Gestational week twenty-four, from BabyCenter:
2007.04.03. strength and energy
Today was an odd, maddening, fulfilling day. I'd been up until the not-so-wee hours, working and then buzzing madly in this head of mine, leaping out of bed around 4 a.m. to draw the layout of garden boxes, sand box and bricks I most desired. It was both modern and fanciful, graphic and sensible. I drew in penciled square after penciled square, my eyes aching but bent on my dream garden goal. I flipped through The Square Foot Garden, alternately praising the author's brilliance and cursing his fanatic evangelism. He reminded me distinctly of the email marketing podcasts I'd listened to at the behest of one of my bosses; frantic and passionate and dripping with bathos.
I slept fitfully, and awoke several times with the phone; one wrong number, a few calls from Jonathan (one to ask an Excel question, which was funny; I'd make an instruction and he'd say over his shoulder, "Sir, put the cursor in A3..." hehe. My Excel skills are helping win the war! Or, at the very least, organize the troops' goodbye party efficiently.) I forced myself awake at 9, worrying about the chicks' tub and eager to get going.
It was brilliantly sunny in the living room, and my dad and I chatted comfortably while I checked email. We needed gravel, and he would get it on his way home from a luncheon, so I started plotting how the boys and I would conquer the remaining blackberry vines.
Once the boys awoke and Grandpa left for his meeting, we headed off to the photo shop. As seems to be the way with these things, we were unlucky in buses, missing our transfer by the long moments we waited for the light to change to 'walk.' On the way back, we didn't miss the transfer, but there seemed to be no bus, and I was starting to weary of balancing two energetic boys through high traffic. I hoped to sit on the bus benches, but two men seemed encamped with huge cartons of cigarettes, even jokingly offering Everett a light for his white-handled sucker (I explained their low comedy to Everett, and he ran back to explain that it was a sucker). So we sat on the concrete near the temporary bus stop, and waited, and waited, and waited.
Finally, finally, those around us began to mill closer to the bus stop. The bus was coming! I dragged myself to my feet with much difficulty, my stomach starting to really hamper my transition from ground to standing, and I picked up all 27 pounds of Truman. Everett was bouncing all over, high-pitched, pulling my pants as he played with Truman, making him kick me, driving me mad. We could see the bus, less than two blocks away. Five, six, maybe more minutes went by and I watched as the bus stopped a half-block away to let off a few passengers. NOT a good sign. I tried to telepath to the driver, I just can't stand here with these two boys and this belly ONE MORE MOMENT! but the disembarking passengers told us a whole classroom had boarded the bus. I wanted to cry. And then.
A very, very tall, very drunk man swooped in on us. He was focused on Everett, perched between my legs for some reason, talking hyperactively to him and to Truman. He wasn't making much sense. He was in their face, and I didn't know what to do. I desperately searched north on 39th for signs of another bus, and nothing. The drunk man walked past us, then turned around and swooped back, I don't even know what he said. Suddenly I freaked out and just started running away. A drunk friend of the man (I assume) said lazily, "you're ok!" as if he had the man under control. Clearly not, and no one was doing anything, not him nor any of the dozen-plus people around us. I just ran faster, wanting to sob, not wanting to totally frighten Everett. I almost ran straight into traffic on Hawthorne, I was so angry and scared and helpless. What could I do? If I could have just walked the two miles home I would have, I felt cheated out of an hour of my vacation. How dare the world do this!
It was several minutes after we got to the next stop that the following bus came, and I called Tri-Met as soon as I arrived home to alert them to the terrible state of the 75. She was sorry, but a bus had been rear-ended by an SUV! What could I do? She took my report, she told me a dozen times how sorry she was, and sounded like she meant it. We were in the backyard as I hung up the phone, unsatisfied, and a man started yelling at me from a nearby apartment window. "Hey you!" he said, his voice sharp like a gunshot. And nothing. "Yes, you!" he yelled, seeming angry and out-of-control. I stared up at the dark window from where the voice had clearly come. "Don't look so pissed!"
"If you say anything else, I'm calling the police!" I yelled back. Another voice, calmer, less drunk. "Sorry!" and I heard nothing else.
It's enough to make a woman start campaigning for temperance.
