Want a fancy-dancy new blog button like this one?
SeaRabbit made it for me. Well, she didn't really make it FOR ME. She made it for the project and then I asked if I could have it and give it out and she said, "sure!" Cause she's nice that way.
So now you, too, can have one. Just click on the pretty picture and write a story for The Scherherazade Project. And then email me at email@example.com and let me know that you've written a story and would like your prize. And I'll send you the button.
Easy as pie.
You know you want to.
continued from here
The email came from a very kind person that I do not know. She had read of some of our breastfeeding and supply issues here on Accident and wanted to help. I sent her a reply thanking her for her interest, but that Kristin has a medical condition that was making it impossible for her to make enough milk and that Julia was weaning and we were calling it quits. And then she sent an email back that was full of suggestions on how to increase Kristin’s milk. Most of the suggestions were things that we had been trying for the last month, but one of them was something that had NEVER occurred to us. She suggested that I suckle Kristin. Like I said, I had to keep from retching on the keyboard.
(Dear person who wrote me that email: if you are reading this, I hope you understand why I never responded to you. I am sorry. I just couldn’t. I meant to, I really did. But I couldn’t bring myself even to pull up your email again to write you back. But I know that your advice was heart-felt and not meant to be so damaging, so I don’t harbor any ill will.)
Now, normally the thought of sucking (note the change of terms) on Kristin’s breast would fill me with happiness. But to put my mouth to her to recreate what a baby would do, and with intent to stimulate milk flow, filled me with such aversion that I can’t even describe my distress. I focused on the bodily fluid revulsion which is easily strong enough to justify strong repulsion of the suggestion. It was also the easiest concept for me to handle at the time, and so dismissed my excess of feelings as being all related to the fact that I find breast milk extremely disgusting and the thought of willingly taking it into my mouth vomit-inducing. I even intellectualized it enough to recognize it for what it was: abjection. A violent rejection of something that I feel is threatening to my identity. After all, I’ve spent years defending myself and my sexuality against those who would say that I’m a lesbian because I’m overly attached to my mom and want a lover who can mother me as well. Ha ha ha ha ha… classic example of feminist theory in action in real life. And I sighed and attempted to move on.
But it was more than that. And I found myself growing extremely sensitive to any mention of breastfeeding. Forgive me, my breastfeeding friends, but the stories of your struggles were often more than I could read. There was a growing disturbance and revulsion there that I was ignoring and just hoping would go away. I told myself that I would not breastfeed and I grew defensive when I imagined the reactions I would get from people once I had a child and formula fed from birth.
So, here I am, developing this huge complex, and cognizant of the fact that I’m developing a huge complex, but not really wanting to look at it. Wishing, in fact, that breastfeeding would just disappear forever and people would stop TALKING about it ALL THE DAMN TIME. (of course I knew people weren’t talking about it all the time, I knew it was just my sensitivity and stubbornness, stop looking at me like that, I’m sorry, all right? Sheesh!)
Guilt. Guilt is my problem. And I haven’t felt this riddled with guilt for years. Especially this riddled with guilt over something I hadn’t done or hadn’t yet done. A little thought niggled into my brain that what I was feeling was feeling very close to the way I felt about sex and my sexual abuse. But I dismissed it. Because. Just because. I didn’t think about it too clearly. I didn’t WANT to think about it too clearly.
But even though I wasn’t ready to consider that my sexual abuse and my patterns of thought that stem from that abuse might have something to do with my reactions to our situation, and the email, and the way I was feeling. I was ready to start looking a bit at guilt. And that’s how I came across those posts by Jamie and Navalgazing Midwife that I linked in my earlier installment .
(please humor me while I digress a bit)
Now, while I agree with Jamie and NgM that women who try their hardest to breastfeed and simply can’t aren’t the targets of those ads and the other social pressures to breastfeed (particularly in the natural/holistic/organic mothering arenas that Kristin and I like to think we’re part of) and thus shouldn’t feel guilty because they have nothing to feel guilty about, I tend to agree more with what Emily was saying in Jamie’s comment threads. For women who tried and failed to breastfeed, guilt can’t be dismissed that easily. Especially by women who were abused (either sexually or otherwise) as children. Now, I’m not trying to say something global about every woman who has been abused, but I do think that women who were abused as children are more likely to be conditioned, through their abuse, to accept guilt upon themselves. Whether or not that guilt is justifiable. The neural pathways in our brains that run from observance of something bad to assuming guilt are wide and well used. They collect things like a gigantic black hole. I feel guilty for stuff there’s no way in hell I’m really guilty for. It’s habit. You show me an ad of a pregnant woman log-rolling and compare that to not breastfeeding, I’m going to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, even if I try everything and can’t. Even if I have very good reasons for not trying. Even if I know about the risks and have decided that in my case the risks of breastfeeding outweigh the risks of not breastfeeding. Thus, even if I’m not the person that ad is aimed towards.
There’s a difference between inducing a productive guilt that creates a laudable change in behavior and thought patterns and one that simply triggers old guilt reflexes in the people who already know that “breast is best”. I wonder if those commercials will even register with the people who simply don’t care and/or have already made up their minds that they will bottle feed for convenience (let’s not get into an argument over which is more convenient here, there are people who are convinced that bottle feeding is more convenient and they aren’t going to be convinced by you) or some other reason.
And if they do? If they succeed in guilting women who wouldn’t normally breastfeed? Is that necessarily a good thing?
If a big part of the benefits of breastfeeding are actually in the emotional connection with the mother that the baby receives, if the emotional connections made during infancy set patterns for the rest of a person’s life, then what are the possible results of forcing breastfeeding upon mothers who don’t want to feed that way?
Which would you rather have:
A) Macaroni and Cheese. From a box. Broccoli florettes mixed in, maybe some chicken. It’s from a box, but spiffed up some. Served with love, humor, and caring. Laughter, eye contact, conversation.
B) An exquisitely prepared, beautifully presented meal of your favorite food perfectly nutritionally balanced. Served reluctantly, with great resentment. Little eye contact. No laughter. Stilted conversation. Stress and anger thickening the air.
Which situation do you think has more serious ramifications for a child’s emotional development? Because, as I sit now, there is a good chance that if I force myself to breastfeed, I’ll be putting my baby in situation b. But I’ll be able to say I breastfed. I’ll be able to claim that badge of motherhood. I’ll be able to say with pride how many months I did it.
Which is the selfish choice?
To be continued*… (I swear to god I am getting closer to finishing this thing. Maybe 2 more posts max!)
*Did you notice how yet again I managed to veer off sexuality and breastfeeding? I'll get to that tomorrow, I promise!
The rest of the pictures are here.
Continued from here
Thanks for all the supportive comments on the last two posts… you guys really give proof to the theory that one CAN create a supportive community on-line of people who’ve never met face-to-face.
Disclaimer: for the rest of this series, as I grow increasingly bitter in my writing, I just want all my breast-feeding friends to know that of course I don't think this about YOU. (That sounds sarcastic, but it really isn't, you should know by now that usually when I sound the most sarcastic I am actually the most sincere) You are my friends because you are not judgemental and holier-than-thou (unlike me). And I respect your decision and struggles even as I explain where I'm coming from and what I'm feeling and thinking.
