Random Ramblings


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When you stay up until two in the morning adamantly playing 20 questions, in an ultimately futile endeavor set on forcing a piece of plastic to read condom.

Apparently, it just wasn’t programmed into the little robot’s vocabulary.

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I think Winifred is starting to rub off on me.

It’s a little scary, actually. As if dealing with Bunny’s ever developing neuroses in addition to her finely honed ones wasn’t bad enough, now I have to see them spewing forth from within my own psyche as well.

Everything I do from how I hang up the laundry (not color coordinated) to how I prepare Buddha’s baby food has been rather strictly predetermined.

So I think initially, these little time managing habits started as a way to circumvent her freakishly fastidious moods but now it’s like I have my very own set of bizarre and anal rules that I must live by.

This must stop.

I refuse to turn into her.
The only problem is I don’t know how.

Coming up with these little tricks to complete the tasks has been my coping mechanism for avoiding friction with Winifred and without them, well, I’m afraid of what could happen if I slipped and continually forgot to stuff the diaper covers.
But I’ve noticed myself becoming more and more preoccupied with getting things done at the right time, in the right order, that I’m continually having less and less time to actually spend playing with Buddha. There must be another way.

I’ll be damned if I let her screw with yet another aspect of my life.

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Breastfeeding is a hot topic these days. I’ve especially become aware, just recently, of how prevalent it is in the blogging world. A discussion on Blogging Baby regarding the recent UK study which indicates that there is a correlation between epidurals and lowered breastfeeding rates, really got me thinking. It especially brought to light something that really bugs the hell out of me: the indignant refusal to take responsibility for one’s decisions. The findings in the study basically indicated that babies whose mothers received epidurals were less likely to breastfeed. This was pretty much *duh* information for me but apparently it’s not for many people. In fact, it’s caused quite a bit of an uproar. I don’t really understand why. See, for me it’s pretty simple. When women agree to receive epidurals during labor they are agreeing to the injection of powerful drugs into their bodies as well as to those of their as-of-yet, unborn children. This is not a secret. That is the point of an epidural, afterall: drug induced numbness. Some of the most common side effects of Fentanyl, the active ingredient in most epidurals, is fatigue and drowsiness. Now, these are drugs that are powerful enough to numb and paralyze grown adults so why does it come as a big surprise that these strictly controlled narcotics would have a negative and/or sedating effect on an infant? It’s pretty damn obvious. So I gotta think there is a lot of misplaced denial going on. And the root of the problem is with the guilt. Parenting and motherhood especially, come with a lot of guilt as it is, so it’s really not a surprise that women don’t like to be confronted with their own shortcomings. But here’s the thing. Adulthood, and parenting as a result, are all about responsibility. It sucks, I know. Boy do I know. But I’ve seen this often, and especially regarding breastfeeding, that women are simply unwilling to take responsibility for their actions. See the way I see it – you make a decision and then you live with the reprecussions. Period. Choose an epidural and you choose to drug your child. Period. But know that that is the decision you are making. Don’t try to minimize your choice by arguing with science. Often times women, and especially mothers, are afflicted with a martyr complex. You know the one. The one where mothers put their children’s wants and needs far before their own. And, in fact, it can almost be a test as to how selfless a mother can be to the point that if and when they do put their own needs in front of their children’s they feel guilty about it. Case in point: epidurals. The fact is, that an epidural is not in the best interest of any child being born vaginally. It’s not a matter of speculation; that’s simply the way it is. An epidural is a comfort measure, soley for the sake of the mother. Choosing an epidural means putting your own comfort above the best interest of your child. The problem is that women can’t seem to admit that. But why not? That’s the truth. The problem I have is not in the epidurals themselves but in the women who refuse to admit that their decision is a purely selfish one. And really, what is so wrong with that? Sometimes being selfish is a good thing. Having never gone through childbirth, I can’t say I won’t ever get an epidural myself, but if I do choose one, I will do so knowing that what I’m doing it for my sake and my sake only. I will not try to justify that decision with pseudo-scientific delusions that my choice was without its risks. Similarly, if you choose not to breastfeed, fine. Really, fine. I’m all about female empowerment. Our bodies, our choices, afterall. But, by choosing not to breastfeed you are making the decision to deny your child adequate nutrition. Too blunt? Too bad. It’s not about demonizing formula or judging that decision. It’s about straight up medical facts. Breastmilk is not superior to formula. On the contrary, it is simply the adequate standard and it is formula that is inferior to breastmilk. Choose not to breastfeed? Fine. But own that decision. Own it. It is yours. There is nothing wrong with making your own choices. What I have a problem with is people making choices but not taking responsibility for the results that their choices influence. If you are going to formula feed because that is what is easier for you, then great. But don’t try and justify your decision by undermining the values of breastmilk or making excuses. Take your decision and own it for what it is. Admitting that you don’t always put your child’s needs 100% before your own isn’t the mark of a bad mother. But refusing to take ownership and responsibility for the ramifications of your decisions does make for a less than stellar adult.

