Sunday, November 19, 2017

So Tired of Life

I'm just physically, mentally and emotionally drained. Like, ready to collapse.

There's a bunch of stuff going on with the hobgoblin that needs its own post.  But that's not what this is about.

Today's rant is brought to you by Mr. Wolfman, who seems to be going out of his way to make me feel like shit.

After yet another night of no sleep, I went to bed when he got up at 9am. He woke me up at 10, because an hour is a reasonable amount of sleep, I guess. Ok, fine. I made us breakfast, and wanted to mess around a bit on Facebook, then do the dishes. As I finished my reading, the hobgoblin wanted to eat, so I started nursing him.

Mr. Wolfman, who, incidentally, has been playing Legos by himself for half an hour (he had been playing with the Monster, who had gotten bored and wandered away) asked if I had done the dishes. No, I'm feeding the Hobgoblin. 10 minutes later, Hobgoblin is still eating, he asks if I've done the dishes yet.

Yes. I got up, ran to the kitchen, unloaded, reloaded and ran the dishwasher, then got back here and snuck the baby back onto my breast.

So, I was a little tetchy.

I go to do the dishes and the smell of diaper shit in the kitchen is overwhelming, so I say to Mr. Wolfman (not accusingly, mind you, even though it was him who decided to get rid of our last garbage can) that we really ought to get one that closes because it smells. And he goes off on me. We have millions  of garbage cans, and I never use any of them. We have 2 garbage cans. One in the bathroom and one for compostable garbage in the kitchen. The compostable one I use multiple times per day. The one in the bathroom... well, admittedly, I tend to put the garbage on top of it because I almost never use that bathroom, and when I do, it's like, a single Q-tip. There are papers and stuff stacked on the lid, and I've been lazy about cleaning it off so it can actually be used.  He took the garbage out of the other bathroom because I never emptied it, apparently. Because it's solely my responsibility to empty. Obviously.

Then there was a bag of clean laundry, which, being crammed into a bag, I assumed was dirty, so I put the monster's dirty shirt in there, and that earned me a a snappy comment, a sigh and an eyeroll. Like, fuck, just take it out if it's in the wrong place. Or tell me and I'll do it. But this sullen, huffy, the world is over because Mummy put a dirty shirt in the wrong spot shit needs to end (He constantly puts dirty clothes BACK IN THE CLOSET because he thinks that clothes are clean until there's a visible stain. So he'll keep lo in the same clothes for literally days, if I don't change him. Like, bathe him and put him back in the same PJs, and when it comes time to change him into something else, will put the 3-day old PJs in the closet to be worn next time. I've actually pulled clothes with food stuck on them out of the boys' closet a few times).

Hmm, what else did I fuck up today? Apparently I've ruined my Fitbit by not installing the updates that it never asked me to install and now it's broken forever, because that makes total sense. I didn't wash his espresso cups by hand when he was done with them, so he didn't have one ready when he wanted it, and actually had to open the dishwasher, take one out and wash it himself! I know. I'm fucking awful.

I'm sure there's other stuff that I'm forgetting, but don't worry, he'll definitely remind me about it when he gets home from work.

I am REALLY, REALLY not looking forward to spending the holidays with my MIL martyring herself for her kids and husband and Mr. Wolfman thinking this is normal. She doesn't even eat Christmas dinner with the family, she's too busy serving it, and then she eats alone in the kitchen or joins half-way through the meal, eats and then starts tidying while everyone else is still talking.  Which, fine, whatever floats her boat. But that's not me, and if he wanted a doormat housemaid, maybe he should have married one.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

*Hurk* (on dating your own kids)

The hobgoblin is obsessed with computer wires, so I was on Pinterest digging for a way to secure them, when I came across this gem: To My Son, Expectations on Dating.  Now I feel queasy.

To start with, the blogger (not the letter writer) refers to her son as her boyfriend. As the mother of two amazing boys, who I fully believe anyone in the (distant) future would be lucky to date, allow me to just say, Ew. I have never understood or been able to get behind this whole, little boys are their mommies' princes or boyfriends, little girls are their daddies' princesses or little ladies thing. People. No. You're not dating or romantically involved with your children. At least, you really, really shouldn't be.  This isn't cute, it's icky*

The letter itself isn't all bad. But whenever I read something for Moms of Boys, I'm almost always disappointed by the way it pigeonholes boys or moms or both. And this was no exception. It starts with a pretty big assumption.

 ...honestly [dating is] the most important thing you will ever do. Because how you date will dictate who you date. And who you date will become your wife. 

At 3 and 8 months, I don't pretend to know my kids' sexualities. Or, really, their gender(s). Or their views on marriage. I mean, yes, most people are cishet, so statistically, the chances are pretty high that my boys will be, too. But I'm not dreaming about their girlfriends and wives and children yet. I'm still getting to know them. I dunno, maybe her kid is older - but it seems a bit presumptive.

