Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween- or how I fell in love with my husband

First of all, I'm not a fan of Halloween. Before meeting my husband, I had not celebrated Halloween for, um...maybe 10 years? More? Halloween is full of stuff I try not to have too much of-candy, boozing... And celebrates my least favorite thing, fear. I think it's hypocritical that women wear as little as they can as a goal, and men try to come up with something 'clever'. Too many stereotypes for me.

I like costumes, but I feel perfectly fine wearing a costume on another day. In fact, I chose a career where I have worn costumes, gowns, excessive makeup, you name I guess I don't feel a "need" to dress up.

Things are different now, though, because I married a holiday junkie.

I met him online. This strikes me as funny because just yesterday we were talking to someone about having met online (with baby in tow) when he said, "huh, online? Does that really work?" Tye said, "I guess we'll let you know..." and we laughed about it on the way home. Tye is everything I wanted in a mate (except I wish he liked veggies and maybe exotic food) and I never would have met him if he hadn't found me online.

There are several lovely little 'falling in love' stories about Tye, and I certainly won't tell the more obvious ones, but one of my favorites is when we did a picture exchange...and Tye sent me a picture of himself in a full superman costume. Head to toe spandex, red boots, and a cape. Since he was 38, balding, and is not employed as an underwear model, this was pretty risky. And wonderful. Innocent and brave and nerdy and marvelously un-self-important. I'm pretty sure this is when I first considered having a whole life with Tye.

Now, in New York, I normally had a hot dog and went to the movies by myself on Christmas. It had become a beloved tradition. Tye, as a single person, had two separate "theme trees", lights, a christmas village, christmas music, and a ham dinner. On Halloween I just avoided going out, for fear of pranksters. Tye always dresses up and goes to work in costume, even if no one else is dressed. This literally brought me to tears at first--I cried when I heard that his trees were themed in 'sports memoribilia' and 'patriotic stuff'. Seriously. CRIED. No way could I have a relationship with this guy.

But what I learned in falling in love is that Tye creates a dream world on holidays. I think our daughter will long for the smells of our holiday traditions when she goes to college. She will spend a month talking about her halloween costume. She will love the little special things her dad did to make holidays magical.

Last night, when the 3 of us went to a party dressed up like the superfamily, and I risked being seen 30 pounds heavier and 2 months after baby in a short skirt and pair of vinyl boots, hoping the baby would take all the attention, it wasn't just Tye that was fulfilled.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Your Present Plans are Going to Succeed

The title of this post came with my Beef and Broccoli tonight. If only fortune cookies had a tendency to be true.

This makes me think of a few things:
1. When I was in high school, Dari and I worked at a restaurant called Fast Wok. During slow times we would drink insane amounts of soda and open the fortune cookies. Eventually she was fired on a trumped up charge of egg roll theft. They were just intimidated by powerful women.

2. I just found an advertisement for an opening at a university not too far from here--as an assistant professor of voice. It's exactly what I've been looking for. I'm qualified for it, and one of the faculty is someone I've worked with (and remember very fondly). Are these my present plans? Sounds pretty awesome honestly. But it seems when you REALLY long for things, they're usually replaced by other things which are more likely to challenge your dreams than fulfill to them to your wishes. I think. Anyways, did I say it sounded great? Yeah.

3. Will this actuallly work? Me as mom, Tye as the main provider, house not finished, beautiful baby, weight loss, Iowa winter coming again, and not feeling isolated while we try to pay our gas bill? Confucius says "stop asking fortune cookies."

The attached is a picture of me in 2007. Two years ago, and about 35 pounds lighter. At that weight, I felt fantastic--light, healthy, attractive. I'm trying to keep my goals: 10 pounds by Dec 8, 20 by February 8, and so on....that means I'd be lighter than that by Stevie's next birthday by a good 15 pounds :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dogs & Doctors

Well, our previously spoiled dogs are getting it pretty rough. Not that they still don't get yummy treats and occasional walks (and run of the house) but pre-baby they had the life! They were held like babies and slept on the bed and I walked them every day pre-pregnancy!!

Ginger has now eaten 2 diapers. That is really 2 too many. I'm not sure how she got them, but I can't say I've been pleased. She also has a constant goal of getting a hold of a pacifier of her own, or really all of them. We are quite nervous about Max with the baby--due to one slightly scary lunge. Was he playing? Was he thinking she was food? We're not sure, so therefore he is yelled at a lot when he comes within 10 feet of her.

