The Feminine Mis-Speak

I am a TOTAL feminist. I am a totally bad feminist.

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I roll my eyes at pink camo and most pink clothing. Yet I totally SAY everyone can/should/ nay, MUST wear whatever the hell they want. So which is it? That indulging in pink overload is a personal choice or an example of someone blindly throwing themselves into cultural expectations of gender identity and handing their decision making abilities over to the patriarchy? Gah. You damn hypocrite, me.

I am a TOTAL feminist. I am a totally bad feminist.

I’m working on it…

 

Oddball Beliefs

Below is a fairly random collection of oddball beliefs I have. Also. A picture of a squirrel.

squirrel

Lullabies– everyone THINKS that lullabies are for babies to get them to calm down, but I believe they are really for OURSELVES to keep our calm in the face of incessantly crying infants. I mean- I didn’t sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow for 3 hours while walking my second up and down the driveway at 3am for her sake, you know? My default “parenting situation” song is Silent Night- because I realized I knew NO lullabies when my oldest was born, and found it totally gets the job done.

Bush’s black eye– so, y’all remember when president Bush supposedly choked on a pretzel and fell on a coffee table, thus giving himself a black eye? ‘Member? You ‘member. So President Bush and the first lady went on late night talk shows to tell the story, and TO THIS DAY my thoughts on the matter are: thou doth protest too much. I don’t buy it for a minute. Whether he went on a bender, or Cheney decked him… we’ll never know- but it sure as hell wasn’t a pretzel.

Pregnancy and litter boxes– So. Toxoplasmosis- can totally jack your baby up while you’re pregnant and so NO pregnant lady ever changes the litter box- doctor’s orders. But here’s the thing- if you were previously infected with toxoplasmosis, you’re fine (so is your baby). If you don’t have it, you’re fine. The only danger is if you get infected for the first time WHILE pregnant. So it’s actually less of a risk than it’s made out to be. Also- you can get the infection from pork- but does any doctor say to lay off pork chops? Nope. So I believe this is a big “YOU’RE WELCOME” from obstetricians to pregnant ladies everywhere. But I still never changed the litter box when I was pregnant… just to be safe. (also, I keep forgetting that I have the all clear to change the litter box now that I’ve delivered… bummer.)

Don’t let your dog walk in the door ahead of you– This one is backed up by Cesar Milan, but seriously. I am the boss here, dog. You wait your damn turn.

Potting Soil is dirt, but it is not dirty– I never get the plastic wrap to set pots of plants on in the back of my car because it seems wasteful and unnecessary. This drives my husband crazy, but I believe good clean potting soil doesn’t equate with dirt/filth.

Never fold underwear– because why. Just don’t waste the time. This I believe.

I’m sure there are more… but I got a waking baby over here so we’ll save the rest for the next time.

 

 

The Occasional Historical Post

A few years ago my husband and I drove cross country with our girls to the Smokey Mountains. (The road trip was my favorite part of that trip. The national park was awesome, but Gatlinburg can suck it.) Anyway, we stopped in Memphis the first night- sprung for a swanky hotel downtown, walked to a BBQ place I forget the name of, had a good night. The next morning we’re heading out and my husband says there has to be some history in Memphis we should see before we head out of town- this was Memphis! We’ve never been here- we should see something of it before we leave.

My joke response that I was sure there was a lynching tree around somewhere got a whole hell of a lot less funny (I’ll mock and belittle Southern racism till the day I die, thankyouverymuch.) when I saw the first thing that came up on a quick iPhone check of Memphis history. The Lorraine Motel.

1024px-The_Lorraine_Motel,_site_of_the_Martin_Luther_King_assassination_and_the_National_Civil_Rights_Museum.

There was no question. My husband immediately took the first right turn. There we were, leaving our downtown motel- and we were only 5 blocks away from this place. We went. Of course we went.

And then we were there. Staring at familiar turquoise railings. And a white and red funeral wreath that looks like a life preserver, marking the last spot where Dr. King stood. Weirdly maritime, to my eye. The unintended (?) symbolism lost to me. That’s where he was.

Our daughters didn’t know. So we talked. My youngest asked me to read the plaque- and I choked up at the end- the only Bible verse to ever do that to me.

“They said one to another, ‘Behold, here cometh the dreamer. Let us slay him and we shall see what will become of his dream.’”       Genesis 37: 19-20

Birth. A Stream of Conciousness Love Story

The best way to describe parenthood is that you’d walk barefoot down to hell to rescue your child and bring her back up to the surface world- a modern day Demeter, out to rescue her Persephone- if you ever had to. And once you realize that is the depth of your devotion, the fact that this is EXACTLY what you’ll go through to give birth makes it a decision. A choice. I CHOOSE pain, it doesn’t choose me. It’d happen anyway, but setting it up in your own mind as a decision makes it akin to signing up for the Marines instead of being drafted. (Lot of similes and metaphors in this one- prepare yourself.)

My mind broke from pain and painkillers during the birth of my first daughter. I went to my mindplace, as Sherlock would call it, except mine turned out to be our living room, staring down at my cat, asleep on the arm of our red couch. I don’t know how long I was lost in that image- it felt like hours, but I can never be sure. And before that… or after… I had a dream of buying a teddy bear at some kind of used car lot for stuffed animals, standing under the shade of a live oak tree. (I bought your standard brown teddy bear with a red bow and passed on the undercarriage rust protection and extended warranty.) But that whole teddy bear dream happened between closing my eyes, turning my head, and opening them to look at my husband and tell him about the dream. It happened in 2, maybe 3 seconds. The mind does really weird things to escape pain, is what I’m saying, and I obviously waited too long for the epidural that first time. Or wait- they wouldn’t give it to me earlier, is actually what happened. I never used any painkillers other than an epidural during labor again.

