Monday, November 27, 2006

Anja Says

Ba ba ba ba ba ba. Aa-ba ba ba ba ba. Ba ba ba (claps hands for emphasis). Aaaaaaaaaaa! Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba. Aa-ba ba ba ba ba ba ba.

What? Yeah, I don't know what it means either. But it sure is fun.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

(The following editorial has been reprinted without permission from the HC Middle School newspaper, circa November 1982)

Do You Enjoy Thanksgiving?
By Nissa B.

In two days it will be Thanksgiving. Do you ever get tired of the same Thanksgiving customs? Boy, I know I do.

Every year my family has turkey. So do numerous other families. But some families have duck or another interesting bird.

For dessert every year we have pumpkin pie. My grandmother makes the pie out of the pumpkin she bought at Halloween. Sometimes I wonder if the inside of that pumpkin is still edible after a month. But some groups of people have other desserts - mincemeat pie or sometimes even raisin pie.

Another problem with Thanksgiving is trying to think of something to be thankful for. I guess the most logical thing for HCMS students to be thankful for is that we get a five-day weekend.

(The following rebuttal was submitted to the same newspaper, circa December 1982)

Many Thanks
By Ms. G.

I was sorry to read the sentiments of one of our students who felt the only thing she had to be thankful for was five days away from school. Don't get me wrong - teachers are grateful for holidays, too. I'm looking forward to cold, rainy mornings to sleep late and to eating a turkey sandwich while I catch up on a soap opera or two. But I'm grateful for more than that. This has been a rough year for me, and I'm thankful for family members and friends who have provided loving support. I'm glad that I have a career that continues to be challenging and stimulating. I'm grateful for young friends who, as students, give me a fresh perspective on life. At this holiday time, I'm made more aware of basics to eat and a warm, safe place to live. Look more closely than just a break from school. Our lives are running over with blessings.

Ms. G. was the home economics teacher at my middle school. I never took a home ec class so I didn't know Ms. G. personally. Now, I kind of wish I had taken sewing so I could make a Christmas stocking for Anja. Anyway, Ms. G. later married Mr. M., who was the assistant principal of my middle school, and later of my high school. I remember they were both very small people. Physically. They could both be described as petite.

I agree with Ms. G. that my priorities may have been a little misplaced way back in 1982. Come on. What was I? Twelve? Thirteen? But I will defend myself. For over eight years, I worked at a job where I worked most holidays and the occasional weekend with no extra pay. Last year, when I finally got a five-day weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, no doubt because I was pregnant and tired, I was damn thankful.

This year is much different. I think of the people who sat around my table today at Thanksgiving dinner (where, I might add, we ate the same things we did when I was twelve). My dear friend San, who I have known for half my life. I was so thankful for her this past summer when she accompanied us to a weekend-long wedding celebration in Colorado. A wedding I kind of dreaded going to. But she hung out with Anja and me while the sperm donor tended to his wedding duties. And we laughed. A lot.

My parents. To my mother who has been the comforting voice in all of the difficult moments since Anja's birth. And to my father. The one regret I have in giving birth to my child at the age of 36 is that she will, like me, never get to know her grandfather. He is declining, both physically and mentally, but he takes great delight in her smiles. Ultimately, it will be up to my vivid imagination to make sure he is always alive for her.

OH! And to her!! The newest addition to our Thanksgiving table, sitting happily in her high chair, banging her toys and her spoon on the tray. Anja ate some sweet potatoes, some gravy, and some whipped cream for her first Thanksgiving dinner. It was around this time last year that I first felt her squirm in there. It felt as thought she were running lightly across my tummy. Just before Thanksgiving last year we found out that she was a healthy little girl (thanks be to amnio!). And we both breathed a huge sigh of relief, accompanied by a "whoopee!" because we both really wanted a girl. A year later, she is a rolling-creeping-sitting-smiling-laughing machine. I still look at her with awe - I can't even begin to believe she is my daughter.

