Monthly Archives: August 2006

a quandary

Yesterday we went to Shane’s parents for a decadent breakfast-for-dinner meal, which was delicious but made me feel greasy. After dinner, his Dad asked us if it would be OK to have a naming/blessing ceremony for Molly at their LDS church. (I had already told them it would be fine to take her to church this coming Sunday.) I was extremely taken aback. I was afraid I reacted confrontationally, but Shane says I did fine. I grilled him a little bit on what would be said and done, and he satisfied me that this isn’t dedicating her to the church and isn’t a baptism or christening. I agreed to it, as did Shane, but I’m uncomfortable because I’m afraid this will be a first step in trying to persuade her to become a member as she’s older, and I am not comfortable with Christian theology. I know admittedly very little about the Mormon church, but what I’ve observed is that women in the church have very little power. The blessing Dad-in-law wants to do is a circle of men, none of whom I’ll know besides him, blessing Molly and giving her her name in a sort of formalized way.

Afterwards, I was talking through my worries with Shane, and I realized the biggest problem I have is that this will happen before the Unitarian church naming I’ve been very loosely daydreaming about. I wanted to include a variation on a Wiccan ritual called the five-fold kiss, which is a beautiful blessing. I decided Shane and I (or myself alone if Shane opts out) will have our own tiny ritual to name and bless her with some Goddess- and Earth-centered prayers before Sunday. Shane told me today, when I was still kind of twitchy about the whole deal, that what I’m really worried about is my own guilt about not holding circle in so long or going to church with Molly yet. I think he’s right. It’s so important to me for her to be brought up in the UU faith, but as always, my slacker ass isn’t living up to my own ideals.

The real bottom line is it’s important to his parents, and any blessing given in love is a beautiful gift. His father was diagnosed with cancer very recently, and we just lost his father’s mom to cancer, so emotions are high and fragile right now. The in-laws are darling, sweet people and they mean well for Molly- they love her so preciously. We decided that this blessing isn’t a ceremony we have any specific complaint with, so my gut-feeling-ickiness isn’t worth upsetting them by changing my mind. Shane doesn’t seem to care either way, but isn’t going to the church for this. I’m going to look at it as an excuse for Molly to wear fancy baby clothes and look adorable, and for Papaw to give her a blessing.

I’ll post some details about the Wiccan prayers I come up with and share that experience- I’m excited to do a little something magical:)

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slackerdom & the repercussions

I’m taking a break from website work to blog. I’ve been fighting anxiety attacks since I started working. I’m under a deadline, which usually isn’t a big deal- in fact, I usually don’t produce anything good until the last minute. The procrastination is a problem, though. It’s been put into perpective better lately, as I realize that (here’s the ridiculously fucking obvious part) the sooner I finish my layouts, the sooner we get paid. We are short (again) this month paying bills, and if I’d have finished this job sooner we could be billing for it now. Shane let loose on me how frustrated he is with my independability, and he was totally in the right, but it’s so damn hard balancing everything. I have terrible time-management skills and with the baby it’s an absolute necessity to fix this.

My anxiety is surely financial, and Shane’s been freaking out about it too. The part I hate most is the way the attacks feel. I get anxiety about my anxiety, thinking that one smallish panic attack means I’m incompetent as a human being. It’s so silly afterwards, but they feel so overwhelming and then I’m angry with myself that I can’t control my physical reactions to stress. They feel like my life, which is a content and good one, is just a fragile facade over the real me which is a weak, sobbing mess of a fuck-up and a tiny crack will shatter my life. They pass and it’s ok- I’m under stress like everyone else in the world and crying and feeling shaky for a few minutes isn’t going to kill me.

I can’t believe how hard it is to organize this life. It’s a simple one, or it should be. People with much more stressful careers do just fine as working moms, but I can’t find a few hours to play with a design program? I think I’m getting better, at least realizing that vegging out with the evil TV is robbing me of hours I need to be productive. It’s just hard to reprogram myself after years of giving into the mild depression and lack of motivation, which snowballs into serious depression because I feed it with my idle hours. I have been improving, very slowly, for a few years, but being a mom kicks it into a real need. I can’t bear the thought of Molly inhereting my weaknesses and am determined to make a good example of my life. The only way I’ll raise a happy, healthy, strong woman is to BE one.

