Friday, April 29, 2011

Developments

So I'm feeling....better. Some days are better than others, for sure. I'm trying to keep myself from getting overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness or bullshit feelings or house projects, taking care of them piece by piece, and pulling back on the reigns of impatience over wanting to feel perfect and do everything at once and find a new house (we're talking several years down the road and many necessary home improvements along the way). I'm also willing myself not to lose my shit over little stuff. Because there's so goddamned much little stuff, if you let it get to you, you could lose your mind. And by "you" I mean "me."

Like Easter brunch. Jackson had not napped at all that morning, and was rubbing his eyes as we loaded up the car to take off. So when we got to the restaurant, I told everyone in no uncertain terms, he needs to be left alone until he's napped. He needs to stay in his carseat and have peace and quiet so he can fall asleep. I turned my back for one minute...and he was out of his carseat being passed around and kept wide awake. Oh, and anytime someone (whether friend, family member, coworker, stranger, hobo) says he looks like me, someone in KB's family swoops in to boldly refute and inform me that, oh no, he looks 1000% like KB or [insert random probably distant sharing-only-8%-DNA-with KB family member]. So I got a fair amount of that, as usual. It's such a stupid little thing, but it gets under my skin like nothing else. Why do family members have to act like such asshats?

But we have a full docket of outings over the next few weeks, so I am mustering up my inner-oomph to brave these and other assbaggeries. My therapist pointed out to me recently that, unlike some people in my position, I don't retreat from things that are hard, I push through them, and I should feel very good about that. So I am pushing onward and through. When my mother-in-law tries to sneak ice cream and milk and juice and whatever else into my 7-month-old tomorrow, I will quietly prevail. When the family Mother's Day brunch turns into another "ignore/defy/enrage Jen and keep the baby awake and perpetually hand him to anyone but her and also tell her at every turn that he barely even looks related to her even though he clearly does" Festival of Fights, I will roll my eyes in my mind and keep a smile on my face. Sometimes you have to suffer fools. (And when I feel insecure or sad or anxious I will push it down and tell myself "you are okay." And maybe eat a piece of chocolate.)

We're also going to a school fundraiser this weekend and I am leery of how it will go. KB and I are total homebodies, so mingling is not a competitive sport for us at all. But we figure we need to start getting to know other parents, and this seems like a good place to start. I just hope it doesn't devolve into some compare-and-contrast child brag-a-thon. I have - 400% interest in the whole "this is what MY child can do/is doing/is doing better than yours" bullshit. KB's strategy is to play 20 Questions with each person we meet and let them blather. He hypothesizes that people LOVE to talk about themselves, so if we feed that ego monster we'll be a big hit. We shall see.

And as for The Milkman himself, he is going through some mammoth developmental growth right now. He's rolling and up on his haunches trying to crawl. TRYING TO CRAWL. Holy shitballs, y'all. We're scrambling to get less-than-safe furniture (is a coffee table made of metal okay? how about one made entirely of glass? no?) out of the room so he has space to move without braining himself. I'm hoping his basement playroom will be done by end of May so I can take him down there and let him roam free-range. I think he's also teething (for real now, not as everyone and their assbag neighbor has been suggesting since he was 6 weeks old). The best part of teething, besides waking up at night with gum pain? Practicing biting. My nipple. Yeah. His new move is to clamp down with his nubby little gums and TURN HIS HEAD quickly to the side. I'm pretty sure this is a plot point right out of Saw VI. [In order to escape the clutches of the evil Jigsaw, Jackson must rip his mother's nipple right off of her tit while nursing.] It's pretty awful. I've yelled "ouch!" as loud as I can, not out of some planned response, but just out of pain and so far it has startled him pretty soundly. Hopefully he'll stop on his own. I am so not ready to give up nursing, but also not ready to part ways with my nipple.

And now, time for random cuteness:
When I look at this, I die.
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to play prog rock.
Peek-a-boo-pee-pee. He's utterly fascinated by his own junk despite being unable to really see it.
"You think this blanket can contain me?"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Cadbury Day!

Have a a lovely Easter, from Jackson and Mr. Creepy the Bunny!
(Cause nothing celebrates this day better than a man-sized bunny wearing no pants whatsoever who purportedly shits chocolate eggs and hides them. Yay, Easter!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

In Which I Get All Stabby

My dad inexplicably blocked me from viewing his fb wall. I guess the status quo of me not paying attention to or commenting on his immature, bigoted posts wasn't good enough -- he felt it necessary to make it known to me that I cannot even see them. I don't know what his motivation is, but it's like a mini slap in the face: I can reject you in a million ways, even at arm's length, even on fb. Thanks, pops. You're a peach. The tender, fatherly love just keeps oozing out of you.