And then there was him. Feeding her whipped cream off the tip of his spoon. If there was no sperm donor, there would be no her. And probably no me. And so I am thankful to him, for allowing me to sacrifice financial security for our daughter's well being. For giving her the late night bottles when I'm too sleepy. For supporting my decision to keep on nursing. For picking up dinner all of those nights I don't feel like cooking (which is most nights). For putting crap together. For putting her new car seat in my car. For making me laugh before I go to sleep. For taking care of our birth control issue, which he thinks is no big deal, but for me means I don't have to subject myself to the health risks of the pill and I get to keep all of my parts intact. And for countless other things.

And I am thankful for me. But mostly, I'm just thankful for the huge gift I have been bestowed. I am so blessed to have a beautiful daughter who laughs and smiles and sings all the time. And who is healthy. She and the sperm donor are the center of my world. I guess Ms. G. and I have more in common than we used to.

Oh, and I told Anja that when she wants a little brother or sister, I would just get her a puppy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hello To Me

Greetings to my likeness over there on the right. Zombie made her for me. I think she is an incredible resemblance to me. I think she looks very therapist-like, like me in LBA (Life Before Anja). Because I probably would be listening to you while sipping from my mug of coffee. Or it may not be coffee. It may very well be tequila. Like the t-shirts say "Drink Til I Look Better", I'm going to drink until you are interesting.

Oh that sounds so rude!! But at least I'm listening.

Tongue Tied

I have never been able to do anything fun with my tongue.

(Pause while naughty friends have inappropriate thoughts)

Seriously. I can't make shapes with my tongue. I can't turn it sideways or make it into a "u". I once knew a girl who could shape her tongue into a clover. How envious I was, and how truly odd her tongue looked. I can't even roll my freaking tongue which is a bit of an embarrassment living in South Texas and knowing a little bit of Spanish. My tongue has an inferiority complex.

That inferiority complex was severely wounded once again a few mornings ago. Anja has been able to stick her tongue out for a long time. She was just a few weeks old when she would stick her tongue out at me after I would stick mine out at her several times. But I was not prepared for this. She stuck her tongue out at me a few mornings ago. And it was sideways.

I suppose this must be genetic. The sperm donor can do it. Anja keeps doing it now as if she is taunting me. "Look, Mommy, what I can do and you can't!" And she sticks out her little sideways tongue.

I'm gonna go practice in the mirror.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What To Wear???

I love to watch TLC's "What Not To Wear." This is the show in which someone with lousy fashion sense is given a trip to New York and a Visa card with $5000 in order to get a fabulous new wardrobe. Give me a marathon and I am glued to the TV. I told the sperm donor that I was going to wear maternity clothes for two years so that he could videotape how hideous I looked so I could be on the show. Unfortunately, after about three months postpartum I did look pretty hideous. The shirts were way too big and the shorts were all baggy in the butt. All of the clothes are currently in the process of being moved to the consignment shop.

So I have a job interview today (an unpromising one, but that's another story). Yesterday I was tending to some laundry while Anja was playing and, standing in my closet, I realized that I had nothing to wear. Thanks to breastfeeding, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight but that is by no means where I would like to be. And I'm proportioned differently. There's more flab. And, also thanks to breastfeeding, my boobs are at least a cup size bigger, depending on what time of the day it is. So none of my shirts fit. My own daughter has more clothes that fit her in her closet than I do.

So I loaded up Anja and we went shopping. First, let me say that most retail stores are not set up for a woman with a stroller. The aisles are too narrow. Anja has developed the ability to reach out and grab things while we are moving. It is related to the ability that drops the toys out of the stroller while we are moving. So I was simultaneously looking for clothes and stopping to either pick up a toy or remove Anja's hand from an unsuspecting skirt.

I finally found some candidates and proceeded to the fitting room. The girl monitoring the fitting room was nice enough to let us have the extra large fitting room equipped for people with disabilities (that's nice and politically correct). As I tried on my items, I kept wondering "If I were on What Not To Wear, what would Stacy and Clinton say?" Does this a-line skirt take away attention from my larger hips and ass? Does this top say my boobs are large milk devices? Does the way this material hangs de-emphasize my tummy which at one time was flat? Is it still OK to wear control top panty hose? Does anyone wear panty hose anymore?

