – have you read her?  Cracks me up!) to be able to at least make the lament entertaining.

Right now this minute I’m watching V. sleep after trying unsuccessfully five times to get hold of my adviser.  We had a phone conference scheduled for 3 p.m. this afternoon, which meant I cut my own nap short (and believe me I DEPEND on those naps) AND re-arranged my and my MIL’s schedules to be available for this call.  I’ve been phoning every 10 minutes since 3 and she just does not pick up.  WTF.  Oh – AND – I also needlessly rescheduled an interview I had set up previously to this.  So I’m kind of angry, and also feeling let down and annoyed and frustrated.  It’s not just me but two other people who were inconvenienced.  AND – this is the second time she’s done this.

The other thing that’s been bugging me… is just the sleep issues with V.  And please, before I say anything else, PLEASE, unless you are Rachel, no advice.   Including “what worked for us was…”  I posted about her sleep issues on my other blog, and a former student wrote me a long message on FB about what she’s doing for naps with her 4-month-old along with a link to an article on how some tender-hearted attachment-parenting type finally got up the guts to let her baby put herself to sleep in her crib and how said baby instantly started sleeping 12 hours straight every night and I just couldn’t take it.  I had a physiological anger response – heart pounding, face hot, palms sweating – like “it’s so easy!  the only thing keeping you from a good night’s sleep is this easy-peasy recipe” LIKE I HAVEN’T HEARD IT BEFORE.  Like we didn’t spend MONTHS last year sleep-training, and FINALLY got V. sleeping in a crib in her own room until our summer travels disrupted her routine and then T. didn’t have the self-discipline not to revert to co-sleeping again.  I feel like such an utter and complete failure at this, and those stories are just salt in the wound.  I spend HOURS every day and evening putting her down for naps and for the night.  I have headaches all morning because of her night waking.  I’m so tired of it, and I don’t know what to do.  There are moments when I feel all calm and zen about it, like this is how our life is, and I just have to roll with it.  Then there are times when I just feel like I can’t go on.  I feel like we got off track with her about 17 months ago, and have dug ourselves into a pit that there is no escape from.  The situation we’ve created for ourselves has cemented us into a pattern that will never change.  Well, maybe when she’s like 7.


Actually I had to go tend to the V. just now before finishing the vent… and now I can’t remember what else I was going to complain about.  Well, one was the snowed-in days we just had, which simply did not feel like the break/respite that snow days used to be before we had a toddler.  There is no such thing as a day off anymore… and no matter how dearly I love my daughter, I still miss the respite.  Having a whole day in front of me in which there was nothing that HAD to be done, all to myself.  It will be a long time before those come back again, I think.

Oh yeah, I remembered the other thing.  This might get long… hopefully any potential readers are bored and moving on by now.  Anyway, yesterday I guest spoke in an Anthropology class, and it was really fun once I got over feeling nervous.  It was kind of an autobiographical discussion of how I became a feminist, with some theory thrown in for academics’ sake – the tension between personal agency and social forces/identities that shape us.  So it was fun.  But I was nearing the end of my prepared talk and realized, good lord, I’m like some kind of freaking high achiever type.  Or – I WAS.  Class valedictorian (less impressive if you consider it was a graduating class of FIVE), also student council president (and first female to hold that position in my school, ever), and twice during high school was voted “student of the year” by faculty and student body collectively.  Then college, where I wasn’t as impressive – I made the dean’s list usually, but never a perfect 4.0 – but I did win an essay competition in sophomore year, and a poetry competition my senior year.  Then a few years down the road was awarded National Program Staff of the Year at the agency I worked at just before going back to grad school.

Well, after all that “success” (by some measures) I’m feeling pretty darn mediocre these days and it’s troubling my sense of self.  Which is probably a good thing because these things are so artificial anyway.  But it’s been really hard juggling a PhD program and motherhood, and in both arenas I feel absolutely and completely and utterly mediocre.  And that’s hard to come to terms with because I pressure myself to EXCEL at the things I do.  With my academic work, I feel so unmotivated – I typically get about one hour of actual work done on any given day – completely pathetic.  With parenting, I just feel like I SUCK.  I’m doing ok with the feeding and general affection and play, but the sleep thing has me on my knees begging for mercy, and discipline I feel very uncertain about.  And let’s not even get started on housework and managing the household side of things.

Ok, enough.  My next post is going to be about things I’m thankful for and things I’m looking forward to just to try to balance this all out a bit.