Friday, December 29, 2006


One of the best presents I received this Christmas was an unintended gift from my friend Andre-ah (true spelling of the name has been altered to protect the innocent pronunciation of a beautiful name). We went out to lunch before Christmas and she was telling me about the new healthy-living hypnosis cds that she had loaded onto her MP3 player. She liked to listen to them at night before she went to sleep, although she doubted whether they were working or not because she didn't think that she was open to suggestion very easily, especially subconsciously.

I grew up as the youngest child with a very smart, clever older sister. I know exactly how easily suggestable I am. Growing up, I would have jumped off the nearest cliff if my sister had told me to. My best friend, Jenny Evenson, used to torment me by telling me long, complex stories about the dead guy that was found behind the woods of our elementary school. I listened in wide-eyed horror, believing every word she said. We used to go into the woods behind the school on long summer days and get lost in the tangling underbrush. The school has since built a wire, chain-link fence around the school playground to specifically keep highly suspectible to suggestion kids like me from getting lost and accidentally finding a dead person lying around.

Gullible should be my middle name (please reference all posts under the category, "FOB Sucks" for further proof). I knew that I would be highly susceptible to suggestion and I asked her for a copy of the cd. She happily obliged me and left her house with a copy.

You're supposed to listed to the hypnosis while in a relaxed state. I don't have too many relaxed states, so I started listening to it in the car on the way to and from my parents' house. Clearly, it is single Mom multi-tasking at its best (read: worst) to listen to a relaxing hypnosis cd while driving in Houston rush hour traffic. The irony didn't really strike me until my friend A. mentioned that it might be a little...I don't know...dangerous to try and subconsciously change your life while driving.

The cd is amazing, whether I'm listening to it in the car or before I go to sleep. The producers of the cd layered tracks of the therapist's (I'm going to call him that because the phrase, "disembodied voice telling me what to do" sounds disconcerting) voice over each other. So the whole thing is a patchwork of his voice. It sounds something like this:

"You are now letting your mind drift *peeeacefully* to the place where you are warm *safe*, comfortable *secure* to allow yourself time to make permanent *safe, natural* change for a healthier lifestyle"

My favorite part is when the therapist validates that you may actually NOT be getting relaxed and that, "It's OK." While one version of his voice says: "You may find one side of your body getting heavier and relaxing into a deep state of awareness and unconsciousness," the other version of the layered track pipes up with the occasional "or not". As in, "You are drifting further and further *or not* just as the snow falls over a flat plain you can relax and begin to embrace your deep desire to live a healthier *happier* more fulfilled life *or not*."

Seriously, I can't get that kind of validation from anywhere else. Not only am I a perfectly-formed creature with a fundamental human right to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy *and happy*, he even tells me that it's ok to NOT be feeling like that. It's even ok to think that the whole hypnosis, relaxation thing is a bunch of crap.

I for one, think that everyone should be hypnotizing themselves *or not* everytime they leave the house *or not*.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


In between my three hour naps and pumpkin pie-filled afternoons, I had a lot of time to reflect about how I'm currently living my life.

All and all, I like myself. I'm kind to others, good to my son, treat animals with compassion, and enjoy most home improvement projects.

With the wonderful gift of a digital camera for my birthday and the knowledge that Christmas would be spent in a haze of flash bulbs and phrases like, "Get Zac to turn this way. I can't see what he's holding!" and, "Why is it that this kid always smiles after I've taken the picture?" I started thinking about my relationship to the camera. Much like every other person that has gained and lost weight, I shy away from group photos and rarely let someone capture a candid shot of me. When potential internet daters ask to see more pictures of me, they end up getting photo after photo of Zac smiling up at camera with my arm around him or the reassurance that, "I'm the person in the back. You can see my foot between those big columns."

I got dressed up for Christmas Eve and decided that Zac and I were going to pose for some pictures together. My Dad took this shot:

I love it because if you were to visit Zac and I on any given day, that's what you would see. You would see a little boy playing with his Mom's necklace and his Mom smiling at him.

What I don't love is the woman in the photo. By not looking at pictures of myself, I can somehow convince myself that the weight loss hasn't really stopped. That I haven't really regained 10 of the 15 pounds I lost. That somehow I don't mind being the weight that I am.

Here is the truth, though: I do mind. I feel tired and lethargic most days. I haven't had much success with "changing my eating patterns" or stopping when I feel full. I will just eat and eat until I feel sick.

I want to feel better about myself. I want to feel healthy, centered, and content. These past two days have shown me what it's like to take care of myself, again. I've flossed more this week than I have in the past year. It isn't Zac's absence that I want to celebrate, it's his presence. I want to be around to see this guy grow up and I need to find a way to balance his needs with mine:

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I didn't really mean to take that long of break from blogging. I'm not really sure what happened. One moment, it was Thursday and I was working from home in the morning (read: napping) and then running around like a madwoman trying to get my apartment ready for Mr. Tugboat and little J-man's arrival and the next moment it was Wednesday and I had to go back to work.