With my second I remember a feeling of panic that I didn’t verbalize as we walked into the hospital. It all came back as to what I would be facing in mere hours- I’d forgotten the really scary bits until that point. I walked in to do it all over again- because what choice did I have? I was also in pain when I got that epidural. Hunch over. Remain still. Arch your back. Now do it through mind snappingly painful contractions. That’s a good girl. My second daughter was 8lbs 14oz. when she was born, and the first thing I said was “Thank God I don’t have to do that again.” And that god I don’t believe in must have laughed and laughed…

And my third. This one I opened the mail one day and it was my draft letter. Report for duty in December of 2015. This one I didn’t volunteer for. D-Day was coming… and somehow I could never, through that whole surprising and unexpected 9 months, wrap my head around this coming baby. I was stuck in pregnancy zone. A rough, rough pregnancy zone. And I’ll skip ahead in the story here and tell you that being uncomfortable can be worse than being in pain. It’s more insidious. It’s harder to verbalize, low level misery. Pain you can fight, but discomfort just IS.

I stayed up the whole night before the induction (we went in at 4am, and this daughter, well she’s thought playtime was 1-4am for months so sleep wasn’t possible anyway.) When my husband woke up I told him it was time to go to war. It would have been easier if that was true, in a way. Because pain… pain makes birth like a car wreck- you’re never scared while it’s happening. Adrenaline kicks in, you’re an active participant in saving your own ass, to busy to be scared.

Third birth though, the nurses listened to me- I told them how it would go down: Pitocin, break my water, but I won’t progress till I get the epidural because I can’t do anything but fight pain- I can’t ever relax into it like you’re supposed to. (I have such a weird sense of pride about that fact. I guess I think it might say something about my character.)  The nurses nodded. Decided the old hat must know by this point, and told me I’d get the epidural REALLY early this time. As in not long after they broke my water and before the contractions really got painful.  And… I wanted to balk. Something about that seemed… wrong. Ish. But great! Right? Right.

I was itchy, throughout all my pregnancies (bear with me, this isn’t a non sequitur.) It was worse with each successive one, so this last one was the least comfortable. (Helllllooo understatement)  And it’s a reaction to pregnancy hormones, so no amount of scratching helps- not that I didn’t try, mind you. Claritin helped a little. Anyway. Everything touching my skin made it worse. And during labor the fetal monitors and their scratchy straps around my ridiculously heaving belly were AWFUL. (This baby was STILL active at 7am… one final hurrah, bouncing around the womb before eviction.) The tape for the IV itched. My shirt itched. The sheet itched. The paper pad I sat on itched. You’re naked from the waist down. And then the being tied down part. I had a blood pressure cuff. An oxygen sensor on my finger. My IV line for the pitocin. A catheter. Two monitors strapped to my belly. The worst is when they break your water. You gush at every contraction- and it’s so hot. So you’re wet. And gross. (you’re welcome) And strapped down. And oh we need your blood pressure again. You’re thirsty? To bad, have some ice… And NOW- totally stone cold sober and not actually in pain… hunch over, gush a TON of fluid, watch out for all the lines and wires tying you here… and contemplate the huge needle about to go in your back and the reality of this moment with it all compounded into one small block of time.

Will you believe that was the most miserable I’ve ever been? It was the most miserable I have ever been- I don’t have the ability to convey it properly. I started to cry. Silent tears.  Lots of snot. I had to ask the nurse to wipe my nose. My husband knew. I think I saw him turn his head away, at one point. Everyone always thinks husbands have it easy during birth, but I disagree. I’ve watched him through many a cluster headache in our years- and nothing is worse than watching the one you love suffering. No. I don’t think he had it easy.

It was worse than pain, somehow, that misery. So lookie there- I did walk down to hell for this one again after all. My blood pressure dropped after the epidural. And my blood sugar, I could feel. I was light headed. Didn’t feel right (I didn’t eat anything before we went in. I should have.) I made my husband go get me an illegal Dr. Pepper. I took a few sips, and lo and behold, my blood pressure went back up a little. We didn’t tell the nurse about that. Or about the Claritin I took to help with the itching.

The epidural kicked in. I slept for a few hours. I woke up. It was time to push. I did, and over the quick course of 1 and a half contractions my third daughter was born, pretty much painlessly. (Bless you, epidurals. Bless you.) We laughed and cried happy tears at our new reality. Parents to this new human, who’d come screaming into the world.

And love, just instantly, for this little stranger. For our sweet little unexpected dinner guest… to every dinner from here on out. For the girl we’ll watch graduate high school when we’re in our 50s.

My little medal, for the military service I was drafted into. My third daughter. Unexpected, but once here so instantly welcome. And wanted. And loved. Babies are fun, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I brought pictures this last time, but didn’t use them to focus on, I didn’t need to. What I really focussed on was the phrase “Already back from the Pecos.” My husband went on a week long kayak trip down the Pecos River a few years ago. And as much as he prepared, and as long as the trip was… when he got back it was this feeling of it already happened. You did it. It’s now in the past.

This pregnancy. Birth. it already happened. I did it. It’s now in the past.

Welcome to the world, little human. We have so much to show you.