Mama B*tch

imagesLast night I was at the mall when I ran into someone who looked so familiar. We made eye contact and said, “I know you from somewhere.” [Pause, head cocked, brow furrowed.]

I got it! She was the girl who got pissed at me at the front desk of the YMCA when she mistakenly took me for the person who snaked her precious parking spot.

That episode happened about a year ago, and with arms full of kids, being in the first trimester, and feeling like I had to regain control of my life somewhere, I started with that girl who wrongfully told me off and I retaliated.

No b*tch slap. No yelling either. But there was swearing. And then there was crying.

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This week as we were waiting for preschool to start, a gaggle of 4-year-olds (mine included) were running little circles at top-4-year-old-speed. I wasn’t bothered, because it was zero f*cking degrees outside and I figured they had to get the wiggles out somehow.

Just when I was admiring the giggly bunch, another mama yelled loud and at length at the kids to stop running. Her kid must have been angelically sitting on her carpet square waiting for class to commence. I can’t recall.

However, being the recipient of a foreign and harsh disciplinary action, my kid lost it. He ran to me crying, clinging to my legs, saying he didn’t like school anymore. I had to run out the door, leaving an anxious kid in the arms of the preschool teacher, disappointed that this happened.

When I picked him up from school a couple hours later, that yeller-mama asked if my kid cheered up about school, and I replied with a heavy dose of condescension, “He was shocked and hurt that you yelled at him to stop running. That’s not how we do it in our family.”

What I almost said was, “Do you even know how much self-control it takes me to not yell at this kid?!? And then you go and waste a good yell on a little ring-around-the-rosie?!? B*tch, please.”

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This Mama B*tch is getting harder and harder to contain.

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Musical beds

Sounds pretty kinky. But it’s not like that. I hereby humbly confess that an unfortunate combination of my pregnancy and indecision has forced Josh and me to have slept in each of our four bedrooms. I just keep dictating yet another room change, hoping the next spot our bed lands will be its last. The past year has seen countless room configurations. Josh has been ever-so-patient with me.

Unfortunately, I’m not done yet. I want to upgrade from a full-sized mattress to something bigger. But the only room in the house that will fit a bigger bed is what I had previously dubbed the guest room. And since I’m too good to sleep on the air mattress (we tried it and it won’t suffice), I’m shopping for beds (and a mattress), hoping to make a good and somewhat quicker decision than I usually do.

Oh and to make this a little more challenging, I am trying to keep the bed cost under $1,000, and we need to get creative with fitting a mattress upstairs.

I keep warning Josh that we have yet another game of musical beds on the horizon.

He keeps looking at me as if to say, “Again? Just be sure it’s what you want.”

And I shoot a look back that says, “I’m never sure of what I want. Just move the f*cking bed.”

Here are the beds I’m eyeing [today].

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West Elm’s Midcentury Bed Set Acorn

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Restoration Hardware’s 19th C. Campaign Iron Canopy Bed

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World Market Cute as a Button Bed

Gestating the bonus baby

When I first heard a year ago that friends of ours were expecting a surprise baby long after they thought they were done, I actually said the word suckers. I teased my friend about not blowing up the condom like a balloon before relying on it.

Then I found out I was pregnant with a surprise third, and the word sucker haunted me. At the time, my mind was still reeling from serious depression, as recounted here in my post, How to go crazy in 6 months or less. Just when I felt like I was getting a grip, a little pee stick turned up with a f*cking plus sign and my house of cards came crashing down. I felt like I couldn’t breathe for a few months, I was having panic attack after panic attack, sure that my life and my kids are going to be so f*cked up because I made this mistake of relying on just one form of contraception.

Years ago, I had decided that any more than two children would be too many for me. My identity rested in having precisely two kids and I didn’t know how to change that.

Having three children felt so big, so looming, and I couldn’t wrap my head around what that meant for me. My clothes wouldn’t fit for another year (or two). I would fill a sedan to the brim – or surrender and get the dreaded minivan. I might need those damn leashes for my kids like my mom used.

I felt like I was gestating a grenade.

I struggled with a new breed of depression and anxiety throughout the pregnancy. And as a stats junkie, I knew that my baby would experience the negative effects of my stress, but knowing that stressed me out even more.

But one month ago Little Lucinda made it. I made it. (My therapist deserves most of the credit.)

And you know, it’s not as crazy as I expected. My clothes aren’t that far from fitting. I now look longingly at minivans. And I’m shopping on Amazon for wrist leashes for wild card kids.

Having a baby is still a miraculous thing, even when it’s the surprise pregnancy. I got through it, kicking and screaming, and Lucinda did too. This bonus baby felt like someone played a joke on me. I now get the humor.

