knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

desperately seeking sound advice

Dear friends of this blog,

Help! I just don't know what to do. I need advice and direction, and I'm hoping that you all, being such kindred spirits, will know what to do.

It's my mother-in-law. She's driving me batty. And I'm really questioning my ability to cope with her once Liam arrives on the scene. Unless you adore your MIL, then you've probably nominated her at least once for the C(raziest)MIL award. Well, I'm no different. In fact, I've got a fair amount of cred to establish that she is in the Lifetime Achievement category.

First, let's begin with the good. My MIL is not mean or cruel. She is not an unhappy person. She is not condescending or holier-than-thou. She is generous. She is eager to please. She loves her family.

That being said, here are my stumbling blocks. My MIL is tactless. She is hyperactive. She is high-maintenance. She is attention-seeking and impulsive. She must relate things directly to herself in order to digest them. She is Loud. She is single-minded and determined to get her way. She often gets her way by talking louder and longer than the other person. She lacks that filter that make most people keep inappropriate comments to themselves. She has the same reaction to a Happy Meal toy that she has to a one-of-a-kind, handmade keepsake from FAO Schwartz. Her enthusiasm often borders on frenzy and consequently inhibits the quieter reactions of those around her. She fishes for compliments. She talks and talks and talks and talks and talks.

I see my MIL every day at work. This is challenging, but not insurmountable. I have a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. It wasn't much of a problem, at least, until I got pregnant. She told my coworkers I was pregnant before I could. She has been in raptures for nine months. She told people Liam's name before I had the chance. She relates everything about my pregnancy to her own thirty years before. Liam is always her grandson, and not my baby. She talks about me and Liam on the telephone in volumes loud enough to hear two rooms away. She is excited. She is going to drive me to drink. I feel like she is going to consume this poor baby, and quite possibly myself as well.

As we approach the birth, her proprietary behavior is escalating. I love that word, don't you? Once of my nicest, and least snarky friends recently used it to describe my MIL's attitutude towards Liam:

Proprietary: one that possesses, owns, or holds exclusive right to something

That's the rub. This baby, our son's birth, it's still really all about her. Sigh.

I'm desperately afraid of what is going to happen. Either I continue to bottle all this angst up inside and simmer while I should be celebrating, or I speak up and risk a confrontation. Blecch. Neither is very appealing.

To complicate matters, she keeps talking about being at the hospital with me. I would rather put toothpicks in my eyes than go through birthing a baby in her company. I've made my decision about who will be there with me: Glenn and my mother. My mom is soothing, quiet, knowlegable, and most importantly, she's attended births before, for my aunts. My MIL knows my wishes, but keeps dropping hints. She's already planning her schedule at the hospital, and I don't know what to do. She just about drove me nuts while Glenn was having back surgery and recovering, and I wasn't even in pain then. I cannot, cannot, cannot be around her and have a baby at the same time.

Someone please help me figure this out. Just discussing my feelings with her, emmm, is not going to do it. She isn't capable of understanding that this baby is about me, and has nothing to do with her. She'll say she understands; she'll nod, and then she'll promptly forget it all and I might as well not have wasted my breath.

Mostly, I want this time to be about Glenn and Liam and me. I want us to be a family first. I don't want my emotions and joys overshadowed by her all-consuming three-ring-circus of behavior and emotional wackiness. I want peace.

So how the hell do I get it?

Email me with anything you feel might be constructive.


there are no words

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to exercise my powers of description. I'm rusty and I could use the challenge. But for three days I've been unable to come up with a sufficient narrative of the past weeknd. There are no words.

(Many of) My nearest and dearest came to Liam's baby shower on Saturday, and I'm still kind of reeling from the outrageous amount of love and generosity shown to myself and this child. It goes beyond my powers to describe. You are all so wonderful. My heart is full.

And then there were the travellers. Thank you all for driving so far for this. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to repay the favor. The best-in-show award absolutely goes to Patti, who will be forever in our hearts. Not only did she drive six hours up from New Jersey, but she arrived with fresh bread, fresh pies, four trays of homemade Italian Eggplant Parmesean, meatballs, sausage and sauce, and a bottle of this wine (for after the birth, of course!):
Be still my heart.

The shower was lovely, and I had a wonderful time, despite being as pregnant and puffy as possible. I have two chins in almost every picture. There was a small mountain of gifts which is hard for me because I want to focus on them all, but I'm not allowed to let the shower extend to five hours long. Later, at home, I spent the better part of the weekend giving every gift its fair amount of attention and putting things to right in Liam's room. Still not quite there, but close.
And then there were the clothes. Holy Moses, the clothes. This child is going to be so well put-together, I'm almost ashamed to be seen with him. I'm going to look like a total ragamuffin in comparison. I love the clothes. I have a high-capacity front-loading washing machine, and it took me four (!) loads to get everything laundered. Think we'll have enough?
All in all, it was a great weekend, and I thank all my lovely women for getting there. I'm feeling ready for this baby, so much more now that we have all your fabulous gifts.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Letters to Liam - Week 38

Dear Sweet Pea,

We're almost there. We've got to be. Have pretty much given up on sleeping or movement without waddling. I'm still showing up for work every day, but I'm not so sure how much longer I'll be keeping that up! I never, never thought it would be so tiring to carry you around with me!