Also, my stepsister is squirting out another baby this September, having announced it on fb when she was a mere 5 weeks pregnant, and has been posting for over a month about how very intensely she hopes it's a girl. Guess what she's having? A boy. Or as she ever-so-flatly and unenthusiastically (I can interpret this because her enthusiasm is marked by adding "lmao" ubiquitously after every other post; poignant example: I can feel the baby kick. lmao.) posted it, "Well, looks like we're having another BOY." It was just missing the frownie face emoticon for the full force of her complete disappointment. Good thing you documented your prejudice all over fb ad nauseum so we all know how utterly let down you are now by your own fecundity. And good thing you can just keep crapping out more babies until you get that elusive girl. Because gender bias is a fine motivation to have more babies. (And to think, infertiles bear the brunt of science fiction-y designer baby/gender preference shenanigans...)

All of this reminded me, for some reason, of something my stepmother said when they came to visit after Jackson was born. She was extolling the fantastic parenting my stepsister does (she of the Hooters birthday parties for a toddler, and of the gun show sniper rifle practice for a toddler, and of the video games for a toddler, etc.). The evidence? Well, didn't you know, M___ used to work at BabiesRUs! That's how she got her wicked awesome parenting skillz!

*facepalm*

*eyeroll*

*headhittingthetable*

AND THEN ALSO, we had dinner with neighbors the other night and I found myself trapped in a Parenting Contest that I did not enter, which went something like this:

Neighbor: My friend J___ has her 10-month-old son in swimming lessons and they're taking tumbling, and they're going to Gymboree 2 days a week and they're going to Mommy and Me groups..."

Me: *mentally making a shopping list because this is bullshit*

Neighbor: What are you and Jackson doing this summer?

Me: Uh. Prolly roll around in the grass, go to a coffee shop, hang out. And drool. One of us may drool.

(Witty retort in my head: "Uh. Prolly get him hist first violin and start Suzuki training, then enroll him in AP Calculus and Organic Chemistry and Quantum Physics for Babies. Oh, and we're shopping around the rights to his first screenplay and a publisher of his first book of prose. I'm a Tiger Mom, bitches!)

Is it too much to ask to purchase a small island with temperate weather outside of both hurricane and earthquake radii and just live there with my little family, our dog, and a few chosen friends who also deserve reprieve from The Bullshit That Is All of This*? Anyone else want to come?

* Because I keep getting these unambiguous messages from the universe that humanity is, by and large, a big stanky bag of shit left on fire on your doorstep. Or maybe it's the semi-retarded teenagers who left it there. I dunno. But it sure does stink sometimes. What more evidence do you need, really?**

** Need more? The Voice: that new shitty show, wherein self-promoting musical prodigies Xtina, that sleazy guy from Maroon 5, some countrified dude, and Cee-Lo (for whom I make an exception, because he IS a genius) pose for the camera while the next Taylor Hicks croons karaoke at us. It's just Diet Idol by way of America's Got Very Little Talent. That should be enough to convince you.***

*** Still no? Then, Guy Fieri. That's the punchline.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome to Crazytown, Population: Me

