Saturday, February 23, 2013

I guess that's why they call it the blues

I remember how weepy I was with Andrea's pregnancy.  I couldn't get through any movie without crying.  Yes, this includes comedies.  Commercials even set me off.  Geico. Ford.  The power of cheese.  And don't get me started on Folgers.  I cried seeing pictures of newborn socks.  I puddled at the smell of lavender.  I choked when Winnie the Pooh was mentioned in a conversation.  There wasn't much that didn't make me cry at that point.  This pregnancy has been far more tame emotionally.

Last week I was bragging to Paul about how little I've been crying.  I chalked it up to superior self-control, but he claimed I was just as emotional.  When I requested clarification he kindly replied that I wasn't as weepy, but I was angry. . . a lot.  I took umbrage at that insinuation then took some deep breaths.  I tried to explain the reason for all of my anger: sickness, hip pain, demanding toddler going through a rather opinionated phase, school work, home stress, etc.  But he just smiled and, like the wise man he is, replied with silence.  He was right, I suppose.  Everything was making me angry.

The general feeling of powerlessness I have in my life is frustrating beyond words, but I've felt that ever since Andrea was born.  My ability to cope lately, however, has been rather strained, and perhaps it's the testosterone surging from my uterus.  I made a mental note of Paul's critique and have tried very hard this week to be a calmer person.

Today I just lost it though.

After spending the morning working on school work, I came home feeling rather chipper.  I wrote a shopping list, Paul and Andrea accompanied me to the store, and we made dinner together after the groceries were put away.  While Paul scrambled some eggs, I mixed up some cake batter and greased some pans.  Thirty minutes later each layer of warm cake was carefully shimmied onto cooling racks and placed on the counter. Andrea pulled up a stool to watch me bake while she chattered away about how she's a superhero and a big helper.  I turned my back for a moment to clear a spot in the fridge for my still steaming layers, and when I turned around to retrieve them, I found that superhero helper violently stabbing gaping holes through one of my delicate cakes.  I yelped at the sight.  No, I screamed like I'd been shot.  Paul came running.  "What happened?" He gasped.

"My cake!  Look what she's done to my cake!" I shouted.  Andrea sat there, eyes wide with worry.  "That was not a good choice, Andrea!" I scolded, then proceeded to tell her that it upset me, and I needed an apology although that wasn't going to make my cake any less holey.  She started to cry, and Daddy took her from the room to allow me time to cool off with those layers of chocolate sponge.  I could hear him explaining to her that what she'd done wasn't right but it was okay because mommys and daddys make mistakes too.  She can learn and do better next time.

I felt awful and inadequate.  How did I let myself, with all my "superior self-control", let myself lose it like that over a cake?  (A cake that isn't even for a special occasion!)  How did I let a problem to be solved become so much more important than that superhero helper that needed loved?  I spent the rest of the evening battling a snappy, frustrated mood and remorseful depression for my actions.

When the cake was finally frosted and there was nothing left to lick, Andrea started singing her bedtime song.  We brushed our teeth and sat on the couch to read a book. Andrea fiddled, teased, and snatched the book away so I couldn't read it. I curtly told her to let me read the book or she was going straight to bed.  She conceded, but just barely, and I proceeded to read through my guilty tears.  When I tucked her in I kissed her forehead and told her I was sorry for yelling at her and being so grumpy.  She pulled the binky from her mouth and whispered, "I wuv you."

Walking from her room I wondered if this is why they call it the blues because this baby boy anger hurts so much worse than the tears of my first pink pregnancy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Romantic deep cleaning and a frozen pizza

Being a mother is amazing, but I often find it very lonely.  It seems strange that I can feel that way when I can't even use the bathroom without a escort.  However, I spend most days at home, speaking to a toddler about colors, bananas, and her favorite bear, and I miss and crave the companionship of adult company.  When Paul walks through the front door in the evening I want him to tell me all about his day.  Although I understand little about reconciliations and audits, I drink in his deepish voice and the words flowing from his lips that don't involve Dora or Swiper.  I beg him to watch me stir ground beef or chop vegetables for a salad because his mere presence is like sunshine.  Andrea hugs his legs and sings out "I miss you" in her sweet, high voice, and being all together fills the void we've felt in the house all day.  He removes his tie as I plate his dinner, and I suddenly feel less alone.

I just love that man.

Today was Valentines Day, and I honestly expected very little.  Money is tight as we are paying for our prenatal medical care ourselves, and just days ago Paul told me how much he detested this day of superficial love and commercialism.  Although I couldn't argue about how commercial the holiday has become, I was determined to treat him special regardless.  Sometimes it takes a holiday to remind me about the little things we use to do for each other that have gone by the wayside since having a child.  Monday afternoon I hid little notes for Paul all over the house stating things I loved about him.  Then I scheduled a babysitter for tonight so the evening was available for whatever Paul wanted to do.