The letter goes on with numbered pieces of advice for dating. Number one, I can get behind (if we replace a girl with the person you want to go out with. I agree with it whole-heartedly, but I have to admit that may be generational prejudice.

1. Always ask a girl on a date. Straight forward & direct. AND always ask in person. If that just isn’t possible then ask over the phone. Never, I mean never, ask a girl on a date through a text, instant message, or email.

Number two is already giving me overbearing mom vibes.

2. Always take a girl out on a date. None of this “let’s hang out at my place & watch a movie” nonsense. I expect you to pick her up & take her somewhere. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate or immensely creative. Sometimes the best dates are simple, like a picnic in the park. You should always make sure you take her to a place you know she will feel comfortable & enjoy.
I like the last bit, about taking your date somewhere they'll feel comfortable and enjoy. Beyond that, Mom needs to butt TF out.

3. Open the car door for your date. Open all doors for your date.

Or, you know, don't. How about just, open doors for people? I would feel serious anxiety if I was expected to sit in a car, waiting for my door to be opened. That would honestly spoil the entire date for me.  And for getting into a car - just awkward, especially if the date gets to the car first.

4. Pay for your date. No questions asked. Your father & I will make sure you always have money for your dates. Do not ever split the bill.

This is sexist, classist garbage. I mean, I know it's to her own son, but there's a reason it was published online and why it's being heralded as something all moms should read. So, basically, if you're poor, or you know, your parents have other priorities than paying for your dates, you shouldn't date? Per rule #2, kid isn't supposed to stay home with the girl, right? So if Mom and Dad can't foot the bill, then no getting to know the woman who, per the opening paragraph, might become his wife?

5. Walk to the door to pick up your date. Never text from the car, or worse yet, HONK! And always walk your date to the door at the end of the night.

^^^Agree! Actually, numbers five through sixteen* are all good advice for dating, about making sure your partner is comfortable, kissing the right [person], not getting physical too quickly (it seems to be aimed at when the kid is a younger teenager? So I'm on board with this), telling someone when you're in love, often.  All good stuff to consider throughout dating life.

*Except number 12.

12. Get to know her family & friends and let your family & friends get to know her. Especially Me.
I've never bought into the whole you marry the family thing. Like, no. I married Mr. Wolfman. I did not marry his father or mother or brother. They're nice, and I'm glad that I did get to know them, but knowing them or not has zero to do with our relationship.  And some families (I suspect, including the author's with her Especially Me) can be a bit overwhelming. There's a reason Mr. Wolfman didn't meet my parents until after we were living together.

And then we have... some more sexist nonsense.

17. When the time is right & you’ve found that special someone, get down on one knee & ask her those 4 special words.
This is a touchy one for me, because I proposed to my husband. After discussing our lives together, children, etc. The time being right leaves it open to interpretation, so I'm giving this lady the benefit of the doubt and assuming that she means once the necessary discussions have been had and both parties have agreed, equally, that the time is right. But, even so, WHY is her son the one that's expected to propose? 

My hope for my boys is that, when the time is right, IF marriage is their end goal, that they'll propose - or accept their partner's proposal. Or come to the decision jointly without anyone ever "officially" asking.  Mostly, I just hope they'll be happy.

*To be very clear: parents dancing with their children, holding hands with them, hugging and kissing them, having special one-on-one time, etc. - all great in my mind. The Monster and I have tea parties pretty frequently, with special music, no electronics allowed, and enjoy our tea and biscuits and each other's company. We do not, however, date.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Long Overdue

My long over-due update:

  • I have ADHD. Or, at least, it appears I have ADHD. I also have an incredibly long wait ahead of me to get in to see a psychiatrist, to be officially diagnosed.
  • I've been going to therapy roughly biweekly and it is helping immensely. Everything is still nowhere near where I'd like it to be and my therapist seems pretty convinced that the aforementioned psychiatrist is going to put me on medication, which is fine, but I won't be doing that until the Hobgoblin is weaned.
  • The Hobgoblin is the happiest baby in the world. He's seriously always so happy.
  • Hobgoblin might also have some sort of food sensitivity which causes him to projectile vomit after eating solids. He's been to a clinic doctor and will see the paediatrician on Tuesday and then the eye doctor later in the week. It also looks like he has intermittent facial palsy and is behind on crawling on all 4s and sitting up straight, so we'll be looking into all of that.
  • The Little Monster is 3. He is wonderful and by now it's quite obvious that he's gifted. Yesterday, I caught him standing on the desk, pointing to DH's home town on the map and mumbling to himself. He can read, but doesn't know he can read. He just looks at words and knows what they say, but gets flustered if you ask him to sound things out (this is in addition to about 30 sight words). He can recognize German and Spanish as well as his two native languages.  He is slowly figuring out fractions. We got him a wooden puzzle with the continents and he'd learned all their names and where they go on the map within about 30 minutes.
  • Monster also might have ASD. He has something. Hand flapping, toe walking, sensory issues, extreme adherence to certain routines. I'm not really worried, but I would like to find out exactly what's up with him. Waiting on the paediatrician to get back to us with a date for the initial assessment.
I think that's everything. I'm finishing up a project that I've been working on for a while, which hopefully will bring me a modest amount of money, so that's fun. 