Right now the MollyBird is in her bouncy chair on my desk watching me type/falling asleep. Of course I’m worried as the chair says not to put it on an elevated surface, but she won’t let me work unless she can see me. She’s not mobile enough to tip it yet, and I’m right here, so I’m trying to ignore the slight worry. I tried her in her unbelievably complicated Infantino carrier, but she was pissed off. How can I be an attached parent without an attached baby? I guess I’ll settle for arm’s reach rather than in-arms.

The world will have to live without seeing how adorable Molly was playing on her gorgeous handmade quilt yesterday, as Blogger is being the devil today.

gifts

A lot of the time I feel displaced, like I was born into the wrong time and place. The world is complicated and worried, and I think we are disconnected from what makes us human. On another level, I’ve been told I was just born a generation too late, that I’m a lost flower child who should have been a young woman in the 60’s instead of the 90’s.

Today I was daydreaming and looked at things differently. I am amazingly lucky to be who I am, when I am. I’m incredibly blessed that the medical technology was available to make use of my arm, and to fix my doubled organs. Without modern surgery, I could never have made love or built my sculptures, much less have borne a child. Without medication, I may not have been able to feed the baby my own milk.

The other thing that fell into perspective was the amazing connection I’ve found with other moms on the net. The communication and information that I devoured to teach myself about pregnancy and parenting is unprecedented. Each generation probably thinks the wives’ tales they hear are ridiculous, but I know I knew more about my body and what to expect than my mother did. I had a vast store of medical information available to me, but even more important, I had stories. I read dozens of natural birth stories that helped embolden me and bolster my confidence. I read about nursing problems so when the baby’s latch was shallow and weak I knew what to ask of the lactation coaches. I read about new moms’ daily struggles and hysterical kids’ stories.

It’s just an incredible thing to feel so connected on an intellectual level to so many other parents, because since I conceived I felt a spiritual belonging that’s that powerful, too. I always revered the whole concept of Mother from a religious perspective, but somewhere in me I never really expected to graduate from Maidenhood. The transition was subtle and comfortable, and it’s so awe-inspiring to pass the torch to a daughter, to get to be somebody’s Mama. To be Molly’s mama. It’s the loveliest thing that this bright shining little soul that peers out at me from those huge sparkling eyes picked me to be her first guide in this world. I know Shane feels this too- I can see it in his eyes when he looks at her. He wouldn’t phrase things so mystically maybe, but that’s the way the world is to me.

Edit: Making me feel like a third grader with a shiny gold star on her summer vacation essay, Deb at Organized Chaos nominated me for a Perfect Post award.
A Perfect Post

happy molly moon-day

My little teeny-girl is three lunar months old today:) I also did a quickie natal chart online for her, and discovered that my little Gemini has a Libra ascendant and her Moon in Cancer. The moon in Cancer reinforces Shane’s “two moody women under one roof” worries, as my moon is in Cancer as well and makes for a weepy, sensitive disposition. I maintain that this is not necessarily negative. I like that I feel things so intensely. I would be a poor, cold artist if I didn’t.

Molly is, hopefully, at home right now celebrating her Moon Day with a bottle of mom-milk from the fridge, not the freezer. We discovered this week that my milk has too much lipase enzyme and does not keep in the freezer. That’s why she refuses bottles a lot. So now I have to re-stock my freezer, scalding the milk beforehand. A pain in the ass, but it’s better than formula so I will take the extra few minutes of prep time in stride.

dreaming home

Last night I dreamt of my home for the first time. It’s difficult to explain how beautiful this was for me. My dreams are very important to me- a nightmare can upset me for days. I dream of houses frequently, but almost always it’s the house I grew up in. Occasionally I imagine a strange new house with hidden rooms and treasures, and I was delighted to learn that Carl Jung also had this recurring dream. He wrote that the house represents the soul, and that finding hidden rooms within is a sign of self-discovery.