Anja was no help in answering these questions. She sat there in her stroller and smiled at the baby in the mirror the whole time.

So I found a nice chocolate brown pattern skirt and top outfit. The sperm donor later said "I don't know what I think of brown," and I reminded him that Stacy says that chocolate brown is hot. It also helped that I already had some chocolate brown shoes at home. We proceeded to the shoe department anyway. Where we entered heaven...the boot sale.

Anja now knows that Mommy has a boot fetish. In my version of heaven, there are lots of boots. I cannot get through a boot sale without taking home at least one pair of boots. And there they, pointy heal, pointy toe, up to nearly my knees. They actually zipped up my calf easily. The sales guy said they looked hot on my legs (yeah, especially with my black shorts and Alaska t-shirt that zombie's hubby bought for me). They are beautiful, and now they are mine.

The boots cost more than the outfit. I don't care. I have no income and this interview today isn't promising to change that much. But I have my boots. I can't remember the last time I bought myself some shoes that weren't intended to comfort my little swollen feet. Or the last time I bought myself some real clothes. This from the woman who used to buy clothes just because she had a bad day at work. And there were a lot of bad days.

The only regret I have is that the boots were not available in my size in the fabulous chocolate brown color. But that's OK. Maybe when I get home, I'll put them on with some jeans, pump my boobs, and wear them to pick up Anja at day care. And then I'll feel whole again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Anja's Discovery Story

A few days ago while Anja was napping, I found myself watching some show on the Discovery Health channel about a baby who was born with two heads. She really was. Off the top of her little head was a whole other head, with eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Not much else below that though. And they had all of this hair where their two heads met. It really looked a little gross and freakish actually. While the little girl was sitting there calmly, the other head was attempting to scream away (I don't think the head had any vocal chords). The other head also displayed the sucking reflex. The doctors referred to the second head as "the parasite" which I thought was a bit rude; if your child is born with two heads, then clearly there was another twin present so it ought to have a name. Surgery was done to remove the head but the little girl died soon afterwards.

I think Anja should have a show on the Discovery Health channel simply because she is so spectacular. Maybe it could be about how big she was at birth. So many people look amazed when I say "Well, she was almost ten pounds when she was born. I attribute it to lots of pancakes." But we could make that more intriguing, something people would be warped into once they started watching...

Anja's Story: There Were Triplets, But She Got Hungry And Ate The Other Two


Friday, November 03, 2006

One Thing I Am Not...

Is mechanically minded. I think I wrote an earlier post about how I assembled Anja's high chair. NOT!! Reading instruction manuals is like reading gibberish for me. I could probably get more out of reading an instruction manual in Japanese, but still could not get an item put together. I think I am lacking some major brain connection that allows information to travel from reading about to actually doing. Thank goodness for the sperm donor because he knows how to figure all of these things out. If he were not here, I would probably live in a house filled with disassembled crap.

With Anja in day care, I'm free to do some things around the house which really need to be done. Today I bleached the litter box. Yesterday I decided to vacuum my couches. Three cats, lots of fur. I put little towels and blankets on the couches for them to sleep on, and they all manage to sleep right next to them. And they all look at me like "I will not comply with your efforts to prevent me from dumping my fur!!" I have a housekeeper who, poor thing, probably does not have a great deal of experience vacuuming fur off of couches, so they have been looking pretty hairy.

