My neighbor and playmate. Quirky, pitiful, imaginative and kind. His family constantly insulted and belittled him. Hung himself in his bedroom at age 20, despondent over a failed love affair.
Damn shit of a hurricane left us w/out electricity until late yesterday. That meant rotted food (A LOT of it); hot, sticky home; freezing water; and NO FUCKING AIR CONDITIONING. If I didn't have this luscious belly on me, I'm sure I would've done o.k. But it's hard enough to move and be comfy on a regular basis, so when you're trapped in a house that feels like 110 degrees, it sucks a little more. Blah.
I got work done on the baby's room and made progress with getting just about everything in there, and the new cleaning lady's coming tomorrow, so perhaps things are on the upswing. I just need to tie up a few loose ends, and then my darling boy can come join us. Let's hope he holds out!
This devastation in New Orleans and Miss. has me heartsick. Especially New Orleans, a city I love so very much. I can't stand to look at the pictures anymore; I can't stand thinking about all those people who have lost EVERYTHING. This is terrible. It's like Andrew all over again, but worse. I have no idea how they're going to get through this, how they will rebuild an entire city.
I feel so sad about this; I get goosebumps when I look at the pics or stop too long to think about it. God bless them and help them.
001/365 Jason L.
He was one of my first friends. Had sweet little memories of our kindergarten days. Saw him once as a teenager. He remembered me, but wasn’t excited like I was.
tags: 30x365, *x365, x365
It's all over, folks. The boy walks. WALKS. Alone.
Actually, he's only taken a few steps on his own, and always when he's distracted by something else - he seems very hesitant to do it otherwise, which is fine with me. (I don't know whether to be embarassed or proud, but after tracking the most basic ones like head movement and eye moment and such, I have no notion of milestones - I don't care about 'em and don't track them. I figure he'll get to them when he's ready to. And I HATE being asked, "does he walk yet" "is he talking a lot?").
The best part of the morning, however, was when he threw his first full-on tantrum. Sprawled out on the floor, head buried in his arms, yelling for all his life. It was awesome.
That said, it's been a looooong morning. An extremely long morning. Keep me in your thoughts today, because I'm stuck in this house all alone with a cranky bug who just won't be pleased with anything. Actually, this is a total interruption to his daily routine, so I get it. The weather's still blah, though, and I don't know what's open, so I don't want to take him out. He seems to be settling down, though, so we'll just make the best of it.
tags: baby walks, tantrum
In honor of my 30th birthday next year, I've decided to join the *x365 project. Basically, you write a set number of words about people you've met throughout your life who've left some kind of impression, one person each day for a year.
I heard about this cool project from Yvette, who's blog I found on Rick's blogroll.
I'll get started later on today.
tags: 30x365, x365
Either I Can't Learn my Lesson, or I'm a Total Masochist
Perhaps the problem was that I'd never ventured to think about what life would be like with a newborn baby. Since I assumed I was infertile and that we would adopt, I never found the need to imagine life with a newborn. We weren’t interested in adopting a newborn; we wanted a child of seven or eight months or older. For me personally, I saw no appeal in newborns – I was terrified of hurting him or her with my inexperience and clumsiness, and after watching my sister and cousins live through those first months, I felt like I wanted no part in it.
Of course, I found out I was pregnant and was thrilled. As my pregnancy progressed, I grew more excited at the thought of meeting my boy. Through it all, though, I avoided thinking about those first months. I knew they’d be rough, I knew I’d have to be flexible, and that was as far as I was willing to go with it. Had I sat there and obsessed about how completely every single aspect of my life was going to be thrown into upheaval, I might never have gone through with it.
And so Max was born and I can remember very clearly how the first thing to devastate me was the sudden, absolute lack of sleep – it shocked the shit out of me. In hindsight, the problem was that the labor had exhausted the life out of me, and I did not get a chance to rest up and recharge before I took him home and started this new chapter in my life. Max was born at 1:40 a.m., and he was just as exhausted as I was, and I think he would have happily slept through that first night (waking only to nurse, maybe), had that been an option. But his birth weight was so low that they had to monitor his glucose and temperature all night long, so we had to be woken up every hour to test him. Just as we’d doze off (he was in my arms that whole first night, with the exception of when they weighed and measured him), we’d have to wake up all over again. Had he been born in a hospital, he would have been transported to the NICU, where he would have had to stay for the two weeks it took him to gain half a pound (babies who weigh less than five pounds are not allowed to leave hospitals - one day I'll write about how thankful I am that he wasn't born in a hospital and that he had very smart, conscientious, and thoroughly cautious midwives who used their expertise and common sense to work with his pediatrician to determine he was not in any danger and could safely go home with us).