Kitchen reveal: f*cking good enough

In my very pregnant state, I have come to peace with what I was able to accomplish with the kitchen. I didn’t repaint over the last color I tried out (too many fumes) and I didn’t switch out the light fixture after all (afraid to start shock therapy too early for the bun in the oven). But I did decorate, and that can be the most fun part of it.

Here’s the first before.

Before

Before

We sold the island and spent quite a few months in serious kitchen soul-searching. I scored this great table revealed here and have had no regrets. The winning table has hosted dinner parties for 8, birthday parties for 10, as well as daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the family. It’s perfect. I bought 2 upholstered benches from World Market to make a cozy corner to sit and eat, enjoy coffee, work, and read at the table while enjoying the park view.

I framed some of my favorite calendar pages from Rifle Paper Co. as inexpensive art in $15 Target frames.

The previous owners had installed an electric range under a very low microwave – only 12 inches from the burners – which means it not only wasn’t up to code but whoever was cooking had to hunch over to fit their arms between the burner and the microwave. Oh, and make sure you’re using a short-handled spoon! Plus only the back burners worked. These factors made cooking a bit of a pain.

So I dragged home a new gas range and hood from the Lowes 4th of July sale, and my husband came to my rescue and installed it. We nixed the microwave (slow-cooking incentive). But after Superhusband installed the range and hood we realized there was a 6-inch gap of unfinished wall where the backsplash didn’t go all the way up to the height of the new hood.

Before: Old stove. When we removed the microwave we saw the backsplash didn't go all the way up so we had to get creative.

Before: Old stove and exposed unfinished wall where backsplash didn’t go all the way up.

I decided to use faux tin ceiling tiles from Home Depot, cutting and assembling to match the gap space, painting them the cabinet color, and installing over that unfinished gap. A $20 solution with infinite emotional payback.

I’m pleased to report that f*cking good enough is pretty damn great.

New stove with faux tin backsplash

New stove with faux tin backsplash

After: Completed eat-in kitchen

After: Completed eat-in kitchen

Inexpensive art: Old calendar pages from Rifle Paper Co.

Inexpensive art: Old calendar pages from Rifle Paper Co.

Sweet little built-in

Sweet little built-in

The elusive push present

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A push present is something the partner is supposed to present the mother after she has birthed the child – whether pushing was involved or not. For the record, c-section births are deserving of push presents as well. Look at Tiffany’s Celebration Rings site and see the arrival of a new baby is at the top of the list for when this celebratory piece of jewelry is supposed to be presented.

I had never even heard of a “push present” before my 3rd pregnancy. My mom bore 6 kids and worked like a dog and certainly never negotiated anything sparkly or pretty out of the deal.

I had heard stories of men presenting their women with a gift upon delivery of a baby – as if any sum of sparkly goods could possibly begin to reward her for her sacrifice. As if her just reward could fit between a thumb and forefinger (unless it’s a set of keys to a new house or car or both). But it still sounded nice.

But I was beside myself to learn there is actually a common name for it! Behold the “push present.”

I feel like someone who just found out there is something called Christmas. I feel like I should fire Hallmark. I feel like…well, I feel like I had better go shopping for my own damn push present because I don’t trust my philosopher husband to pick me out anything of value that doesn’t come leather-bound and way too deep for my projected post-partum mental capacity.

Anyone out there ever received a push present?

Vicarious nesting

The other day I loaded up the dishwasher, then walked across the kitchen and told Josh, “It’s ready to go.” His eyes got huge, he stood straight up, and whimpered, “She’s ready to go?”

I laughed, “The dishwasher, not the baby.”

We’re waiting for the baby’s arrival. Which is usually when nesting kicks into high gear – when you want to do something really productive (like produce a human) and you settle for other tasks that would otherwise elevate you to superhero status but in nesting phase only whet the appetite.

As a very pregnant and stubborn woman on bedrest, fighting my desire to complete home improvement projects, and knowing I still have a month to go before the bedrest sentence is lifted, I’m undergoing hard times. I said as much to Josh a couple of days ago.

My Superhusband has already jumped to my rescue. Yesterday he single-handedly moved the boys’ beds downstairs so I can make their old room the nursery. Then he moved my favorite chair into the master bedroom. Today he installed our handrail – which I had taken down a year ago to paint the wall and failed to reinstall. And then he re-caulked the kitchen sink – another project we’ve been meaning to do for a year. And as much as I try to negotiate, he’s not letting me lift a finger.

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My Superhusband says I’m not allowed to show his face. Not sure why. But since he’s doing all the grunt work of nesting for me I’m not going to fight him on this one.

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Note the newly-installed handrail thanks to my nesting husband

I am so thoroughly impressed. It’s almost as good as first-hand nesting. Almost.

Proper care & feeding of pregnant women

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My growing belly is eliciting unfiltered comments daily, so I thought I would issue public education on how to treat a gestating mother.