Now back to the bitterness...
Contrary to all the wailing by breastfeeding women about how they were never exposed to breastfeeding as natural and the norm and never saw a woman nursing her child because those few who did were relegated to some dirty bathroom stall the next town over, I grew up surrounded by breasts offering milk to hungry babies. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in Utah, or if it has something to do with my family, but ALL the adult women around me breastfed. All of them. I was breastfed. My brothers were breastfed. The generation before us was breastfed. All 7,642 of my cousins were breastfed. And since I was the kind of child who preferred to stay inside and listen to adult conversation rather than play in the mud with the “common folk” (as I liked to call my cousins and siblings) I was present for countless nursing sessions. And yes, though the women in my family did prefer to use a baby blanket for modesty, they also weren’t unduly concerned if that blanket slipped and a gigantic, purple nipple dripping bluish-whitish fluid was exposed to my tender eyes.
So, though I didn’t grow up with the kind of women who went around willy-nilly squirting people with their milk and/or offering it up as a panacea for every childhood ailment, I DID grow up thinking that the best way – the ONLY way to feed a child was to breast feed. In fact, it was almost as big a family scandal when Smokin’ Bunny-cake’s birth mother decided not to breastfeed as her unexpected pregnancy had been 9 months prior. And, of course, in retrospect, everyone KNEW she would abandon S B-c as soon as she denied her her nectarly birthright. It was a sign of her lack of motherly feelings for her child.
So, I always assumed that I would breastfeed any child I had. Kinda like I always assumed that I’d grow up, marry a man, and be happy holding his semen inside me for the rest of my life. Well, maybe not exactly that. But there were a lot of assumptions and not-looking-too-closely-at-what-breastfeeding-really-entails going on. And when I thought of it my thoughts ranged from considering it the ultimate bonding experience and the ONLY way of showing love to my child to deciding that when the time came I would just close my eyes and think of England.
Just so you know where I’m coming from with this. I never considered it an option NOT to breastfeed. In fact, when we decided that Kristin would carry our first child, I announced to everyone who would listen that I was going to induce lactation so that I could feed my child, too, and thus be a real mother. Only I didn’t know how to do it. And the LLL here is, well, let’s just say that they really aren’t here. There are numbers in the book but no one’s home. Ever. So I figured that I’d wait until the kid was born, pump like crazy while Kristin beatifically fed said child, and then at the magic 6 week moment reenact a renaissance painting.
That’s not what happened.
When you’re a nursing mother and you’re having supply problems and you talk about how you’re tired of stressing, tired of pumping, tired of feeling shitty about not having enough milk, tired of the whole damn rigmarole, people don’t tell you, “well, you did your best, no one can fault you, no need to continue to feel guilty(it’s the comments that particularly interested me in the first two links – especially Emily’s comments, more on her later – and please see the last paragraph of that third link, I’ll also be talking about that post in a later installment of this series), you can stop this and just enjoy your child at any time, you’ve done enough…” No. They don’t. They offer suggestions, reasons, Things to Try. And in all that is the implicit (or explicit, in some cases) suggestion that if you’re willing to “give up” when there are still so many options available – so many Lactation Consultants to pay, so many new drugs to take, so many exotic beetles to grind up into so many nipple-pastes, then you’re less of a mother than every other woman who ever breastfed. You obviously don’t love your child enough. Or maybe your partner isn’t supportive enough. Because, you know, one of the biggest factors of success for a breastfeeding woman is the support of her partner.
We did everything we could do. No, I should say that Kristin did everything she could do and I did everything I could do to support her in her desire to breastfeed. The first three months of Julia’s life were spent trying to increase Kristin’s milk supply. And I wasn’t able to pump to induce lactation because Kristin needed the pump. That’s ok. We had a supplementer, so I strapped it on. And this is what I didn’t say at the time…
I. Hated. Every. Minute. Of. It.
Not because it was painful. After all, besides being exposed to breastfeeding my whole life, I’d been right there with Kristin during all her lactation consultant sessions. I knew what a good latch was and how to get one. No. I hated it because the sensation of suckling made my skin crawl. Because there was a thread of pleasure to it. And I’m not talking about a euphoric feeling of fuzzy mama bonding. But a purely physical pleasure. I tried to use my old defense of shutting off the sensations from my body. No go. This was completely unexpected. No one had told me that breastfeeding could elicit these sensations. Nothing I’d read or heard had prepared me for such a situation. After all, breastfeeding is completely asexual, right? Breasts are only sexual objects because of socialization, correct? It must be the return of my inherent evilness prompting these feelings. Each time I nursed Julia my discomfort and mental agitation grew. When someone suggested that perhaps suckling Julia with my non-lactating, non-pregnancy changed breasts (even with the supplementer) might be contributing to the problems with breastfeeding, I gladly gave it up.
I tried not to think about why I hated it. I was focused on being a good partner in supporting my breastfeeding wife. And my breastfeeding wife was getting tired of working so hard. And then the fateful email arrived and when I read it I had to fight to keep from retching on the keyboard. And everything shifted again.
To be continued…
This is, I think, going to be the longest post of this series. If you're sensitive to stories of child abuse you may not want to read this post.
Continued from here
A long, long time before I met Kristin, when I was still struggling with my sexuality, I put myself in a dangerous situation with a man. I didn’t like him. I didn’t respect him. But he wanted me. And I thought I could use him. It was stupid. The night we were sexual I wanted to stop. I hated him touching me, and I was terrified. Frozen. Inside my head I was screaming, outside I was mute. I wasn’t aware of feeling anything he was doing, but I guess my body did, because it produced lubrication. He thought I was having a good time. I felt betrayed, but not by him, by my own body.
That was not the first time I have felt so betrayed. I was sexually abused as a child. I half-remember one instance. And I’ve told myself for years that that was the only time. And I told myself that I was lucky, it wasn’t so bad. Yet. I have huge holes in my memories as a child. And now as I’m older, I’ve begun looking back at the abuse I remember and there are things that make me think that perhaps the abuse was more extensive than I at first thought. And that the abuse I do remember had a far more serious effect on my subconscious than I had first thought.
I was 5-ish. My mother came to me distraught. Another child had come forward with a story of sexual abuse. That child named me as being present and abused, as well. At first I denied it. I couldn’t remember anything. And then, suddenly, I did remember something. And that something terrified me, so I lied. I wasn’t afraid of retribution from my abuser. I was afraid of losing my mother’s good opinion. What I remembered was my complicity. You see, I remember the morning of the incident in question. I remember playing a game with the perpetrator. I remember the game was a very physical one, involving a lot of touching. And then the perpetrator asked if he could touch other places. And I remember negotiating the terms of my abuse and the abuse of the other child who was younger than I. And while I don’t remember the abuse itself, I do remember that there were parts of it that I liked. Ways that he was touching me that felt good physically. And here was my mother, rightfully horrified that her child was abused. And I didn’t want my mother to know that I had agreed to that abuse. Because to agree to something horrible, to enjoy it, is to be horrible yourself. At that moment I realized that I was a very, very evil little girl. And I would do anything to keep my mother from knowing.