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I went to bed nice and early last night so I could be sure and get a good night’s sleep for my big day. I woke up at a quarter to nine this morning. Nine! On my day off. Just couldn’t sleep. Too much nervous energy, don’t you know? So I took a glorious 45 minute shower. Washed my hair and then rinsed and double rinsed to make sure no soap residue stuck around. Can’t have any of that, afterall. Liberally applied conditioner and made sure to properly massage it into my hair, as opposed to the usual messy and haphazard way that I normally apply it. Whipped out a brand new venus razor and shaved my legs – twice – just to make sure. Made absolute sure that all of the conditioner was rinsed from my hair. I think this may have been the first time I have actually lathered rinsed and repeated. Shaved my armpits and then my freshly waxed nether regions. The latter just a precaution. After meticulously making sure that all of me was washed and rinsed I decided it was probably time to get out. The alarmingly cold water now jutting out of the shower head was the big indicator. I don’t think I’ve been quite this squeaky clean since my grandma used to give me baths and scrub me like a dirty potato. I towel dried my hair, of course. Searched the house for my favorite vanilla lotion and then proceeded to liberally apply it to every inch of skin I have. Clipped my toenails. Tweezed my eyebrows. Checked my awesome brazilian wax for any stray hairs, again, just to make sure. Scavenged for my favorite pair of lady bug socks and my pretty polka dot underwear. Grabbed a fresh bra out of the dryer as well as my favorite pair of jeans and one of my nicer tops. Actually combed my now silky and towel dried hair! Applied eyeliner and mascara! And just for good measure, added a couple spritzes of Sicily by Dolce & Gabbana (it compliments the vanilla lotion, afterall) before I was off to my appointment. I spent over two hours getting ready. The drive over was maybe 20 minutes and the pap smear? Well that took about 2 minutes.

I’ve never dolled myself up like that, not even for real dates back when I actually had a sex life.

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I dilly dallied about for a while after I got home from NY, but after a couple weeks, I finally changed my phone number so that Winifred didn’t have to call long distance to get a hold of me. (That was pretty funny though.) Verizon refused to give me my old phone number back on the basis that a number has to be vacant (in limbo) for at least three months before it can be used again. Blech. Fine. So I got a new number. I’m pretty happy with this number. It’s much better than my NY number, which overall was, very drab and hard to remember. I do have one beef, however, and that is that, apparently, somebody out there named Ramón, gave this number out as his own and now his peeps are calling me. And by peeps I mean, his entire. freaking. family. I’ve spoken with his, mother, his father, his brother, his aunt and possibly his sister. Most of the time, it’s his dad that calls though. Now, granted, there’s a bit of a language barrier, but I’m having a hard time understanding how people could possibly mistake me for Ramón. The very first few times they called, I got the impression they thought I was some sort of naughty girlfriend who was purposely keeping the phone away from their son. They were very adamant that I give him the phone ahorita! (Now) So I would politely explain that this was no longer Ramón’s number, (if it ever was) that it is now my number and that no, I did not know who or where Ramón is/was. Each time, the disgruntled family member would hang up, and I would assume that they got the picture. Except they didnt. And apparently don’t.
It’s been five weeks. Five weeks and over twice as many calls and each time I tell them, no. I am Turtle. Not Ramón. But they just don’t seem to get it. His father called me, yet again, just the other day. I knew it was him, because they always call from the same place and I now have their number in my contacts under “Ramón’s Family.” Our conversation went a little something like this.

Me: Hello?
Ramón’s Dad: Hola? Ramón?
Me: No, this is Turtle.
Dad: Ramón?
Me: I think you have the wrong number.
Dad: Ramón?
Me: No, this is Turtle. There’s no Ramón here.
Dad: Necesito hablar con Ramón.
Me: Well, there’s no Ramón here.
Dad: Adonde esta?
Me: I don’t know.
Dad: I need to talk to him.
Me: Alright, but this is not his number.
Dad: But I’m his father!
Me: Okay … but
Dad: I want to talk to him!
Me: I’m sure you do, but I’m sorry I can’t …
Dad: He is my son!
Me: And I’m sure he’d be glad to hear from you, but this is not his number.
Dad: Sí
Me: No
Dad: Sí
Me: No
Dad: Sí
Me: Okay look, this is not …
Female Voice: Oye, que pasa?
Dad: (still talking into the phone, but responding to the woman) Es que no me deja hablar con Ramón.
Female Voice: Por que?
Dad: Dice que no esta.
Female Voice: Pues donde se fue?
Dad: Acaver, creo … *super fast Spanish that I’m unable to understand*
Female Voice: Digale que tengo comida!
Dad: *super fast Spanish* (two words I caught) muchacha malportada (followed by) *more super fast Spanish*
Mom: *yelling fast Spanish*

