Tuesday, December 30, 2008

what will it take?

I too am flummoxed by the unwrapping of the gifts, only to return them. What, if they were really good, they would have kept them? Did the gifts themselves not measure up? Inexplicable. But then again, the whole thing is inexplicable.

So, my husband says every time something happens with them, it's like a punch in the gut. And this was a wallop. He semi-expected it, though, but that doesn't make it any easier.

But, he's not done. Against all logic and reason, he's still trying to figure out what the next step is. I pressed him hard, asking what it would take to realize they won't change and stepping away is the best for now. He countered we stepped away for a year, but that didn't help, and there's got to be something..........

There's nothing. I know there's nothing, except complete capitulation to their way of thinking, that will resolve this with them. But my husband can't walk away. He says he can't fathom they don't want to have anything to do with our son. That no one in his immediate family is willing to welcome him in any way.

I don't know what to say to that. But, then again, once the year turns and things get relatively back to normal, real life will kick in and it won't be the holidays and time will just pass. Part of the problem is I am done. I mean, come on, what else do they have to do to demonstrate how awful they are? But it's not my family.

So, he wants to send the box back. Write that Christmas is a time of giving and we give these gifts freely to them because we want to, and please don't send them back. And that he notes for the second year in a row they've failed to acknowledge their granddaughter, and now grandson, on the holidays.

I semi-joked I wanted to send them a postcard that simply said, I'm sure your grand-daughter will understand your petty sentiments.

I was going to do a post this week about my pettiness. The thing is, I miss their gifts. They are absolutely the worst money managers in the world - already gone through bankruptcy 10 years ago - and part of their problem is they spend extravagantly. Not wildly extravagantly like giving Coach bags or designer this or that, but fairly nice stuff. My parents aren't well off, so Christmas with them is always modest. But it was nice to get a $50 gift card to Ann Taylor or whatever, on top of a nice assortment of knick-knacks and stuff. I'll admit it, I liked it. And of course the overload for our daughter. And I find I am actually resentful there were no gifts last year and now this year. I have to remind myself every extravagance they spend now is just one step closer to running out of money in their retirement and their pending need to be cared for in their old age. And believe me, they're not living in my house when that day comes.

Though there is the first year we were married. We went to my parents house for Christmas, and so made it to the inlaws after the New Year (something they bring up now - we've had to celebrate the holidays with you in January!). We were swept into the living room, where there was a stack of presents. I unwrapped the two for me. You know those quilted boxes that you store china in? Yep - one present of the box for tea cups, the other present was the boxes for dinner plates and salad plates. I still use those boxes, actually, the six sets of wedding china we got are carefully stored in the basement right now. But my husband had about, no lie, 25 presents to unwrap. I sat there as he unwrapped Ralph Lauren shirts, and pants, golf shirts, t-shirts, underwear (yes, my MIL gave him underwear our first year of marriage!), socks - a whole wardrobe of 3 or 4 outfits, plus golf balls and gloves and various other things. About half way through I excused myself and let the dog out back and shed a few pity tears for myself. The next year my husband's brother was married (to someone more suitable, natch) and the gift giving evened out.

But those quilted boxes! What a message that sent in year one. So tell me, what messages have you received over the years in your stocking? Coal comes in many shapes and sizes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh, noes they did not

Remember I last typed we had busted our butts getting presents out to the in-laws? Well, today we got a package from my parents-in-law. They had unwrapped the gifts we gave them, repacked them in the box, added a note that said "we think it is inappropriate to exchange gifts this year" and mailed the box back to us.

Oh yes they did.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Survived Christmas, though it was exhausting. Too much (mostly shopping) left for the last minute, too many things to do. The little man is sleeping a little better, but still up at least twice in the night. I'm getting by basically on 5 interrupted hours a night. And the two days leading up to Christmas were so busy there was no time for a nap - and getting a nap is key to surviving sleep deprivation.

Things have been tough with my husband. He's sleep deprived and stressed about his family and there's been too much to do and it's resulted in us not not connecting and a pretty bad week, actually. Without talking it out, we both just kind of came to a mutual let's not be upset with each other moment on Christmas Eve. And it's nice to be more connected. I hope next week we can talk some of this through. Or maybe, I've been thinking, we need more joint counseling to hash some of it out. I just don't know.