Christmas started on Thursday night when Mr. Tugboat and I exchanged Christmas presents (after I had returned the watch to Watch World, I bought him the coolest salt and pepper shakers known to man. It just so happens that they also resemble a larger version of these, (or perhaps this although I swear that thought never crossed my mind when I bought them).

So since I am pure of mind and heart, I saw no problem with giving him the salt and pepper shakers in front of his five year-old son. Honestly, I just thought they were great because they wobble, but they never fall down! He however, took one look at those things and burst out laughing, wondering if he should really let little J-man play with them (note: he loved them more than his Dad).

Segue into Friday, then Saturday, then Christmas Eve, which quickly moved to Christmas, the day after Christmas, and *blink* and suddenly I'm back at work. I actually tried to blog at work all day today, but Blogger (or my work server) wasn't having it. I tried to read other people's blogs, but it felt like I was the only chump that had to go back to work today. Everyone is still on vacation, except Aunt Jen and K, who worked straight through the holiday.

On the other hand, I'm sitting here tonight, complete kid-less and petless. My parents are watching Zac for the rest of the week and my cat Honey went along for the ride. I came home from work today and finally understood what it's like to feel an incredible lightness of being. I can do anything! Go anywhere! I could go to Mexico for the evening, as long as I'm back at work at 8am tomorrow morning.

I can see now why people don't want to give up this kid-less, footloose and fancy free lifestyle. The only damper on my temporary, dependentless existence is that I actually miss my little guy. It's nice not having to clean up messy diapers and vomit for couple of days, but it's even better to know that I wouldn't be the same if he wasn't in my life.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I must be doing something right with this whole parenthood thing.

Last night I was sitting on the toilet pooping, wishing I could close the door, but knowing that if I did the toddler on the bed would go ballastic in 8 nanoseconds. So, he and I are "talking" to each other. I'm asking where his eye, nose, mouth, ears, and head is. He dutifully points at the various body parts and tries to say the word. When we get to his head, he starts smacking himself as hard as he can, laughing. This also makes me laugh, which I think is why he does it.

Growing bored with the "Where's your _____?" game, we move on to my second favorite game to play while incapacitated, the "Tell Mommy you love her" game. Actually, I'm just trying to get him to say, "I love you". Whenever I tell him to say, "I love you", he looks at me like I just ate a bug. I try to simplify the process by saying each word slowly and asking him to repeat after me.

Me: Zac, say, "I"

Zac: Points to his eye and yells, "Eye!"

Me: *laughing* Now say, "Love"

Zac: blank stare

Me: Zac, say, "Love"

Zac: blank stare

Me: Ok, say, "You. I love you!"

Zac: Starts frantically waving his arm shouting, "Bye, bye Momma. Bye, bye!"

Apparently he really can understand what I'm saying whenever I drop him off at daycare.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I think the worst of Christmas is over for me. Yesterday my shoulder and right arm started cramping up from handwriting notes and addresses onto holiday cards for my friends and family. During lunch, I wrapped all of the FOB's family's gifts and addressed the packages to them. Right after work I sped to the downtown Houston postoffice where I spent 45 minutes in line, dreaming about how I would completely restructure the United States Postal Service if given even a small opportunity.

The first thing I would do would be to follow the trends of EVERY OTHER RETAILER in America around late December and increase the number of staff on the floor during peak times. There were only two cashiers weighing packages and distributing postage. The line was out the door by the time I made it over there. I think I literally started imagining killing someone when one of the cashiers decided to take a break promptly at 5:30pm. I'm sure it really was her breaktime and I'm sure that her union fought long and hard to get her that breaktime and I want her to have it. I just want someone else to come up front while she's gone. That's all I ask. Just more physical bodies looking bored and put-out when I tell them that I also need to buy a book of stamps with my boxes. And maybe some chairs to sit in while we wait. Like the DMV. They have plastic chairs and numbers. Maybe the number system would help the post office and eradicate my strong desire to beat someone over the head with a bubblewrapped envelope everytime I step foot in the building.

This is what Christmas does to me.

Once a year, I try and thank the FOB's family for their gifts to Zac. They send cards and small gifts or money at his birthday and major holidays. The FOB never sends anything and wouldn't even return my phone call when I called to verify HIS address. Nevertheless, I try to support his family's kindness and generosity to my son.

For the past two Christmases, though, it's been difficult for me to muster up enough holiday spirit to send them small gifts and photos of Zac. It almost feels like I'm sending them photos of Zac so they will keep sending us money. Zac isn't for sale and he's not part of the "Sponsor a Child" network (sorry Ms. Struthers). You don't get a picture and update of him for sending me an annualized total of $.80 a day!

See? Bah humbug and all that. As my therapist used to say: "You are being attacked by the 'should syndrome'". I know that I should send photos of Zac to the FOB's family because I want them to stay involved in Zac's life. They don't send money and gifts because they have to: they choose to. I should graciously thank them for that and encourage their generosity by sending a small token of my appreciation. I should keep them informed of Zac's development and not grit my teeth everytime I get a card that says, "I can't wait for you to bring my grandson up to see me again!"