Until next time...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Part Two

This is what it's like to have... whatever I have.

  • Doing anything sucks. It's physically difficult for me to do simple everyday things, like:
    • Put the brown sugar away. I thought to myself: Wouldn't it be easier just to take two seconds and put it in the cupboard now? That way it won't contribute to a bigger mess. You have do do it sooner or later anyway. Put the damn sugar away. Put it away. Don't leave it there. Don't walk away. You can do this. Your husband shouldn't have to deal with the pointless messes you make. It's easy. Put. It. Away.  It's still on the counter.
    • Call the clinic and set up an appointment for the hobgoblin. He needs an appointment. Nothing bad is going to happen to you if you call. He's overdue for a checkup. You don't have to go out right now. You don't have to wrangle your children. You just have to pick up the phone. Just pick up the phone. I haven't called.
    • Wash the dishes. It's not that hard. I don't get grossed out by the dirt in the sink, at least not enough for it to be a big deal. I'm just lazy. Lazy to the point that I'm fighting off tears because I want to be able to do this stuff without it turning into a big deal. I want to be like a normal person, who doesn't start shaking at the idea of doing a boring chore that I don't care for. The dishes aren't done.
    • Call my Dad for father's day. Like, why? Why is that hard? Yes, conversations with my Dad can be awkward, but I don't dread them. I'll see him. Say, Happy father's day. How's it going? Show him the boys. No big deal. I didn't call.
    • Downloading the software I need. I need it. I literally cannot work on anything to even attempt to have a work-at-home job without this software. It's not that expensive, not really. I tell myself, just boot up Windows and download the software. But I'm lazy. I'm so fucking lazy that the 30 seconds it's going to take to reboot the computer doesn't seem worth it. Nothing seems worth it. Because I also tell myself, You're going to fail at this, the way you've failed at everything. You can't focus, you can't complete anything. You've given up on school, not only when you dropped out, but a second time, before you even got close to going back. You are going to work menial crap jobs the rest of your life. Just download the software and try. But I don't. I still don't have the software.
  • Doing things that are actually difficult is impossible. Things like:
    • Editing my book. Yeah, I wrote a book. I've written several, actually, published two. I try to be proud of that, but it feels like I'm faking. And this particular one I finished in... I'm going to say 2011? Maybe 2012. And it's been sitting, unedited, on various hard drives for over half a decade.
    • Work on my other books. Intellectually I know what I have to do: decide which one to focus on; commit to putting the others on the back burner; plot; write; plan artwork; make artwork; edit. Instead what I do is: nothing. After all, I don't even have the software necessary for the artwork. 
    • Cleaning my closet. Yeah, no. I can't. I can't even contemplate that mess without shutting down. I'm kind of regretting thinking about it at all, actually, because I may have just ruined my whole day.
    • Going to the store. You maybe think that going to the store belongs in the category above, of simple, everyday things. If that's the case, I assume you don't have a baby and a toddler. Because it's not just going to the store, it's a hurricane of chasing said toddler, changing said baby, putting on clothes, feeding, burping, getting spit up on, taking off clothes and putting on new ones, changing the baby again. Negotiating toddler clothing choices, pee breaks, finding keys, stocking the diaper bag, weather-appropriate considerations, where are the damn keys? Put your socks on. Put your socks on. You have to wear socks. Stand still, I'll do it. Forgetting my own socks. Where are the keys now? Forgetting the shopping list and deciding to wing it. Forgetting the baby blanket and giving up my jacket. Forgetting my sunglasses and feeling overwhelmed by my purse and the sun and the diaper bag and the jackets and hats and sweaters and everything else in the world and HOLY FUCK, THE REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS GOT LEFT AT HOME AGAIN. Still, I know it's doable. I know lots of people do it. No. It's better just to stay home.
  • I'm not sleeping right.
    • I'm always tired, but sleep is elusive. Sometimes I just have to stay awake until my physical exhaustion overpowers the noise in my brain.
    • Once I'm asleep, it's deep. I feel physically heavy when I wake up. Like something is dragging me into the bed and pulling my eyelids closed.  Like I'm struggling to climb out of a hole with barbells tied around my ankles. 
  • I can't finish anything I start. Not even this list.
There's so much to do and I just can't. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Conversations with my Monster, part 18: Manners

Me: *Opens bathroom door, accidentally hitting the monster lightly in the head*

Me: Sorry!

LM: Oh, you cannot bash me in the head! You can just gently say excuse me!