Well. Where to begin. Let's try some bullets.
  • Working out with a personal trainer suuuucks but it's getting the job done. I'm pretty much sore and aching all the time, but I've lost a few pounds in the last 2 weeks, so I'm encouraged. At this rate, I'll have the baby weight and IVF weight off by Christmas 2016.
  • Going back to therapy is a bittersweet thing, because I need it but I also hate that I need it. I'm experiencing some massive anxiety coupled with on-again, off-again depression. Motherfucking yay. I don't know where some of it comes from, other than my poor genetic lot in life and the fact that my family is full of The Certifiable Crazy. We've got bipolars, schizoaffectives, and straight-up depressed. And that's not counting all the personality disorders! It's like a goddamned DSM-IV-TR bonanza! I'm not too keen on being put on crazy pills, but if that's what my therapist ultimately recommends while we keep talking it out, or if I reach a point where I think it's necessary, then so be it. I just want to feel better. Crying for no reason and feeling like my head will explode from panic is not cool.
  • And as for the stuff that I do know is fueling it? There's a whole lot of history with my Certifiably Crazy™ parents, that includes some really shitty, dark stuff. I am chock full of abandonment, trust, and self-esteem issues thanks to their crackerjack parenting. It's 100% of the reason I became an academic-over-achiever-perfectionist, and why I become psychologically paralyzed if I can't do something perfectly and can't handle compliments. Nothing weird about that. Anyway, I had pretty successfully learned to manage those issues through therapy years ago, and then the whole infertility beast reared its ugly head and brought it all back to the forefront in a new and introspective way. That's not an entirely bad thing, because it forced me to think very long and hard about how I will parent my child(ren) and break the cycle of Crazy that pervades my family. But now that Jackson is here, and I know with every fiber of my being that I would do anything for him, right up to and including taking a real or proverbial bullet to ensure he is safe and happy and fulfilled in his life, it stirs up a lot of shit about my parents and how they wouldn't do much at all to ensure the same for me. Not then, and not now. It hurts. And it sucks. It hurts and it sucks to know how little I was loved. The contrast of that feeling with the love I feel in my little family -- KB, Jackson, Katie the Dog, and me -- just puts that hurt under a magnifying glass and burns it up until it scars. So, that's lurking underneath every feeling of insecurity about being a good parent, every anxiety about keeping Jackson safe and alive and happy, every worry that my shit will become his shit if I don't deal with it effectively. So. Good times.
  • While I wait to hear about a part-time job offer in the next month or so, I'm taking on ambitious house projects. Most are small -- replacing the fugly front door of our house, doing some gardening -- but the biggie is clearing out the basement and turning half of it into a playroom for Jackson. It's already partially finished, so I just need to keep decluttering (or, in a stroke of genius, I've decided I could just pile the clutter to the ceiling and throw a couple of banana peels on top, then call the producers of Hoarders and get my basement cleaned for free). Then I have to clean the floor and window sills (how many winters' worth of dead bugs are on that sunny graveyard sill?). And then put down some cheapie carpet. Voila! Playroom. I figure I can find a little kid-sized table and some bookshelves from garage sales or used furniture stores and repaint them, to keep this on the cheap. And while I'm at it, I'll reorganize the utility half of the basement, where laundry and pantry shit ends up sprawled everywhere without the confines of an orderly shelving system to contain it. It's exactly like me to take on some huge project when I'm hitting crisis mode, and then to alternately let it take my mind off of things and also stoke the embers of the Crazy fire. Because in the process of starting this project, I've begun to realize how much I hate our house. BOOM. Bomb dropped on ya. Yep, I hate our house and I want to move in the middle of the shittiest housing market, like, EVAH. We'll have to save for a year or two (or twenty?) to make up the shortfall between what we owe and what we can make if we sell and another down payment, hope that the housing market stabilizes and possibly (even if only slightly) improves our home's value, and will try to pump up our home's value as much as possible by making the most sensible improvements: basement repurposing and organization, new roof, new driveway, new front door and minor landscaping for curb appeal. This is already a long-ass post, so I'll let it suffice to say that I want a house that doesn't have creaky wooden floors but still has character, and has enough room for us to consider a second baby. BOOM. Another bomb. I'll write about that another time. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Done and Done


Hulk SMASH!

So, I still have not received my form letter response that I was asked, ne told, to be patient for.

But while I wait, here is something to share that you will no doubt love. It's taken from an email response to another blogger, received from PETA (complete text is in the comments of this post):

Many who choose to have a vasectomy consider it a moral conundrum for some of us to be spending thousands of dollars trying to reproduce ourselves when there are homeless children, including some with disabilities, who want for homes, and when the environment is being ravaged as human population increases.

First: Bwahahahahahahahahaha!

Second: Fuck.

So now we're immoral?

Hold up. Lemme get this straight. People who are able to conceive on their own, who are fertile, have the right to choose to have child(ren) and/or use birth control and/or become sterilized. If they choose the latter, they are helping to suppress the global human population (and bully for them!). But people who are infertile and seek treatment to conceive with medical intervention, who are far more likely to have fewer children than fertile people if they ever conceive at all, are the problem. And not only are infertile people therefore responsible for adopting all the orphans of the world, but the homeless ones with disabilities in particular. Shit, I didn't get that memo; I'll hop in my car right now and drive on over to the nearest orphanage/homeless shelter to pick up my own little Oliver Twist. Because it's my goddamned duty and/or lot in life. And also, because adopting is just like picking out a cat from the Humane Society. (Although, by their reasoning, if you happen to be allergic to cats, then it is your responsibility, ne your fate, to adopt the mangiest, patchiest, most broken-down old three-legged diabetic feline you can find -- there are homeless mangy cats in this world and it is immoral for you to take home a healthy, well-fed cat, you selfish brute!) I said it once before and it bears repeating: fuck.