On the in-law front, no word from anyone. We busted our butts to get packages out to his brother and his parents and sister. And nothing in return. Actually, we got a package from his brother's wife, with two presents - for our daughter and son. When we opened the presents on Christmas morning, realized, because of cards, it was my daughter's 3rd birthday present (from September!) and son's birth present.

My husband called his brother Christmas morning, but the brother had gone back to bed. So he chatted with his 4 year old niece and sister in law. She said if it was up to her she'd pack up niece and the two of them would come to the baptism on Sunday. But it's not up to her. No call back from his brother, no word from his sister, nothing from his parents.

My husband e-mailed his sister on Monday to ask about being godmother (he had called a few days prior with no response). She e-mailed back neither a yes nor a no, but did say she couldn't get off work to come.

I hadn't sent in the paperwork to even have the baptism (despite scheduling and sending out invites for an open house party for Sunday!). I sent them in Christmas Eve and certainly hope we're on the schedule this weekend. Gotta call and confirm. I just wrote his sister's name on the paperwork, and said she would not attend.

Oh, and despite eating horribly the past week, I still managed to lose 2 pounds. Breastfeeding is a miracle in some ways.

So a quick update. My husband and parents are out shopping for food for our open house, and I'm home supposed to be cleaning/organizing. This is just a quick just the facts post - but there's so much more going on. Between my husband and me. Thinking about my in-laws. A question about my sister. Too much thought about the past. Thinking about the future for all of us. More thoughtful posts to follow, I hope. I feel like I've been on a non-stop treadmill for the past week. Just have to hang on til Monday, when it should at least slow down. A little.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

hot topics

It appears weight is a hot button topic for many, not that that should be a surprise. The thing is, in real life, I almost never talk about it. When I was in my 20s and young 30s, I never, ever talked about my weight. Other women my age were skinny and would gripe about (non-existant) body flaws and I would stay mum, since carrying 20-30 extra pounds speaks for itself. But now that I've reached a certain age and had two kids (and two more relatively short pregnancies) and so has everyone else my age, my shape isn't that far from normal, so I can be someone who gripes with women friends about getting my old body back. Except I don't really want my old body, either. But antigone hit it on the head - for me, it's really about feeling better, stronger, healthier in my body. I want to chase my children around on the playground and not be too tired or too out of breath. (as I was much of the pregnancy). Though there is a part of me that is vain and wants to wear my old clothes. Or maybe that's the broke part of me, who doesn't want (and can't right now) purchase a bunch of stuff!

But, in the of course category, the weight had been magically melting off, and as soon as I published the last post, the melting stopped. I'm hovering around 187 or so. I fit into my old jeans, but barely. I really need to get 15 pounds off to have my wardrobe open to me again, and I really don't want to buy anything large right now. So, I still wear those army green maternity pants. I really, really hate them.


In other news - my husband is seeing his counselor again tonight, having last seen her two weeks ago, to talk about the latest missive from his lovely mother. I finially did read the email - it was as disjointed and illogical as you might expect, and not worth typing out. She's delusional, and the queen of it's all about her. At one point she said how hurtful it was my husband called the day of the delivery, as if the date wasn't embedded in her mind. How dare he care to intentionally hurt her with the reminder her grandson, whom she couldn't see because it was too painful for her, was to be born that day.

I mean really. What is there to say to that. My husband told me about his counseling appointment that night -counselor said, look, their pathology runs deep and you're not going to change them. Perhaps with family counseling, with a highly trained counselor, they might understand how they hurt us. But otherwise, it's worked for them for 60+ years, and they're not gonig to change. Especially when their behavior is tolerated by so many others in the family.

Counselor also told my husand that while he was welcome to come and talk to her about all this, he'd do a lot better talking to me about it. I agreed, there was a pause, and he said, but I dont' know how to do that. I asked why, and he said do you want to hear I look at my son and my eyes well up with tears thinknig about my parents and especially my dad? Or that I think about this all the time, trying to think of a resolution?

I told him I knew this was hard on him, and of course it should be hard. It's hard to be rejected by people you love.

