Saturday, December 6, 2008

I can bring home the bacon?

I'm sure I'm not the first to make any of the following observations, but they come as such a suprise to me that I feel compelled to write them down. Motherhood is WEIRD. It changes things in extreme but disparate ways. For example, people can be shockingly kind -- I never knew that most people had it in them! In parking lots when I'm kneeling next to the baby car seat strapping Sonja in, people regularly stop their cars or just walk over to ask if they can help. It might be that I appear particularly inept, but folks are always offering to carry things for me, always reaching toward me and smiling. Women and men both melt into spontaneous stories about their own children. It's beautiful. On the other hand, I am suddenly seen as possessing less than my normal worth in some ways by some people. At work, where my employers have very generously allowed me to bring the baby in with me as long as I'm off the clock for time spent on extended baby-care, things have gotten ugly. One minute everyone is gushing over the baby. The next, my boss will see that she's in my arms and assign me to do some task specificly because it is impossible to do while holding a baby, just to make a point. It's probobly not appropriate to go into more detail about work, but the story ends with my pay being cut for the hours I spend there with Sonja. Which happened JUST WHEN WE BOUGHT A HOUSE, which a.) we bought partially because of its proximity to my job and b.) has a huge mortgage that I consequently don't feel we can afford. I get whiplash from the hot and cold vibes at work. Bringing the baby there feels like taking her into a hostile, unsafe warzone where I never know how we will be treated.

Another big complicated issue with motherhood which I couldn't really comprehend until I got here is jealously. It pops up in many guises. First, there's my jealously of the love that my loved ones feel for Sonja. All the people I love suddenly seem to love her more than they love me: my parents, my husband... they barely see me anymore, having eyes, energy, and resources only for the baby. As well they should, but it still hurts. Then there's the jealousy of my friends for the attention and time I have for the baby and not for them. I'm almost totally AWOL and my peeps are understanding but not pleased. And then I suppose I'm a little jealous of Sonja. She is beautiful and new and her skin is impossibly springy and rosy and she has it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall ahead of her!

A friend actually warned me about this next thing and I really couldn't have imagined what she meant until experiencing it: I have completely lost my tolerance for violence. The day Sonja was born, a switch was thrown in my brain and now I cannot stand to witness human suffering -- on the news, in a movie, prime time tv, books, anywhere. I get horribly nauseous and want to run out of the room. See, to me, now EVERYONE was once and somehow still is someone's vulnerable little baby. I live in terror of Sonja's injury, sickness, or sadness and I involuntarily superimpose the suffering of others onto her in my mind. It's like third-party empathy. Very inconvenient. Actually, it extends to animals too. If I weren't already a (mostly) vegetarian (I eat fish), I would definately become one now.

Well we're all moved in. The house is wonderful and Sonja LOVES her nursery. My insanely generous sister painted almost every room, and Greg and his dad refinished to gorgeous wood floors. Last night we took baby to see the town's Christmas parade/tree lighting event. It was hilarious: tons of drama, sirens, a dramatic countdown as "Santa" was lifted very, very high in the air over the park via a firetruck ladder to "light the tree." He had to be 30 feet up -- "3, 2, 1!!!" The lights go on and the Christmas tree he is hovering over is like 8 feet tall. Pure comedy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Heh heh.

So says Miss Baby, whose vocabulary evolves from one key "happy sound" to another from day to day. I think Greg and I are both suprised to find ourselves already missing the demonic, gutteral growl she used for many weeks to express delight. It's gone! Before that it was a cough. A real sounding, hacking cough -- I'd sprint over to see if she'd inhaled a feather or had been stricken with a sudden illness, but no -- she's smiling, and in fact this is her version of what could only be called a chortle. That, too, is now rarely heard. In it's place is an oddly mature sounding: "HUH." or, "Heh Heh." She does in constantly, but specificly when we've done something to attempt to amuse her. Let's say I've sung a little song, clapping along with myself, smiling maniacly at her. She'll smile quizically, say "Heh," and go back to concentrating on whatever tag she's into at the moment. It makes one feel rather humored.