And get it right, twatwaffles. I spent tens of thousands of dollars to reproduce myself.

I have a solution to the moral conundrum of homeless children, including some with disabilities, who want for homes, and when the environment is being ravaged as human population increases. They can be adopted by PETA employees, who are all no doubt spayed and neutered. You're welcome!

Also, you'll be delighted to know that PETA has bowed deeply to our demands and has changed the verbiage of their contest to read "during" National Infertility Awareness Week, rather than "in honor of." Whew. Mission accomplished, hang a banner on a battleship. Except...um...they're still insisting on referencing infertility in the context human population control, vis-à-vis voluntary sterilization. Motherfuckers. When you look at the screenshot, you can see that there is no explanation tying the two together; but by simply juxtaposing them, they make their implicit point. Which is that infertility is beneficial to population control. Eugenics, people. Why don't they just get back to throwing paint on fur coats and objectifying women in nude ad campaigns? I think Pam Anderson probably needs the work.

I know as well as any of you that their PR lackeys are classless asshats who do this sort of thing specifically because it gets a rise out of people, but that they chose to pick on a patient community that is already treated like lepers by the ignoranuses of society and is just beginning in recent years to make strides in awareness and educational campaigns....well, that just chaps my hide.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Don't Stop Til You Get Enough

So I got a lousy one-line auto-reply from the dicks, erm, I mean, caring animal activists, at PETA. It included the sentence, "Be patient." Oooh. Not my strong suit.

So I fired off another email, this time taking a slightly different approach and trying to explain 1) why their contest language re: population control and "reproductive-free living" in the context of infertility is fucktarded and 2) how little they know about infertility. Imma catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Dear Ms. Newkirk,

I'm disappointed that I haven't received a reply, even if only a form letter, to my email sent yesterday regarding PETA's "win a vasectomy" contest, which you are touting as a prize in "honor" of National Infertility Awareness Week later this month.  I can only imagine you have received many such emails, due to the sensitive nature of a campaign that invokes any prize in "honor" of infertility awareness, and I know from personal experience how passionate the infertility patient community is about our medical diagnosis and the public perception of it.

I'd like to try and reattempt communication with a less passionate, perhaps more explanatory approach.  To begin, I am actually quite simpatico with PETA's mission to protect animals and prevent overpopulation of companion animals.  I also agree that global human overpopulation is a serious problem that requires effective and sensible solutions.  I am in absolute agreement with your organization's supposition, as expressed explicitly in the contest in question, that voluntary birth control and "reproductive-free living" is one way to address the growth of our human population.  Where I diverge is when you suggest or imply that the medical condition of infertility is an effective and desirable method of population control, and when you attempt to equate it with a voluntary birth control measure such as a vasectomy.  It makes me wonder if you are clear on what infertility actually is.  I would like to try and explain why your association of infertility with voluntary birth control is inaccurate.

Infertility is a medical term that encompasses multiple specific conditions that cause a patient to be unable to conceive or carry a baby to term, including but not limited to:  endometriosis, Fallopian tube damage, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, pituitary tumors, uterine fibroids, testicular cancer, sterility secondary to chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, bleeding disorders, and a variety of genetic anomalies.  None of these medical conditions in any way involves a voluntary decision to live "reproduction-free."  And most of these conditions, like many medical diagnoses, are treatable with appropriate reproductive endocrinology care so that individuals and their partners can conceive a child.  Patients with infertility are usually lucky if they can successfully conceive one, perhaps two children, if any at all.  We are not significant contributors to overpopulation in the way that, say, lack of access to birth control and sex education are worldwide. 