Friday, June 2, 2017

"Kiss the Baby"

Dear Random Lady,
My three month old neither wants nor needs kisses from your toddler. I'm sure in your eyes, your child is the shit, but that doesn't mean I want his germy mouth on my baby.
Since we've never been introduced or had even a cursory conversation (and you didn't bother to ask my or my baby's name before instructing your son to kiss him), let me tell you something about our family: we believe in bodily autonomy. We don't believe in forcing kisses and we sure as shit don't believe in kissing strangers to appease their parents' sense of what would be really cute to see.
As mothers of boys, I think it's especially important that we teach them about consent from the get-go. That doesn't mean we have to discuss sex with toddlers, but it does mean that we probably shouldn't be instructing them to show physical affection to strangers with no regard for the strangers themselves.
Luckily for you, your son showed better judgement than you did and was about as interested in giving kisses as mine was in getting them. That saved us both from making an awkward scene at another kid's birthday party. Bully for us.
Neither of our children are dolls. They're not there for you to play pretend with. If you want to make things kiss for your own amusement, go buy some Barbies and leave my baby out of it.
My three month old can't speak for himself. It's my job to be his voice until he has one of his own. So on his behalf, let me just say:
Kindly back the fuck up.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Part One.

The truth is, I'm depressed.

When I was younger, I didn't really believe in depression. I knew it existed, but shamefully, I was usually of the just power through ilk. You know, the people that think that just going for a walk and putting on a happy face will cure what is mainly an excuse to abstain from your own life. Mostly I blame this on my own ignorance and stupidity, but I'll lay a small - nay, tiny - part of it at the feet of experience; the only two people I knew with depression were also entitled, incredibly self-centered and in one case, incredibly selfish. So, while they happily lived off their parents well into adulthood and expected everyone around them to like the same things, to take their cues when planning social activities, to pay them for jobs half-done (and so on), it was easy to dismiss other aspects of their behaviour - being withdrawn, not being able to hold down a normal job, staying in bed all day - as laziness and selfishness.

After reading and researching, I started to come around to the idea that this was a real thing and not an excuse to avoid living a normal, productive life.

And then I got PPD. Looking back, I can pinpoint the moment it hit.  My parents were visiting. It was a horrible visit, though I doubt they'd see it that way. They spent the entire time baby hogging (including walking away with the monster in Walmart at 2-3 weeks), comparing the monster to my older brother (he was a clone, they were the same, my brother did the same things at that age, the monster was my brother - ad nauseam), making inappropriate jokes and comments about breastfeeding, suggesting that the monster only wanted me for sustenance, essentially ignoring me to focus on the baby and just basically taking up my space and destroying my fourth trimester. My mom had been visiting my sister and her new little one, the monster had been crying crazily for ages due to gas. My Dad had finally backed off, given back the monster and gone to look at something on the computer (the one my mom set up when they came to stay and paid every scrap of attention not taken up by the monster to). I was sitting on the couch, holding the monster, finally able to breathe, holding back tears from utter exhaustion (the monster never slept longer than 2 hours at this point). My mom came home, sat down on the couch and held out her arms, asking if she could hold him because she hadn't talked to him all day. I couldn't answer. I couldn't say a word. Logically, I should have known that she would never try to take him from me if I said no, but I just had this overwhelming sense of panic that she would, so I just clutched him tight to my chest and fought back the tears and wished everyone would just leave me the hell alone to hold my baby in peace.*

Then it came in waves. I was glued to the couch with a cluster-feeder because I'd realized that I couldn't safely feed him in bed, so even at night, all the feeds happened on the couch. I felt completely trapped, like I didn't have ownership of my body, like I would do nothing but breastfeed for the rest of my life, like eventually, in indent in the couch from my ass would be deep enough to swallow me whole.  I would, on good days, take him out to the park, keep him in his stroller or lie him on a blanket and read to him. On bad days, I would just hold him while both of us cried. But there were a lot of good days.

Until he was around a year old, we got by. I thought my unending fatigue was from a lack of sleep. I thought my propensity to burst into tears for no reason was a result of normal postpartum hormones. I thought I was doing ok. I never said anything to Mr. Wolfman about it, or if I did, I downplayed what was going on. I remember one day I just started sobbing and couldn't stop. I called my sister and she came and we went for a walk, and the next day I felt better and it was easier to pretend that it was a one-off and sweep it under the rug. Then I started to get angry. Not like normal FTP frustrations, but fits of absolute, whole-body-shaking rage. For the first time, I worried I would inadvertently hurt the monster, being too rough getting him dressed when he struggled, or pulling too hard on his arm when he tried to dart into traffic. That's when I finally (on the advice of my birth board) contacted the mental health unit at the hospital and set up an appointment with a therapist.