It's unfortunate that moral and social expectations wrapped up in the word "should" don't always reflect how people truly feel. If I was being honest about the holiday season, I would acknowledge that any person, place, or thing that forces me to go to the post office during the month of December should understand why my left eye won't stop twitching until early February.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


P. reminded me that even though I have spent way too much time figuring what to put on gift lists, I hadn't actually posted them. You'll find two gift lists over there on the right hand side of the blog, under the aptly titled header, "Holiday Gift Lists".

I think most of the items off there are way too expensive off Amazon, but it should give people (if you are so inclined) an idea of what Zac and I need or just covet.

Since I'm incredibly slow (and to be honest, relatively annoying around the holiday season) no one should feel any pressure to actually purchase anything or worry about it arriving by the winter solistice. I might just leave it up and occasionally edit it as the seasons change.

Or not. Happy New Year!


Another year older and not dead. That has to be a good thing. At least most days.

I've become one of those women that marks time by their child, even though I swore I would never do that. I was 23 when I got pregnant with Mr. Z, 24 when I gave birth, 25 at his first Christmas, and now 26 at his second. When I see all those numbers written out, I feel like he and I have been together for such a long time, yet I'm still unable to figure out why he likes dumping an entire bag of Cheerios out on his carseat.

I've been in one of those periods (hell, it could be a month or maybe year) where I need people to constantly remind me that parenting will get physically easier and emotionally harder. Cue in on the "physically easier" part because this Momma is tired. Zac was up two nights ago, teething furiously, from 2-4am. After not going to sleep until 9:30pm last night, he woke up at 3am for an unknown reason (perhaps because he was out of his beloved milk, which I finally started giving him again yesterday after the Pukapoolza Tour). I brought him in bed with me because I'm a tired idiot. He spent the rest of the early morning hours kicking me in the ribs and karate chopping my head. It was like sleeping next to a practicing self-defense coach.

It's the wrapping paper, scissors, tape, ribbon, photo frames, small glass ornaments and stockings hung by the chimney with care that make living with a toddler make me want to throw myself on the floor, kicking and screaming. He wants to be in EVERYTHING. CONSTANTLY. I now understand why women in previous generations would go into their bedrooms and work their mysterious gift-wrapping magic. It's not to keep it a secret. It's to keep the kids from unrolling that wrapping paper one more time, goddamnit!

The funny part is that I don't even like wrapping paper or bows. Put all of my gifts in recycled brown paper bags and I'll be happy. Better yet, just give me the bag. I'll put it over my head until January or so when all forms of tissue paper are out of the reach of my son.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


After reading Thordora's and Karrie's birthing stories, I went back to read the story I had posted on 7/10-2. It was a sanitized version. I couldn't even begin to comprehend how my life would change and how long it would take me to let that little boy in the darkest corners of my heart, where all of my fear and insecurities resided. In honor of Zac and my Mother, who gave birth to me almost 26 years ago, I'm editing and reposting my birthing story.

I wondered what would happen at this point in my blog....would I rename the blog, "Not-So Pregnant In Texas"? or maybe "UnPregnant in Texas"? All those months of waiting with heart burn, crying and wondering what the perfect being inside me is over.

Zachary Russell. Zac. Peanut.

My labor was supposed to be chemically induced on Wednesday, July 7th at 7pm at 39 weeks pregnant. My Ob-Gyn was worried about how big Zac was measuring in all of my ultrasounds. Honestly, by the end of my pregnancy, I was so miserable that she could have told me that she wanted me to deliver standing on my head at 33 weeks and I would have agreed.

On my appointed day of delivery, lo' and behold, there were no beds available in the hospital. I was reminded of: (a) 1st century Jerusalem. "Sorry lady, there are no rooms in the inn, but we have a stable around back." (b) 20th century Soviet Union bloc countries and protectorates. "Oh. Batbold. You can't check in the hospital today because the govenor's cousin is sick and the hospital needs wood for the winter. If we don't take his cousin, the governor won't give us wood." or (c) 21st century Friendswood, Texas. "This area has just outgrown our labor and delivery capacities."

Finally, at 5am the next morning, agonizing over the delay and suffering a completely restless, sleepless night, I got the OK to come to the hospital at 7am. I checked in with my Mom, my labor coach, and was ushered to my birthing room where they immediately strapped me down with fetal monitors and inserted an I.V. A nurse with short, squat fingers (from here on out, all of the nurses were identified by the size of the fingers that they shoved up into my vagina) inserted cervicil in a tampon-shaped application to ripen my cervix. It was uneventful and honestly boring, just laying on my back or side, the fetal monitors pressing deeply into my swollen belly.

Twelve hours and one centimeter dilated later, they inserted another cervicil, this time without any lubrication. It was so painful that I blurted out, "I'm never having sex again!" in front of my Mom and Dad, who were both in the room at the time. My Mom and Dad went back to their house for the night, thinking that most of the action would happen the next morning when they started pitocin. I was worried about my Mom and the ankle she broke on Mother's Day. I knew that I wouldn't be able to stop worrying about her and seeing how uncomfortable my Dad looked everytime another stranger decided to explore the lining of my vagina. I wanted them to go, but I hated that they left. I fell into a dreamless sleep.