From there, it all went downhill fast. I had an incredible amount of support, but no one could do anything to relieve me when Max wanted to nurse. And Max wanted to nurse all the time, or so it seemed, but of course, his behavior was completely normal and I did not want to be one of those moms who instantly puts her newborn on a feeding schedule when that goes completely against what his body and well-being want and need. So Max asketh, and Max receiveth.
Next, there was the thrush and mastitis problem. I got both infections about five days after Max was born. The pain, itchiness and discomfort were awful, awful, awful. I was so miserable I literally wanted to die. They took close to two weeks to clear up, and I kept nursing through it all, which added sore nipples to the equation. Still, I don’t regret that decision. I was full of milk, and if I hadn’t nursed Max, I still would have had to pump it out, which I tried, to at least relieve my boobs and give it to him in a bottle, and that was far worse than nursing. Point is, the milk had to come out somehow, so it made no sense to stop nursing. Also, I was going to be damned if I let an infection ruin my chances at establishing that kind of incredible bond with my son.
By then it became apparent that Max had a reflux problem. He was never diagnosed with reflux, nor colic, but he had something in that vicinity that made him spit up a lot. And to first-time parents, it’s a very disturbing thing. Considering that he was so tiny, we felt like every drop mattered, and there he was spitting up after every meal. The worst of it was at night – you could literally hear the milk coming up, and he would make this sound like he was clearing his throat as the milk came up and kinda gagged him. As a result of the constant reflux, he barely slept. The discomfort kept waking him up, and I think that basically set the stage for his anti-sleep campaign, one that is only now beginning to subside.
I didn’t sleep those first six weeks. I would stay up all night just looking at him, making sure he didn’t choke to death, or that SIDS didn’t creep up on him. Actually, I still wake up a few times a night to make sure he’s breathing – I suspect I’ll be doing this throughout the next 18 years, at least.
Compounding all this was the tiny factor. For someone who was scared of a regular-sized newborn, I sure as hell was shocked when I delivered a four-pound 18-incher. We knew after that first worrisome night that his health was fine, but having a baby that small is an amazing experience. I couldn’t give him his first baths, the fear of inadvertently hurting or dropping him was that powerful. My mom taught Ben how to bathe him, and together they gave him his first couple of baths. I wouldn’t hold him until he was tightly wrapped in a towel. During those first seven or so weeks, he slept in between us on top of a pillow – we had to keep him inclined and we both felt the best thing was to have him as close to us as possible. When I look at him now, sprawled out horizontally between us, hogging up as much room as he possibly can, I can’t even believe it’s the same baby who once slept on a pillow, and even that seemed too big for him.
So, all these things combined to make my first two and a half months of motherhood pretty stressful. (And hello, it was all cake compared to what mothers with sick or disabled babies go through. I mean seriously? I have no right whatsoever to complain). Between just being new at this mothering thing, plus my original ambivalence to newborns, plus all these issues I had to confront from the start, I was just dying to get it all over with. It felt like a never-ending nightmare. I felt so hopelessly trapped. Now, I know I was not alone. I had/have an incredibly supportive husband who takes his role as a father very seriously and is as responsible for our son’s care and well-being as I am; a mother who took weeks off of work to help me out, so that my son was almost a month old by the time I was left completely alone with him, and who is always available to watch him if we have errands to run or just need a break; a sister who was there from the start, helping me get off to a good breastfeeding relationship with my son, who called every single day to check on me, and who rushed over when I got sick with thrush; and another sister and friends who visited and helped out and checked on us regularly. I had more than anyone could’ve hoped for. And yet for all this, I couldn’t shake that horrible feeling of entrapment. I felt like I had been cut off from the life I knew, like every habit, routine and interest was gone forever.