But from then on, the day was, mostly, wonderful, and every half-hour I'd marvel at my body's ability to till the field despite my belly. We set in on the yard, Everett and Truman and I, we cut branches and carted them and dug into the soft, pliable dirt. Occasionally I felt faint, or dizzy, or my belly would feel squished from bending over, but I'd take a moment and be ready to chase Truman to the front of the house, once more.
My dad took forever to get home -- there was prophesying galore, evidently -- so by the time he did, Brad and he and I made short work of the space we'd cleared, readying it for my beautiful boxes. Soon blackberry roots were added to the high-piled wheelbarrow, gravel was shoveled, there were three garden boxes lying empty and even, ready for the perfect Square Foot Garden (TM! I feel like adding) soil mix. We went to Home Depot, I bought peat moss and compost and seeds and a new shovel and extra gloves and fencing to contain my compost heap. We unloaded while the boys slept. My dream was becoming reality and I still felt strong!
I sat quietly on the couch, relaxing and watching good TV and eating artichokes and Grand Central bread and uploading photos and generally feeling that life was good. I haven't done everything on my daily list, but boy, I've done a lot. Drunk louts be damned.
Today was a day to which I can only look back with satisfaction. No, I didn't complete many of my daily 'resolutions' (what was the point of those again?) and I didn't get moving very early. But my back is aching and my arms are weak and it is good.
We all earned what we have, now, Truman earned his slices of kielbasa that he managed to eat before falling asleep in his high chair (I was on the phone with daddy when I served him dinner, and walked back in a few minutes later to see him struggling to keep his eyes open and his body upright, and failing). He ran and 'mowed' all over the yard with his little plastic mower; he dug wildly for hours with me in the dirt and gravel; he was so tired at the end that he kept falling in the dirt, once face-first, spitting mud.
Everett earned his Atari-era TV games, that he's playing happily now as I type, his dinner of yogurt and banana chips and more yogurt. He awoke this morning brightly telling me it was time to dig in the garden, eagerly donning his kid-sized garden gloves we'd bought the night before and laying out the seed packets in neat rows. He played sweetly with the other children in the childcare at Zenana Spa as I got my vacation treat: a pedicure. He sat quietly for hours in the yard playing with his new magnet set, then helped me cut down trees and dig and watch the chicks run around looking for treats in the dirt.
Most of all, I earned the shower I'm about to take, what with my chopping down whole trees -- some of them four inches in diameter, at least -- my pile of branches and volunteer tree trunks and dry sticks is nearly as high as me, and twice as long. I dug blackberry roots so huge I wondered if I'd found the blackberry queen. I sliced up vine after stickery vine.
My eyes are drooping, and I'm wondering if I might manage to knock off a couple more of my daily to-dos, finishing up the closure on Amey's baby sweater and readying it for tomorrow's mail; sewing a patch on Everett's jeans, maybe, one of my long-time put-offs. We'll see. First, a shower, a long hot drenching and sudsing with my new rose-scented bath bar. Ahhh..... vacation.
2007.04.07. the pregnant depths
Was it the rain? Was it the result of having spent seven continuous days mostly alone with my children, 24 hours a day? Was it the incessant requests for computer games, the refusal to do what I asked? Was it the impending end to my vacation, without having completed my entire list of to-dos? Was it an over-indulgence of Robin's Eggs, or forgetting to take my fish oil? Was it just a lack of good coffee?
Whatever it was -- or if it was simply pregnancy hormones gone wrong -- I had many low, low moments today. Moments that I'm not proud of, where I yelled at both boys for their inability to do the things I told them and their keen ability of making a constant movable mess, moments where I ran away and just cried for a bit. I was lonely, I was stuck at home, I couldn't even dig in the garden (though I'd planted the day before, much to my delight and good fortune -- Everett had, at some point, asked "mama, are we ever going to plant?" and I'd said, "yes! It's time we got going, hmm?"). I was feeling highly broke, and highly without resources. Really, I needed to be alone for a while. To go to the grocery store, or the library, or the coffee shop, by myself.
But there was no alone-ness, no end to my responsibility. I was feeling burdened by the chicks, who seemed to be too hot or too cold or too poopy all day long -- I kept changing their water dish, they kept pooping in it -- I felt unable to mobilize my little troops to go anywhere, do anything. I was trapped, I was lonely, I was in need of a good husband who could do more than call and wonder if I'd called in my resources (not available, not answering, not a good option, in roughly that order).
