Friday, June 29, 2007


First of all, thanks to those who commented on my whole "Mama's gettin' an allowance" post. The shock to my system is slowly wearing away & I appreciate the fact that I didn't get any "well, go get yourself a real job then, bitch" comments because those would have sent me into a good six months of therapy (funded by, who else? Husband and his bank account). It was nice to hear that what I am doing now (finding creative ways of saying "no" until my ears want to bleed, rolling a ball back and forth across the living room until my head wants to explode, and singing "Free to be You & Me" no fewer than ten times daily, along with the requisite naps, diapers, mealtimes in which precisely no eating takes place, etc) is actually considered work. So thank you for that. My mind is more at ease.

On another note, you might notice that I added some daily reads to mah blog. I've been gathering them for awhile and actually found time and the guts to go back into my blog template (I fear html in a way that makes me wonder what my computer *geek* husband sees in me in the first place) to update the links. A few links are dead and I can't figure out why. I'd ask Husband, but I am notoriously bad at taking instruction from him. So the deadness of some of the links remain a mystery to me, but I am keeping them up because I love the blogs they no longer take you to. I will try to fix them the next time I venture into the html-osphere. Anyway, some of the new ones are written by friends of mine and some I have just stumbled over in my quest for online amusement when I should be doing loads of laundry.

And on yet another note--congrats to my pregnancy twin, Amy (second daily read down on the right) on getting knocked up! After having a pregnancy freakishly similar to mine, she is onto bebe #2 and I have to admit it, it is making me think. I am getting ideas in my fool-head (ssshhhhhh---do NOT tell my mother; she will have my head on a platter for even thinking the thought). But I'm thinking.

I suppose you want to hear a bit about the little man, huh? And why not. Did I mention that we went to visit Grammy & Grampy in South Carolina? Well, we did. Aside from having to dine at Cracker Barrel on the way to and from the 'rents, it was a fabulous time. My child is a bona fide beach bum. Please note exhibit A:

We are close to walking, but methinks it might never happen. I do think he's getting bored with cruising, but he's not motivated enough to actually let go of anything without just plopping down and crawling to whatever he wants next. Yesterday he started letting me hold his hands while he walked around the room. We shall see where that leads us (besides the chiropractors)

My favorite recent development started yesterday & I like to call them "yummy noises". When Ethan puts something in his mouth he actually enjoys (this is a rarity and I swear the sky opens up as the angels play their tiny little harps and weep with joy), he looks at me and goes, "Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" very emphatically. I realized today that he has started doing it because it's what I do when I try to get him to put something in his mouth. I take a bite and make a big show out of how tasty yummy it is. Apparently I make that noise as part of my pitch. While the majority of the food still ends up on the floor or, somehow, in hiding in his diaper, he lets me know what he does like with his happy little yummy noise. The foods that, at the moment, enjoy a coveted spot on the yummy-noise list are bananas, graham crackers, string cheese, avocado, watermelon, blueberries, tomatoes, mangoes and that's about it. Makes for some interesting dinner combinations. And I have to take time to note the irony that our skinny little man eschews all fattening foods, preferring instead healthy fruits and vegetables. While kids around him are hopping on the childhood obesity bandwagon, I've got an 17 and 1/2 pound 14 month old who just wants a little nosh of salad. Did you hear that? That was another strand of my hair going gray.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

First National Bank of Husband...

Well, I knew the day had to come. It is inevitable that when one makes the choice to leave the work force and stop drawing a paycheck, one will eventually find a gaping black hole of cashlessness in the space that was once their bank account.

It happened this week. After hording my money while on bedrest, alas, it is gone. Spent over the past fourteen months on diapers, groceries, baby clothes for Ethan, fat-girl clothes for me, baby food, too many lattes, more diapers, books, scrapbooking materials I have yet to use, a jogging stroller, toys, diapers, wipes, and more diapers. I'm sure there other odds and ends, but oh my god, the diapers!