I moved into this home nearly five years ago. It was my husband’s grandparents’, and when I moved in he and his brother were renting it. The three of us were roommates until just before our wedding close to two years ago, when my brother-in-law moved out and my husband bought the house. My mother had died the year I moved in, so it’s not surprising that I dream a lot about her and my childhood home. Often in these dreams, I sense that something is wrong- that I should be somewhere else. I remember Shane then, and that he is my home, my family. I try to call him to take me home but can never reach him.

The dreams are obvious to interpret- that I’m transitioning from the past and holding onto my grief into this new life and family. I’ve been frustrated that I don’t dream of this house where I finally feel a comfortable sense of ownership and belonging. My dreams of the old house are filled with frustration and they are shadowy and haunted- my mother isn’t there anymore, only my sadness.

Last night, the simplest thing. I dreamt I had Molly in my arms and was carrying her from the living room to her nursery. She was sleeping and pajama-clad, soft and warm against me. That’s all I remember, but it was enough. I awoke and told Shane with tears in my eyes about my dream, and he said, “You finally came home. Molly brought you home.” I think with this dream that my new life as a wife and mama finally was made real for me. The realization of home and all the security and familiarity is finally made solid and tangible for me by a brief, perfect moment in a dream.

tumble


Molly had her first head bump today, by which I mean she fell on her head. She was on the couch, where her Brilliant and Conscientious Mother had posed her on a pillow and was beginning to snap a photograph, when the baby rolled a bit and toppled into the floor- onto her tiny, precious, vulnerable, skull-isn’t-even-finished-forming head.

I picked her up, comforted her lovingly, and she stopped crying fairly quickly. I called my mother-in-law, just figuring I should confess to someone and I knew Shane had repeated head injuries as a child, so she’d be a good bet to reassure me that I am not an abusive and neglectful mom. She laughed her ass off, and I could hear Dad-in-law in the background just cackling. I thanked her for talking me down, hung up the phone and fell completely apart for a few minutes, sobbing and rocking the baby while she squirmed and wondered why mommy was having a psychotic break.

I watched for a bump, but there appears to be no damage done whatsoever.

The pictures are from before the Incedent, when she was safely planted on terra firma.

anxiety redux

Wow. Every single state, except mine, is growing in diversity. http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/15/diversity.ap/index.html
It’s funny. I started reading the article, and it said the trend of increasing ethnic diversity was in all but one state, and I thought, “I bet it’s us.” I nailed it. People have a tendency to leave the state rather than move here. We are so bloody poor and there are no jobs. None. It’s a shame, because West Virginia is a gorgeous, comfortable place.
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I had a mom anxiety relapse this morning. I dropped Shane off at our friend’s where he was meeting up to do a photo job, then brought the baby home to nurse before I took her to her grandfather’s and went to work. I got really freaked out and was nursing her with tears running down my face. I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving her. I seriously considered calling in sick, but I knew I couldn’t because we are way too poor and I was hanging onto a little shred of responsibility. I tried repeatedly to get my shit together and failed miserably. I finally made myself stop crying long enough to call my dad-in-law and tell him I was taking the baby to work with me and then I packed her up and made it in on time. I don’t know what the problem was. I’d had a long weekend, so maybe I was used to being home. But I have long weekends a lot. Maybe it was knowing he was going to be travelling with her to a neighboring county an hour or so away? I don’t know why it was suddenly heartbreaking again, but I’m so glad my job is open to my bringing her in occasionally.

She was a sweet pea most of the day. She rolled over all the way a couple of times effortlesssly. (All weekend she struggled and tried so hard to roll but couldn’t quite make it.) She giggled at me and made my heart burst open with love and pride at her first almost-real laughter. She held a toy for the first time. She was incredible. Then around three o’clock she got very fussy and stayed that way for the next six hours. I’m worn out now. She’s finally asleep in her little kick & play chair. I’m going to head upstairs and put us both down for the night, Goddess willing that she stays asleep. I should be working on the wedding invitations I’m designing for Shane’s cousin, but I’m exhausted and I have another evening before we need to print them. My procrastination, once again, is astounding. Bah- I’m a tired mommy. I have an excuse this time.