REJECTION

I arrive to pick up ZGirl from daycare. At the end of the day with just a hand-full of kids left, they are all together in the big room. I peek around the corner on the way past to get her bag and caught her eye. She doesn’t smile back. I continue on figuring once she notices I’m no longer at the door, she’ll come looking for me.

I gather her things and return to the doorway. One of the caregivers has picked her up and is standing there. ZGirl is still somber, quiet. I reach for her, but she doesn’t reach back. I gently peel her away from the woman holding her and just as I have her rested on my hip, she begins to cry and wail and reach out…

…for the caregiver.

I hand her back, smiling, wounded. ZGirl stops crying. We talk about her day. Everything’s been fine.

I reach out again thinking this time she’ll reach back. She doesn’t.

Again, I take her back into my arms and she cries and reaches forcefully away from me. I hand her back, not wanting her to be upset when we leave and watch as she not only stops crying but curls up in the arms of the caregiver and averts her face.

I still smile, hiding the hurt as I pretend to look at her journal entry for the day, blinking back tears.

EXORCISING THE FEAR

Fernando Schnabl lost his wife and five year old son when Flight 447 went down in the ocean earlier this summer. Did you know that he and his daughter boarded an earlier flight because of their fear of flying together “in case something happened”?

The fiery accident on New York’s Taconic Parkway took the lives of a 9, 7, 5 and 2 year old.

A local family’s two year old died after he drowned in the pool.

What happens to you when you read or hear about these tragic accidents?

Physically, I seize up in terror. I can feel my heart pound. My throat tightens up. I fight back tears. And then my mind does something so horrible that I can barely function: I imagine ZGirl or XBoy in that situation. Like right now, I’m doing it.

And that’s why I must write about it. It’s been happening a lot recently. It started one night shortly after the crash of 447 as I was just on the verge of falling asleep when suddenly the mental picture of my daughter’s lifeless and tiny body floating out there alone and cold came to me in searing imagery …I started to hyperventilate… even now, trying to describe the morbid thoughts, I am fighting to control myself, to breathe.

I must purge these thoughts. I have to find a way to banish these visions that send me to the bathroom retching in fear. I must face these mental demons before they consume me. My husband wants to go to the beach next year. A few months ago, I would have anticipated the chance to finally take a vacation. But now I have become so paranoid that all I could do was answer, “We’ll see.” I don’t want to get on a plane with my children. I can’t explain what is going on in my head to Mr. DD. He would only tell me that I’m worrying needlessly; enabling what was once a non-existent phobia.

Is this normal? Not just to fear the worst, but to imagine the worst? I feel paralyzed and that in some way, it’s a sick mind that allows imagery of such awfulness.

OH SNAP!

If you were wondering if while shopping for fall and winter clothes you should go ahead and get that size 18 mos onesie? Take my word on this: don’t.

Onesies are THE DEVILLLLL once a baby is capable of standing and walking on their own. At this stage, I prefer the bag ’em and tag ’em form of dressing when it comes to the thrashing, screaming, feral girlchild.

LOVIES

On the way to do some school supplies shopping (SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL!!! SCHOOL STARTS IN LESS THAN A MONTH) I had a horrible thought cross my mind. ZGirl has developed a crush on a stuffed animal, a Ty plushie given to her as a gift. Of course, that’s not the horrible thought even though it is a whole lot of pink and purple rolled into one and IN THE FORM OF A UNICORN!

Yes, I’m shouting. Too much coffee.

The thing is, we only have one of them. I need to be like Serenity who wisely has three of her son’s lovies in her possession.

XBoy’s “lovies” ended up being all of the cloth diapers we bought to use as burp clothes. I’m sure at one time we had a couple dozen of them about, of which one by one they would disappear. I remember one being left intentionally on the shopping mall’s tile floor covering a puddle of slushie XBoy had dropped when he was probably around three because at three years old we have to carry our own goddamn drink and then spill the entire contents all over the damn floor where someone could easily slip and sue the mall management. I actually had one of the shop workers call maintenance but after waiting for five minutes with an inconsolable toddler, I decided that losing the burpie, which was much easier to see on the floor than a melting pile of banana slushie, was simply cutting my losses.

Today he still has a couple left: his Burpies. One that is is absolute favorite. Probably because it has gone through the washer and dryer so often that it is now as fine as tissue paper and almost sheer.