The thing is, what I did not say, is that their rejection of him is so tied in my mind to their rejection of me, and that's integrally tied to his rejection of me. It hurts me, too, though for totally different reasons.

I've thought about printing out some comments I've received here from others with family estrangements. Cause while I am perfectly happy walking away from these hateful people, he is not yet there. He's seeing his counselor again tonight, so we'll see what that brings.

Meanwhile, we've just sent the birth announcements out, and are prepping for the baptism on the 28th. He's going to call his sister and ask her if she will be godmother, but I think his sister wil say no. Bleah. I don't know what we'll do then.

I've told my husband I want to model the behavior we want to receive from his family, so we sent off a birthday present to his niece, and still have to go out and buy them all (modest!) presents. We've sent them the announcement, and will mail them a Christmas card and holiday package. Maybe I should not even be trying that little bit. I don't know. Because of course they might take it as everything has been swept under the rug and is perfectly fine now. That's the one place I won't go.


And one last tidbit - remember the job that wouldn't hire me, I surmised because of pregnancy? Part-time contract position? Well, they sent me an e-mail today asking for references! So maybe who knows. I have hope, but trying not to think about it too much. Applied for a government job yesterday (4 stinking hours on the application!), heard of a possibility yesterday, have a contract temp job to send in resume, have two other good contacts to follow up..........gotta make something happen in the New Year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weight for it

Wow. Last night the little man was up from 2-7 am. UP. He slept for about 20 minutes at 3 and again at 6. Brutal. So instead of a thoughtful treatise on my inlaws or finally commenting on some thought provoking posts I've read recently, or outlining the travails of marriage, I'll talk about something I really don't talk much about in real life. The weight/body image. I've been more honest on this blog about my weight struggles than I ever am in real life. I might say sometimes I want to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes, or bemoan with other women the general body stuff women do when they get together, but in general I don't talk about it much.

I really, really want to be more healthy and energetic and that translate into weight loss. Plus I want to fit into older clothes again. I dress very conservatively, so yeah, a pair of black trousers or a white top from 4 years ago is still going to be in style today.

I spent most of the end of 2007 at 173 pounds, so we'll consider that my starting weight. I gained a lot in the early days of pregnancy, but that slowed down - my final weight was 211. Bleah. About a week after delivering my ten-pound baby, while still bloated and retaining a lot of water, I made what might be considered a stupid mistake and stepped on the scale - and it read 202. What the hell? How do you have a ten pound baby and only lose 9 pounds? But, it wasn't a mistake in that I knew I was at the peak of bloatedness and all that would come off quickly, and it has. This morning I weighed in at 188, having spent the last few week weighing myself every day and watching it just drop off. There's definitely something gratifying about the early days of breastfeeding, when the weight really does slough off quickly.

I remember with my daughter, when I went for the 6-week check up, the doctor said, ok, you've lost all you're going to lose in just plain old your body shedding pregnancy weight. Whatever you lose from here on out is about you working to lose weight. Which was pretty true. I'd really like to be in my non-maternity clothes by the baby's baptism, which we've scheduled for December 28th. Wait, I've just realized that's only 2.5 weeks away. So no way will I be 173, I must be realistic. But maybe I can hit 180 or 179. I was in the mid 180s when the shit hit the fan with my husband last year, so at least, while I'm not happy about how I look, I should have some things that fit.

I've been cutting out most sweets and most dairy, hoping that might help him sleep better, and that definitely helps with the weight. So if I keep it up, who knows. I'll keep you posted.

Tell me, in real life, do you talk openly about getting in shape/losing weight/poor body image? Or are you comfortable in your own skin? (I hope you are!) Or do you keep it all - whether good or bad - private?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Remember all my complaining about sore boobs? Like, every post since the birth? Well, turns out my little man is tongue-tied - has a shortened frenulum. So on Monday we went to a pediatric surgeon who fixed it with a simple clip. Poor little guy - they brought him to me immediately (they made us wait in the next room, which was fine except not like the walls were sound-proof) and he was angrily crying with a wad of gauze stuffed in his mouth. But it's a simple procedure, it really is, nearly blood-free, and not much more traumatic than biting your tongue. And there's a definite difference in nursing, so I am hoping the soreness will resolve quickly.