But you know, I never blamed the baby for any of it (most surprisingly to me). On some level, I knew this was all a normal part of being a first-time parent, that my situation had its own unique challenges, and that it would all pass. Through it all, I was falling madly in love with my boy. Because even though he was very small, even though he refused to nap and fought off all my attempts to get him to fall asleep, and even though there was that whole reflux/colic problem, he was an incredibly good-natured baby. The spitting up and reflux was bad for me, but he never cried or fussed over it. He was frustrating to deal with during nap and bedtime, but otherwise, he was pure joy. He was just so small and cute and frog-like that there was no other option but to fall ridiculously in love with him. There were many difficult moments for me, because I generally found myself thinking, “I love my son more than anything, I love being his mom, but damnit, I hate my life right now.”
And I know Ben felt it, too. He had to work, so he was off the hook during the night, but he would come home to me in tears because the baby just. would. not. fucking. nap. So he’d take over so I could rest and he could get the extremely exhausted baby down. And I think because we’ve made very conscious choices about doing what’s best for Max, regardless of how inconvenient it is to us, we probably made life more difficult for ourselves than others. Yet I wouldn’t do it any other way.
All this verbosity has a point. And that point is, I’ve been feeling a lot lately like I want to get pregnant again. Like, in the next year.
What the fuck is the matter with me? I loved being pregnant. Loved it. I didn’t always feel great, and goodness knows that when my feet began to swell I became incredibly distressed, but I loved the experience nonetheless. I loved watching my belly grow and my body change. I loved feeling my baby move inside me. It got so that I knew all his movements and could predict his daily bout of the hiccups. I loved how I looked, because I think I looked so cute and glowing and mother-goddess-like. I’ve never felt more beautiful or feminine or wonderful than when I was pregnant.
But after the pregnancy’s over, there’s a brand-new baby to contend with. Considering our experience the first time around, and our previous disinterest in newborns, Ben and I are totally turned off to the idea of having another baby. It’s not that we couldn’t handle it, we just don’t want to handle. Really don’t want to handle it.
And yet, I think I could be persuaded. Part of me feels like it really would be easier the second time around because a lot of the stress and uncertainty you have with your first-born is gone. I also think I’m getting pretty good at the whole multitasking while caring for a human life thing. But… But what if I’m wrong? What if we get a baby who’s unhappy and miserable from the minute he comes out? I mean, Max has the best disposition ever. Could we get that lucky a second time, or are we due a difficult baby? Is Max the way he is because we’ve been so affectionate and attentive to him? Or was he hardwired to be like that? I’ve heard so much about kids who were raised the same way, with lots of attention and affection, and one has a great personality and the other kills little animals. I’m really scared of that happening to us.
Another fear is the labor itself. In the great scheme of things, I had an easy labor. It was fast, and I managed to remember all the pain-management techniques I’d learned. But I think there were two important factors that also helped make my labor so easy. For one, having no idea what to expect, I expected nothing. I refused to scare myself and kept telling myself that I was doing what my body was created to do. That helped. Second, it turns out that I was carrying a very small child. I mean, no wonder I pushed for just 15 minutes, the kid was barely four-and-a-half pounds! What would the experience have been like if he weighed five or six pounds, not to even think about eight pounds? Would I have been such a trooper? I never reached that point in my labor where I felt that I just couldn’t go on. Every time I felt more pain and more discomfort, I was also more dilated and closer to the end. What if I felt the intensity increasing but there was no progress? What if three hours later I felt twice as much pain but had not dilated any more? The thought that this kind of labor could happen to me, or that I would have to push a much larger baby out are enough to scare the hell out of me. Now I know what to expect, and I may be too much of a worrywart to handle it.
And yet. I want to be pregnant again. I want to have a little bug to give my love to, to show the world to, to join our family and make it that much richer. It’s just those dreadful first months I want to skip over… I don’t see how I could ever make a decision on this one.
tags: pregnancy, postpartum hormones, second baby
You said yesterday you missed me. I should remind you, then, that if you’ve missed me it’s been because, once again, you’ve sat back and done nothing… I’m sorry you think so much about me. I’m sorry you miss me so much… I’m really very sorry, because there is nothing anymore between us.