At 1am, Peanut got things rolling. I woke up and knew instantly that pain was different. These weren't the vague, menstrual-feeling cramps that I had barely noticed for the past 24 hours. I had started in active labor, contracting every 2-5 minutes. For about three minutes, I thought about not calling my parents, about laboring for the next five hours by myself. Then I swallowed what was left of any pride and called, begging them to come back.

From this point on, my Dad gets the short end of the stick. Occasionally, I was aware that we was in or out of the room, but really, anything outside of my uterus and my Mom has a hazy, blurred quality. Between 1-3 am I had the most painful back labor that I can possibly describe. With every contraction my Mom would jump up, rub my back, and look at the fetal monitors to tell me when the contraction was at its peak. All I could do was writhe on the bed, hooked up to my monitors, screaming. I got up and dragged my IV pole into the bathroom where I peed three times and vomited once, crying the whole time. If I could have stayed in the bathroom for the rest of the night, I would have. I was embarassed and ashamed at how I was handling the pain. Little did I know at the time how many other women have similar experiences. That part of my education as a mother wouldn't come until later, until I could retrospectively look back on Zac's birth with less pain and anger.

My Mom and a nurse (a different one with blessed long fingers) coaxed me back into my hospital bed and the nurse checked my cervix. My cervix had dialated from 1cm to 5cm in less than two hours. The nurses looked at each other, shocked, and asked if I wanted an epidural. My answer of "Yes, please" was shouted before she even finished her question. All I knew is that I wanted the pain to stop. I was tired, hungry, and confused because I didn't remember volunteering for motherhood to begin with.

Then the man of my dreams who I can speak no ill of, my anesthesiologist, came in and inserted the epidural. Note to all: epidurals don't hurt at all compared to labor. I jumped when the needle went in, but don't remember feeling anything else. I passed out and woke up around 7am with my cervix dialated to 8cm. My body was preparing itself for the baby that no one could find. Peanut hadn't dropped into my pelvis yet. Every Debbie, Angie, and Cheryl that shoved their hands into me on an exploratory mission to find the baby came back bare-handed.

The Ob-Gyn broke my water around 9am. My Mom watched the green slime flow out of my body. There was meconium in the liquid, which means that Peanut had had a bowel movement in the womb and possibly swallowed some of the liquid. Vaginal birth was no longer an option.

I spent the next three hours with increasing awareness of the contractions. It felt like rocks grinding against rocks without the protective cushion of water in my uterus. Had I known more about pain medication, I could have told someone, anyone, that I was starting to feel Zac again inside me. I just thought that it was a part of labor that I needed to suffer through. At 12:30pm my Mom scrubbed up to go into the OR with me. Although they gave me some mild pain medication, I could still feel the contractions and I had feeling in my legs and feet.

They wheeled me in and strapped my arms and legs down to the operating table. I was scared and in increasing amounts of pain. The doctors in the room had to grab my feet. I kept trying to curl into a ball to round out my spine and contract. I started crying and threw up when the blue curtain went in front of my face. I couldn't find my Mom. I couldn't even hear her. I was alone and puking on myself. Immediately after the first incision, I started feeling the doctors inside me. The doctors kept saying, "It's just pressure, just pressure," but I know the difference between pressure and stabbing pain. I should have been at least left with the dignity of knowing when I was in pain. I wasn't even left with that when they downplayed everything that I wasn't supposed to be feeling. I cried and I screamed. I couldn't help it and later, thinking back on that moment, I would be embarassed by how my body acted in that operating room.

When they said that his head was out, I was in shock. My body had started shutting down. Immediately after they took his body out, I closed my eyes and started drifting further and further away from the activity. I remember hearing some of the jokes between my Mom and the doctors, laughing about how the Texans would be soon recruiting Zac soon for a fullback.

I never saw him around my blue curtain.

Zac was born blue with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. My Mom saw him, but as soon as the baby was out of my body, they flooded me with pain medication. When she turned around to talk to me, she found me snoring on the table, finally comfortable, but alone for the first time in 40 weeks. I never saw him in that room, strapped down to the operating table.

Two hours later, I woke up alone in the labor and delivery room and was told that Zac was taken to the NICU for oberservation. I couldn't go and see him because my incision prevented me from going in a wheelchair. He had respiratory problems and wouldn't be able to leave NICU for the next three days (see the article "Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn" thanks to Aunt Jen). A nurse came in and pushed, painfully hard, on my uterus. I remember thinking that even with all of the modern technology, immediately after major abdominal surgery a woman will still get her uterus jumped on, with excruicating pain.

When the nurses wheeled me into the postpartum wing of the hospital, I left a pool of blood on the floor from the mattress. I was still alone. I had never been more alone.