The midwife thinks you're about 6 and a half or 7 pounds. Remember our deal, right? No 10 pound babies and I won't deliberately dress you in pinafores.

Your car seat arrived. It's very cool and silver. I can't believe how complicated the installation instructions are. I'm hoping your Grandpa Murphy shows up before you do so he can install it. He's a much better direction-follower than your dad or I. Having the car seat was the last thing I was fretting over obtaining on time. Can't tell you how much better I feel now. Well, except for the fact that my work still cannot come to a decision about whether you can come to work with me. And they don't see why I'm in such a state over their inability to make a decision. Boo hiss.

I've essentially stopped sleeping again. I just wake up, and there's no chance of getting back to sleep, which is an odd thing for your mama. I can always sleep. Last night, for example, I was up at 2am. I had recorded Masterpiece Theater's Jane Eyre, so we watched that and kept the wood stove cranking, since it was 12 degrees below zero last night. The kitties were happy to join us. They're practicing their pyramid building skills, as at least one always, always claims a space right on top of you. I wonder if you can hear their purring, or if they can hear your heartbeat. Regardless, you appear to provide an acceptable perch for napping.

Your cradle is ready in our room. Your dad is installing the last of the moulding in your room today. I've been washing the clothes I have for you. I think we're about as ready as can be expected.

Ooh, and speaking of being ready...tomorrow is your baby shower! For various reasons, it's an all-in-one shower. There are going to be so many people who love you there. I've been valiantly trying to stay off the registry, but it's so hard! Being only two weeks away from your due date means that I'll have to destroy the majority of pictures, so you don't think your Mama was an enormous, puffy sloth with bad hair.

I'm busy waiting for the arrival of the out-of-staters who are staying with us. The Best in Show award definitely goes to my Aunt Patti who is driving up today from New Jersey. That in itself is a pretty excellent thing to do. But what makes her a superstar is the fact that she is also transporting tonight's dinner: homemade Eggplant Parm, Italian Gravy, Meatballs, Sausages all made yesterday. Yum. And what makes her my personal hero is that she is ALSO transporting up stocks of NJ's finest baked rolls, and assorted yummies from Delicious Orchards, including pie shells and apple cider donuts. Be still my heart.

I'm glad for the company, because it gives me something to dwell on besides your imminent arrival. I can't think about much else. We're 14 days away, which means you can come any time. Annny time now. Yup. I say let's get this whole pregnancy thing over with and get on with meeting you. Thanks for getting out of my ribcage area. That was not fun. Just take the plunge and decide to exit entirely. It will be just fine. I promise.

Please please come soon. I can't take the waiting any more. We're so anxious to see you and hold you and even to change your diapers.




Thursday, January 18, 2007

i give up



that is all.

Still here.

And still with child. le sigh. I just know I'm setting myself up for weeks of this waiting. C'mon baby! If he comes now, then I can bring him with me to the baby shower on the 27th! That would be grand.

I've been blogging now for over a year. Happy birthblog to me. I wish my camera batteries weren't dead.

So, onto my present crisis. Two weeks ago, Consumer Reports published findings that failed ALL the infant car seats on the market, except for two. Baby Trend Flex-Loc and Graco Snugride with EPS. That morning, I changed my registry to the Baby Trend one, which looks cool. It's kinda hard to find without buying a whole stroller apparatus too. Overnight, I had a small panic attack, envisioning a nation of hypervigilant parents and parents to be immediately buying up all the available models. So I decided to just buy it. I came to work armed with my credit card, and guess what? Sold out. Everywhere.

In less than 24 hours, every internet storefront offering either safe model was out of stock. I went ahead and placed an order through Target, one of the only stores that would still even allow me to place a backorder. So I'll get one as soon as they're in stock. Which they anticipate as being sometime in early March. Ummm, yeah, I'm sure the hospital will just LOVE that one.

I eventually found another vendor through Amazon that was selling the Snugride (at an immense price) and said they have them in stock. After calling the company directly to verify, I placed another order. If they weren't lying to me, then the car seat should ship tomorrow. IF.

Am having kittens over this. Why must life be so damn complicated?? What happens to parents who show up at the hospital without the most essential piece of baby gear? Will Liam become the hospital mascot? Will we have to live there until the damn car seat ships? Can I bring him home if we walk the 54 miles back to our house?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is this it? Take One

I've been candidly encouraging Liam to arrive early for a while now. I might be getting my wish. Or I could just be beginning a long round of, "Is this it? Or this? How about now?"

