I always feel kind of sad on my birthday. It's so dumb. I oughtn't feel so sorry for myself. This has been a humdinger of a year. This time last year I was turning 30, about 5 months pregnant, feeling like a house (boy, was it surprising to find out that I was just a tar paper shack compared to the 45 room mansion I would turn into), and surrounded by family and friends who came to celebrate with me. My sister-in-law made a cake, the weather (even in our 3rd floor attic apartment) stayed cool enough for a house-full of people and Alex and his friend Erik played guitar on the sitting-room floor with my nephew; the sitting room occupied by the crib which we put together to make sure we had all the parts only later realizing we'd have to take it apart again to fit in our bedroom. It was nice.
But truthfully, I wouldn't want that again. Not for 31. Maybe when I turn 40. I really don't like making a big deal out of my birthday in terms of people coming over and singing at me. It's too center of attention. I prefer like today, Alex letting me sleep in (especially nice after the middle of the night fever Georgia came down with last night which left her moaning and simultaneously trying to sleep and stay awake at the same time), pizza for lunch, farting around with the baby in my lap, the drawing on the door that read "Happy Birthday Mama Bear!" Even the rain seems appropriate, though I wish it were less muggy.
More than New Years, my birthday is a time for reflection. And so much has happened this year. My father recently wrote me an email and in it he asked me not to be so hard on myself, told me he thinks I may have a slight case of post traumatic stress disorder. I don't know if that's true. But I don't know if it's not true either. We're still so much up in the air and we're still waiting for the chips to fall where they may in terms of work and locale. Life when your job (or your husband's job) is temporary is certainly not very certain. With Georgia's health comes much celebration, and the ability to exhale. And in just these nearly three months since surgery I have felt myself grow calmer. Last nights fever, for instance, not a crisis, but a blip in what will likely be a very blipful several years from what I understand of kids and their fevers.
I miss Iggy. He was given to me (Note: I am not one who advocates for giving live animals as gifts, and I knew he was coming) on my birthday and because we didn't know when he was born, mine was his de facto birthday. It seems I am still in the mode of thinking, "This is the first (fill in the blank) since Iggy left." I can never quite say died because dying seems like something that happens all of a sudden of its own volition and I still feel guilty for having to put him down (although I know it was the "right" thing, given our resources, to do). It hits me at the oddest times. I am still surprised while watching The OC which Alex has no tolerance for consequently leaving me to watch at night after he's gone to bed (typically Iggy would join me) and whose plot relies heavily on people showing up and ringing the doorbell throughout the show, that the doorbell ringing is not followed by his gruff barking.
And thoughts of my mother--now that I am one, now that I know what labor is like--are ever-present today. Likely she was at the hospital now (I was born at 5:43pm), in pain, perhaps afraid, excited, nervous, overjoyed? I don't know. I don't like that I don't know. That I will never know except for a letter I have that she wrote me just days after I was born that practically begs "Please be happy".
The other day, my older sister called me on her cell from the nursing home knowing she wouldn't be there today to help my mother who doesn't have a phone of her own call me. I was changing the baby, or maybe at the library, the ringer either downstairs or on silent and didn't answer the phone. I am both upset by and relieved by the fact that I missed the call. Relieved because conversations with my mother are painful in their repetition and sad because it meant I wouldn't be able to just call her back. This technological inconvenience, I've thought on many occasions, like its own small death.
Her message, in her wavering and fatigued, husky from the MS voice, was this (I am leaving out her full name for privacy's sake):
Hello. This is Patricia G******* T*******. I am the grandmother of Julia (my neice). I am leaving you a message.
In the background I hear my sister say something about my birthday and my mother to her says "Oh yes." To me on the phone again she says,
Happy Birthday. OK. Goodbye.
This is the second night in a row that I have checked in on Georgia (who sleeps on her stomach these days, by the way) to discover her propped up on her knees. And let us not forget how I found her this morning--on her BACK.
This means, that little bugger CAN roll from stomach to back and it's not SOSO irritating when the PT has her work on her kneeling exercises like she makes it out to be.
Oh, I get it. She'll do it when she wants to. And that's fine. But I'll tell you what, sleeping babies don't lie.
The little bugger.
Has anyone ever heard about this movie, "One Day" about a young man who has DS and his quest to find his mother a husband? I don't think it has yet been made and they are trying to raise money for it because apparently the movie execs are not comfortable backing a film where the lead actor has DS. Is this old news? Have you heard of this movie? I mean, the execs not backing it sadly does not surprise me, but just wondering if any of you have heard about this.
She's really starting to get a hang of it. Enough that I feel safe grabbing the camera to take a shot or two. I apologize for the blurriness of the shots. She's a little bobbly still.
And here she is in the midst of her fancy fall and roll, a trick the PT taught us to work on so that if she is caught off guard and begins to fall, she knows how to get out of it so as not to sustain any injuries if I am not there to catch her. At this point, I don't go far, but the other day she fell forward pretty quickly. I was there ready to catch her before she hit her face on the ground, but I waited until the last second to see if she could get herself out of the situation. She did. And I actually didn't even have to catch her. I just had to make googly-eyed faces and ridiculous noises to ward off any crying. She scared herself. So bad that the tiniest little poop came out. Seriously. It stunk the room up to high-heaven thus motivating me to check. It literally scared the poop out of her. But she was fine. This photo illustrates the move in slo-mo.