Twenty four hours later when I saw Zachary for the first time and cried at the sight of my child. I was so scared for both of us. I wasn't sure how we would be able to make it alone. We've made it, though. Day by day, he and I make it.


Friday, December 15, 2006


My spirits sunk lower and lower as I walked around the giant mall in Houston. There were so many people with enormous bags and pointy-toed shoes. I felt dowdy, unattractive, and above all, unfashionable. It made me wish that I hadn't gotten out of bed this morning.

As it gets closer and closer to my birthday, an imaginary lead weight starts dragging me down with each approaching day. It's not even turning another year older that necessarily does this to me, it's just that it has always been this way. Even years that were supposed to be momentous, my birthday has always been an anti-climatic let down.

Let's not even get into what it's like having a birthday that is eight days before Christmas. Everyone is filled with holiday cheer and I'm an afterthought at best, which is ok. Family members send me money and I end up walking around the mall with the large crowds of other shoppers, except that instead of embracing the season of giving, I'm shopping for myself.

I ended up in the lingerie department of Nordstrom's. There is a special place in my heart for Seattle's flagship, high-end department store. Large chunks of my adolescence were spent waiting for the Nordstrom's anniversary sale in July. Today, however, the over-helpful, yet uber-tasteful, saleswomen just didn't seem to be understanding the crux of my mid-December emotional problems.

They kept coming up to me, numbly fingering the 100% silk pajamas that I will never be able to afford and asking, "Is there a particular size that I can help you find?" I would just shake my head and push my stroller onto another rack. They stopped making the "single Mom needs a hug because she's feeling sorry for herself" size sometime during the Carter administration.

Another woman approached me looking at pushup bras, matching lacy boyshorts, and camisoles. She inquired as to what, exactly, I was looking for.

I couldn't answer that question. If I had though, my answer would have been something like, "I'm looking for a piece of lingerie that will make me feel sexy and attractive. You see? I just got dumped right before my birthday and I'm feeling so low, as I historically do right before my birthday, that I'm mistakenly thinking that some underwire and lace will make me feel better. I've realized my error during the last twenty seconds and I'm now just going to take my screaming child out of the store and order a pizza. Thank you and good bye. Oh - and Happy Holidays"

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Thank you all for your kind words to yesterday's post. It wasn't that I was necessarily thinking about stopping my blog, it's just that I'm struggling more and more with what to write about. I actually plan on moving this site out of blogger soon. I purchased a domain name and my amazingly talented friend (with impeccable taste in boots), Dee, has volunteered to help me (read: do it all for me because I'm a complete idiot when it comes to designing and coding a website) to get it up and running.

I can't even tell you how excited it makes me to have a domain name. It's mine! It's a! Ok, so it still involves the word "pregnant", but it's better than having a url that assumes I'm currently pregnant. Right now, everytime I give my blog address I have start immediately apologizing for my lack of foresight in picking a url. I have to lamely admit: "Sorry. I started this blog when I was pregnant. And then I gave I'm Not so Pregnant and still living in Texas...which gives me the horrible acronym of N-SPIT...and God Lord, stop harassing me! Why did I give you this stupid address anyways?"

It's a little bit crazy to think that this February will be my second anniversary of writing on this blog. I never imagined that I would find such a benefit to writing. I've made new friends here, kept in touch with old friends, shocked my Mother on a regular basis, posted embarassing pictures of my sister, Aunt Jen (and in my defense, I was also in those pictures and looked equally awful), and explored my identity as a woman, mother, and working adult.

So, I agree with Caroline and some of the anonymous commenters, I'll keep writing as long as I find it helpful. This site does give me a chance to vent my frustrations about trying to date as a single Mom, being puked on, Zac crying non-stop while I get ready for work, and my boss that never has time for me.

One story: Last night I was on my laptop waiting for a conference call to start at 7pm. Zac had been crying and whining most of the evening and the tv was on, but neither one of us were really paying attention to it. I notice that he had laid down on the rug and started watching the Wheel of Fortune. He never watches the Wheel of Fortune. For that matter, neither do I, but it was on and it gave me a moment to collect what was left of my thoughts before I had to do some work. He got very quiet and watched the television intently for 10-15 minutes. Suddenly, the smell of death comes wafting over to the couch and know that he has just dropped the biggest bomb in the history of constipated babies. Holy mother! Yes, of course, the toxic waste smelled awful, but more importantly, the moment reminded me that sometimes, just every now and then:

You need to lay down and take a dump. You'll feel better afterwards. I promise.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It's not that I haven't wanted to update today, it's just that I've been busy. I had a conference this morning and a luncheon this afternoon. Then I spent sometime reading other people's blogs instead of updating my own. It happens.

I've also been thinking a lot about the direction of this blog. I started it when I was pregnant so my friends and family could follow my journey through pregnancy and labor/delivery. Since I was one of the first in my group of friends to have a child, I got a lot of the same questions over and over. Answering them (and giving people waaaaay more information than they wanted to ever know about my uterus and cervix) on a blog seemed to make sense.