I saw her exactly twice before Mr. Wolfman decided to take a second job without consulting me. I knew he'd applied, but the deal was that it was only an application and we would discuss it if he was offered the job. So he was working 16 hour days and there was no longer a time when I could go to therapy. It did get bad enough that I tried once more on his day off, but my therapist was going to be away for a few months and the substitute was AWFUL. He didn't listen, cut me off, blamed everything on his own weird fantasy of us living in our town because Mr. Wolfman made me (Mr. Wolfman doesn't like it here. I don't either, but it was my idea to come) and didn't do his fair share of work with the baby.  He tried to convince me that I wasn't depressed, just tired (my previous therapist said nothing of the kind and didn't act stoned like this fool, so I'm inclined to follow her opinion over his). So that was the end of therapy. And then I did nothing. I just sucked it up until it went away.

I could go on at length about what's going on now, but I honestly don't have the time or the energy. So I'm leaving this here as part one, and I'll add parts two and three, about my current suspected ppd/ppa and my life-long anxiety issues, when I have some energy and drive.

*I know it seems like it, but I don't blame my parents for my PPD, I think they just pushed it to the surface. All of their crap was well-intentioned crap, but hopefully it isn't too big of a mystery to them why they're no longer invited to stay the night in my home.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's Been a Thousand Years

... or at least it feels like it. In any case, it's time for an update.

The monster is 2 years, 8 months today, the hobgoblin just passed 12 weeks. They both continue to be wonderful.

Monster, despite his total refusal to eat just about everything, keeps on growing and seems pretty healthy. He continues to amaze us with things like being able to name all 50+ of his toy cars, using words like similar correctly and trying to learn everything about everything (most recently, studying world maps and asking where places are). His newest obsession is knowing why printed words say what they do, which makes every bedtime book take about 1000x longer, because knowing what it says isn't enough, he has to see where and how each word is spelled. The result of this is that he decoded his first word. He has quite a few sight words, but this was the first one he actually sounded out. He also taught himself to count to 10 in French, because why not?
He's really taken to his new role as a big brother, and is really protective of the hobgoblin. If we call the goblin any disparaging or silly nicknames (ie: Stink-butt) we are emphatically told "He is NOT an Stink-Butt; he is an hobgoblin"). The monster is slowly allowing some leeway, but mostly we're expected to refer to the goblin by his full name or one approved (and common, not at all silly) nickname. As is proper for a big brother, he doesn't feel these rules apply to him, so he is allowed to call his brother "Poop."

The Hobgoblin's personality has really come out to shine. He's pretty laid back and easy going, and really only cries if he's wet, dirty, hungry or gassy. He likes to be held and snuggled, but he doesn't mind being put down for long chunks of time, which is a lifesaver with two. He's very vocal and loves to laugh and smile, and getting a smile and a coo out of him is as easy as offering him one first. He's also a giant (but no longer in the 95th percentile), now wearing mostly 6 month clothes and the stuff that's on the bigger side of 3-6. If he keeps up like this, I think he'll end up taller than the monster, when all is said and done.

Me, I'm not doing great.

After 3 trips to the ER, I ended up having emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed. That was a few weeks ago and I'm pretty much physically recovered. The process dicked up breastfeeding for a bit and I hated being away from my kids, pumping and dumping because of painkillers and everything else that went along with it. Mr. Wolfman was a rockstar and carried everyone through (though I'm pretty sure neither boy got a bath the entire time I was in the hospital).

At the hobgoblin's 2 month well-check, I did the questionnaire for PPD screening and scored pretty high. I need to pull myself together and go through the mental health intake process today, because I don't want it to get out of hand like last time. I just feel run down and panicky all the time. Basically anything beyond sitting still and doing nothing is immensely stressful for me. Basic things, like the boys' baths, are starting to slide. I have to fight back tears over minor, ridiculous things. Yesterday, Mr. Wolfman made a special trip to the store to get me something I wanted. He also got cookies for himself, and I started to get upset because I couldn't eat the cookies (due to an allergy, Mr. Wolfman wasn't being greedy). I felt actually betrayed that he'd get cookies I couldn't eat. And then, of course, I felt like a ungrateful child, getting whiney and upset because him taking the time to go out and get me exactly what I asked for was somehow negated by him not also getting me something that I hadn't asked for. And then the supreme guilt started to creep in, which I think is the backbone of PPD and PPA. I just constantly feel like I'm not doing enough, or like what I do is wrong, like my kids are suffering, my marriage is suffering, my mental health is suffering, my future is non-existant, I'm going nowhere and it's all my fault. Guilt, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, of not being able to cope, of not being good enough.

Mr. Wolfman seems to have a better understanding of what's going on this time. If I'm honest, I think me being stuck in the hospital and our first attempt at an extended family outing opened his eyes to a lot of what I do day-to-day and how incredibly stressful it can be, even without ppd/ppa hanging over my head.

The hobgoblin needs something. A mummy's work is never done.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

He's Here!