To give away a vasectomy in conjunction with a contest to neuter your pet is cute, and attention-grabbing, and not at all offensive to me or most people, including the infertility patient community at large.  But it is a bridge too far to suggest that we have chosen our infertility and/or that it is some method of population control.  Let's be level:  you included National Infertility Awareness Week in your contest language precisely because it's a controversial stand to take on the issue of human population control.  Why not suggest that AIDS or cancer are helping to curb the population?  Why not praise suicide as a way for individuals to thin the herd?  How about lethal birth defects and severe mental retardation, since they get rid of people on the planet, too?  Why not celebrate miscarriage?  I suspect it's just because you know that advocacy groups for these diseases and conditions are extremely visible and powerful, so you picked a fight you felt you could more easily control.  All I can ask is that you consider the people you are hurting.  We are responsible people who engage in carefully thought out and hard-fought family planning and we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.  The contest is only objectionable insomuch as it ties voluntary birth control and population control to infertility by mentioning National Infertility Awareness Week.  This association is scientifically inaccurate and extremely insensitive.  I personally think your campaign would be just as effective if you removed language related to National Infertility Awareness Week, and respectfully ask that you do so.

Regards,


Jennifer B___, PhD

Hunh?

So, I have not received a canned response from PETA, but several lucky! bloggy friends have. And in this paragraph of a PETA email (the full correspondence is posted here), you can see the problem:

...we are absolutely not “celebrating the infertility community,” that is not the intent at any level. We are celebrating infertility itself, though, meaning the decision not to contribute to the overpopulation problem. I just want that to be clear.

Oh, you ARE clear. PETA thinks infertility is a good thing, and a decision!, that helps keep the human population down. Apparently, WE ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION! Yay, us! I wonder why they feel it's okay to pick on us and trash reproductive rights, rather than, say, to "celebrate" AIDS or cancer or suicide or murder or tsunamis. Aren't they, too, part of the solution? Doesn't this all begin to sound like eugenics in a weird way? I doubt that PETA will do a single solitary thing to acknowledge the hateful and misinformed contest language, as they have always resided firmly in the camp of "no such thing as bad publicity." Who would've thunk PETA and Fred Phelps could be so simpatico?

You can sign the ongoing petition (link here) to demand PETA end the offending contest. It won't happen, natch, but it might make you feel like you were part of the solution.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

People for the Efficient Thrashing of Assholes

So, read this first.

And then this.

And the series of initial responses here.

And here is my contribution, emailed this morning:

Dear Ms. Newkirk,

Let me first explain, I am an animal lover.  I rescued my dog after she had been dropped off pregnant at a kill shelter, then transferred by caring animal activists to a no-kill shelter where she had her puppies with proper veterinary care and was then spayed.  She is part of my family and we cherish her.  I don't possess the fervent level of dedication to animals rights that PETA proclaims to, but I do care and I am responsible. 

Now.  With regard to your campaign, ne, stunt, to offer a free vasectomy "in honor" of National Infertility Awareness Week, in exchange for the "lucky" recipient getting his pet spayed or neutered, I take issue.  On a very basic personal level, I am deeply offended.  My husband and I hoped to start a family, and learned we had severe male factor infertility.  Despite taking care of our bodies, our pets, and our planet, we were given the devastating news that we would be unable to have a child to share our lives with, to raise to responsible adulthood in a loving home.  We were referred to infertility specialists and eventually conceived via in vitro fertilization, and are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy.  I am telling you my story to put not too fine a point on it:  making light of infertility as a PR trick is cheap and hurtful.  And claiming that it is "in honor" of National Infertility Awareness Week is simply deplorable.

Do you, or anyone on your staff, have children?  Do you, or anyone on your staff, have a diagnosis of infertility?  Please ponder these questions carefully.  For all of your claims that the human population is out of control, I certainly hope none of you have "bred" any human babies.  For if so, how can I ever trust that PETA practices what it preaches?  And certainly, all of your male staffers should have had vasectomies by now, and your female staff should have had tubal ligations, at the very least.  And I dearly hope that any staff who have suffered infertility, in exchange for doing their part (albeit unwillingly) to keep the human population lowered, have received free spaying and neutering services for their pets.  (Does any of this help you see how awful and outright ridiculous your campaign is?)