So when she (metaphorically) pinned me to a corner, I admitted to the abuse. But I changed the facts. I changed the situation from one of emotional and intellectual manipulation (because as a 5 year old I didn’t understand those concepts) to one of physical force. In the new story, the perpetrator didn’t ask, he simply held me down and did. And then in subsequent interviews with various child protection officials, I added a small chase scene where the perpetrator chased me around the room, THEN held me down and THEN did what he did. The other child was so much younger than I (barely speaking in sentences) that I was the primary witness, and my version of the story was accepted.
For years I carried a burden of guilt – feeling that I had dumped on the perpetrator a large measure of responsibility for what had happened. I felt that he had been punished for doing more than he had really done because I was unwilling to take responsibility for agreeing to what he had asked. I felt that I had been capable of consent. And, in addition, was completely responsible for the other child being abused, as well. After all, I had negotiated the terms of the abuse for BOTH of us. In addition to that guilt, I carried the fear of my inherent debasement. I read avidly about the effects of childhood sexual abuse; I read about the high statistics of children acting out and turning into child sex abusers themselves. I felt certain that it was only a matter of time until I perpetrated again. After all, my depravity had already led to one child being abused (I wasn’t counting myself among the victims). And this is how I felt for years: horribly twisted, inherently evil, contaminated. A time bomb ready to explode and destroy everything around me.
Then I was 12. Puberty had hit me hard. I was starting to have sexual feelings. And that summer I began acting out on some of those feelings. I found a stash of porn and began an underground porn ring – circulating the magazines around my (oh-so-Mormon) friends. My (female) best friend and I spent afternoons touching and kissing each other. I was heady with hormones. And then my porn ring got busted. Someone ratted us out. And again I was evil. Again, I was a corrupting force. And though no one ever said this, I decided that those languid afternoons were not the innocent exploring that I had thought they were. They were the blackness of my soul oozing out to ruin children (even though my best friend was actually several months older than I, my conscience told me that she was a child and I had molested her.) I shut everything down. No conscious sexuality. No conscious sexual thoughts. No real feelings from my body.
Fast forward to my mid 20’s. And I slowly begin to understand that sometimes the body reacts to external stimuli in ways the mind cannot control, and that that does not say anything about your self-control, or lack thereof. It does not make you a slut and it does not make you depraved. I realized that the way I had shut down my body and disassociated from any pleasurable or sexual feelings was doing me more harm than good. And I started looking back at the abuse that I remembered with the eyes of an adult instead of the eyes of a precocious child. I began to understand that a 5 year old cannot consent to sexual touch and activities. I began to understand that it didn’t matter how many times I had been told that I was the oldest child present and thus “should know better” that that “knowing better” did not apply to sexual abuse, and that I was not responsible for that other child being abused. It doesn’t matter that multiple people over the years had said similar things to me; I needed to see it for myself. I relinquished a huge burden of guilt and self-loathing. And yet still there was more…
Recently, and by recently I mean the last few months, I have begun to revisit my abuse. And now I wonder if that was the only time I was abused. I have no memories of other abuse, but then I don’t exactly remember the abuse in this situation, either. And I probably wouldn’t remember anything about this if my mother hadn’t been told and confronted me. If I hadn’t had to talk about it with detectives and social workers and therapists. But there are signs that I may have been more extensively abused. And perhaps not just by the perpetrator that we know of. My extreme reactions to semen, for one. The fact that I have a difficult time feeling wet between the legs and that I have visceral reactions to body fluids on my hands. But also the fact that I don’t remember much of my early childhood, that I have always found it easy to escape from problems by retreating inside my own head. But most interesting to me now is the fact that I was capable of negotiating with my known abuser, and that I was capable of creating such a convincing story about a far more physically coercive episode of abuse. It was as if I were drawing on experience to create that scenario. I am by no means convinced that there is more abuse in my past than I remember or was documented, but I am beginning to wonder. The perpetrator had had a great deal of access to me before he was caught. Perhaps that wasn’t the only time he abused me.
And all these recent thoughts and suspicions emerged because of an email last winter offering advice about how we could increase Kristin’s milk supply.
To be continued…
There’s been a lot of writing lately about breastfeeding. Well, what’s new? It seems that every few months a lot of writers have to get all het up about breastfeeding. And normally I just read what everyone has to say and keep my opinions to myself. After all, I’m not you. I’m not in your life; I can’t second guess your decisions. I assume that you’re informed and that you’re making the best decisions for your family. Who am I to judge that? But, over the last several months, and particularly because of the latest round of breastfeeding pseudo-dialogue, I’ve been thinking of writing a response. Specifically I want to address the idea that women who think that nursing is “icky” deserve all the guilt anyone can heap on them for completely ruining their babies’ lives by subjecting those babies to myriad ailments due to their own immaturity and selfishness. Because if you were to ask me what I personally feel about breastfeeding (not what I think about others breastfeeding, but about myself breastfeeding) in one word, that word would be “icky”. And then there would be an emphatic "No!" and then maybe “ug” or even simply a gasp of horror. And I consider myself fairly eloquent. Give me enough space and time and I can explain. But not everyone is so comfortable expressing themselves in words.
So, I’ve decided to sort-of put my .2 in. Not to give advice, but to share my thoughts and experiences. Because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to feel the way I do, and I want to provide a different view. What I’m writing is going to be intensely personal and while I don’t want to sideline the dialogue by offering The Trump of Personal Anecdote, (see the #1 Science Myth in this post) I do think that my anecdotes will relate to more people than myself, and so I think they should be heard. Besides, ickyness has nothing to do with science, and the choice to breastfeed or not has only little to do with health concerns and risks. Bear with me; this is going to take more than one post and will involve extensive mental wandering. I’ll link them all together when I’m done and hopefully then they’ll all make sense.
Because of the nature of the breastfeeding debate, any comments I get on the following posts that are hateful, nasty, and/or simply needling will be deleted. You can feel free to disagree with me, you can feel free to express that disagreement in my comments, but you must do so respectfully and with a mind to dialogue over ranting/accusing. Thank you.
Bodily fluids gross me out. Seriously. Not just a little, but a lot. To the point where I will have to fight to keep from retching if I see someone drooling (Babies and toddlers excepted. Preschoolers and up NOT excepted), or that little string of saliva that sometimes attaches to a person’s teeth or lips… and it stretches as they talk to you… and you’re supposed to not say anything… oh, god, I’m going to lose it as I type this…
Even my own bodily fluids can push me past composure. For example: I hate to floss because sometimes the floss will flick saliva on my face. Not to mention the fact that it gets on my fingers; I can’t stand any sort of body fluid on my hands (this does not include certain fluids from a certain person, I am fine with those, but it took a great deal of work before I met her to get to that point). In fact, I’m so bothered by my own body fluids, that I’ve begun to suspect that I keep myself in a permanent, slight state of dehydration in an attempt to reduce my bodily fluids and make them more manageable.