Oh yes, tags. My advice to new mothers is: NEVER cut a tag off of any toy, blanket, washcloth, or anything. Don't you know that this is the BEST PART? From what I understand, Sonja is not alone in her interest in them. Hand this baby any object, and she will intently turn it around and around until she finds its most special, sacred, awesome feature -- its silky while tag with its mysterious encrypted message printed on it. The bug-eyed look of concentration she gets as she examines a tag, engrossed for minutes at a time, KILLS me. And when I laugh, she laughs back -- Heh! Perhaps her first word will be "Whatevs."

But no, she's already said her first word, we think: "Blue." Or...something with a B, an L, and a vowel in it, whenever she sees a predominantly blue image on the tv. She gets ecstatic over Jeapordy, exclaiming repeatedly and gesticulating -- or maybe she knows the answers? Hmmm! I'll have to watch for category preferences.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Vile Pilgrimage

As a gift once we recieved this set of bookends -- they are heavy statues of Buddha, about 10 inches high. I use one of them as a doorstop, and position it so that it sits directly across from the door to the bathroom. If you are on the toilet and the door is open, the Buddha is framed in the doorway; it may sound weird, but it's nice to have him sort of sitting quietly with you in a meditative pose, hopefully setting the tone for your day. Knowledge of the Bathroom Buddha is necessary for context when I relay the following tale...

The spurned apartment continues its wrathful attack on it's mutinous inhabitants, spewing its hidden horrors out into the light! This morning before dawn I woke up and sensed that Sonja would stir soon for her feeding. Having decided to express some milk for a later time first, I got up and wandered out into the kitchen. As I groggily assembled the pumping gear I could hear the familiar nighttime rustling of the mice who live under the stove. My skin crawled a bit, but I was able to shake it off and get on with it. But then a change in the fidgety scratching caused me to turn and look -- a mouse had emerged from behind the trash can. It walked slowly, strangely across the kitchen floor toward the carpeted area by our bathroom. It was not a cute mouse -- it was long, black, and greasy looking. Certain I was having a nightmare, I continued working the hand pump and stared. It exited the kitchen and changed direction, moseying sideways across the carpet. I flicked the lights on briefly -- no reaction. I stamped at it, banged a broomstick on the floor near it, to no avail -- it staggered with spooky determination. At last it came to a stop, resting in a pool of moonlight at the foot of the Buddha, and died!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

purple love grass/baby hair

Here's is photographic evidence of the comparison I made between the two a few posts ago...

Last night I had a baby anxiety dream. In it I had two daughters: Sonja and her (nonexistant) older sister, who was blond and about 4 years old. At a large open marketplace the two of them somehow wandered off together alone. Terrified, I started calling "Sonja! Sonja!" And then I realized that I could not remember the name of the older daughter -- all the people around me stopped and stared in the ensuing silence, disgusted that I was such an irresponsible mother as to forget my own child's name, let alone lose them both. Yikes. Greg will have some spot-on interpretation for me, as always...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

dudes are always trying to show me their chi

Everybody's getting out their lawyers -- the inspection turned up some major house problems and now it's on. I have the feeling that the grouchy homeowner will not want to play ball and we won't be moving any time soon. I've begun sorting and packing, but nothing that would be missed in the household, just in case things fall through. (Let's face it, I'm just putting my 12,000,000 records in boxes -- I think I can safely say I'm taking this entire year off from dj-ing.) We've noticed that since we've begun this process, our current apartment has been turning on us, showing its various infestations and flaws -- mice rattle under the stove at night, a snake waits by the dumpster out back, and the air conditioning randomly throws its own switch over to heat and we wake in the middle of the night in an oven. A few black ants, when we gave the perimiters a light dousing of Raid, came back stronger in the form of freakish, super-fast zombie ants. The gorgeous view of Round Lake comes with constant clouds of mosquitos, making it impossible to enjoy anything outdoors here. The water is either rank with sulfur or is so overtreated with hydrogen peroxide that it sears the mouth. Get us out of here!