It took a couple dozen of those bad babies to make it seven years. With that revelation, I knew that one beanie baby wasn’t going to make it through ZGirl’s formidable years as a toddler. So the hunt is on for one retired stuffed animal. I’ve already found a couple and will be swooping in on ebay to get them when the time is nigh.

Why couldn’t she have developed a penchant for a roll of toilet paper or a plastic shopping bag? Those, I have plenty of.

LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

pittOne of the magazines in our reception/waiting area is Wired, which I would best describe as a Rolling Stones magazine for the techno junkies. Augusts’ publication has Brad Pitt on the cover…wearing a blue tooth ear piece and next to it in itty-bitty print it says something about how HE can barely pull that look off and you aren’t him(oh, so true, people). I couldn’t figure out how Pitt could tie into Wired so I went to the article inside (of course it was for the article ‘cause Pitt’s face is not the purty IMHO) titled: How to Behave: New Rules for Highly Evolved Humans.

The article is basically a bunch of tips for people like you and me that spend an abnormal amount of time blogging, tweeting, flickring, facebooking, etc. Within those tips are tinier little tips, like these:

  • Don’t follow more people than follow you.
  • No more than 20 tweets in 24 hours.
  • Don’t use a photo of your child as your profile picture.
  • Don’t type BRB. Just go and come back.

By the way, Brad Pitt, star of Inglorious Basterds, is providing separate and bad advice within the column, which is actually kind of funny.

Anyway, one of the topics of the article/column is “Meet Online Friends in the Real World (Beware: It Will Be Weird)” by Mathew Honan. And this is interesting shit, so don’t skip over this or blow me off just yet.

Nancy Baym, who studies online communications at the U. of Kansas talks about what can be an awkward shift from internet friendship to a real world one.

“With all his snappy posts and ripostes, you may have come to think of him as quick-witted. But what’s fast in message-board land can feel slower than dialup in a face-to-face exchange. ‘Sometimes good online socializers are shy in person,’ Baym says. ‘Their medium is the written word.’

This made a lot of sense to me especially later when I was talking to a gal I’ve become friends with at work. She’s outgoing and hysterical and she doesn’t come into my office nearly enough throughout the day to alleviate my boredom. Just today we were talking about boobs. She claims she has pancake boobs – you know what I’m talking about – which she was lamenting when I suggested that she go to her S.O.’s class reunion and wear something to show off her boobage to make HIM look good. She said, “It’s too much trouble shifting them around to make sure I don’t look ridiculous in case it gets cold,” and then she made this motion with her fingers as to how one nip might be pointed this way and the other that-a-way and added some sound effects for good measure.

…I guess you had to be there. I mentioned facebook to her to which she responded with a blank look on her face. “I don’t get it. I have a SIL that sits in front of the computer all day doing that shit. What the hell could she be getting out of it?”

Herein is my point. It appears that a majority of people who seem to have a more difficult time, how should I say this? Socializing, do quite a bit of blogging. I read dozens and dozens of blogs and at one time or another there has been some admitting to being shy. It’s why I veer away from meetings with other bloggers. Why even though I have a few phone numbers stored in my cell phone, I don’t call anyone. I don’t want you to realize how abysmally dull I truly am in real time. When I headed up north for the ConFab and met Molly, Alexa, and Jennifer, I felt like a fraud and an actor. While my blog is hardly spellbinding, it definitely paints a much flattering picture of me than meeting me in real life.

I think that’s probably true for 99% of those who blog religiously. We are terminally shy and looking for some kind of outlet. So to many like me, blogging is actually kind of like Bizarro World for us shy, under-worldly creatures. There’s probably a funny, thoughtful, smart, insightful person inside of me somewhere, but since she rarely makes an appearance on my blog, I’ll just warn you to lower your expectations if we were to ever meet in person. My little nook in an unused room suits my personality quite well.

ROCKET MAN – I THINK IT’S GONNA BE A LONG, LONG TIME

When XBoy was a newborn, we couldn’t wait to see what every week would bring as far as his developmental milestones go. I kept the book given to us by our pediatrician about what to expect each month next to the crib and would read about the month he was in and what to watch for, and of course the following month in anticipation. I followed the book’s suggestion down to the T. I documented when he rolled over; when he sat upright; when he crawled; when he first walked; his first words; etc., etc.