Actually, he's been here for nearly 2 weeks, but this is the first chance I've had to sit down and write about it (well, not much of a chance; it's time for him to wake up and eat soon).

*possible trigger for a scary situation, which turned out ok*

I went to see my sister last Saturday and she told me she hoped I would go into labour that night. I didn't hope so; I was determined to have a March baby. But I guess the Hobgoblin listened to his auntie, because sometime after midnight, I started getting woken up by what I thought was an extreme need to pee.

At about 3, it occurred to me that I was likely experiencing contractions and downloaded a contraction tracking app to see how long they were and how frequent. At that point, they were about 8 minutes apart and one minute long. The app grew more and more aggressive as I progressed, first telling me I should get my hospital bag ready in the car (6 minutes apart) and eventually giving me the all-caps message "GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW" (4 minutes apart). Since said hospital was 45+ minutes away, it really was time to go.

Mr. Wolfman was very good about not telling me that he couldn't see a damn thing on the drive there. It was (of course) very dark; the road is not lit at all - and it was snowing very hard and it was also extremely windy. The contractions were at yelling on the pain scale, so I wasn't really paying attention. I did take a picture when he asked me to, because he said it was like Star Wars with the snow, but I still didn't realize we were driving blind.

Despite the crazy snow and my ever-more-frequent shouts of pain, Mr. Wolfman got us to the hospital in one piece in just over 55 minutes. The contractions were so close together by that point that I didn't even make it across the parking lot before another one hit.

The admissions nurse took one look at me, asked my last name and called an L&D nurse.

I progressed for a bit without pain meds, and it was awful and I wanted to die*. Eventually, I gave in and asked for fentanyl, which worked extremely well for a while, and then stopped working and I gave in again and asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist had to come from home and (it seemed to me) took his sweet time getting there. By the time he arrived, I was getting an extremely strong urge to push with every contraction. When I mentioned this to the nurse, the anesthesiologist got wide eyes and wordlessly left the room. Apparently he was afraid he would have to deliver me if he stuck around.

OB showed up, anesthesiologist came back and after they determined I was at 7cm, I spent about 15/20 minutes getting an epidural. Sitting still through contractions was not easy, especially since I couldn't even scream at that point, because I had to keep my back really, really still. But I managed that, and after 5 attempts, they got the epi set and put the drugs in and then I was a happy camper. I think the nurses mentioned to the anesthesiologist that I'd been complaining about him yelling at me when I had the monster, because he was overly nice. He told me before he left that I have scoliosis, so that's fun.

I'd been really worried about the epidural because of the thing where the monster's heart rate had dropped off when I got the epi with him. But they were really good about monitoring the hobgoblin and his heart rate stayed totally fine throughout.

Everything after the epidural was super smooth and really relaxed. I only used the button once for some extra meds, so I could feel all my contractions still. They hurt, but I could breathe through them, and talk if I really needed to. When it came time to push, I had enough energy and my OB (the one I had never met until that point) talked me through everything. If we planned on having more kids, I would definitely request her again.

At the last minute, the hobgoblin decided to pull a Superman and his head and one arm came out first, the other shoulder got stuck. It went from "you're doing great" to "Get help in here now!" and I couldn't see anything, so of course I was freaking out. I kept asking what I should be doing, should I be pushing, should I wait, etc. Dr? stayed really calm and answered me when she could and between her and I, we got him out.

Before pushing, they'd told me how they delayed cord clamping, how they'd take him out and put him on my chest (or belly, depending on the length of the cord) and we'd do an hour of skin-to-skin. That didn't exactly work out. They pulled him out and put him on me, but he wasn't breathing. DH and the nurses kept trying to tell me he was ok, but I was screaming that he wasn't breathing and they cut the cord and took him away to a table to work on him.

Brilliantly, he started breathing and crying on his own. I've never been so relieved in my entire life. They gave him back to me and he was and is just perfect.

I think because I waited so long for the epi and didn't press the button for extra, I didn't end up needing a catheter and they discharged me just over 24 hours after the hobgoblin made his appearance. He's a giant, over a pound heavier at birth than his big brother.

We're at home, getting into the swing of things. It's not exactly easy with 2, but we're slowly figuring it out.

*I have a very ranty rant about one of the nurses, but I'll save it for another day.

Friday, February 10, 2017

T Minus 19 Days

19 days. 19 days until the Hobgoblin makes his appearance*.