It is idiotic to equate animal population control through spaying and neutering, with the size of the human population and infertility.  All animals, including humans (or didn't you know that, technically speaking, we're animals, too?), are driven by biological imperatives to reproduce.  There is evidence that even animals grieve when they lose a baby, demonstrating just how hard-wired the desire to produce and care for young truly is.  Responsible adult humans who desire to create and raise a family, but are unable to do so as a result of infertility, have every right to seek treatment and find ways to grow their family.  And you, an organization dedicated to treating animals with dignity and care, have no right to mock, belittle, or trivialize the struggle and pain endured by those of us who are unable to conceive children on our own.  Being infertile is not a choice, it is a medical condition that can (in many cases) be treated; it is physically, emotionally, and financially devastating in ways that you clearly are incapable of understanding.  Infertility is not a method of reducing the world's human population; responsible family planning, which includes having reproductive choices, is the way to address the human population.  A vasectomy is not an appropriate "prize" to honor National Infertility Awareness Week.  Offering a vasectomy "in honor" of this medical condition is akin to offering a free bolus of intravenous potassium "in honor" of heart health awareness.

I understand that part of PETA's mission is to use shocking images and campaigns to get attention for your cause.  But I ask you to cease and remove all materials from your "win a vasectomy" contest, because it is degrading and inhumane.  If you must use such tactics to further your cause, that's your prerogative, but to do so by denigrating a large group of people (of over 7 million infertility patients) is unacceptable.  Please find another way to advance your organization's mission that does not involve petty mischaracterization and hurtful antagonism of a large community of people suffering from the medical condition of infertility.

Until this campaign is ended, I will continue to share my concerns about PETA's treatment of humans with infertility with my friends, family, and a large blogging community that includes mommy blogs, parenting blogs, infertility blogs, and the broad reach of the RESOLVE network.  I encourage you to be proactive and immediately end this contest, if for no other reason than to retain support and a modicum of respect from these individuals.

Regards,


Jennifer B___, Ph.D.

If you want to help:
  • Send an email expressing your concern and anger with this campaign to ingridn@peta.org
  • Don't open or link directly to the PETA contest page, which would increase their pageviews; instead, use this screenshot link (provided by the fine blogger behind Hannah Wept Sarah Laughed)
  • Share this with friends, family, fellow bloggers, and anyone who cares to listen  

The Morning After

My muscles hurt. I guess that's how I know it was a good workout. I'm pretty sure I woke up with full-blown muscular dystrophy today. Please call Jerry.

Also, Jackson officially discovered his penis this morning. The level of difficulty of diaper changes just shot up a full point. Hopefully I can make up for the loss of technical scoring with artistic effort.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tangential

I had my first appointment with a personal trainer today. (KB bought me a gift certificate for Christmas and it took me this long to make this appointment.) In discussing my goals, I hardly needed to finish the sentence, "I had a baby 6 months ago..." The goal? Transform from cow to gazelle. I watch The Biggest Loser. I want this dude to go all Jillian on me and break me down, to build me back up. To borrow a term, I want to get all Eye of the Motherfucking Tiger on this.

One of the things I haven't mentioned much here, and that I think often gets buried in the avalanche of life that having a baby brings, is fucked up body image. I remain convinced that it's only magnified by pregnancy through, not after, infertility. I spent a year and a half faithfully popping pills, injecting syringes, avoiding aerobic exercise, taking and upping doses of thyroid medication, and basically using my body as a roving laboratory for attempts at babymaking. So, the experiment finally worked, but it left the facility a little trashed. I was already up about 20 lbs over my comfort level when I got pregnant, and proceeded to gain over 50 lbs in less than 10 months. I didn't eat like pig; I was too nauseous to do that. I had a few crave-inspired cheeseburgers, but I generally tried to be reasonable. I just gained. And gained. And swelled. And it didn't stay confined to my belly (though plenty settled into a new home there, where it continues to be a squatter even after the baby moved out). I lost some of it postpartum, but not all. In fact, I had cankles for 3 weeks after I got home from the hospital -- big, pitting edema-filled cankles. I dreaded having people come over, for fear of more assvice AND because it meant I had to find clothes to put on. I've been moping around the house in leftover maternity pants all this time because they are still way more comfortable than the post-IVF pre-pregnancy clothes (which were still a little bigger than what I used to wear, when my body was a temple and all that). I know it's contributed substantially to feeling bummed out so much of the time. I've been walking the fine line between apathy and motivation to do something about it for -- let's see -- 6 months minus the 6-week postpartum period now. And really, it's about more than my body image now -- I have to set an example for my son. I want him to grow up understanding that responsible food choices (both in terms of nutrition and environmental impact) are important, and that physical activity is better for you, for its own sake and versus couch potato-ing. And as for the body image part, I have craftily avoided being in pictures and going out where I have to wear fancypants because I HATE feeling like a fatty lumpkin. And it makes me sad that I don't have many pictures of me with Jackson. So, it can't go on like this. Self-loathing aside, I have to work at this and feel better. Anyway, I really hope I see some initial results SOON from this personal training business. I could use the pick-me-up.