I had a hard time shaking the lonelies, though Everett eventually made up with me over whatever we'd been fighting over (it started with his refusal to go to ballet and ballooned from there, despite my entirely awesome effort to just talk it out, telling stories about when I was a little girl, and my mom did something to make me happy, and it failed miserably -- just like I was obviously failing miserably, today, at offspring happiness achievement), though I finally took my fish oil and made myself something good to eat.
And then the sun came out, and we all went to the yard and dug for a while. I killed more blackberry vines and we transplanted a bunch of bricks from the side yard (where no one ever hangs out, so why do we need them there again?) to the garden, just like I'd planned. Truman helped me lift bricks into the wagon, and Everett helped unload. I carried veggie cast-offs to the compost heap, and brought the chicks a dirt- and worm-encrusted brick to play with. They were thrilled.
And, as evening came, I was better. Not great. But better. I made it through, without my break, without throwing children out the window. Maybe I can survive four more weeks without my husband.
2007.04.08. bipolar mama, easter sunday
Was it a good day, or a bad? That depended largely on the moment in time, today.
Good: the boys and I got up early-ish, by 9 a.m., Truman and I filled the Easter basket and picked gorgeous tulips before Everett got up to his great delight, and everyone seemed eager to go to church. I'd found a service at 11, right on the bus line, it seemed perfect. I took a shower and put my usual pregnant easter sunday outfit on (I've been pregnant a lot now on Easter, come to think of it...). Green floral wrap dress, stretchy camisole, tan Piazza Sempione drawstring pants.
And then, I couldn't find Everett's shoes, I couldn't walk through the living room for the candy Truman had strewn all over, and finally: Truman managed to destroy my wireless (later I learned: function F2! Remember that if you ever get your wireless mysteriously disabled...). I didn't know when the bus was coming. We finally got out the door.
And the sun was shining, and we made it to church, and Everett was whisked away to Sunday School, and soon Truman was offered a spot in the nursery. I stood, singing and offering my "the word of the Lord!"s and "Peace be with you!"s when suddenly, again, I felt faint, again, like I'd felt that day on Mt. Tabor. Hmmm. Standing still = head rush. Must check with doctor.
I sat, and breathed, and then it was a whirlwind; Everett came back from Sunday School, and wished he could play in the nursery, and thought the bread-dipped-in-wine was yucky! (a quiet moment between hymns, great) and we went to pick Truman up, and then the grocery store, and he wouldn't hold the milk or the bag of groceries or even the bus transfer, he hated me.
But another mom got on the bus, I later learned she was 21 (when another passenger, bolder than I, said she looked too young to be a mom), with a little girl about 4 and a little boy about 18 months. I was enchanted with them and everything was fine.
We got home around 1:30, and it hit me: I'd done so little of my 'resolutions.' I hadn't even looked at the book proposal book; I hadn't organized a damn thing. There were no weekly links on my blog. Heck, I hadn't even blogged in four days. Despair overwhelmed.
The hormones (or was it the easter peanut M&Ms?) kicked in, and I decided to tackle a project I'd been putting off since moving into the house: a slipcover for the old easy chair that had been sitting on our front porch for, it seemed, at least a decade before we moved in. I cut and pinned and sewed and a few hours later, voila! Everett and Truman happily tumbled in it for photos and I was at peace.
I'd bounce back, and forth, all night, one moment wringing my hands over my inability to ever finish the items on a to-do list, the next bucking up and doing something. I read three chapters of my how-to-make-a-book-proposal book in the tub; I blogged and blogged in bed when Everett and Truman both fell asleep. I did something.
It wasn't everything, but it was something. And when you're largely pregnant and without a husband for the interim, something (getting out of the tub on your own!) is plenty.
2007.04.09. tale of the great walk
It was 4:20, and I had to go to the post office by 5, the bank by 6. I still had to get the boys ready. But I was calm. If I hurry, I can get to the post office in 16 minutes, though it's nearly a mile away. I'm quick.
I get the double stroller ready, packed with books and water and my check and mail, a few snacks in case of hunger, my wallet, my camera. The boys are shoed and dressed and diaper-changed, 20 minutes later, we set off.
Everett wants to ride but I convince him to go in shifts, running along with me (especially up the hills) as I push Truman in the stroller, whose tires are nearly flat and whose cornering is not exactly state-of-the-art.