I'm freaking out; I still have so much to do. Mr. Wolfman spent his days off doing stuff around the house - including really cleaning the kitchen and the main bathroom - and very thoughtfully setting up the computer so that I can actually use it for graphic design projects -

But he totally neglected everything that was actually on the list (the one he's been avoiding since August), like cleaning the car and installing the infant car seat. Or borrowing the carpet cleaner from work. Or any of the myriad of things that I'm too short/pregnant/exhausted to do on my own. I feel bad for being annoyed when he's working full time and still doing a lot of the housework and stuff, but damn. It doesn't help that his method of cleaning is very often to take everything that's in the area he's cleaning and put it in a neat pile - a neat pile somewhere that I've just finished cleaning. I cleaned the kitchen table, he "cleaned" the computer desk by piling everything on the kitchen table. I spent hours carefully arranging our bedroom (after months of nagging finally got us moved into our own bedroom) - he tidied the living room by piling a bunch of crap at the end of our bed.

On the topic of men driving me nuts, I don't know if the monster senses the big change is really, really close or what, but he's decided to suddenly start acting his age. Where before, we could leave him in the bathroom to pee, he now needs supervision (but wants privacy) or he'll throw toilet paper in the sink and run water on it, climb on the toilet to get at the medicine cabinet or just throw everything from the counter on the floor. Where we could leave his crayons sitting on the coffee table with paper for days, now he'll start drawing on the coffee table as soon as your back is turned. My front hallway is currently littered in coats because this ridiculously tall monkey has pulled them all off the hooks and thrown them on the floor. My living room floor is covered in receipts because he decided that spreading my budget folder everywhere would be a fun thing to do. And of course, this is all shit I have to bend over to pick up.

Then there's the issue of having some random OB who I'd never even heard of being the one that delivers me, but I think that's a blog for another day.

Anywho, the monster informs me that I'm all done typing, so I guess that's it for today.

*Assuming he comes on his EDD. I swear half of my birth board has already had their babies. March seems to be the month for early births.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Perfect Moment

3:00 am, with my hemorrhoid-ridden pregnant ass planted on a cheap footstool and my arm crushed in between the monster's head and his barn-board guardrail.

I realized, out of nowhere, how incredibly happy I was. Not because the monster has a nasty chest cough and needed me there, not because he wanted his mama and wouldn't let me go. But because I was able to be there, because my being there made a difference. Because that arm-numbing, chest-contorting, ass-paining contact let my little monster drift off to sleep, feel safe and understand fully just how loved he is.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Anemia & Why 12 Year Olds Shouldn't be Doctors

With Dr. Illegible on an extended vacation and Dr. Ginger on a shorter vacation, for my 32 week checkup, I saw Dr. Young*

So, because of the leg cramps that scared me into thinking I had DVT episode (did I blog that? I should have. I'm fine. Just normal pregnancy leg cramps), Dr. Ginger had ordered some extra blood work. That had come back that my iron was a bit low. Or, my hemoglobin was a bit low, which makes them think my iron is. However it works.

Dr. Young told me I should start taking iron supplements, but basically everything is fine. The hobgoblin is getting enough iron; I would have to be severely anemic before anything would effect the baby. He recommended I pick up some supplements and between them and my prenatals, shoot for 40mg of iron per day.

He also told me there was something wonky with my urine sample and I might have an asymptomatic UTI; that if I do, it could prompt me to go into labour early and that the treatment is antibiotics. I wasn't comfortable with taking antibiotics without confirmation, so they were going to send the sample off to another lab and call me in a couple of days if I needed a prescription.

At the same appointment, I asked him about dietary changes to help with heartburn. He said a lot of people had success from giving up or reducing their alcohol and caffeine intake. I just kind of blinked at him until he realized that I had probably already done that, being 32 weeks pregnant.

Anyway, because I'm an idiot, I bought the iron, but blew off taking it, because I'm horrible at remembering to take medication of any kind, except my thyroid stuff. But I didn't think it was a huge deal because, after all, baby was definitely getting enough.

Dr. Illegible got back from vacation (finally), so I had my 34 week appointment with him. He'd barely gotten through Hi, how are you? before he asked if they'd spoken to me about my hemoglobin, said I'm severely anemic, my iron is extremely low and wrote me a not-quite-prescription (they're OTC, but not out on the shelf with the other supplements) for crazy strong iron supplements. Then I got quite a lecture about how I must take them every day, along with my iron-fortified prenatal vitamins, that I'm going to bleed a lot during delivery, and that I needed to go pick up the tablets now and take them every day, and I have to. He is normally the most laid-back, easy going guy ever, everything is always perfect and wonderful and fine, so for him to be that strict and inflexible kinda wigged me out (did the trick, though, I've been keeping up with my pills).

I should mention as well, that I haven't had any blood work done since the DVT thing, which means that when Dr. Illegible saw my hemoglobin numbers, freaked out and put me on 10x the recommended daily intake for an adult, he was looking at the exact same numbers that made Dr. Young go meh, you might want to take some iron.

I asked about the UTI and he told me the sample had been contaminated. So rather than just call me to come provide another one, Dr. Young (or maybe Dr. Ginger, if he had them send the results to her) decided to let me walk around with a potential infection that can cause early labour for two damn weeks (side note: ever try to pee into a tiny cup when you can't see around your belly, your urine stream has been screwed up since the last time you gave birth and you have a two year old who is not even remotely slowed down by a locked bathroom door? It's not a picnic, let me tell you).