By the way, notice the bags under her eyes? They aren't uncommon. She gets them. The truth is I do too. So I shouldn't really be TOO surprised. But it seems like this is a DS trait. Does it happen to your kids? People (strangers) are always saying "Oh, you must be tired," even if she is as peppy and alert and well-rested as anything. I think it's the bags.
Although, to be fair, she has been resisting naps, so these pictures don't show her in top form. She had a serious melt-down soon after these shots were taken. I don't blame her. I was making her work so hard. And she hadn't slept for goodness sake. Of course, she's asleep now. At 6:40pm. She is going to be ZOOMING at any minute and then we'll be up with her. That's ok. It's my birthday tomorrow. Maybe I will have champagne at midnight! Weeeeeeee!
I am typically not one for writing book reviews. I have a hard enough time rating books 1-5 stars. The stars feel too flippant and can't adequately express my thoughts on a book and the review-writing...well, I know it's not literary criticism in the same context as my senior thesis in college, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies in the same way. Regardless, I am addicted to Goodreads.
And here, since it made a few other people laugh, is my first book review. I figured my readers might enjoy this book in particular.
On Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family, by Catherine Newman (Jen tells me she has a column in Wondertime too.)
I like a book that makes my husband laugh. This is one of those books that we kept in the bathroom for a little light reading while doing the do. My husband said one night, "That book in the bathroom is really good. It makes me wish I had to keep shitting just so I can read it." The truth is, I feel the same way. That book makes me wish I had to keep shitting.
I hope someone writes that about a book of mine one day.
OK. So it was really the 2nd or 3rd time to the beach, but it was the first TRIP to the ocean. Provincetown, 2007.
By the way, she likes it. She REALLY likes it.
Double by the way, that's Georgia's Tia Nikki holding her. Georgia LURVES Tia Nikki. (Nikki, don't kill me for posting you on the internets, ok?)
We were going to go to one of those mommy matinees today. I even walked into the theater, spoke with the guy selling tickets, but it suddenly dawned on me, I didn't want to sit in a dark theater trying to keep Georgia (who had already napped) quiet for close to two hours. Not for that movie anyway. It's probably a fine movie, but not with a squirmy baby on your lap. Maybe I am just a wuse. I would've done it if it was Once. I really want to see that movie. Have any of you? Thoughts?
So instead I went to the library. I had books to renew and return. That was accomplished. Unfortunately what was also accomplished was a sheer hatred of strollers. And inadequate access to public buildings. Carting a baby is inefficient. The chest carrier isn't ideal because eventually your back is aching and you're sweating beneath the weight of the baby (she's up to 17lbs!!). Not to mention it's hard getting that wormy kid in and of that thing!
But those damn strollers! The little ones don't give you a place to put the million pound diaper bag (which in my case anyway always contains no less than 2 books and a camera) so it's either breaking your back or always about to slide off your arm while you try to maneuver the thing (and with the little strollers there's never enough room for you feet so you walk all weird with stunted steps). But the big one is no better! The wheels get caught on things so you are constantly getting stopped short and looking like a jerk. And have you ever tried getting one of those (big OR small) into or out of a non-automated door!
At the library today because I parked all the way down by the theater thinking "Well even if I don't go to the movie, I'd enjoy a stroll through town," I opted for the stroller. My only choice of strollers was the big one because Papa Daddy has the little one in his car and he's at work. So, big stroller it was. I thought, surely there'll be a ramp. Boy was I wrong. So yeah. There was an elevator. But to get to the elevator you have to maneuver through doors upon doors upon doors. Heavy doors. Awkward doors. And not a one had those handy-dandy wheelchair buttons on them, and yet, they were called "Handicapped entrances". Clearly whoever designed that library was not handicapped, nor did they consult with anyone who is.
As the daughter of a handicapped woman, as the mother of a child who potentially might not walk until well-passed the "average" walking age, the reality of that hit me hard. It was difficult. It was slow. It was frustrating. And by the time I got where I needed to go I was sweating anyway. And really, I had a choice. Not everyone HAS a choice. As evidenced by the strollers parked outside, it's clear other people have come to the same realization that it's too much of a pain in the butt to use strollers at this library. But what about those people who can't just park their wheelchairs outside???
O.K. rant over. Though not easily forgotten.
Anyhow. Funny things about Georgia. When I give her her bottle she likes to MAX and RELAX. She sprawls out like I am a beach chair and she hasn't had a vacation in a decade. If I am near a table while she is eating, she'll put her feet up on the table! It's so funny. (She also rides with her feet up on the tray in the stroller.) The other thing is that her hands are constantly going while she eats. She twirls her hair, bangs her head, or grabs my fingers and swings them around. At times I worry that she is going to give herself a black eye. She punches herself pretty hard. Do any of your kids do that? It's not freaky or weird, it just seems to relax her. Although sometimes I have to hold her hands down so she can just concentrate on her bottle. You know, just gently, not like strapped down or anything. It's really kind of funny. But I sometimes just wonder.