But just as I have had to accept all these things, you too have to accept them. You made a choice, (TFBIETL), and now you have to live with it… have you ever really thought of all the things you said to me, and how your actions have been direct contradictions of those words?
…there is the possibility that you don’t even know that feel this strongly and this terribly about all this. And I want there to be no misunderstanding, no mistake. If you ever doubted that I might feel like pure shit over this, now you know without a doubt that I do… perhaps you can face yourself everyday and not care about how you screwed me over, and perhaps you can fuck your girlfriend and ignore the fact that you have talked plenty of shit about her, and that it was me you turned to when you felt bad, but I can’t stand to be a part of any of that.
You are so convinced that women are detrimental to every goal you have that you hold back in ways you probably aren’t aware of… did you ever notice that any time things got complicated, or weird, you found a way to make it clear that if things became that way for a prolonged period of time, you were out?
…you deal with your inability to either work things out or be supportive by pointing the finger at the woman and saying all this is happening because she’s “crazy.” So basically, even though you are a half of a relationship, you are never responsible for anything going wrong in it. It’s always the woman, and not only that, you de-legitimize her feelings by reducing it all to ‘craziness’.
…there is also the way you argue… I felt like you were more concerned with absolving yourself and pointing the finger at me instead of focusing on the issue… It’s a real bitch to try to find a resolution with someone and when you talk to them, the first thing they say is, ‘Well, what about you? Do you know how many times you do this?’ etc.
…but up until that point, however much I enjoyed our relationship, I was not thinking about the future. You made it very clear from the very beginning that you were anti-marriage, so I had figured we’d eventually break up, hopefully on good terms… I know that sounds simplistic, but it was easy for me to be in the relationship and love you… and just as consciously know that we had an ending at some point... I didn’t want to withhold my feelings over the inevitable end, as for me one had very little to do with the other… I always figured that if and when I got to the point where I wanted something serious and permanent, I would just share with you my feelings… we would agree to go our separate ways… I appreciated your honesty about this.
But then we had the first talk…We seem to have very different views on this (marriage), and one perfect example is how you feel that a woman is someone you have to “fit in” into the rest of your life. As your girlfriend, it’s been hard to be the last thing on your list, the thing you squeeze in between your endless hours at the lab or studying or playing… And that’s all well and good if I’m a girlfriend, but… if I am going to be spending my life with someone, I must be number one on his list, and I and the life we build must be his priority… And the feeling I got from you and all you’ve said about the topic was that a woman would always have to come after everything else. And that’s just not good enough for me… If I want a marriage, it will be because we BOTH feel like it is something that will make us better people and will empower us to achieve all our other goals.
I wish we had seen eye to eye on a lot of these big things… it just makes me aware that I can’t keep holding on to what it so good about us and keep ignoring the bad.
The recent posts on Hidden City got me thinking about when I first started blogging, albeit anonymously, in 2000. Actually, I never considered what I did “blogging,” since I didn’t even know the term until last year, but in hindsight, I guess my first website was a primitive type of blog.
Back in 2000, I worked for a dot com. One that pissed though millions of dollars in about eight months, so that by the time I was hired, it was, unknown to me, the beginning of the end. They laid off 2/3 of the staff three weeks after I started as a producer. So that I suddenly became a producer, writer and editor. It was through that experience that I first learned about HTML and web design, although it wasn’t much. Either way, in that environment, I realized that I could easily throw up my own site and do whatever I wanted with it. And so I did.
I launched that site in the summer of 2000. It was mostly me ranting about everything that annoyed me, and back then, I was much more of a ranter than I am now. The process was a pain in the ass: I was on geocities, and I used the Yahoo Pagebuilder program, since it was damn easy. I’d have to upload the text, format it as well as the background and images, and then publish it all. It’d take a couple of hours to get some articles up, so it wasn’t like I wrote daily or updated daily. I’d compile some rants, then post them all up at once.
I maintained that site until 2005, when I became too preoccupied with my pregnancy to rant about anything. And even before then, the site had already taken a gentler turn. I think I just got to the point where I just didn’t care about that site anymore. It had some history that made me uncomfortable, and there were many people who read it and who knew who I was, and I didn’t like these people and didn’t want them knowing about my life. By then I had also started to learn about blogging and was exploring that.