And I hope the weather takes a turn. I've never thought of myself as having seasonal affective disorder, but DUDE a little sun and a nice 60-degree breeze does wonders. I am OVER the cold weather, the freezing rain, the gloom. I'm really, really looking forward to taking Jackson out for walks in his stroller, or in his jogging stroller (listen to me talk the big talk!) and getting some fresh air.

I also need to work out details for babysitting for all the summer weddings and whatnot we have to attend this year. KB's mom still has this vague notion that she will babysit, overnight natch, so we can go out of town. It doesn't help that KB sort of promised her this many months ago, well before we knew as much about how far she'll go to undermine our parenting decisions and how his sleeping and eating habits would shape up. I'm leaning hard on the fact that he still nurses at night to keep the overnight babysitting dream at bay. The truth is, I don't want her to babysit AT ALL; I want for her visits to always include me being around. Control freak much? (Believe me, this is a recurring theme in therapy sessions.) My concerns are myriad. 1) Her food issues. She shuns healthy food choices and makes a HUGE deal about how much better her white bread, white rice, sugar-coated-everything treats are to my 7-year-old niece (whose parents, like us, prefer wheat pasta, wheat bread, organic, etc.). I don't think she's trying overtly to do this, but the end game seems to be to convince the kid that Nonna offers you GOOD food, not that garbage your parents force you to eat. It's already begun with Jackson, who is hardly out of the gate eating solids. She's asked about giving him ice cream, and when I say "no" she mumbles under her breath (but audibly) "well, he can have it at Nonna's house." Um, no, he cannot, if I already said so. (I won't even give him off-the-shelf jarred food; it'll be either organic or homemade.) I think it's part of a larger issue of wanting everyone to love her best. And food is her weapon of choice. 2) Her everything-else-parenting-related issues. I should let him cry more. Holding him all the time spoils him. Daycare ruins kids. We're wrong to not have him christened in the Catholic church (oooh, there's a topic we can get into another time. Controversy!). And so on. It's all come up off and on over the past year. I imagine him under her care, crying his eyes out because she lets him (to "teach" him something, I don't know what), being taught the rosary (against our wishes), being spoon fed ice cream and who knows what else, and generally being a sugar-addled, napless mess when I return home. Not to mention that she's well into her 70's and has a bad knee and our house is like a boobytrapped obstacle course of steps and furniture. We're putting baby gates and door safety latches up soon, so it will be even more challenging to navigate this place with a 16-lb sack of squirmy potatoes in your hands trying desperately to wriggle free every moment. KB is on the same page as me, but he's more willing to look for "compromises" -- let her babysit for a few hours, let's say. I say "no." I've watched her claim dominion over our niece and sneak food to her, undermine or badmouth her parents' rules and routines, and make passive-aggressive color commentary on their parenting choices in general, and I am not cool with it. She can see Jackson whenever she wants, but I will be there. She's already begun asking about our trip to South Dakota in September, to attend a friend's wedding, and the bottom line is: Jackson is coming with us. My sister has volunteered to fly out for a couple of days to babysit (which is full of the awesome), so we're all set (notwithstanding the travel nightmare our recent trip to Chicago became -- we're planning another go at it this summer, to somewhere closer. Live and learn!). My mother-in-law handily forgets our choices for Jackson where routines and parenting are concerned, but can easily recall minute details of every trip outside of the city limit we have planned for the next year, during which she might swoop in*. Hunh.

And speaking of the wedding...KB is IN the wedding, and I am singing a couple of songs in the ceremony. Yeah, little ol' me. Here is one that I'll be doing, a lurvely Dylan tune (that will be performed more like the Adele version). Listen to this, think about your baby (or the one you're working on), and TRY NOT TO CRY. I don't know how I'll get through this song without bawling.



* I always feel the need to apologize for bagging on KB's mom for her behavior, but it is SUCH a hot button thing for me. I take parenting choices very, very seriously (that'll happen when you grow up in an impoverished and abusive home). I simply can't stand for that to be disregarded so easily to satisfy her fragile ego. *le sigh* Hopefully she'll start to see a trend and get with my program. Hopefully.