1) When you see someone is beyond-a-doubt pregnant, do not comment that she is nearing the end. For all you know she still has months to go, and your comment is discouraging. Never, ever say anything along the lines of, “Any day now,” “You’re going to burst,” or “Twins?” Doing so warrants a slap in your face. Or at least a permanent shun.

2) If you must draw attention to this poor woman, who in all likelihood would prefer to crawl into a shady hole and die, just say she looks great. This is no time to let your creative genius soar.

3) You have no right to intervene on anything the pregnant woman is eating or drinking unless she is endangering her baby. And by endangering I mean definitely hurting. Like if she is swallowing knives or cocaine. Because a glass of wine every once in a while is ok in Europe. Same goes for coffee. And pretty much everything else. Give the poor woman a break.

4) Not only does nesting entail purging, but it often also entails shopping for items reminiscent of days when appendages didn’t look like sausages. I have been stocking up on skinny jeans and uncomfortable shoes. I understand this is bad timing, doesn’t make sense, and there is no way to tell just how much of the body will be recognizable after the birth. But just roll with it. Because I’m rolling with it, too. Literally.

5) A pregnant woman can pass stress onto her unborn baby. Which means it is your moral obligation to help her and relieve her stress. She is a gestating queen, and is doing something so amazing for mankind that you should be awe-stricken. The woman deserves your reverence.

F*ck bed rest: side yard update

I used to scoff at the idea of bed rest. There are all these reports debunking the claim that bed rest is the go-to solution for a difficult pregnancy. And raised by my mother who runs 365 days a year, whether healthy or sick, pregnant or unencumbered, bed rest isn’t something I take lying down.

But since my left leg is strangely in intense pain and I have to rest it, and since I’m not coordinated enough to hop around on one foot while moving rocks and installing sprinklers, I’ve been humbly asking Josh to be my hands and feet for my do-it-yourself shenanigans so I can take it easy[ish] on my body.

No small feat for a prideful, stubborn woman with a penchant for changing her mind and an ambitious attitude for what she can accomplish all by herself. In fact, it took a lot of hours of me hopping around the yard removing a fence and shrubs and plants and lifting heavy slate stones before Josh violently intervened.

Here are some photos chronicling the progress of our side yard.

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Side yard before. The previous owners actually paid someone to landscape this as such.

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Side yard step 1: tearing out plants and shrubs I don’t like and forging a path

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Side yard step 2: installing the arch, buying slate stepping stones, leveling dirt.

I disassembled and freecycled the chain-link fence that was there before. I assembled this arch. And I selected the slate stepping stones (all by myself I might add). Josh removed the old concrete stepping stones and drove  the arch into the ground. And when I decided to change the arch location by 17 inches, Josh re-erected the damn thing for me and didn’t ask too many questions.

Josh smoothed the pathway and will design and install sprinkler system. I planted some plants and will be planting more soon.

And he only yelled at me to rest about 3 times a day. He’s my hero. Good thing I’ve already paid him off with all these spawn.

Top 10 pregnancy design flaws

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Photo copyright Suzy Q Homemaker

10) Humans are given 9 long months to stress and worry about the baby before it comes out. Cats get 60 days.

9) The poor woman can gain a scary amount of weight without much pleasure involved.

8) Morning sickness comes in the beginning of the pregnancy, before she can publicly use the pregnancy as an excuse.

7) There is little sleep for the gestating mother. Anyone who says this is prepping the woman for the all-nighters ahead is sadistic and undereducated – haven’t they heard of sleep debt?

6) The most immediate reward for sacrificing mind, body, and self-respect is saggy skin and extra fat.

5) There is no equal-opportunity gestating. I would love it if I could have sex and then look at my partner starry-eyed and say, “Golly, I wonder which of us will be pregnant.”

4) Sex drive often increases during pregnancy, which makes absolutely no sense, considering size, shape, and emotional volatility of the woman.

3) The brain of the woman is overcome by a thick haze keeping her from thinking straight. This haze doesn’t lift for years postpartum. F*cking years.

2) There is no damn reason behind who is entrusted with this job of gestating. Let me serve as exhibit A.

1) What the hell is this postpartum depression sh*t?

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Illustration copyright Hyperbole and a Half.

 

Like a butterball

I would never say to anyone, “Your neck is really chubby,” or “You look like you put on weight overnight,” or “Your beer belly is really low.”

But  for some reason, some people see a pregnant woman and feel liberty to comment on weight/size/weight distribution. Unbelievable really.

My skin crawls when I hear the words:

Wow! You’ve really popped!

To hear someone say I’ve popped alludes to the thanksgiving butterball turkey with the popping thermometer that I would prefer to think I do not resemble.

Unless you see me dressed like these dames, and then I would expect comments.

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