Baby Sonja is suddenly wildly active and willful, flinging herself around in our arms and pinching and pulling at our faces or any exposed skin. She's reeeeally LOUD now, too, as if she's been trained to emote from a stage in a huge theater. She makes me laugh.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chez Sonja

Our house-to-be, after about a zillion more signatures!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tick Tick Boom

Today's focalpoint was trip to the ob/gyn, around which Sonja's feedings and naps and Greg's completely insane work situation had to be scheduled. In retrospect, the way things escalated was almost comical, climaxing with my sitting half-naked and sobbing in the little examination cubicle while Dr. Bock and Greg unknowingly raced each other to my side. Greg arrived first, Sonja in tow, she apparently unaware that she was supposed to be hysterical with hunger. I had rushed to drop baby with Greg at work after a hurried, incomplete nursing, and then sat for an hour and a half in the waiting room. In the meantime, the precious reserve of expressed milk that I had brought, frozen, for Greg to thaw and use only in case of extreme duress, was unuseable because I had forgotten to pack the lid for the bottle. Greg was on a timetable too, having to re-transfer baby back to me at a rapidly approaching hour, and so there I sat in the packed waiting area hissing into my cellphone, "just BRING her to me!" Is it possible to breastfeed during a pap-smear? Oh my god. So as it turned out I was able to rush Dr. Bock through the fastest exam in history and get Sonja home ALMOST before she lost her composure. The one cool thing about this experience is that my hormonal blubbering brought out a side of the doctors and staff at Myrtle St OB/GYN that I had never seen: everyone smiled and busted out heartbreaking, human stories of their own equivilant experiences. I think the psychological support they gave me today was more impressive than anything medical they have ever provided to me.

In other news, things are happening with the house. I'm now obsessed with interior paint colors.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Girl, I'll House You

Our second offer on the house that we want has been accepted three weeks after an initial, indignant refusal. This afternoon we're going to re-sign and submit the paperwork and get the ball rolling. It's a bit uncomfortable knowing that the owners are grouchy about the sale, but whatever, it's a recession! We're going to be soooooo broke, but baby Sonja needs a nursery, a back yard, and a neighborhood. It feels like an incredibly huge responsibility to choose our child's environment for the duration of her youth. What if there are no nice kids on the block? What if a psycho lives next door? What if there is some unforseen danger inherent to this specific house? What if Ballston Spa turns out to be more WT than quaint, as I'm beginning to suspect? We're just going to have to close our eyes and jump. The music has stopped and this is the empty chair. I'm out of metaphors.

Ever since we moved from Albany to Round Lake I've been amazed by the progression of wildflowers and foliage along the roads and in the fields up here. My favorite thing is the diaphanous purple grass that shows up in mid-August. I want to take a picture of Sonja in front of it before it's gone because her fuzzy blonde hair is so remarkably similar to it's texture! When I do, maybe my techology liason (husband) can show me how to upload a photo onto this thing

Monday, August 25, 2008

As I was saying...

Well, I kept a pretty tight journal throughout my pregnancy. I wrote down every prophetic, terror-purging dream and detail of my deranged libido (my WHAT?) for the eventual perusal of my cringeing daughter. But as I slammed the book on my note that my water seemed to have broken, so ended any inclination toward any such indulgence. Since Sonja's birth I can barely find time to bathe or sleep, or work, or see my friends, or return phone calls or emails, or keep track of the date, or keep up on what's on the radio (or house music) let alone write in a journal. However, I have spent countless, endless, shameful hours in front of the computer screen while nursing the baby. Every 2.5 hours I stumble to the couch, assemble a pile of Boppy and baby and pop open the laptop. Blogs are really society to me at this strange point in my life -- I come in direct contact with so few real people, and when I do, they see the baby only (thank goodness, because I'm surely a mess at any given moment). So I'm restarting my journal and rejoining society in a small, weird way with my own damn blog.