Remember my post about sex a few days ago? That line I repeated about mucus membranes? I really did say that. Because the fluid that gives me the most problems in terms of disgust factor when I feel it coming out of my body is the lubrication I produce when sexually aroused. Let’s just say I am capable of producing quite a bit. And I hate it. I hate the way it feels. I hate that I have no control over it. I want to wash it off, hide it, deny it. Body fluids – all body fluids – are disgusting, dirty, contaminated and because of that being profligate with them is irresponsible and rude. Believe me, I’ve gotten much better than I was, slowly having altered my perception of some body fluids. But this is still my default reaction.
I thought for a long time that it was because of how I was raised. My entire family is more than a little germ phobic – with the strongest of our germ paranoias centering around saliva. I mean, seriously, all it takes to get a bowl of dip, or any kind of food, really, is to suggest that you may have double dipped. The suggestion doesn’t even have to be verifiably true. You don’t even have to have gone anywhere near said food. The suggestion is enough for the family to treat the entire bowl as contaminated and avoid it like the plague.
But recently I’ve begun to realize that there’s something more going on with me and my strong feelings about body fluids and contamination and betrayal. Something akin to abjection -- a violent rejection as a way to preserve the integrity of the self. Indeed, my reaction is so violent, so personal, so blind, that I think it must be rising out of the subconscious, and I begin to think that it must be the remnants of some old defensive mechanism. Especially after I read in several sources that one symptom/indicator/result of childhood sexual abuse is a phobia of body fluids.
to be continued...
There was so much hair on the floor after he was done. I think I hyperventilated a bit. I'm not sure if it was from all the hair on the floor, or from all the hair missing from my head. Or, maybe, it was because of the bangs. I know that when I went home Kristin was not gushing with the praise. She just kept saying, "you have bangs! You have bangs! Maybe you should clip those back or something." So I did. Which do you think looks better?
Now that it's been a few days, I'm convinced that this haircut looks much better than what I had before. And even Kristin (now that she's recovered from the shock of bangs) thinks it looks attractive. But still, don't you think it looks a little more "Mid-30's Soccer Mom" than "Hot-to-Trot Dyke Who Would Devastate the Dating Scene If She Weren't So Deeply In Love With Her Equally Hot Partner-- Damn Them for Being Monogamous."?
For your birthday two quizzes and a birthday card.
|What Your Soul Really Looks Like|
You are a wanderer. You constantly long for a new adventure, challenge, or eve a completely different life.
You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but you're head is in the clouds.
You believe that people see you for how you are, not how you look. But deep down, you know that's not exactly true.
Your near future is a lot like the present, and as far as you're concerned, that's a very good thing.
For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.
|Your Brain's Pattern|
Your mind is a firestorm - full of intensity and drama.
Your thoughts may seem scattered to you most of the time...
But they often seem strong and passionate to those around you.
You are a natural influencer. The thoughts you share are very powerful and persuading.
So, have you taken these tests before? What did you get? (this question is for everyone, not just Bri)
And now for the card (I think it's pretty funny!)
Before it was dark. And old. And cramped. And, and, and... just plain YUCKY! Before we bought the house my dad came over to look it over and the first thing he said to me was "Well, the kitchen sucks." And I said, "Yeah. It sucks ass. Can you fix it?" And he said, "Yeah. Buy it." And so we did. And it took us 3 years to get the kitchen fixed. But boy howdy did we fix it good.
(this picture has notes that you can see if you click on it)
We have a grown-up kitchen! We have a grown-up kitchen! We have a grown-up kitchen!
And, we are almost all unpacked in it. There's just so much more room than we're used to, our heads are spinning.
The final push was this last weekend. So many little things to finish. We built the banister and the baby gate over the stairs. We put up trim. We finished the outside storage closet that was part of the addition. I had had the idea that under the cabinet by the door we could build a little tip-out cupboard to take advantage of the triangular space created by the stairs, and my mom backed me up, so my dad set about making it happen, grumbling all the while that the reason this project took so long was because my mom and I kept adding tasks to it. But he didn't mean it. He was just annoyed that he hadn't thought of the tip-out himself.
I only have one regret. This last weekend I was moody and hormonal. I didn't mean to be. I didn't want to be. But I just could not be happy and excited and sociable. I cried at the least little thing. I moped. My parents kept apologizing that this had taken so long, how hard it must have been on us. And that just made me feel worse. Because they were helping us and they didn't have to. We never would have been able to do this remodel project if they hadn't been there. And there they were apologizing to ME. I felt like a priveledged, spoiled brat. But I couldn't cheer myself up. It's the medication I'm on, but that's still no excuse. I need to do something spectacularly nice for them. They deserve everything I can give them and more.
So, the financial round up:
$750 on rustic maple wall cabinets
$500 on two laminate countertops and one laminate backsplash
$1500 on appliances: stove, microwave, dishwasher, disposal, sink and fridge (we bought the fridge last summer in anticipation of this remodel)
$700 on studs, plywood, subfloor, banister parts, and hardware.
We already had the tile for the floor. The base cabinets were free. The bar stools were free.
All told, we spent less than $4000 on a major remodel of our kitchen. Not too shabby, if I say so myself! I can only imagine how much value we've added to our home. Especially since the cabinets are hardwood and high quality. In fact, we got our entire kitchen for the price we would have paid for the cabinets alone if my dad hadn't been able to get us clearanced cabinets and a discount on the cabinets we had to straight-out buy. We are so lucky that my dad works for a cabinet company and was clearancing them out when we decided to do this remodel. Also, my brother was able to get us a discount on the countertop, Kristin and I spent a year working sales to get our appliances, and the floating chairs for the bar were donated to the cause by my dad. He had them in his garage from when he had to close a cabinet showroom a few years ago. He thought he would use them in his own house, but couldn't find a place to put them, so gave them to us. They sell for $1500 a pair. And then you have to figure in the cost of labor. How much it would have cost us to hire someone to do what my dad did for us. This probably would have been a $15 K project if we had gone it alone. Lets hope it added at least that to our home's worth.
So the months of discomfort and hard work and frustration were worth it. I can't wait to throw our first dinner party. I can't wait to make Christmas cookies and fudge. I can't wait to put up our garden's yield -- so much space to set the cooling jars out!
But the best part was when Julia (who has the freedom of the entire upstairs now that there's a strong gate by the stairs and the holes in the floor have been patched) crawled into the kitchen, over to the fridge, and started playing with her magnet toys. Both Kristin and I had had a vision of Julia playing contentedly in the kitchen while we made dinner or did dishes or baked cookies. Last night we saw that vision blossom into life. It felt like home.
If you like, you can see the entire process from start to finish on my flickr set.
Ok, so I'm going to get a haircut. Now comes the excruciating part. Picking one. My problem is always that I fall in love with a particular cut, but after I get it I am disappointed in that I don't look like the model who has said cut. Hmph. I guess I need to do one of those things where you upload a picture of my face into the program to pick my hairstyle. See what I look like. Fall in love with myself. Well, the problem with that is that when I use those things even when I stick my last style on them (a style which I thought looked fine on me when I first got it) I look ridiculous. I will like NO haircut found that way.
So, what to do... what to do...
I know! Analyze it to death.