Anyway, I looked up the old site – it’s still floating there in cyberspace – and decided to share with you the first two pieces I ever posted up. I haven’t read these in ages, and in italics are my current comments about it. Enjoy.
Why Jennifer Lopez Sucks / Summer 2000
Where do I start? Let me for once be PC and state that as a Hispanic woman, I feel fully justified in doing what I am about to do. I say this because the powers that be have decreed that Jennifer Lopez is THE Latina star, and I am compelled to correct
that terrible mistake.
Why is this so? I personally feel that just because she has a Hispanic last name, it does not follow that she should be made out to be a representative of the entire Hispanic/Latin American community.
Let's start with the fact that she barely speaks Spanish. I mean, have you seen her L'Oreal commercials in Spanish? She sounds like she learned the language 5 minutes before the cameras started rolling. And I am most likely not that faroff with that comment.
What really gets me is that before she made it big, she couldn't give a shit about her roots... it's her damn attitude that incites me to write this piece. And it bothers me a great deal that people look at her and associate the Latino/Hispanic culture with her. That's bogus; the Lopez last name does not automatically make her a Latina. And if by chance she and her family share some common Latino customs, as far as I'm concerned, that is still not enough to bill her as THE Latina star. As a Hispanic, I am so offended that such a poor example is held up to represent us (let's not even get into the argument that Latinos/Hispanics cannot be clumped into one group, each nationality is too diverse for that). You want real Latino/Hispanic stars? Look at Gloria Estefan, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz or Antonio Banderas. They're the real thing.
And while we're on the "real thing," can we address the issue of her "talent"? The truth is, there is very little of it. She is one of those people who just happened to be at the right place at the right time, that's all. When you really take a look at her acting or singing, you'll see that she is, at best, mediocre. She is mostly nothing but hype.
And finally, I hate to sound like a prude, but just like any other Hollywood bimbette, J Ho seems to be afflicted with a condition I will crudely call the "itchy pussy," as evidenced by her inability to stay with one man for very long. Not that I want to be judgmental, just that there's something in the way that she goes about it that makes her seem so trashy, so used. Any other woman could make man-jumping look free-spirited, but she makes herself look like such a piece of garbage, and really, I hate it when a woman is so low that it's impossible to respect her. (Wow, that was particularly cruel)
It's ridiculous shit like this that pisses the hell out of me. Jennifer Lopez can kiss my ass (which, for the record, is way more spectacular than hers).
(WTF? Why am I even talking about my ass??)
I Hate Abercrombie & Fitch / Summer 2000(I still hate A&F and refuse to shop there)
I pray everyday that this store goes bankrupt. I hate them. I hate their white-bread, all-American models, who do not represent the awesome diversity of the people who live in this country, not to mention this planet. I hate their ridiculously priced clothes. I hate how they have the nerve to charge $60 for a pair of pants that are wrinkled and frayed and look like they came out of the Army-Navy store.
You know, we tend to like or dislike things and places by our experiences with them. So it's no surprise that a major reason I hate this store is because of its sales staff. In Dadeland Mall down here, the store is staffed by, if you can imagine it, snobby idiots. You know the kind: they are there to help, they need your money to make sales and therefore earn their minimum-wage salary, yet they treat you like you are not worth their time of day, and even asking them a simple question is enough to make them roll their eyes and treat you like a big fat dumb-ass.
I recently learned about an A&F policy that cemented my hatred of them and made me swear to never shop there again. I walked in because I saw a sign that said sweaters were on sale. I see one I like, and I figure that with the reduction, it's actually a decent price. However, the last size small is on the mannequin. So I do what I have done a million other times in hundreds of stores across Miami: I ask the girl to remove it from the mannequin so I can buy it. She looks at me like I just suggested she go kill her mother and says, "That's just visual," and expects me to know exactly what she means. But I don't, so I approach a friendlier-looking girl and
ask her what the deal is. She explains that they are not allowed to remove clothing from the mannequins, not even for paying customers. Items on mannequins get sent back to "headquarters." I ask her if she is aware that they are the only store who does that, and she looks truly surprised. I explain, "If a store only has one size left, they normally take it down and sell it to the person." And she looks at me with a look of incredulity and asks, "But if we did that, can you imagine what would happen to our mannequins?"
God, make it swift and make it painful.