Tonight it was so cold outside I chose an aerobics video. The dogs started out by watching me from 3-4 inches away from my feet at all times. This progressed to the two of them attempting to fight between my feet, and finally barking at the door every time I took a step, as if there were a knock. Perhaps next time I will lock them in the closet. I'm joking. Kind of.

After my own very cursory research and concerns, I have asked the doctor to space out Stevie's vaccines. I believe in vaccines, I promise. I just think that it's so much to blitz her system with 5-6 vaccines at a time just for convenience's sake. I also think that the number of parents claiming some link between vaccines and autism shouldn't be ignored. I think fire starts with smoke, and the medical community never takes anything seriously until proven with a study.

For example, does Mirena cause weight gain? Ask any OB, and they will say, "no." Read the Mirena info and it says, "Mirena is not linked to weight gain." Now type in "Mirena + Weight Gain" to google and you get HUNDREDS of people saying they gained weight suddenly and inexplicably on Mirena. Smoke.

Oh, so what was I saying? Yes, doctors (this pediatrician was recommended by several mothers to me--I being new to CR still am not willing to blindly try another). He is not pushy. I like that. He is also cut and dry. But I definitely caught a slight eye roll with my mention of spreading out her vaccines. He told me he did not think it was a risk but this was "all about you feeling comfortable, so if you would like to do it that way, fine."

Ok. Fine. Guess no need for me to lecture or debate the way I love to. My husband would roll his eyes at me. He'd be right. But I held my tongue today :) No need to argue if you're already getting what you want.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Color Tour

Something I find charming about Tye is his assumption I always know what he's talking about. For instance, he woke up today and said it would be a beautiful day for a "Color Tour". I, having grown up in Arizona where we do not have color tours, took a stab at a definition, "You mean go driving to look at the leaves changing colors?" he looked at me like I had forgotten how to speak english.

This is our Sunday--Monday and Tuesday being our family "weekend" which can be nice--as the rest of the world is hard at work, and I can spend Saturday and Sunday just cleaning house or practicing, and of course taking care of Steevarino while Tye's at work. We drove to Cedar Falls from Cedar Rapids, about an hour, listening occasionally to Stevie sucking on her hands, arms and fingers, which sounds like she's just finished a plate of hot wings.

It was too late, and most leaves had already fallen, making this a nice day of touring dead trees with no leave in Iowa. We ended up at a park, pretty cold at that point, taking pictures of Stevie. This resulted in an argument, started by me, that Tye does not try to take flattering pictures of me. I believe it started with, "would it be at all possible that you might avoidmy having a double chin in every shot?" which was, I admit, argumentative and more than a little insecure. He muttered something about having a lot to think about while taking pictures, and then something about how he thought I looked good in all the pictures. And then of course I felt bad. ugh. Long story short--we stopped the argument quickly and actually got some nice shots. I'll post one here.

I so often feel like I want to get in the way of my good relationship. We spent the trip up discussing how we would discipline Stevie, as if we've got any good idea. We talked about how to avoid ever having her stare us down, someday, as a teenager, and say, "I hate you!" and how that would break our hearts. That kind of stuff. I noticed he turned down the radio for that conversation, without thinking about it. And it was a good song.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Body & Spirit

So after feeling great that I was 30 pounds down from the baby (basically the whole baby weight, including the gain from the pre-eclampsia at the end, yuck) and steadily losing a pound a week...I weighed in this morning with a three pound weight gain this week. This is obviously a trend of the OBs birth control suggestion. UM. NO. So it looks like I will not be taking the "mini pill"--we will just have to come up with another way to not make a new baby *sigh*.

Since this is a lifelong practice of mine, I crawled in bed, explained to Tye how I would remain logical about the weight gain, then cried. I am determined to weigh significantly less than I do now--determined to have dinner with my daughter when she is in her 50s.

At the same time, I feel a call to remember what I learned in New York--that left to my own 'determination', I am simply someone who likes to yell at myself for not getting everything done yesterday. I seem to be hearing a still, small voice lately asking me if I really think I can do THIS on my own? Really? and I am longing for my days of reading, praying and meditating daily. I am looking forward to serving someone who doesn't deserve it. I am remembering the absolute pleasure of forgiveness, and peace of turning things over. I am daily reminded of the pain of missing Sadie, my sister. I have no idea how to turn over this pain, to find the source of it. But as I know--the more I focus on weight, the more I lose my peace. The more I focus on peace, the more I lose the weight.