This morning when Paul's alarm when off, he rolled out of bed and told me he would make me breakfast as a romantic gesture.  He retrieved Andrea from her room, poured me a bowl of cereal, and then drove away in his blue car.  In his defense, we had very little food in the house.  I cooked Andrea a bowl of oatmeal, and when she had somewhat emptied the bowl, we packed up the diaper bag and headed to the grocery store.  She helped me pick out some not-so-ripe strawberries and a frozen pizza, and we checked out.

At home I melted some chocolate for our strawberries, and Andrea made a mess of herself tasting the romantic confection.  I was so excited for Paul to see the homemade treat and hoped it would brighten his day.

After lunch I put Andrea down for a nap then sat at the computer to do homework.  A stabbing pain began to form in my left temple, so I laid down to fight off a headache.  Forty-five minutes later I was startled awake with what I thought was a burglar entering my bedroom.  I was surprised and delighted to discover it was Paul who'd been sent home early due to a gas leak at work.  He laid beside me in bed and spoke to me quietly as my headache began to subside.  It was the best Valentine's gift he could have given me: company and conversation.

But when Andrea woke from her nap I also discovered flowers in the kitchen he had bought to thank me for the kind notes earlier in the week.  He even bought a rose for Andrea who carried it around with pride.  I called my sister and asked her if I could bring Andrea over early so Paul and I could get a head start on our date.  Once the house was kid-free, I spent an hour cleaning the living room, sorting toys, throwing away strange bits of garbage Andrea had become attached to (old balloons and boxes), and re-plugging in outlet covers (Andrea knows how to remove them).  Paul admired my gusto and ate his strawberries.  After retaking the living room, I turned on last night's American Idol, and we watched while eating that frozen pizza.  It was perfect.  I didn't have to cook.  We didn't have to sit in the Valentine's Day crowds.  Most importantly, I got to declutter and be with my hubby without having Andrea there to distract and compete with.  (Sometimes a mom just needs a break, you know?)  When we went to retrieve the toddler from my parents house I felt so rejuvenated and happy.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Valentine's day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A blue raspberry slushy

At the beginning of August, 2010, my mother, my husband, and I drove down to Provo for the much anticipated 20 week ultrasound.  I was convinced I was having a boy.  Paul agreed that we could get slushies after the appointment, and I planned on getting a coordinating color to the gender of the baby.  I was REALLY craving blue raspberry and pretty confident that's what I'd be getting.  Alas, the baby was a girl so I got an unsatisfying pink watermelon slushy.

When I started this pregnancy I thought I was having another girl.  I suppose I was so accustomed to referring to a female inside me that it seemed the most natural.  However, at about 16 weeks I started to feel this baby move, and boy, did he move.  His movements were so unlike Andrea's rare and gentle prods.  I was feeling jabs, somersaults, hiccups, break dancing, and some rather forceful pokes.  On a particularly active night, as I tried to lay on my side and study, it seemed as if the baby was jumping on the bed.  I told Paul right then that I was pretty sure we were having a boy.  Blue raspberry slushy, here I come!

Today was the ultrasound (and Paul's 28th birthday) and I had been looking forward to and dreading it.  During the day, I would long to see the face of my baby, find out the gender, and know that everything was developing as it should.  In the quiet evening hours, doubts and fears would settle into my soul, and I often fell asleep wondering if they were a product of my overactive imagination or a warning of something to come.  Last night I had one of those restless nights of dread, fearing an ultrasound would reveal a dead baby and that all the fetal movement had been delusions.

When the infamous blue gel was sufficiently coating my stomach and the baton was place over my baby bulge, I saw a very still little baby.  My heart sank.  I remember Andrea being so active and present.  I remember marveling at how much she moved when I could hardly feel her.  This baby was just still.  After the technician measured the head I asked if she noticed the baby moving.  "Oh yes," she reassured me, and she moved down his body to show me his beating heart.  I was so relieved to see the little chambers pumping that I almost began to cry.  As she measured his femur, I got a good shot of his little package.  In fact, he showed that to us many times as we tried to measure various body parts.  Hoping this meant he was not shy, we tried to get some pictures of his face, but just like his sister, he held his arms firmly in front, completely blocking our view.

Baby number two, still no good profile or face shots.  Bummer.  But we got a lot of his little boy parts.  He's going to love when I tell his girlfriends that story someday.

Anyway, after the ultrasound Paul pulled up to Sonic for our ceremonial slushy.  Guess what flavor was not on the menu?  BLUE RASPBERRY!  I cried a little (in my mind) and examined the other blue flavor.  Coconut.  Yuck.  I got green apple.  Maybe next pregnancy. . .