And my tiredness? Little man also has his nights and days a little shifted. His magic hours are between 1 and 5 am. During the day, he naps a lot, and heavily. Up to 4 hours of napping at a stretch. But at night? It's party time. Some nights he nurses like clockwork every two hours - 11 pm, 1 am, 3 am, 5 am, 7 am, then bam, sleep for 4 hours. Other nights, he's awake and nursing continuously from 1 to 5 am. Those are not the fun nights.

So all of this leaves me a bit tongue-tied, too. Or finger-tied. Or just not thinking so clearly and definitely not up for posting anything coherent with a beginning, middle, and end. Generally, things are fairly ok. And that's about all I got right now.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Antigone's baby shower!

Happy baby shower day, Antigone and Perseus and Sothis!

Hosted by Yummy Sushi Pajamas. (how the frig do you get the jpeg to LINK to a website?????)

I type this with a squalling infant on my lap, one hand holding my sore boob to ensure good nursing, the other hand slowly picking at the computer on the TV tray set up next to my glider chair. I've not had more than 2 hours of sleep at a stretch for the past week and a half. My boobs hurt. I've only showered twice since the birth. I have a weird rash on my back. Baby has a goopy eye, which the doctors assure me will clean up by the time he's two. Other stuff I have to blog about. I stepped on the scale the other day and after having a nearly ten pound baby, scale showed I had lost a whopping 8 pounds. WTF? How is that even possible? Well, probably water retention as my legs have swollen. My scar hurts.

And this - some form or fashion of this, your own version of this - will be you in just a few short weeks.

And I couldn't be happier for you. Because? While it sounds, um, not pleasant all typed out, and there's nothing that can prepare you for the reality, the truth is there's nothing that can prepare you for the love. For the joy. For the best.

Congratulations from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait to read and hear all about it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Whew. Families are tough.

So, you may recall, my parents are here from Thanksgiving through New Years. So far so good, with just the usual, expected irritations.

Got a call today, though. My dad's brother passed away this morning. My father's sister passed away in April, so now my dad is alone from his original family. And to make it all worse, my dad and his brother have been estranged for many years. My uncle was kind of a jerk in a lot of ways - he's the one who estranged himself from everyone in the family. My uncle has been under hospice care, so this was not unexpected, but as my dad is saying, still upsetting. So now we're all on our computers trying to figure out how to get him to Key West for the weekend. Let's just say not easy.

Meanwhile, on the other side, my husband got an e-mail from his mother last night. I haven't seen it yet, and will post it if/when I do. My husband told me this morning it basically said goodbye. We had left her no choice but to cut herself off from us because it was too painful for her.

Kymberli at I'm a Smart One (I'm still sort of reading as much as I can, but am waaay behind) posted yesterday asking about cursing. My favorite curse is Jesus fucking Christ. Which, raised to be the good, guilt-ridden Catholic that I am, I think is blasphemous (gee, ya think?) so it's mostly my own internal curse and I think looks vulgar on the page (southern upbringing) so I also resist typing. But I digress. Jesus Fucking Christ. My mother-in-law is, I swear, the most self-centered person in the world. Except for all the other horrible family stories I've heard in solidarity in the comments, of course. Anyway, am totally rambling here. My mother in law's note also contained the gem that she told my husband 9 years ago he was choosing another family over hers (that would be mine - we were married 9 years ago).

My husband said he was hurt and angry. That of course she has a choice - she's making this choice. He has a counseling appointment tonight, so I'm sure will talk it through more.

I've lived with family estrangements. It's possible to cut yourself off from your family, have a perfectly content life, and reach the end and have some regrets, but regrets mostly that it wasn't possible to work things out. Absolutely. But I think the key is to believe, genuinely believe, that you've done everything you can do and the estrangement is because of the other person. If this was just his parents, I think it might be easier. His stupid siblings getting involved, choosing sides, makes it harder.

In baby news, my little man has his nights and days flipped. So long sleep stretches in the middle of the afternoon, but up every two hours at night. But we're getting there. With, as usual, too many other things on our plate.