This means that now I am officially and truly a "kept woman". I have to admit, it makes my skin itch a bit in a way I didn't think it would. This is something Husband and I talked about & planned for prior to getting married. My being a stay-at-home type of mom was a foregone conclusion way back when Ethan was still a mere concept to us rather than the tornado of joy & frustration that he is now. It was what I envisioned for myself way back when the first fantasies of mommyhood flickered in my brain. I didn't think the idea of not having or making my own money would resonate with me on any level whatsoever, nevermind one that set my teeth a bit on edge.

I realize it's not the idea of being a stay-at-home mom that makes me uncomfortable. I am not one of those women who feels passionately that there is a right or wrong way to *do* motherhood in terms of continuing a career or taking time out of "professional life" to raise a child. Whatever works best for each family and each mother is the best choice for those particular people. I think this anxious-to-the-toes feeling is more about the fact that having a job and making money has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.

I have been working and making at least spending money since I was 14 years old.
My first job was washing used cars off of Main Street in Nashua, NH, the summer between 8-9th grade. I endured creepy men driving by slowly asking if I was included in the price of the car, but it was a kick-ass, out in the sun all day, not using your brain summer job for a teenager & I always had money for the R-rated movies I was sneaking into.

I have worked at a shoe store, an cheesy, cheap accessory store, a hospital nutrition office, a medical filing office, a dining hall, Express, Filene's, a one-hour photo booth, a bookstore, as a tutor, and at five schools. Each of those jobs gave me some amount of money, either to spend frivolously with my friends, to save for college or, finally, to live off of and support myself. For the past 21 years.

This week, I had to ask Husband for money. We needed, what else, diapers. And the whole "you are now a woman on an allowance" smacked me upside the head with a force I had not anticipated. I was suddenly 12 years old again, with my hand out waiting for spending money. Oh, the agony. Isn't this what I spent 21 years of my life working against? Isn't this what the cynical feminazis call "institutionalized prostitution"? Why can't completion of a master's degree come with a pension? That seems reasonable.

Don't get me wrong. I am not one of those cynical feminazis. I consider myself a feminist in the truest sense--believing that a woman should have the freedom to choose and do that which is best for her, regardless of what the feminist movement of the day says that "best" option is. I don't believe that I am prostituting myself in any way, shape or form. But I realize that others do.

It's not much different from the time in Economics class in high school when we were revealing our plans for our future careers. I attended an all-girl high school where the majority of the honors level girls were anticipating careers in medicine and law. I was looking forward to a career as a teacher. I endured countless barbs and snide comments about how I should be trying to do more with my life. How we lived in a time when women could be anything, why would I want to be something I could have been 100 years ago. I was looked down on. My dream was poo-poo'd.

It is much the same now. When Ethan was about 3 months old, I was asked by a well-meaning, but at the time clueless girlfriend of mine how I liked, "being a lady of leisure." I plastered a smile on my face (she was a few months pregnant and I didn't want to burst her bubble with too many horror stories of the sleep deprivation and oh my dear god in heaven, the colic). It struck me that whenever one isn't actively putting in a full day's work on someone else's clock, they are "at leisure". It didn't matter that I was up at 4:45 every day, bouncing a crying baby, doing 5 loads of laundry a week, pumping breastmilk, rocking a baby to sleep every 2 hours during the day and trying desperately to entertain a fussy, miserable child for the hours he was actually awake. I was at leisure because no one was cutting me a check bi-weekly for my efforts. (That friend's child is now 6 months old and I'd venture a guess that she'd not ask the same question again).

And although no one knew that before last week I had my own money and this week I don't, I feel like it is plastered on my forehead, nice & loud. "MAMA'S BROKE!" "WILL PROVIDE MATERNAL SERVICES FOR FOOD."

But what is to be done? Nothing. This, as it seems to be with everything in my life, is a matter of self-perception. I will take a few deep breaths & realign my idea of what, to me, success and prosperity are again, through yet newer eyes. And clearly, when I look at Ethan, I am reminded that life's truest riches are not found on any bank statement, but in the feeling of complete and utter trust and love when his head rests on my shoulder as I carry him upstairs for a nap.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Like Father, like Son...