As for ZGirl? I opened the book a couple of times to remind myself of when I could introduce solids and what kinds, but we didn’t push it. We jumped over the rice mess and went straight to my broccoli chicken tortellini from Pizza Hut, which she loved, at six months. I don’t really recall when she started crawling. A couple of months ago? Five months ago?

I can tell you she started walking, if you call 3 or 4 steps before she collapses into my outstretched arms, walking, a week or so ago. She doesn’t say mama or dada, but the other day while at daycare she pointed to the wall of paper stars and said, “tars”. I have on my phone a video from my husband of where she repeated “uh-oh” with perfect enunciation. That was a month ago and she no longer says it. She looks for XBoy when we say his name. She crawls at break-neck speed to the bathroom when we say it’s time for her bath. She points to interesting, and sometimes not so interesting, objects.

As far as I know, she’s an average baby with average milestones. I do wonder about the talking, but I think I worry since XBoy was an early talker. He was (and still is of course) a very clever toddler. I even have a video of him at about 18 months counting to 20.

I guess it comes down to that while I eagerly anticipated every new development in XBoy, including the thrill of packing away outgrown clothes, I struggle immensely with ZGirl’s changes. I have a digital picture frame in our bedroom that hasn’t been updated since January. All the pictures are of her during the first five months, and as I watch the images of a newborn I barely recognize slide and morph on the screen, I can feel myself sinking into such a funk that I blink back tears.

The first two months after she entered our world were hellish. It seemed as if we never slept, but obviously we did. I would crawl into bed in the middle of the night dreading the fact that in two more hours I would have to be up again to nurse her. On more than one occasion, I remember collapsing into my pillow in tears and saying to Mr. DD, “What have we done? What were we thinking??” and before he could even attempt to sooth me, I had passed out in exhaustion.

That memory is burned indelibly into my heart since of course, we had moved heaven and earth to have her here and at my darkest I had almost wished it not to be so.

It’s now that she sleeps easily from 9 – 7 that it makes that time feel like an eternity and a half ago. Was it really THAT bad? Looking back, no, and if I could – if WE could – I would do it again.

Each day little bits of babyish floats away into the ether. She is rounding the first turn into toddlerhood in her personality, which is both feisty and fearless. She is developing a crush on a couple of stuffed animals. She hides under the blanket awaiting a game of peek-a-boo. She screams in furious indignation when we try to pluck out whatever foreign object she has secreted away into her mouth, and when she’s tired, she seeks us out, lifts her impossibly small arms up to us in a silent plea to be picked up and held, and when we do, she curls up into our arms – only briefly – before pushing back away with those arms to look into our face and smile as if to say, “I soooo have you wrapped around my finger…SUCKAH!”

And she does. She has us ALL wrapped around her finger. It’s ridiculous to imagine the three of us are at her beck and call, but we are. XBoy will even stop playing a video game to attend to her blatant calls of attention.

The relationship those two have is…oh god…it’s so hard to put into words. It’s reciprocal admiration at its finest. He will read books to her even though he HATES to read. She screams in excitement when he enters the room. The other day, she nearly pushed herself out of my arms while in the pool, just to reach out to him. I originally had feared that their age difference would equate INdifference, but I couldn’t be more surprised or elated by how well they have bonded.

I wish you all could meet ZGirl. To meet XBoy. To see how years of bitter disappointments and failures have accumulated into such a sweet, sweet outcome. One that I’m proud of in that we persevered when it seemed we could never clear the hurdles of multiple miscarriages, male factor, poor ovaries, money, time, time, time…

Time. It’s hurtling us all too quickly into the future. It seems recently I’ve been sitting on that rocket of time and while my arms are wrapped firmly and lovingly around both my children, I sometimes stop sniffing the sunshine in their hair to turn and look with melancholy on what is behind me. When I turn to face what’s in front of me again, ZGirl and XBoy are just a little bit bigger and not holding on quite as tightly to my arms.

T.K.O.

Since it seems not only self-indulgent, but a bit asshole-y to privately ask you this (and even though you probably expect nothing less from me), for those of you who still have T.K.O…more or less with the tko.typepad.comlink associated with it, would you mind updating your link, purty-please?

Boy. That didn’t sound at ALL self-indulgent or asshole-y, did it. *eye roll*