The more I think about it, the more perfect blogging seems for a pregnant woman. It's a time when complete strangers will inquire about the functions and performance of your body in intimate, minute detail. People are suddenly interested in your sex life (as in: When did you get pregnant? Answer: Drunk after a wedding party in New York. October 2004. It was a good month for getting laid) and whether or not you plan on using your boobs to feed the bebe (answer: yup, until I needed formula assistance from WIC and they demanded my breast pump back).

Now that Zac is almost eighteen months old, I'm just not sure that he and I are that interesting to read about. Sure, as Mr. Tugboat would say, the drama of dating as a single parent and watching stupid men (his words) go up in flames on the Internet is intriguing for a while. What if I stop dating, though? Then what do I write about?

I'll give you a story for today: Zac was so cranky last night that I finally caved in and put on the movie "Cars" just so he would stop crying. It worked instantly. He sat in his favorite corner of the couch and stared at the screen, occasionally pointing and shouting, "Car. Go car!" When I would turn to him to ask him a question about the movie, in my best impersonation of a parent that believes in teachable moments, he would just look at me with his eyebrows scrunched together and say, "Car, car, car!" and turn back to the movie. I'm assuming that's toddler speak for, "Shut the hell up, Mom. I'm trying to watch the movies about cars." I turned on my laptop and went back to surfing the Internet, looking up every now and then to watch animated cars cheer on other animated cars racing around the animated track.
This whole blogging thing makes me wish I had an advice column. At least then I would have an excuse to continue writing every day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I've complained about everything from a rash on my face, to Zac's illnesses, to my lack of money and willpower to lose weight on this blog. I don't set out to be negative every morning when I sit down to my computer to type these words, it seems to stem partly from my social isolation in this city and my frustrations with being a young parent of an even younger child.

Part of it is the nature of the beast - my blog would drive you absolutely fucking insane if every day I wrote about how great and wonderful my life is. I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't even read it, but by only venting my frustrations and anger I'm sacrificing some measure of truth about my life. Many days I simply exist and try my hardest to make it to the next day. Then there are days, hours, minutes when something clicks inside and I realized:

If love is a decision, then happiness must also be a choice. (December 7th entry on the link).

I choose today to be happy. I spent time with Mr. Tugboat last night and in between the barbed insults that I threw his way periodically, there was a moment when I looked at him and realized how happy he and I could have been as romantic partners. It was surprising to be presented with a singular moment of contentment, all giftwrapped and tied in a bow for mutual consumption. The hard work comes now from redefining that happiness and joy within the boundaries of friendship.

It made me wonder, though, how many other moments like that I pass up.

At my lowest point last week, I called the FOB. Actually, it took two phone calls of me screaming, "Call me as soon as you can!" for him to call me back. I was so tired of being puked on, worrying about where Zac was going to go during the day if I couldn't take time off from work and how I was going to afford to keep my grossly underutilized memberships to the gym and Weight Watchers. I was so tired of worrying about saving for retirement, for a down payment on a house, and paying off my massive student loan debt. I felt fat and unattractive my skin, carrying around the weight that I've gained back. I just wanted to give all of that stress to someone else and say: "Here is a broken heart. You can fix it. It just fell apart."

He can't fix it. No one can fix it for me. The stress that I carry around, that ages me prematurely, weighs me down and keeps me from being the most perfect version of myself. The decision to release at least some of this ballast has to come from me.

Today, I've decided to let it go.

Monday, December 11, 2006


I went down to my parents' house on Thursday after work, just to spend some time with Z-man. My Mom had picked him up from my apartment on Wednesday when the sound of me vomitting had made Zac start to cry and then vomit as well. It was a vicious cycle: I couldn't take care of him because he smelled like puke, the smell of which made me puke, which made him puke and further smell like puke.

The comedy of horrors was made even worse when my Mom and Dad got the same stomach virus that Zac and I had. This weekend we all took turns puking, sleeping, taking care of Zac, wiping up someone else's bodily fluid, and then tending to our own misery. Zac managed a puke free day on Saturday, only to hurl twice last night onto my pillows and sheets. He kept pointing to his stomach and crying. He's back at daycare today with an emergency babysitter on-call if he starts to hurl on the other kids.

I feel numb and raw. On Sunday, I had the humiliating task of returning the Christmas presents that I had purchased for Mr. Tugboat and his son J. I cried at Watch World, which made the 17 year-old behind the counter question, inquisitively: "Are you ok? The watch didn't hurt you, did it? Is there anything wrong with the watch?" Yes, Miss Not-Out-of-Highschool, there is something wrong with the watch. What is wrong with the watch is that the person who was meant to wear it went out on a date with a woman the night after he broke up with me and he told me about it.

That's the problem with being friends with your ex, even if you only dated briefly like Mr. Tugboat and I. You always end up broaching the subject of dating someone else, someone that isn't the person that you are talking to on the other end of the phone or sitting across from you. It's hard to engage the "there-are-things-better-left-unsaid" policy with a person that you've talked about everything else with free-spirited abandon.

Oh - and my on-call babysitter for today? That would be the same Mr. Tugboat. He's back from his four days on the water and agreed to watch Pukapoolza for me today if he got sick. None of the adult members of my family have any sick time left for the month of December.

That's the positive side of being friends with your ex: they'll do things for you that you wouldn't ever dream of asking anyone else for and for that, I'm grateful. Really, I am grateful that he and I are working on our friendship. So much for being bitter.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I'm a bit stymied about what to write about. I don't really want to write more about the stomach illness that is debilitating both Zac and I. I will say that I felt so bad last night that the sound of my puking caused Zac to start puking as well. There was something particularly awful about that.

I don't really want to write more about Mr. Tugboat, who e-mailed me to tell me that he "made the mistake" of reading my blog last night.

Zac is home with his PaPa today, watching "Dora the Explorer" (MNS - You were so right about that show! My Dad said that he is hooked and won't stop watching it. I'm so glad that I took your advice and bought Z-man a DVD. On a side note - am I the only American Mom out there that was concerned that her child wasn't interested in watching anything on the giant, talking box before now? Jeez, with all the research focused on the effects of television watching on infants and early toddlers, you would think that I would be thrilled with Zac's refusal to participate in one of my favorite past times. I wasn't. I worried about it because even when something is good, I worry. That's just how I am, especially as a Mom).

This is day 4 of an internal dialogue that goes something like, "If I'm sick and I have sick time still available, I should go home. Why the hell am I still here?" then, "Well, I should suck it up and try to do something at work and I can always close the door at lunch and sleep on the floor. I took a sick day last week and I'm started to be viewed as irresponsible."

Then again, it might make me a bad employee if puke in office kitchen while trying to heat up some oatmeal. Employers tend to frown on that.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


- Update on the boob -

(Never in my life could I imagine writing those words)

(I also couldn't imagine being a single Mom to a sick toddler, but since that is going so well, I'm just going to update on boob and not overanalyze too much, ok?)

I called Planned Parenthood about the boob on the advice of a very smart blogger who knows more about boobs and vaginas than I could ever dream of knowing. PP wanted me to come in - IMMEDIATELY - for a manual boob test (no calculators allowed) and then a referral for a boob ultrasound. Then I found out that PP doesn't take insurance (really? nothing?) so I had to call my regular OB-GYN.

Dr. Doesn't Take Any Shit, as you might remember her from my pregnancy with Peanut, also Doesn't Have Any Appointments until mid-February. I got transferred to her nurse, who you could just about hear scoff at the thought that I was referred to her by the same people that get fire bombed on occasion. Well, I told her about my symptoms and my test(s) to check for more Peanuts in the popcorn, so to speak, and she was unimpressed. She said that she would talk to the doctor and call me back.

She called.

Dr. Doesn't Take Any Shit doesn't want to see me. Her advice? Take some Advil and apply a hot compress. Call her again the pain worsens or persists for more than a month.


As for those tests (I've taken 3 now), well, I was told that they are accurate and that my breast pain, fatigue, and upset stomach must be caused by something else, like a stomach flu.

I've heard that's going around. I hope Zac doesn't get it.


I put Zac to bed last night right before 8pm. He had vomitted once in the backseat of my Dad's car on the way home from dinner, but otherwise seemed just fine. The noxious gas from his diaper was powerful, yet no actual poop was coming out. I cleaned him up and put him to bed without further ado.

Around 11:45pm, I hear him coughing. Then I hear nothing and then, the tell-tale crying. I walk in and find him sitting up in his crib next to even more vomit. It was all over his stuffed rabit and the homemade blanket, all over his sheets and all over him. I picked him up, took off his pajamas, changed his diaper, and did what any self-respecting single Mom who had to get up early the next morning to go to a meeting would do: I let him sleep next to me and promised myself that I would clean his sheets tomorrow.

At 12:30am, (Oh - should I even finish this story? Can you see where this is all going? Hasn't my child been degraded enough by my broadcast of his illness and the subsequent bodily fluids? Answer: Nope) I feel a very warm splash of liquid and chunky parts hit my head. He had sat up from his pillow next to me, turned, and vomitted - ON ME. After the initial splash, I tried to encourage him to only puke on his pillow, but directing a child's puke is like trying to catch mist - you can't do it.

The funny thing (because afterall, if I didn't find humor in it, I would have to revoke my mothering qualifications, of which I have none, and it was my fault - sort of - for letting a sick child sleep in bed with me) was that he wasn't completely awake when he puked. When I stripped him naked and put his puky ass in the bathtub, he freaked the fuck out. Apparently, luke warm water is not a relaxing way to wake up after spewing the contents of your stomach on your primary caregiver.

Back into bed, for both of us. I had to put a towel down on the bed and use a pillow from the other room. At 6:15am, I encountered all of the vomit-splattered clothing and household objects with the fresh perspective of the morning. My stomach pitched and heaved in response. I've been feeling queesy all morning. I'm not sure if I have what Zac has or if being that close to vomit that isn't mine has made my stomach second guess actually digesting food.