A funny thing happens when I don't blog for a week or so. People start asking me if I am depressed. Way back when, when I first 'fessed up about the PPD, I said I realized that I had it when I could no longer muster an interest in blogging and let the blog slide for the better part of a month. Now, Husband and a few good friends seem to keep tabs on the frequency of my postings as a benchmark of my mental health. So let me assure you, friends, family and internet in general, Sarah is NOT depressed. She is just chasing a constantly busy little person around the house at all hours of the day, feigning fascination with the never-ending opening and closing of cabinet doors and warning against the dangers of extreme kitty tampering. Apparently one claw to the forehead was not enough to teach the little man that pulling a kitty's tail can lead to ouchies.

But I have found a quiet moment, so here I am. And as it is Father's Day weekend, here's a little glimpse at the father/son bonding that's been going on in the Little E household as of late...

Husband demonstrates the fine art of being buried by the tide at the Carolina shore

Naptime is not kind to their hair...hence the need for daddy's hat....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You can find IT on Ebay...

When I was young and behaving obnoxiously (me??!! never happened), my parents would jokingly (I think) discuss selling me to the gypsies. Apparently, NH in the 70's was rife with roving bands of baby-buying Slavic nomads on the lookout for a bargain. I would definitely have fit the bill.

This morning, Husband & I had the 2007 equivalent of that conversation, as Ethan whined his way through the 5 and 6 am hours in between us.

Me: You're going to list him on E-bay today, right?

Husband: Yes.

Me: Good.

Husband: Actually, I'll put him up on Craig's List. It's local. He'll be easier to unload.

Me: No. Ebay. If we do Craig's List, he might find his way home.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

To Sleep, perchance to dream...

Apparently Ethan has signed up for some sort of scientific research that he failed to tell us about. The experiment seems to have something to do with sleep deprivation and it's effects on two parents who were just starting to believe that they would actually get an entire night's shut-eye before their child went to college. I guess we will actually be waiting until we are empty-nesters to luxuriate in 8 hours of uninterrupted, blissful sleep. Now I know why Keats wrote an ode about sleep. As someone who's only slept in 3-5 hour increments for over a year, I can assure you that peaceful sleep truly is ode-worthy.

But I only imagine sleep these days, remember the good old days of those 3-5 hours of snoozing at a time. As I mentioned, there is this experiment. It involves taking one okay-ish nap in the morning and then kicking and screaming and fighting the afternoon nap until Mama is a beaten down shell of her former self and gives up, letting him remain awake for up to 8 hours between nap and bedtime.

The first time this happened, the stinker lolled us into a false sense of security because after refusing the afternoon nap, he was so tuckered out that by 8pm, he smiled at Husband, rolled over and was asleep in a hot second. We dared (foolish, foolish fools that we are) to think that maybe he was done with the second nap and would become an example of the perfect nighttime sleeper with this whole, "No, daddy, don't worry; I'll put myself to bed!" routine he had going on.


That didn't pan out to be the case. I guess in the description he received from the evil sleep researchers, he was supposed to make us think he had taken a giant leap forward in his sleep habits when in fact, he was really going back to about, oh, 4 months of age or so. This was, I suppose, to enhance our shock and disappointment when the next time he refused the afternoon nap, he didn't actually jump up at 8pm to change his own diaper, throw on his jammies and bid us goodnight as he sauntered up the stairs to bed.

No, yesterday, when he refused his afternoon nap, he also refused his bedtime. Over and over and over again. Joy.

There was *some* sleep, but it was restless and fitful and punctuated with random crying jags. I know I was awake from 2:30-4:30 am pretty consistently. Not much happening at that hour, except the sound of my own internal voice saying, "It's fucking late!" or, alternately, "I'm so fucking tired." It was a pretty deep monologue.

So of course, after no nap and craptastic nighttime sleep, he HAD to just pass out for his morning nap today, right??? Um. No. Nor did he sleep for more than ten minutes this afternoon. It defies reason. I am tired just thinking about how tired he must be.

I don't know what the outcome of this little experiment is going to be. There is no way to know. Maybe tonight we will all be sleeping like angels on a happy puffy cloud of dreams (can you feel my sleep deprivation, people? I said a "happy, puffy cloud of dreams". Help me!) Or, Mama could be digging out the Benefit makeup she got a month post-partum to hide the deep dark circles of exhaustion under her eyes. Good times.