Right before I wrote this post I took this picture of Stevie--who spontaneously gave me this wonderful pose. Perfect for today.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Five good things

You either hear that babies are amazing, wonderful, and you have to have one, or you hear that they are an amazing amount of work, you never stop worrying about them, and you can kiss your freedom goodbye.

Here are my observations after being a mother for 2 months on the 5 best things about babies :)

The good:
1. Babies slow down your life, if you let them. 30 minutes I would spend running around are spent feeding her on a chair in the living room. I know I'm going to be late now--no options about being obsessively early. My time just got altered by her time.

2. Babies are healing. My mom said it before she was born, but it's true. My anxiety, my anger, always goes away staring at her beautiful sleeping face.

3. Babies need you. (This could also be on the worst list, I think). No one else can do for the baby what you can as parent. It feels like you've been chosen, needed, and in that way, all of the things you feel are important about your own life become smaller.

4. 3am. As much as I hate the lack of sleep, when Stevie cries at 3am, and I pick that little pajama-clad cuddly body out of her bassinet, and she plays with my hair while I feed her, and sighs into my arms, the whole world completely disappears.

5. The way it changes my ability to love. Having a baby feels like our table got a third leg, a missing piece. Watching Tye with the baby enriches my love for him, and learning more about a new person in my life, who hasn't even "set in" with a personality--not knowing who she will be, what worries she'll bring me, but knowing I'll love her forever, is really an amazing adventure.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grandparents, Greats, and new babies

This week the final group of grandparents came to visit Stevie. My father, my stepmother Helen and my grandmother, the 91 year old, 4 foot 9 power house known as "Goldie".

The first night they were here we were out for dinner, and grandma asked Helen about 6 times if she'd asked for lemon for her tea. No, she hadn't asked, but they might have it. Grandma would ask again, "do you think they'd have it?" Finally these answers were not satisfying, so grandma asked the waiter, "Do you have lemon and honey for my tea?" The waiter answered that they did have lemon, but "Sorry, no honey." A huge smile came across grandma's face, and she asked him coyly, "Are you flirting with me?" Boy, I hope to get a few of those genes.

We asked about genetics and how family members died (amazing how she was so satisfied to have no idea what caused relatives' deaths!). Suddenly I want to be aware of every flaw, every genetic abnormality, every "strangely prevalent" personality trait with the new baby. I am so afraid of her ending up with the illnesses, and so hopeful she'll walk away with the talents. But I guess it's the human existence--we get a little of each. My eyebrows, Tye's eyes, my anxiety, Tye's dislike of vegetables?

We listened to a polka band at the Cedar Rapids "Czech Weekend" festival. The festival itself was dinky--and consisted mostly of people selling their used random collections for $1-$10 each, a small band of brass & accordions playing traditional music and the chicken dance while people stared on, and traditional pastries which sold out before we got there. We probably should have tried out the hayride. There were also trucks parked periodically with people selling greasy stuff (I hate the smell of old grease, ugh!) but it was still a great memory--Stevie's eyes wide listening to the tuba solo while Dad and Helen danced in circles on the street may be my favorite.

It's so strange to watch my grandmother talk to Stevie--90 years apart in age, and think how I never expected to see this, I guess, not really counting on myself to ever have a baby. And yet at the same time, feeling a sense of how perfect it is. I am so happy that she has all these grandparents, thrilled to meet her, dying to spoil her. I didn't worry one time today whether I've "accomplished enough". If you ask me, (thank God) there is absolutely no glass ceiling on memories or love.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stevie is two months on Wednesday

Finally, I blog.

I am 35, a trained opera singer, who has lived on her own in Manhattan, sung in some big and small opera houses, travelled the world, spoken a few languages, or pieces of languages at the least. I have eaten bizarre and exotic foods, in the best and cheapest restaurants around. I have lived a life with little fear, and less partnership. I have lived in the big cities, ridden the big trains, and sung the big song.

This life was wonderful, exciting, and lonely.

And then two years ago I fell in love with a man from a city of 10,000. And now I am a woman starting over in Iowa, with a two month old daughter lying by my side as I type, and a husband wearing his favorite Spiderman shirt and his favorite NFL team's pajama pants. The dogs lie around me, and we're watching cartoons. I am more concerned about breastfeeding than auditions, but still have a longing to be in that world.

I find myself wondering where to go? Where to start from here? Am I re-defining who I am, or is this just a twist in the path? I am mom, wife, caretaker. My life is bursting with love, and newness, and a lack of direction that scares the heck out of me. So, I've decided to blog. Here I am. Right? Yes. I think.