The good news (and I have to find some with a week like this) is that Zac vomitting on me made Mr. Tugboat's actions slightly more bearable. He stood me up for an office party and then broke up with me over the phone, saying that we want different things from life and that's he's going to have a vasectomy. I realized that I would have been much angrier at him if he had puked on me and then told me that he really sees me as more of a friend. It wouldn't have been funny at all, just more tragic.

It also made me realize exactly how much I love my son, puke and all.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


"Mama said there'd be days like this....mama said that there'd be days....oh don't you worry cuz...."

I get a call yesterday evening from the hypochondriac daycare that is single-handedly trying to get me fired from my job. Zac had been throwing up. A lot. Ok, maybe it wasn't so unreasonable for them to be worried about that. I left work at 4pm with a comment from my boss that I need to start making up the hours that I've missed (even though I'm NOT over my alotted sick time, she just feels like I've been taking a lot of time off to take care of my son. I haven't.)
When I walk into the daycare I see a miserable looking kid with puffy eyes and snot coming out his nose. Yep, that's mine over there. He had thrown up maybe four times since waking up from his nap. Getting him home didn't help much. Everytime I left the room to get something, I would walk back in to find him crying on the floor next to a puddle of vomit.

That went on for about three hours.

I had to disinfect every surface in my house including the floor, the walls, and my couch cushions. The boy can vomit. and then poop. and then vomit while pooping.

I realized that we were out of milk and garbage bags (two crucial items in the single-man pooping / vomit bridgade) and had to go to the store. It was at that exact moment that I would have given my right arm for someone - ANYONE - to have been there to help me. To go the store and pick up what my child needed. Looked around, didn't see anyone, and thought I should get going before it got too late.

Fortunately, Zac and I made it through the store without puking. He waited until I was right inside my apartment, holding two gallons of milk and three gallons of bottled water before spewing. I thought about other frozen and perishable items I had left in the car, then I saw Zac trying to wipe vomit out of his eye with his sleeve that was also dirty and I knew I had to take care of him. I knocked on my neighbors' door and plaintively said, "I need help".

He quickly got all of my groceries out of my car and even went back twice for my mail and my work bag. I seriously might have just let the $90 of groceries go bad in the car had he not come and helped us. You might have found me, a couple of days later, lying next to a dried pile of puke with Zac crawling all over me. I just wanted to lay down and not get up.

Things calmed down once Zac went to bed. I was able to call my Grandma back in Seattle, fold some of the pile of laundry I had to wash, and cleaned the carpet the best I could. I made the mistake, though, during a conversation with Mr. Tugboat to mention how upset I was with our conversation from the night before. Let's just say, the night got even worse from that point on. The heartburn is back and I didn't get a lot of sleep.

On a bright note, I think I got all the vomit out my hair this morning in the shower.

Monday, December 04, 2006


The scene:

Laying on my bed, applying a hot compress to my left breast, talking on the phone to Mr. Tugboat:

Me: I had a really good time at dinner with you and little J-man (his son). Thank you for meeting up with Zac and I. It was a little hectic with two kids and two adults, but I think we survived.

Mr. Tugboat: As soon as you got there, I could feel little J-man tense up. I don't think he wanted you there.

Me: Oh, I'm sorry about that. I wanted to spend time with him.

Mr. Tugboat: It's just so weird. He gets along with all women, including the ones that live at my house, the ones we see at the credit union, and he really loved the woman I went on a date with before you and I were in a relationship. He played so well with her.

*one, two punch* now curled up in the fetal position

Me: (feebly, in my opinion) I don't know what to tell you. Maybe he senses that there is something going on with us and he's scared that I'm going to take the place of his Mommy. Zac is also much younger than little J-man and they're both only children. Maybe he feels threatened by Zac and the attention he gets.

Mr. Tugboat: I don't know. Maybe. If Zac were five, it would be a different situation.

Me: Zac isn't five.

Mr. Tugboat: I just wish that little J-man was more comfortable around you. He's just so tense when you're around.

Me: (silent, with mounting heartburn and the knowledge that I will up for a couple of hours agonizing over this conversation)

*final punch to the right temple. Down for the count*

I've been rejected by plenty of people in my lifetime, just not people that aren't tall enough to ride the big rollercoasters at Magic Mountain. Having a five year-old dislike me is one thing. Having his Dad, who I happen to like quite a bit, get very concerned about his five year-old not liking my son and I is totally another.

If anyone had asked me before I entered into a dating relationship that involved a five year-old, I would have told them, "Well, damn, you know that I'm not very good at being one of those great, wild and kooky adults around kids. Some people just get kids and I'm not one of those people. Did I mention that I'm fabulous with pre-teens and teenagers?"

I'm also just not handling things very well. The fatigue has kept up all weekend and my breast started hurting two days ago. When I massaged it, some very small fluid came out and, for those of you that don't want to go through my archives, I can tell you that I stopped breast feeding about ten months ago. I don't know what's going on with my body. Everything feels off.