Neither of them ever asked me about any of the specific symptoms of anemia. I looked them up, and I have all of them. Like, I'm basically a walking case study in anemia. And even without asking me, I'm ghosty white. I mentioned lightheadedness and fatigue to Dr. Young. I've been walking around feeling like crap, feeling like I'll pass out at the drop of a hat, and thinking it's all par for the course.

So, I'm annoyed. I don't actually have anything against younger doctors, but it's hard not to blame age when you have one that seems so ragingly incompetent.

Ok. Enough ranting. I need to fight my pukey pass out feeling enough to get at least a little done around here before Mr. Wolfman gets home from work.

*We saw him once back in the summer to get the Monster's sub-dermal hematoma looked at (he's had it since birth, but had recently decided it was a good idea to scratch at his face nipple constantly). I liked that he explained what things were, how they worked - but not the way he pretty much didn't listen to us, and only right at the end of the appointment, when I showed him a picture of how the thing looked non-scratched, did he stop trying to convince us it was something completely different than what Dr. Illegible had originally told us. The stunned, "but it just looks brown in the picture," really rubbed me the wrong way. I'd told him about a thousand times by then that it looked pretty much like a small, light mole and that the redness was from the scratching.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"Boys Books"

On my local buy&sell Facebook page, I saw a post for Baby Books and Boy Books.

And I thought to myself: What the fuck is a boy book?

The baby books, presumably, are the stack that include a potty book (the only book in the bunch that could conceivably be just for boys), a Sandra Boynton book and a couple of Sesame Street books that have the titles obscured. The boy books, I'm guessing, are the others: Cars, Thomas and Spiderman.

Of course. A book that (I'm guessing) tells you how/where to pee from your genitals can be for anyone. But a book that has something manly like a mode of transportation or a superhero, that's only for boys. I mean, it's not like women and girls drive or take public transit, after all. And why would they want to read about Spiderman? A girl can't get superpowers from being bitten by a radioactive spider; that would be so unrealistic.

The monster would enjoy all of these. He loooves Thomas. He doesn't know what Cars is, but he is a big fan of anthropomorphized vehicles as a general category. He likes Spiderman well enough (although, in the world of superheroes, Spiderman is a distant 3rd behind Superman and Batman). But, just to clear it up, for anyone who might think otherwise, NONE OF THAT IS BECAUSE HE HAS A PENIS.

Let me break it down:

He loves Thomas because a) Thomas is a train and we live relatively close to the train station; b) His Dad likes trains; c) His aforementioned enjoyment of anthropomorphic vehicles; and d) The biggest reason, he has two Thomas books. Books are are the best things in the monster's world and a character that appears is a book is, to him, infinitely better than any other.

He loves cars because a) Mr. Wolfman and I (you know, the parent without a penis) both love cars. We collected them as kids and started collecting them the Monster. He has about 30; and b) They have wheels. Wheels are cool. He loves faces on cars because... he's creepy? I don't know what's up with the faces, but I'm pretty sure it has more to do with him being two than it does with having an XY chromosomal makeup.

And he passingly likes Spiderman because I found a bag in the shape of Spiderman's head about a year ago and bought it for him. It has a zipper and it's sparkly. He loves zippers. He loves sparkles. It may also have something to do with Spiderman being red and blue, which were his favourite colours until he discovered purple. Spiderman, incidentally, also has eyes and at 16 months old, when he got this wonderful bag, eyes were one of the few body parts he could name.

I know this was an individual post and not a marketing campaign, but this mindset, this divide between boys and girls, is exactly what every industry has been shoving down our throats for (at the very least) my entire life. We're told not just this is for boys and this is for girls, but actually tricked into believing this is for boys because they like it better, this is for boys because girls wouldn't be interested. Gendered nonsense exists because the market demands it, not because products and marketing create a demand.

I think campaigns like Let Toys Be Toys,  Let Books Be Books and Let Clothes Be Clothes are so important. Not just to get producers and marketers to change the way they operate, but to get parents to think about why they buy what they buy and why they teach their kids what they do.

Obviously, I don't have a problem with what are often considered boy books or characters or toys. My son, as I've mentioned, adores a lot of things that would fall into that category and I'm happy to buy him the things he likes. But I'll be damned if I let either of my boys believe for a second that they have special rights to superheroes, tools, sports, the automobile industry or carnivorous animals* just because of what's in their underwear.

*except cats, 'cause they're for girls. Obviously.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Conversations with My Monster, Part 17: Noly

LM: Oh, it's dirty. We need to wash it.

Me: What's dirty?

LM: The noly [linoleum].

Me: Yes, we need to wash it.

LM: With the big, red vroom.