Oh. and did I mention the shopping? Did I mention how freaking weak the dollar is compared to the British pound? Did I mention how dirt cheap everything in America is? (apparently).
I am (as m'old Dad would say. A lot on this trip, actually) Bloomin' Knackered. I am also beginning to heartily curse the following phone conversation, which took place, oh, about mid-August:
Mum: "and this year, instead of main presents, I thought we could just do stockings for each other!"
Me (remembering Christmas past, and thrill of stocking crammed with gifts at end of bed...) : OOOh! yes! Good idea! Let's do it! What fun! Oh yes!
Let's just do stockings. Instead.
Let's wander aimlessly from store to store wondering what the frigging hell two grown men would want in a motherfucking stocking. Let's inflict joke books and miniature summer-sausages on them. Let's buy a six pack of Guinness as a last resort, coz that'll stuff a stockin' let me tell you.
Let's spend shitloads more than we would on a nice sweater, a power tool, and a book or two, and cram that motherfucker to the hilt.
OOOH! Yes. Let's make homemade stockings so we can have them "extra big" (for the children, mind).
Dear oh dear. I am being dead Ebernezery, I know. And I realize that in light of my previous post, my harsh reflection here makes me seem like the coldest daughter on the planet. And in truth I am having a blast. I've not seen my mother in a year, and we do tend to cram all the experiences that should be healthily meted out over that time into this one deeply concentrated period of Christmas frenzy. It's fun. I look forward to it all year (which might be part of the problem, I realize).
At the same time as I am utterly stressed out and somehow channeling all my mother's deeply complex expressions and mood swings so that I am the complete freak. My husband is taking the brunt and giving me "who the fuck are you?" looks as I fret over each and every meal and whether there are ample dog-defurring devices on hand. My high point was shrieking about the tree not being straight as I hurled lights and decorations onto it.
Love her to death. Love Christmas too (why?) But I AM... Bloomin' Knackered.
Whenever anyone posits a universal experience for motherhood, I resist the idea vehemently. I truly believe that in another culture or context my experience would be quite different. I am white. I am priveleged. I am well-educated. All this informs my role as a mother.
Sure, there are many experiences that bring us together--commonality of experience is what makes our blogging community so strong and supportive, I believe. But universals? No.
Except for that one unspeakable thing that transgresses all cultural and linguistic boundaries. The unthinkable thing that all parents fear totally--the death of one's child.
When I was a child, my baby sister, Zoe, died of SIDS. I was nine, my brother, seven. As kids, we suffered, we mourned, but we bounced back as children do. Now a parent, I look back on how my parents coped--especially my mother. Her breasts ached for weeks with unreleased milk. It's.... unspeakable.
She and my father strived to create an atmosphere of normality for us--especially that first Christmas, mere weeks after it all happened. Santa was unbelievably generous that year...
And now another Mother. Another Father. Another Family. Coping with what we all live in complete and universal fear of.
And yet still, a brilliant and vibrant little boy, Tanner, whose energy is bringing so many of us together.
This weekend, do take a little time to honor Tanner, and check out the auction ambitiously put together by the untiring Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored--all proceeds go to Muscular Dystrophy Research. If you cannot participate in the auction, then do consider a direct donation to M.D. Research in Tanner's name.
Yes, after 2-3 hours of pretty consistent crying and arching of back (is it gas? is it gas? is it gas????) I whipped of his diaper to reveal what dim-lighted, middle-of-the-night-changing did not--a big red sore bottom that would make a baboon jealous. This is new territory for me, and I must learn to shirk of the incredibly lax diaper changing habits instilled by impervious-bottomed firstborn. ("he's asleep? he's go poo in his diaper? uhhhhm. let sleep reign...")
God I am a filthy lowlife...
BTW. Does Desitin go off after 4 years? Hopes not.
(typing very quietly now....)
A few days ago I gave up. That sounds bad, and it's really not. What I gave up was thinking that I might actually get anything productive done during the sure-to-come long naps my son was sure-to-take. A couple of weeks back I reported that he was a sleeper. And he is. Except then the wretched "windy pops" (as my old mum likes to cheerfully refer to it) interfered with my plans. And by "windy pops" I mean unrelenting grimacing, burping, stomach gurgling and farting by my wee little chunk o' love, who is obviously not exactly rendered comfortable by the position. This means a lot of walking about, and soothing, and general motion to help him get back to sleep (which means I have broken golden rule #1 of the Baby Whisperer, "thou shalt not rock thy baby to sleep, or turn on vibrating baby seat, lest you create bad sleeping habits later on." whatever. I am now a firm believer that these first few months are a parenting style free-for-all. do what works. for now at least.)
But today and last night (mercy mercy) the wind ceased, and I can only come to the conclusion that my idle thought that "maybe I'll skip the milk products for a bit..." has some substance to it.
If they decided to crown the Dairy Queen, I'd be it. I love, love, love, the dairy products. I am not shy about downing milk straight from the gallon jug with real gusto (go on, try it--it takes some skill). I religiously have something nutritious and twiglike with milk poured over it in the mornings. Ice cream, milk shakes, malts.... sigh...
But mainly, my addiction to cheese would make Wallace look lactose intolerant.
Cheeeeeese. In all forms thankyouverymuch. Lately, I have become a connoseur of the cheesestick, thanks to my son's own love of them (Sargento far superior in my opinion. He prefers the Kraft twist, which is a packaging nightmare as far as I am concerned If mommy need scissors and teeth to open the wretched thing....).
But my real passion is for the good stuff they keep behind the high-quality deli counter. Chunks of aged cheddar. Aged Gouda. Aged anything emitted from a cow (or goat for that matter).
And 'tis the season! The season to whip up the parmesan and artichoke dip for that potluck. To whip up some cream for those lovely mince pies. To slather your bagel with lox and cream cheese. To cram stilton and port on top of your already crammed stomach as a civilized "after Christmas dinner custom..."
Yes, poor poor me. Deprived of my cheese. I wish I could say that my decision to give it up is purely for selfless reasons--for the good of my baby. Certainly, getting less broken nights would be beyond nice. But the thing keeping me going (and it's only been 24 hours, so give me time to backtrack completely) is that without all these pure chunks of saturated fat, I am sure to be sporting a tomboy flat stomach by, say, January.
Ha! Yeah. Right. Maybe my son will acquire an intolerance for bacon, salami, cake, and all refined carbs in general, and then we might be talkin'
For now, pass the chicken wings...
p.s. if anyone has any experience with this, feel free to dispense advice. Son is on about 1 or 2 bottles of formula a day, as well as breastmilk (nipple confusion, schnipple confusion...) Has anyone tried the soy or lactose free ones?
Only remaining is this item:
Let me hasten to add that this is a chocolate cigar. It is not for smoking.
Then Why Oh Why have I left this item untouched in the basket? Because Cigars are for Boys, that's why. This was not a conscious decision on my part. It's only today when husband asked me if I was going to eat it, and I asked "would you mind?" that I realized that I am not firing on all cylinders, ifyouknowwhatImean... "Would you mind if I ate your cigar? Will your manhood not be insulted? Is it *natural* for me to eat that thing. mmmm. I don't know..." (that all sounded way more phallic that I intended, which was not at all, actually.)
Must go, I've got some eating to do (and I'll thank you for refraining from the Monica jokes, k?....Cripes. I am grossing myself out with this post entirely too much)