Dial Tone

Now, I’ve considered the possibility that the language barrier could be seriously hindering my progress but the father appears to speak English very well as does a different man that has called on a few occasions. If this were a first, second, or even third time occurrence, I could maybe justify their confusion, but it’s been nearly six weeks. And still they call every few days. Last time, the dad called three times before I finally picked up. They’re remarkably tenacious people! When I answer they insist on speaking to Ramón. I tried not answering but then they just leave messages for Ramón. I considered talking to them in Spanish, to try to explain what was going on, but they already think I’m hiding the phone from their son, if I spoke in Spanish, I think it would just confirm their suspicions that I’m an evil girlfriend bent on ceasing all communication to his relatives. And besides, I don’t think I could communicate to them any better in Spanish, than I’ve already been doing in English.
So I’m at a loss. I just don’t know what to do. And this Ramón business is getting a bit stressful. I mean, other than dealing with his pushy family, I’m kind of getting worried for the guy. If this was his number at some point, then it’s been over four months since he’s had it. (Three months limbo plus one month of being mine.) Four months without any contact with his family? That just doesn’t sound good, no matter how you cut it. So I gotta say, Ramón? I hope you’re okay, and if you are, call your dad. He’s annoying the hell out of me and it sounds like he’d really like to talk to you. And your mom too. I think she wants to feed you some dinner.

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but notes are a big part of my job. Every day, when I get to Calamitous Casa, I look for a note on the kitchen island counter. Very rarely does Winifred forget to write me one. Each note has instructions for me and directions for the day as well as daily “projects” for me to accomplish in, you know, my spare time. And at the end of the day, I am expected to provide a detailed note as well. In addition to the time and duration of his naps, this note needs to document the different set foods that Buddha has eaten and the times at which he ate them, for when she comes home, she likes to know the whats, whens and hows of the day. This also comes in handy for me because she likes to randomly call and check in and when she does, I can quickly find the note in progress and let her know how the day is going. For the most part, I am very good about writing things down as they happen, but, every once in a while, I remember that I’ve let a few hours slip by without jotting down what has gone on and I’ll try to retrace our steps. Lucky for me, though, Winifred generally likes to call when she’s on her way home. This gives me a good 10 – 15 minute window to make sure that messes are cleaned, toys are picked up, diapers are changed and any other tasks are completed before she arrives. This is so that there is nothing off when she comes in, or at least anything attributable to me. On days when Dr. Doormat is at home, in his office, we help each other out. Sometimes she calls and checks in with him first; other times she calls me, but regardless, we like to give each other the heads up regarding her current mood and anxiety level. On days when she’s rushed and stressed, we brace ourselves and hurry to try to limit any fallout. On days whe she’s calmer, we share sighs of relief and continue to hurry, albeit less frantically, to limit the fallout. As with Bunny, dealing with Winifred is a complicated game of risk management and crisis control. One day when I had forgotten to write Bunny’s eating times and was trying to remember exactly when Bunny had chowed his pre-approved, 100% organic, all natural fruit puree, Dr. D faux-chastised me saying,

“Don’t you know? This has to be very precise.” After which we shared a grin and he muttered.

“As if she’ll know the difference.”

The first time I was lenient with what I wrote as his eating times, (She likes him to be fed every two hours.) I felt a little guilty. But then I realized; she won’t know the difference and it doesn’t really matter. Bunny is a healthy, growing boy and whether he ate his mashed bananas at 1:30 or 2:15 really isn’t going to make a difference, to him, at all. It will make a difference for her though. For she is Winifred; head of the household; wearer of the pants; Queen of Calamatious Casa and writer of my paycheck. If she is not happy, nobody is happy. Ultimately my responsibilites are to my children and the things that are in their best interest. If cheating a little can make their lives not quite as hectic and a little less anxiety filled then so be it. Writing the notes has become just a common, daily thing that I do to placate Winifred. All in all, it’s a relatively effortless task and it seems to help Winifred, so whatever. I’m game. I used to think that people who who did this sort of thing were spineless brown-nosers who just didn’t have the tenacity or courage to speak up, but instead resorted to catering to other people’s pointless whims. And to a certain extent, I was right. However, I’ve come to realize that choosing my battles, or more accurately avoiding them, can be just as important. So yeah, I fudge, I sneak, I side-step, I brown-nose, I *gasp* manipulate. Hell, I’ve gotten pretty damn good at it.

I don’t feel the least bit guilty.

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Having a week off and spending it with strep throat and on your period.

Blech.

I picked everyone up from the airport today. The members of Calamitous Casa are back from Pennsylvania. Winifred was in a surprisingly good mood, considering their flight was delayed a couple of hours. Except for some mild colds the boys are great. Buddha was almost as glad to see me as I was to see him. Gave me lots of slippery, snotty, baby kisses. Bunny, was incredibly well behaved for having been strapped in a seat for several hours. We had quite a bit of fun zooming around the baggage claim, dodging old people and jumping over suitcases. I’m glad they’re home. I missed the boys more than I thought I would, but I’m bummed that I got absolutely nothing accomplished. I, literally, mean nothing. I’m going to have to take advantage of the time I get off in December because I’m going to be real busy starting in January. Why? I’m officially enrolled (again) as a college student! Taking three classes (8 credits) this coming semester. Lovely math and a child development class. So not exactly full time and not enough to put me back on my dad’s insurance, but enough to prove to myself and society in general, that I’m not a total deadbeat and that maybe I do have a semblance of a future. I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I was in school. Crazy. So, we’ll see. I’m crossing my fingers and taking my adderall and hoping that I can pull this off.

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