Here are the two haircuts I'm thinking of getting. Cut one. And Cut two. I know. I know. They're very similar. In fact, they just might be the same cut on two different people and the difference in their hair texture is the difference in the look. I can't decide. And then there's this niggling feeling that maybe I should go even shorter. Maybe something with spikes.
Here are my limitations:
Baby fine, super straight, extremely thick hair with absolutely no body at all whatsoever period.
A disinclination to use a hairdryer.
A dislike of the feel of too much product in my hair.
So, I need a style that doesn't rely on hair texture to hold its shape (ie, it looks good fairly flat to the head), doesn't require blowing out to look nice, and needs only one type of product (if any). And I'd really like it to look kind of dykie.
Oh, and we should probably take my star sign into account, too...
February 18 - March 18
You are equal parts alluring, mysterious, fluid and wildly changeable. Flexibility is your middle name.
Your extremely sensitive feelings and fluctuating moods have major impact over how you wear your hair, whether you select a classic one length bob or a super choppy hybrid style.
Famous Piscean actress Sharon Stone became famous for whimsically chopping off her own longish golden locks at home emerging with a super short spiky pixie.
Like Pisces Margo Harshmen, you love short styles that are glam yet practical wears, alluring yet easy to maintain. Look and feel are most important and you pay little attention to cost or workmanship. You march to the beat of your own hair drummer avoiding hot trends like the plague.
I've written before about some of my body issues. I'm overweight and I struggle with self esteem. I don't struggle with self esteem because I'm overweight. Perhaps I'm overweight because I struggle with self esteem? Probably. That and genetics.
Now, I love Queen Latifah. Loooooooooove her. Oooh, the things I think about her... I'd say they'd make her blush if she knew. But not her. No, not QL. She's got too much sass and moxie. I think she'd just laugh and...
Anway. I have spent a great deal of time looking hard at QL's body. I think it's luscious. So beautiful. And a couple weeks ago I was telling Kristin this when we were watching one of her movies. And Kristin looked at me and said, "you know, you're loving her body, but you're skinnier than she is." Well, I really doubt that. But then I know that my body image is nowhere near based in reality. I could be 110 lbs, soaking wet with my clothes on, and I would be convinced that I was overweight and ugly. So, I'm choosing to believe what Kristin says. QL, sexy lady that she is, is heavier than I. So, sexiness isn't weight, but attitude.
Well, duh. I knew that. I know that. But still, I can't make a change... until, maybe, now.
This past weekend I got a bit intoxicated. And, while under the influence, I had a thought. See, I've been trying to grow my hair out. I used to be able to sit on my hair, and I thought that it would be nice to have long hair again. Except that long hair is HOT. Not hott. Hot. And it's been over 100 degrees here every day forever. And it takes a lot of work to make it look nice. My preferred method of doing my hair is washing it and forgetting about it. Not easy to do with long hair unless you want to put it in pony tails or braids every day. I long for one of those short messy sexy cuts. But I haven't let myself get one. Because I worry...
I worry about looking like a pin head. Like a tiny little head on top of a gigantic body. I worry that people will watch me walk by and think, "I guess she's pretty, but my god does she have a tiny little head and a gigantic body." I think, in my twisty little brain, that if I have longer hair it will make my head look bigger, and thus my body will look smaller in comparison. The bigger my head, the skinnier I'll look. Feel free to laugh now. I know, it's ridiculous. But I haven't been able to let that thought go.
So, I stay away from cuts that would fit my lifestyle, my personality, and that I have been told would look fantastic on me because I want people to think I'm skinnier than I am. And here's the kicker: it's not like I'm fooling anybody now anyway.
I realized that I have been working under the delusion that it's better to be an ugly skinny woman than a drop-dead gorgeous fat woman. And I also realized how ridiculous that mental trap is. Sexy is attitude, and my attitude has been shit. I don't want to be premature, but I think I've made an important change. I think that this time, something fundamental has shifted.
Now I just have to decide which short, sexy cut I'm going to go get...
Almost a year to the day that we struggled to fit a glass and aluminum screen door into a compact car, we installed it.
Well, I should say: we watched it being installed. But hey, I helped. I held the screws for my dad.
So strange to have a screen door again. Oliver can no longer let himeself in and out (he had figured out how to turn the doorknob) and we can leave the real door open to catch a breeze without also being inundated with flies and/or those ginormous black fuzzy bumblebees. It almost made us feel like adults or something.
For The Scherherazade Project.
God I hate that gorilla.
I work at Percy’s Music. You know, the one right by the freeway exit? The one with a big, blue gorilla on the roof? With the "Piano Sale" sign? Yeah. That gorilla.
Like, what kind of advertising is that? I mean, does anyone look at a giant, blue, inflatable gorilla, baring his giant, inflatable fangs, and think:
Gee. You know what would make my life complete? A white baby grand. That way I can give my kids yet another reason to resent my existence when I force them to take lessons. I should get off the freeway RIGHT NOW and plunk down a huge wad of cash for an outdated status symbol. Only then will my life have meaning.
Yeah. I don’t think so.
And have any of you noticed that there’s always a piano sale at Percy’s music? Always. Every goddamned morning I have to climb the stairs to the roof and inflate that goddamned gorilla with his goddamned sign. The boss doesn’t like to leave him inflated over night. Worried he’s going to float away or get stolen or something. I wish.
Look. I didn’t apply for a job at Percy’s Music to play inflatable zookeeper. I did it so I could photocopy sheet music and get a discount on my reeds. The discount’s doing fine but the only shift time safe enough to pirate sheet music is before the store opens. And having to go pump up a 15 foot gorilla is cutting into my time. I really wish he would just go away. Or that someone else would get stuck with him.
But damn, Percy loves his gorilla. Got him on sale from a used car dealership. Thinks he’s the greatest thing since the invention of the spit valve for the trumpet. He loves him so much he gave him a name: Cam. Who names a gorilla Cam? Percy, that's who. And for some reason Percy likes me. Trusts me. Well, trusts me enough that I’m the one who gets to pull Cam out every morning, inspect him, and blow him up. He doesn’t trust me enough to believe me when I say that Cam isn’t the killer advertising medium the used car salesman convinced him it was. Percy just points out how many people mention Cam when they come in. How many people know him by name. Cam the Piano Hawking Gorilla. Percy doesn’t care if they’re laughing, just as long as he’s got their attention. I get the feeling he was the class clown in that one-roomed schoolhouse I’m sure he must have attended. Or maybe he was the dunce, sitting in the corner with a cone-head, thinking everyone thought his antics were cool.
So a few weeks ago I “accidentally” poked a hole in Cam. Then I went down and told Percy that his gorilla had a hole and it must have come from Sandra’s taking him down the night before. It’s not that Sandra had pissed me off lately (she had, though) but more because I didn’t want him thinking I had done it. Oh my god, did his face get pale. He raced up the stairs demanding that I show him the hole. I’d done a good job. It looked like a snag and tear. Perfect staged accident. He looked at the tear for a while, god, I thought he was going to cry, and then he went and called his wife. She arrived in a half hour and had Cam all stitched up and back to normal in about 10 minutes. Foiled again. At least I got some satisfaction from eavesdropping on Sandra’s chewing out.
When I’m cleaning the rental instruments, I dream of getting rid of Cam for good. I see myself climbing the stairs with a knife some windy afternoon. When I get to the roof, Cam’s up there straining at his ropes, trying to fly. I think to myself. “Hey, Cam’s unhappy up here. A music store roof is not his natural habitat. He’s full of helium, he’s meant for the sky.” And then I take my knife and one by one I cut the ropes holding him down. As Cam rises into the sky, a crosscurrent rips the “Piano Sale” sign from his balloon hands and carries it across the freeway. Cam keeps rising, twisting this way and that, and the wind pushes him away from Percy’s Music and off to the edge of town. Traffic stops on the freeway as people stare at the emancipated inflatable gorilla. Helicopters dodge him. Percy is crying, but finally free of the beast and the embarrassment.
I wonder how far he’d get…
Criticism and comments welcome and encouraged.
Do any of you loyal readers of mine have access to the Journal of Obststric, Gyn, and Neonatal Nurses archives? There's an article I'd really like to read...
Email me if you can help me out.
I spent so much mental energy working on my new look that I have nothing left over for content. I can't even think of anything to write for The Scherherazade Project's new theme.
I got nothing.
There's a monster post in my head about breastfeeding. That post may or may not include a digression into the abject. Abjection may be a different post. I'm not sure yet. Like I said, I got mush for brains right now.
While I'm working on that, is there anything anyone would like to hear me talk about? Anything at all?
Oh, btw, has anyone else registered with technorati noticed a bunch of sp*m blogs linking to your posts? Is there anything we can do about it?
We're selling them for $20 each. Scarves are also $20. A matching set is $35. To order email firstname.lastname@example.org and specify the age of the child, the main color, and the level of funkiness you can tolerate. As we get more made, I'll post pictures of them and you can order specific hats as they're available.
I know it's only July, but the holiday season is rocketing closer as we speak...
Oh yeah, and we're willing to make older child and adult sized hats too, email for pricing.
As of yesterday I've been blogging on Accident for an entire year. I'm pretty darn impressed with myself. That's a lotta writing about a whole lotta nothin'. And I actually have people who are reading me! Nearly 30 thousand hits so far. Amazing!
So, what do you think? I don't like the picture. But there are precious few pictures of me that I can stand. And very few of those have Julia in them. And I've heard from more than one person that they clicked over here for one thing, but Julia's cute face convinced them to read more. I hate to use the kid's good looks, but she's gotta be good for something, right? So, this picture will do until I get Kristin to take another.
Now, if only I can figure out how to get the comments link to say something different...
Kristin and I went on our last pre-baby camping trip three years ago. We used to be avid campers. We had a system down. We were slick in setting up and taking down camp. We never camped in campgrounds. There's no need in Utah. There's so much BLM land, you just drive into some particularly beautiful piece of nowhere and put up your tent. As long as you bring your own water and you're not the type to need a bathroom, you're fine.
After our last trip, we put all our camping stuff away, and it didn't come back out until last Friday. What can we say? We were busy making a baby. It's sad. So that's why we were so excited to go on the Gay and Lesbian Parents of Utah's Annual Campout. Well, we call it the GLPU Annual Campout, but really it's just the LPU Annual Campout. Because the gays, well, they just don't come camping. They're too wussy.
Anyway, we were supposed to go to Bear Lake. We didn't. We ended up at Yuba Lake. Which, while not a bad place, is not Bear Lake. For one thing it's about 3 hours south of Bear Lake. So it was HOT. And for another thing, there was no shade other than what we made ourselves. Finally, there was a lot of sand. Sand. Sand. Sand. It was everywhere. Still, the water was pleasantly cool, and the sky was breathtaking. But more on that later. First, we had to get there.
I took half of Friday off. Kristin met me at home around 1 PM. We thought we could be on the road about 2. Ha. Hahahahahahahahaha. Ha. Our rhythm was off. Our formerly smooth pack and load routine was rusty with disuse. Plus, not only was this our first camping trip with Julia, but it was also our first camping trip with two large dogs. Oliver was only a tiny puppy the last time we went camping. So we packed. And repacked. The dogs pacing anxiously around, knowing something's going on, and determined to get in on it. My new car doesn't have a roof rack, so everything had to go in back. In the place where we thought the dogs would ride. We determined that the dogs would need to ride in the back seat with Julia. We have NEVER taken the dogs in the same car with Julia before. We thought, "hey! Julia's carseat sits in the middle of the bench. That will give each dog his own seat to either side of her! GREAT!"
So, we pile everything in the sportage. I can't see out the rear window. The floorspace in the back seat is taken up with coolers and a full solar shower. The floor space in the front passenger side is full of cameras. We still need to get to the store to buy ice and sandwiches for Saturday's lunch. Oh, yeah, and we need to pick Julia up from daycare. Plus, it's getting close to 4 PM. Traffic heading south through the valley is killer, we need to get started right away!
We decide that we're going to go to the store, go pick Julia up, and then run home to grab the dogs and head out. Only, as we head to the store we realize that traffic's already picking up. So we decide just to go get Julia and get ice and sandwiches in Provo -- past the worst of the traffic. So we pick Julia up. Now, Julia's care provider is a lesbian mom and a member of GLPU. She had left for the camping trip at noon and her mom was there watching the kids. That's fine, we like A's mom. But A's mom had been under the impression that we would be picking up Julia around 2. And so she didn't feed her. Our fault, we guess, we had meant to pick her up that early, but didn't manage it. Still. Now we had a starving baby who wanted a bottle RIGHT THEN. So Kristin squatted on the back seat (remember, there was no leg room back there) to give Julia a bottle, while I drove very carefully back home for the dogs. After only about 4 ozs, Julia decided that she was done with the bottle, so I put it back in the cooler. Then we put the dogs in the car. Oliver on one side of Julia and Oscar on the other. BIG MISTAKE. As soon as we started driving, Oliver stepped on Julia. Julia started screaming, Oliver got upset about the baby screaming and stepped on her again! Oscar started getting agitated because of Julia's piercing screams (she was fine, just upset and scared) and the fact that she was touching him (he doesn't let the baby touch him) and we started getting worried that he was going to step on Julia, too. So I stopped the car. We did some quick rearranging (moving the drinks cooler from the floorboards in the back, to the floorboards in the front. Kristin took the camera bags onto her lap, and sat in the back with Julia (settling down now, but still affronted) and I took Oliver up front with me. Where he promptly tried to crawl into my lap. I pushed him off, but for the majority of the trip he lay on the seat with his head determinedly in the way of my gear shifter.
Do you know how annoying/fightening it is to try to shift up or down only to find that you have to shove a dog's head out of the way? Not to mention that he was alternately breathing heavy/licking/drooling on my thigh as I was driving. And, did you know that I'm allergic to dogs? That their saliva makes me break out in hives? Yeah. Uh huh.
So, we get on the freeway. I can't see out the back of my car. I'm not perfectly familiar with the way the car handles, with its higher center of gravity and touchy power steering. I'm itchy and having to pause between shifting gears to shove a dog out of my way. And Julia is in the back seat getting fussier by the moment (though A's mom didn't feed Julia, she did let her take a loooooooooooooooong nap that afternoon). Then, once I'm on a rush-hour clogged freeway, Julia decides that she really WASN'T done with that bottle. The bottle that is now wedged in a cooler at least 2 feet beyond any adult's hands. With a large, increasingly anxious, dog on top of it. Fun times!
I don't know how we made it down to American Fork (city just north of Provo). But we finally decide that we need to pull off the freeway and get Julia's bottle. And while we're off the freeway we decide to look for a grocery store for ice. So, I pull off, get out, get a rope burn on my hand from catching Oliver's whizzing leash as he made his mad dash for freedom, dig out the cooler, grab Julia's bottle, force Oliver back into the car, notice that the solar shower has sprung a leak and soaked the back seat and Oscar (no wonder he was so miserable), empty faulty solar shower, put a towel down on the seat, and get back on the road. To spend the next half hour looking for a grocery store. We finally found one, Kristin took Julia in the store to get her out of the carseat for a moment. I took myself, the car, and the dogs across the street to top off the gas tank. We rendezvoused in the store's parking lot. Iced the coolers, piled back in the car in the same places as before, and got back on the freeway.
An hour later, we are FINALLY past the worst of the traffic. As we drove through the bad traffic, we consoled ourselves by noticing that traffic headed back to Salt Lake was at a standstill on the freeway. And then we see a sign for Subway. We still need lunch for Saturday. So we decide to get back off the freeway and drive through Subway for sandwiches. As soon as I pull up to the drive through and start to order, the dogs go nuts and Julia starts screaming. I'm trying to place an order through an extremely fuzzy connection AND keep Oliver from jumping out the open window. We finally, with much yelling and clarification and "can you repeat that, please"s placed our order and were told to drive up to the window. At this point Kristin decided that she needs to wash her hands. So she gets out of the car and leaves me alone with Julia and the two dogs. And Oliver takes that moment to jump into the back seat and stand on Julia.
Now Julia's screaming bloody murder, the dogs are BOTH trying to escape the car, and I've got a teenaged boy trying to hand me sandwiches. I pull Oliver off Julia and force him back into the front seat. Kristin returns to the car. I take the sandwiches from the boy, tears starting to stream down my face. I manage to whisper "thank you" and pull the kia away from the window. I pull up 5 feet before hitting the breaks and dissolving into shuddering sobs. Kristin starts laughing hysterically in the back seat. Julia is still crying. Kristin's not laughing because she thinks it's funny. She's laughing as a hysterical reaction. She does that sometimes when she's pushed beyond her ability to cope. I have a tendency to laugh like that, too. So once she starts laughing, so do I, alternately sobbing and laughing my hysterics out. The dogs are cowed by this display of human craziness. Kristin and I realize that we can't just turn around and go home at this point because the traffic is too bad. We might as well go forward. So we do.
By the time we reach the campout, I'm no longer crying, but still feeling pretty shaky. Luckily, almost everyone was there already. So there were people eager to take our cranky baby and change and feed her while Kristin and I set up camp. And the dogs got out, and off their leashes, and in the water, and released all that pent-up energy playing fetch and chasing kids. The only thing bad at this point was that we were planning on setting up our tent by Merrilee and Summer, but kids had dug a huge hole right where our tent would go. So I, still in the grip of hormonal irrationality, decided that we would place our tent waaaaaaay far away from everyone elses. The better to protect them.
And after that, everything was peachy. Oh yeah, until the next day when the ranger came by and told me that my dogs had better get on a 6 foot short leash or else. That's when I lost it again. Sobbing (after he left) and trying to take down our camp by myself (because Kristin was on an ice/bathroom run to the nearby town) because I couldn't stand the thought of tying up our dogs when they weren't bothering anyone. Not a soul was being bothered by our dogs. They were staying in our camp, playing nice with the kids and the other dog. They weren't even barking. The only time they barked was the night before when some strange men were sneaking around the edges of our campsite (they claimed they were looking for a place to camp themselves. But they seemed suspicious to all of us. And Oliver and Oscar definitely didn't like the smell of them -- even though they didn't have any problem with any of the other people on the lake). But Summer talked me down. Convinced me that the dogs wouldn't die if we tied them up. So that's what we did. And we called Kristin and Merrilee and asked them to bring me alcohol. But we were in a dry county, so no go there. They brought me chocolate instead.
So, except for THAT, it was a great trip. Julia had a great time crawling in the sand , riding on the boat, and floating on the giant raft. Though we were having a good time, we decided to leave Saturday night instead of Sunday morning.* Because of the dogs' captivity and because the sand was just everywhere, and because we were exhausted. The trip home was smoother, though, because the dogs were tired, and because we moved Julia's car seat to the side and put Oscar in first. Oscar formed a barrier between Julia and Oliver, so he didn't step on her again. And Julia slept the whole drive home.
In conclusion: For a first camping trip, it went pretty well. And in August we're going to go camping with our lesbian friends again. This time we'll be in a cooler location. Hopefully it will go smoother...
Here are more pictures of the campout.
*and thank goodness we did, because I was laid low most of Sunday with a blindingly severe headache that turned out to be from dehydration. Ibuprofen and ice were useless and I was miserable until Kristin forced me to drink some pedialyte. Good thing we weren't out in the desert still! As much as I love the desert, I don't always do well in the heat since my heat stroke a few years ago. Better planning next time!
Yeah. There's ads on this site now. I know. I suck. And guess what? I also changed my feed so that it will only show the first few sentences of my posts. I know. Double suckage.
I could say that the proceeds (small as they will be) will go to some noble cause. But they're not. They'll go to pay bills. I mean, SOMEONE has to pay for my new kitchen, might as well be you. So, click on the ads. I'll put your name on a screw or a stair-rail or a wall plank or something. "This piece of Hardware Paid For by YOU!" In black sharpie cause paying for a little plack would totally negate the positive flow of income. Much better than writing on my check to the credit card people "This percentage of the total interest paid for by YOU!" Don't you think?
Thank you for not yelling.
I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but I don’t write about sex much. Mostly that’s because unless I’m talking ancient history then I’m talking in part about Kristin. And I’m trying hard to respect her notions of privacy. Must be hard for her to be married to such a linguistic exhibitionist. If it were up to me I would be trumpeting all over this blog every single time I got laid. I would have a little ticker somewhere. “[blank] battles won in the war against LBD” [the stereotypical Lesbian Bed Death for those of you who don't know]. I’d put a little bird flying around my blog chirping details. Well, maybe the bird would be going too far. But, believe me -- people would know when I got lucky.
And I still consider it getting lucky. Kristin and I have been together going on 6 years, married for 4 as of two days ago. And still I consider myself blessed every single time we make love. Every. Single. Time.
Before I met Kristin, I had sex maybe once a year. I was shy. I was allergic to meeting new people. I was so tightly wrapped in my defenses that I was impervious to most come ons. Oh, I talk a big game, but I never expect the people talking back to actually mean what they say. Because I never do. I only flirt outrageously when there’s no chance of follow-through. When there’s a chance someone could actually take me up on my words, I freeze. Become otherworldly and untouchable or turn the person into a “good friend”. Those few people who could a) see through the alternating icy-prudish and asexual friend-type emotional wrappings and the body-hiding clothes and b) were bold enough to hit on me in a direct-enough way to get my attention and make me realize they were serious then had to negotiate a slew of other (unconscious) ingenious sexual aversion techniques I had developed over the years. I have a sharp tongue when it comes to deflating sexual expectations. It was frustrating for all parties involved. They would be wondering why I was blowing hot and cold and sometimes just plain weird all the damn time. And I would be silently cheering them on. Wishing I could just say, “Hey. I want you. I do. But I’m terrified. And some of these defenses are so old I don’t know when they were built, let alone how to disarm them. But push through, push through. I’ll meet you here on the other side.” And then, of course, when they would make it through, breach my defenses, after it was over (and I’m talking about the single sexual encounter, not the relationship) I would set about setting up my defenses again – reinforcing the breach so that that particular route could never be used again.
When I met Kristin, I had been working for a couple of years to become a more sexually accessible person. But still, she has had her share of befuddlement and walls thrown up before her. From my shutting off in the middle and crying silently in bed refusing to talk to her, to my saying something guaranteed to turn her off right as we’re getting into the mood. Yes, she has been forced to make a List of Words Trista is Forbidden To Say While In Amour. And yes, sometimes they still pop out from me. It’s almost like I’ve got turrettes. It’s not like I WANT to say those words. It’s not like those words are an inherent part of what turns me on. They’re like stealth missiles that some over-touchy soldier with a trigger finger lobs at a perceived enemy without permission from general.
Over the years Kristin has become amazingly good at letting such things roll off her. I mean, it’s pretty hard to keep a mood going when you whisper enticingly to your lover about how wet she is and she replies that yes, her mucus membranes are quite enflamed and overactive tonight, sorry about that, must be that cold virus going around… And yet somehow, most of the time she manages to do it.
So, yes, I still consider it getting lucky. When Kristin and I have sex, besides the physical pleasure I feel, there’s an overwhelming sense of good fortune and amazement that somehow, despite everything I have thrown at her, we have managed to meet each other in that physical place. That she doesn’t run from me. That I don’t run from her. It is a miracle for me, each and every time. I am so lucky to have such a beautiful, sexy, patient, passionate woman love me. I am so blessed to have such a woman to love.
And that’s what I have to say about sex today.
7.05.2006wrote about a frightening incident involving her daughter, a rock, and a lot of blood. I read her story late at night, cradling Julia and was unable to leave a comment. If I had been able to leave a comment, it would have gone something like this:
"Wow! First off I want to tell you that the mark of a good mother is not that she keeps all risks away from her child at all times. It's how she reacts in a crisis. You may have thought about the consequences of blood on your clothes, but that didn't stop you from picking up your daughter. You picked her up, you cleaned her up, you sought help. You did not run around screaming that you child was going to die. You acted with efficiency, practicality, and love. Accidents happen. Thank goodness that this one wasn't worse, but the fact that this happened is no reflection upon your parenting skills."
How little did I realize at the time that within a couple days I would be needing someone to say that to me.
Julia has a jumper. One of those contraptions that hangs from a doorway so she can jump up and down. Only we didn't hang it from a doorway. We hung it from an i-bolt in the ceiling. It was screwed into wood and though it looked a little wiggly, when I first stuck it up there I had put all my weight on it and it held. We thought it was safe. A week or so ago my mom noticed that it looked a little wiggly, and she said something, but I dismissed her concerns. And she tugged on it and convinced herself that it was secure.
Yesterday afternoon, just before we were supposed to leave to go to my parents' house, Kristin wanted help on the computer placing an ad to sell our condo. Julia was getting a bit ornery, and didn't want to be held, but also didn't want to be put on the floor. She needed a nap, but I knew that we were going to be leaving soon, and she could sleep in the car. So I decided to put her in the jumper to see if that would distract her. So I stuck her in the jumper, she immediately started jumping, and I turned my back and walked less than three feet away to help Kristin.
The rest happened very quickly. I heard a noise and Julia gasp. I turned around and she was crumpled on the floor with the heavy attachment mechanism for the jumper on top of her. I must have turned around just as it all hit the ground, because in the moment it took for what I was seeing to register I was over there picking her up and she was crying.
She wasn't crying in the "Oh my god, I'm going to die right this second" type of cry. But rather in the "oh that was really really scary and I need my mommy" kind of cry. So I didn't think she was too badly hurt. But both Kristin and I were checking her out while I was holding her to me. And then we noticed the blood on Kristin's hand.
Julia's hair is so dark and curly that we missed the thick course of blood at first. But as Julia continued crying, the blood continued gushing down her back. I headed for the kitchen, in my head a continued refrain of "head wounds bleed a lot, head wounds bleed a lot. It's probably nothing, head wounds bleed a lot." I sat Julia on the edge of the kitchen sink and turned the water on. She was clinging to me, so I used the sprayer on gentle to wash off the blood. After I got the majority of it washed away I could tell that it was already clotting. And so even though I couldn't see the cut itself, I knew it couldn't be bad. And while I was rinsing her head, Julia's cries had subsided to whimpers. But still, she had at least 3 goose-eggs on her head besides the cut, and her eyes are so deeply dark, I was having a hard time checking to see if her pupils were ok (later the doctor told us that that's a very unreliable way of checking for concussion -- but how was I to know?). So we decided to take her to the emergency room. As Kristin changed Julia out of her formerly white outfit (now a delightful shade of pink and red), I gathered everything we needed for grandma and grandpa's house. Then we headed off to the emergency room.
As emergency room visits go, it wasn't that bad. We confused some people, but no one questioned my right to be in emergency with Julia. Even when someone questioned who Julia's mother was, and I told her that we both were, no one pushed. Kristin, as a social worker who sees the bad things people do to children, was sure that we would be questioned seperately about what had happened. But I'm guessing that they could tell from our distress and demeanor that we are not child abusers (though Kristin would point out that distress and demeanor do not absolve one of child abuse). Plus, Julia was in a great mood: chirping and flirting and bouncing. Every one who looked at her said she looked completely fine. The best emergency patient they've ever had. But still. Better check her out. One hour later we walked out with a $75 neosporin schmear and peace of mind. She was fine.
Still, as the adrenalin wears off and the repercussions set in, all the "what ifs" start entering: what if that contraption had hit her fontanel? what if she had fallen backwards instead of forwards and the contraction hit her nose and broke it? or hit her eye and put it out? She could have been seriously maimed or killed. If I had been standing right there, I might have caught it. But it seemed so secure. So safe.
Julia is fine. The picture above was taken later that night while she was playing catch with grandma and mommy. She's fine. But all night long I had nightmares of losing her. Misplacing her. Having her taken from me. And in the dreams as I searched and fought for her, still I knew that I deserved to have her taken from me. That, really, I had forfeited her through neglect. The words I would have written to K sound hollow to my ears.