For the past 24 hours, I've been experiencing cramps. Justs like I'm getting my period. They're mostly mild, but they're constant and not showing any signs of going away. Every time I got to sleep last night, they'd wake me up within the hour.

They don't feel like contractions, but what the hell do I know about birthing a baby? I do know that I'm not experiencing any other symptoms of being in labor. Not one. So something makes me think I'm going to be having this same conversation with myself next week. And then again the week after that.

The midwife says that if this is real labor, then they won't stop it. I'm so torn. Am I ready for this? Yes. And hell no. Aaargh.

What I do know is that I didn't think it could be any more uncomfortable to be at work all day, and now I know better.

Wish me luck peeps. Or, if you've been through this before, send comforting messages with tips on how to make it another three weeks, if I'm not in labor. le sigh

Friday, January 12, 2007

Letters to my Baby Boy - Week 36

Dear Sweet Pea,

We're rounding the corner into the ninth month, and although I'm trying to do it with a modicum of grace, most of the time I feel like I'm not succeeding. Your mama is cranky. Crankycrankycranky. I can't knit, and I can't sit comfortably, and the only thing that makes me feel any better is your dad. Who is SO excited for you. He talks to my belly constantly. He gives you raspberries. I love him.

So onto more important matters, like your name. You've had one for a while, but we were keeping it a secret. I was kind of superstitious about telling people ahead of your birthday. And we all know people who can't respond tactfully to a name choice that they don't like. I just didn't want the bother. Also, it was a nice secret to keep. Like when you know you've chosen a really excellent present for your loved one, but Christmas is still four weeks away. I love that feeling.

Then right before Christmas, I find out that your dad has been telling people! Coworkers. Friends. His hair stylist! (Did I mention how excited he is??) Basically everyone but our families. Which isn't fair, so over the holidays we shared your name, which of course is Liam Robert Ferriot. Yay! I love your name.

For the past few weeks, you've been getting the hiccups in the evenings. I think it might be the best feeling ever. Your whole head and chest rhythmically get these tiny spasms that just make us laugh. It's much, much more entertaining than your feet which are wedged up under my right rib. And let me tell are not at all fun. I've really nudged you. Hard. But you're not giving up that spot.

Your room is kinda ready. I put together your furniture, and the floor is installed and the walls are painted. Your grandma Murphy and I are going to get it set up, soon hopefully. My sense of urgency is rapidly escalating as we get closer to your birthday. The past two weekends have both seen tearful episodes when I just can't take the dust and the still-unfinished areas of the house. Your dad is bewildered, but trying to make it better.

We're going to have a shower for you in a couple weeks, at which time I should be the size of a small whale. That should make for totally awful pictures which I'll have to hide somewhere. It's such a great excuse to see all my family and friends, though. You'll learn how much that means when you grow up here, a million and a half miles away from civilization of any sort that doesn't revolve around lawnmower races and ice fishing. I give you my word now that, despite our geographic handicap, you will not grow up unfamiliar with any of the following:
  • libraries
  • museums
  • Jersey Freeze
  • real bagels
  • the beach
  • NYC
  • seafood
  • Boston
  • live theatre
  • the Yankees
  • real pizza
  • aquariums
  • live music
That's just a small sampling, but you've got my promise that, no matter how poor it makes us, you will be a cosmopolitan child who just happened to be raised in the country. Just please please don't ask me to take you to a mall or to Chuck E Cheese's. I mean, we've all got our breaking points.

I was beginning to get a little worried this week when you decided to take a nap for 36 hours and you stopped moving altogether. You've since resumed your normal squirming level of activity, but goodness child, don't do that to me. I would be thrilled if you came early, but not under duress.

Am trying to continue to keep your nourished in utero, despite my compulsion this week to eat nothing but ice cream. That should become somewhat less difficult now that we have our new refrigerator! You'll never know how exciting this is, because you will never have known our old fridge, which belongs in a hunting camp somewhere run off a generator. It's tiny, probably manufactued in 1956 and the only source of cold is a metal grate on the top. There is no fan to circulate the cold air, so any vegetable matter stored in it turns to mush within 48 hours. Therefore, we keep very little in the way of fresh produce. Plus, there was only ever room for six carrots and a head of lettuce. But now you're the proud owner of a 22.4 cu ft. Kenmore Elite bottom-freezer refrigerator that just makes your dad and I as insanely happy as can be. You, of course, were the ultimate justification for this acquisition. Can't have our baby fed spoiling food, can we?

I can't wait to meet you, baby boy. Keep cozy and keep safe, and start to think about making that long trip to the outside, okay?


Your mama


Monday, January 08, 2007

file under: valid reasons to crawl into a hole for the next month

at work

"You're really starting to look different."

"Hmmm. It could be because I'm pregnant."

"No, what I mean is your face is starting to change. Like you're putting on weight in your face."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

a knitter's worst nightmare

what could be worse than pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel?