Wednesday, May 02, 2012

For a change of scenery, moving over to:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Due Date

Not July 3, which is my due date. But the movie with Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, which we watched last night.
I think the problem with my blog is that I have more thoughts than I have patience to write out. I have mentally written out a long review of this movie that examined how it made the father/son dynamic an unnatural relationship, or a naturally contentious one which requires the overcoming of one's instincts -- a lesson allegorized in RDJ's journey of disasters with ZG. In the end, though, those lessons become irrelevant since it turns out he has a girl, which the movie seems to imply is easier for a dad to relate to (not only does he get a daughter, but the pregnant mom goes into natural labor before her (unaccounted for) scheduled C-section appt. So the natural order is restored?).

The reason I was thinking about this movie for so long is because it put Dave in a bad mood -- it's a comedy of errors but without the absurd guffaws that made him love Dumb and Dumber. But I like the two of them, RDJ and ZG. One of my favorite jokes is ZG doing an impersonation of a 5-year old with a beard.

So -- this movie was keeping me occupied this morning (also, I just finished a draft of a chapter which I've vowed not to think about again for another couple of months, at least (please!) but now my brain is in academic mode and is apparently looking for any old thing to "examine"). Before that I'd been trying to put into words exactly how Dave and I have become crazy people. Or how having a kid has brought out the latent crazy in us. Not so much that we fuss over him or protect him from the dangers of non-existent mountain lions or the polio virus. But the way we go totally off the rails when our daily routine alters in the slightest -- like when we take a weekend trip to LA, for example, or when Desmond comes down with a cold, or when these things happen at once. It's not like we become raving lunatics. Exactly. I mean, we might become kind of raving lunatics, if there's such a thing.

This is what makes me the most worried about the entrance of baby number two. Desmond and Dave and I have a really nice routine going on -- we know what to do, how to live our days and even, mostly, handle tiny little glitches. But throwing that routine out the window is liable to . . . to cause something big to happen (too many big things have been going on recently for me to find an appropriate metaphor).

But this is only my irrational fear talking. Rationally, I realize that somehow Dave and I figured out Desmond -- and we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into with that one. We got slapped in the face hard and look, everything's pretty much awesome (I brought Desmond into bed with me at 5:50AM this morning and when the digital clock read 6:00 Desmond said "Look! Two Oh's." He's a genius, that's the long and short of it). And, at least with this new one, I know it's going to be crazy -- but also it'll stop being crazy at some point. Even all the recent mothers-of-two I've been chatting with lately who've been warning how "really hard it is" to have two kids (two boys, especially) and whose warnings have sent me to my bedroom, biting fingernails, shooting my eyes back and forth, mumbling "it's not true it can't be true is it true?" -- even they can't really convince me that I'm in for a life of hair-pulling misery. Especially since most of them seem really happy.

Update: I just got back from a playgroup with one of the Cassandra-moms predicting my hellish future with two kids. It's so strange -- she's such a calm person with two really well behaved kids. Well, one of them is five months old, but he's not a cry-er. Just a feeder. But, man, she won't let up. Everything I bring up, she replies -- in her calm, thoughtful voice -- with a story about how really difficult it is to manage her two children. Even when I try offering her an escape route from all the difficulty by asking if she feels less anxious about her second child and more apt to let him cry things out than she was with her first -- her reply is still a bummer: "Well, kind of, but only because my first son doesn't really give me the time or energy to allow me to pay attention to my second son. It's just so hard." Great.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Much has been thought

These last two months have seen me up in the middle of several nights thinking things over. I thought out a very long blog entry about Betty Draper and the questions she raises about Mad Men's views on motherhood (she's the only fully present mother on the show, and she's barely that) and middle-class suburban femininity. But it was such a long, and probably tedious, entry that I couldn't bring myself to actually write it out.

I've also been -- okay worrying about everything. Libya, Japan, baby number two. Mostly baby number two. What will he be called? How will Desmond take to him? How am I going to manage without sleep again? What if he's colicky? Thanks to a recommended amnio (cause I'm so old), I am fully reassured that baby number two is genetically sound.

On top of these worries, Desmond has entered a phase that is full of energy and aggression -- most of it expressed by random screaming and then a burst of short angry tears, usually caused by nothing at all but sometimes triggered by my attempts to get him to pick things up he'd rather leave be. Mostly, I'm not really worried about it, I just try to think of ways for him to playfully expel his energy/aggression (like by not spending too much of my time on the computer, ahem). But sometimes, like on Tuesday, when our biorhythms aren't aligned, there is screaming on both ends. I try not to feel bad about that either -- I mean, I can't be smiling mother all the time, reasoning with a two year old with a calm voice. Right? I ask seriously . . . I can't, can I?

But I'm hoping this super-aggressivity will pass before July 3 or thereabouts when baby number two arrives.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some more stuff I think about in the middle of the night

I just read Amy Poehler's list of sad movies on the Daily Beast and it got me picking my own. In the middle of the night. But I realized that I can't think of any sad movies I've seen recently, or at least of any movies that made me cry. Which is weird, because I feel like that's all I do is tear up. But recently, it's the snippets Oprah that I catch, or radiolab stories, or articles on Gifford's recovery that have been getting to me. So my list of sad movies seem to hover around titles that were released when I was in my late teens to mid-twenties. It must be admitted that I've become a big wuss and refuse to see things I know will make me cry. I still haven't seen "Boys don't Cry." Cause I'm not a boy, I guess.
Anyway, here's what I came up with. In the middle of the night.
> A Heart in Winter -- This is a super stereotypical French film with little dialogue and a lot of non sequitur shots of beautiful things that symbolize sad things. But for some reason it's one of the first movies that launched me into the realm of the sadness of adult sexuality. I think I watched it three times in a row when I was seventeen and I doubt I really understood what was really going on. It's about two classical musicians -- a cellist and a violinist, maybe -- who have a sexy affair. But it doesn't work out for some reason I don't remember. Because of Daniel Auteil's cold heart? Whatever happens in this movie, it made me really sad to realize at the time. (And thinking about this movie made me remember "Damage" with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche -- which is not a sad movie, but came out about the same time and revealed how fucked up adults are.)
> Persuasion -- The saddest Austen book. A middle-aged spinster (she must be closing in on 28 years old) runs into an old love who she rejected a million years ago because she thought she was such hot shit. But really he was the One (played by a dashing Ciaran Hinds. Don't ask me to pronounce it). He's learned to get over her and is now into some bubbly young thing, which breaks her heart. The end.
> The Piano Teacher -- My mom's a piano teacher and when I was watching this movie I was thinking, "Oh no! She's probably seen this. Oh no!" I called her up and asked and she said "Yes! But what is wrong with that woman? The music was so beautiful." This movie is more disturbing than sad. In fact it's not sad at all, unless you take many steps back and think, "Wow, I would not want to be this woman [Isabelle Hupert]. She's a sad, fucked up lady." But I just really like it and think about it from time to time. Does she get what she wants at the end -- provoking her love-interest until he "gives her what she asks for"? Or is his violence a cowardly admission of his inability to enter into a true, if messed up, relationship? And what was the very end all about? I dunno.
> Billy Elliot -- Cause I cried a lot and didn't mind so much about it. This seemed to come at the end of a string of UK movies that revolved around the working class plight during the Thatcher era. But the only other one I can remember is "The Full Monty." And some other weird one with Ewan MacGregor in a marching band.
> And then finally two movies from Down Under that made me cry more than I've ever cried before. "Heavenly Creatures" and "Shine." I missed the first couple of minutes of "Heavenly Creatures" during which, apparently, we are informed that the daughter brutally murders the mother. So when, after an hour and a half of watching how much the mother loves her daughter, how worried she is about her well-being and behavior, she is brutally murdered in the end, I was shattered. I remember sitting in the theater crying my eyes out while my friends were waiting near the exit for me to finish. Embarrassing.
And "Shine." Come on. Probably the least sympathetic portrayal of a holocaust survivor ever. I saw this movie by myself -- which gives my tears more freedom to flow -- and had to tell my friend about it the next day, which made me cry again. I think, with both these movies, it's the being misunderstood and persecuted theme that gets me. So, don't persecute the innocent people, it's the moral of my movie watching.
(I have to reluctantly include "Dancer in the Dark" here because it destroyed me but also made me hate Lars van Trier and decide he was a sadist who hated women. He takes the theme of persecuting the innocent to a whole new -- and perverse and stupid -- level.)
(Oh! And "13 Going on 30" made me cry. But I was in an airplane at the time.)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Things I think about in the middle of the night after Desmond wakes me up

Maybe, after I finally finish my dissertation, I should go back to school to get an MA in something useful so that I can get a real job.
Sarah Palin is the perfect woman -- she is both an inspiration for conservatives around the country and offers the rest of us a woman to hate without guilt. And that we couldn't really hate Hillary without guilt since she has all that talent, experience, and intelligence. Not a perfect woman.
In the dream I had before Desmond woke me up, I was thinking the name "Ellas" was a great girl's name -- but my waking mind changed it to "Ellis." Ellis Lushbaugh, though, is kind of a disaster. My dream also came up with "Maxine." Which was weird.
The rest of the night I spent trying to position my head in a way to keep my nose from running.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Yoga in the Evening, Yoga in the Morning

I joined Groupon to see what it was all about around the same time I was wanting to start doing yoga somewhere but decided it was too expensive. Then Groupon offered a $30 for 10 classes deal at a Bikram yoga joint in Elk Grove -- about a twenty minute drive from me. Twenty minutes became 45 minutes during rush hour and I came in late and already sweaty.

Dude, Bikram yoga is crazy. It's stinky, super duper sweaty, and not at all relaxing. Actually, when I finally left, I really did feel clean. Stinky, sticky but oddly clean.

The yoga instructor stands up front, near a yoga mat which I'm guessing she brings as a prop that's supposed to remind us that she is in fact a yoga instructor and not the tankini-clad drill instructor we could mistake her for -- she didn't step on her mat once since she was too busy spitting instructions at us, while sweating, to manage a pose. Bikram yoga is all about holding poses in 100 degree temperature. No downward dog or warrior one or child's pose. Either you're lying on your back in "corpse pose" or you're twisted around yourself like a mangled, and sweating, corpse trying to concentrate on not falling or passing out but finding it difficult because the instructor won't stop spitting out instructions -- "hold the pose don't look down look in the mirror look at your eyes never close your eyes breathe it's okay if you feel dizzy this is normal hold the pose hold the pose" she claps loudly "now bend your knees lie down with your palms up in corpse pose keep your eyes open never close your eyes breathe" -- as if what we're doing is not actually standing awkwardly still but giddily square dancing, in a smelly, sweaty barn. It was the longest 90 minutes of my life. It was seriously ten minutes until the end of class for about a half an hour.

The next morning I decided to finally check out the free yoga class that's offered at McKinley Park, two blocks away from our house. I've seen them all summer, but never really cared one way or the other to join them. But I went and, relief, this is the kind of yoga I remember. A calm voice telling me to unite with my heart, to feel myself rooted to the earth, to sense my breath flowing through my movement as we go from downward dog to warrior one and two and triangle. Then the yoga earth mother stopped our flow to ask if we wanted to learn to stand on our heads, asked for a volunteer, praised our volunteer, and then reprimanded a head-standing non-volunteer for not showing our volunteer ample respect and attention and reminded us all to direct our love toward those who put themselves out there. Weird. But then we got back to yoga and doing way too many planks for my liking.

In the end, it's been a good yoga weekend for me. My arms are sore from planking and my body may be (or may not be, who knows) detoxified thanks to sweat lodge pose-holding. And, because of the crazy Groupon deal, I have to see this Bikram thing through until the end. Nine more classes.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Desmond must be socialized.

Not really. I just thought that he might enjoy hanging out with littler people and that spending all day with me -- at home, at the playground, at the grocery store, at Ikea -- has got to be dull dull dull. So he had his first half-day of daycare on Tuesday. It went well with only a few minor tears. Today, day two, was a little more dramatic. We walk over to daycare (it's down the block from our house) and I sit and chat with Miss Teacher while Desmond is glued to the screen door. I say "bye" to Desmond. And Desmond says "bye" to all the kids in daycare, cause that's what polite kids do when they leave. Poor kid.

I texted Miss Teacher and learned he was bribed into tearlessness by a cookie.

And then I got a text around 10 AM that Desmond fell asleep. Turns out, he decided he wanted to play trucks by himself so he shut the play room door in Miss Teacher's face, who thought she'd let him decompress for a little bit. When she checked up on him two minutes later, he was playing trucks. Two minutes after that he was asleep on the trucks. He's kind of like an opossum, you see. He uses sleep to throw predators off his scent.

Miss Teacher warned me that things would get worse before they got better, especially since he's only going twice a week. She recommended I be firm with him when dropping him off -- no anxiety or sad faces. And also, to stop by with him on odd days just to hang out and play for a little.

Yes, I can do these things. I have to get over a little of my guilt. I mean, there's no practical reason why he has to go to daycare. It gives me a little time to work on my dissertation, but I did without it last year and managed to finish a chapter. The idea is, though, that he'll be out in the world -- listening to other adults and other kids without mommy hovering behind him. And I'm a bit of a hovercraft. When we came home today -- aside from not getting a full nap -- he wouldn't let me out of his sight. I went to grab some of his books from the other room and he was afraid I was gone for good. A world without mom has to be a survivable place for him, right?