So, in my efforts to self-soothe in Anja's absence, I decided to vacuum the couches. I have one of these fancy Dyson vacuums that the sperm donor bought on eBay. I never use it. Again, I have a housekeeper. But it has some fancy attachment which looked like it might be good in my battle against fur. But first, I had to figure out how to remove the hose from the vacuum in order to attach said attachment. So, I push here and I pull there with no luck. About fifteen minutes passes. Yes, fifteen minutes, because what happens when you have a baby is that you are granted tons more patience than you have ever known. I decide to go get the manual. I don't know why this seemed like a good idea, and thank goodness I couldn't find the darn thing because I'm confident I would not have been able to comprehend it. Finally, I squeezed in the right place and the hose came off. WOO HOO!! I quickly attach said cool attachment and press the power button to see if it works. Nothing. I press the power button again. Nothing. I press the power button lots of times. Still nothing.

I know what you're thinking. It took me about five minutes to think the same thing.

Maybe I should plug in the vacuum.

And with that I commenced the vacuuming of the couches. They look a little better. They need some major work though because not only have the cats dumped fur on them but some barf as well. Sigh.

I'm off for more cleaning. Yesterday I bought some frames in which to put pictures of Anja. And I'm going to call and check on her. I miss my Doodle. I know she misses me too.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Adventures At The Drive Thru - Chapter 2

Sperm donor went to our beloved TC's a few nights ago to pick us up some dinner. Here is a list of contents from our bag:

1. My coveted enchilada plate (I can't remember if it was cheese or beef right now)
2. My little package of tortillas
3. The sperm donor's bean and cheese taco.
4. The sperm donor's steak fajita taco.
5. Some napkins
6. Little containers of salsa.
7. A straw


I don't see any beverages in that list. Do you?? The sperm donor said that maybe they thought we were going to drink the salsa.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Anja is at her first day at day care right now. The last time I checked in she was crying. So was I. This is the longest we have ever been separated. It is also the first time since before she was born that I have been alone in my house.

I'm miserable. I tried to capitalize on the opportunity for some extra sleep, but instead I laid there and wept. Even Manu the Cat is upset; he has been wandering around the house meowing which he usually does not do in the mornings.

If someone handed me six more months at home with her on a silver platter I would take it and ask for more. But when the Cadillac of day cares calls you a year after you place yourself on their waiting list to inform you that your child's space is ready, then you have to jump on it. It may not be there if you wait.

So off she left this morning with the sperm donor. Sperm donor, by the way, is thrilled. The Cadillac of day cares is located at his work. He gets to see her any time of day that he wants, just by wandering down the hall. Can you imagine what a stress buster that must be? To be able to wander down the hall after an especially taxing meeting to see your smiling daughter? That is one of the pros in a long list of pros about day care. Now, Anja gets to play with other babies and with different toys. When she gets a little older, they will help her learn to read, draw pictures, do tumbling. And she will get to make friends.

The one con on the list? (Well, actually there are two, but we won't talk about how much this is costing us) Mommy is a mess and doesn't quite know what to do with herself. I have this horrible image in my brain of my beautiful daughter playing with toys at day care and looking around for her mommy who is usually playing with toys with her. Yesterday, we were playing with her Fisher Price balls. I would roll one back and forth in front of me and she would scoop it up and put it in her lap. Then I would roll another one back and forth in front of me and she would put that one in her lap. The third ball kept rolling out of her lap (the lap is not very big yet) giving me the opportunity to take it back. But at day care, she will realize that mommy is not there and she will become sad and start to cry. This is actually happening as I type. So I feel like the worst mommy ever. I pointed at her heart before she left and told her that mommy is ALWAYS in there, then pointed at my heart and told her that Anja is ALWAYS in there. I think she might have forgotten that. She is only going to day care for half a day until I find a job (and hopefully after that too), but it's all I can do to keep from going right now.

We went to a Halloween party last night. Anja dressed as a ladybug. She was the cutest ladybug ever (although she could make a bag lady look pretty cute). I was talking with my friend about Anja going to day care and she told me that it was really hard when she sent her son to day care at first too. Then she said, "But at least she won't be the weird kid at school who eats paste." And I thought, good point. Anja will have friends, will be able to follow directions, may be even able to say please and thank you in a few years. She will have social skills. She won't stick a handful of glue in her mouth because she will have learned at day care that glue is not for eating. She will soon adjust to the new faces and the new surroundings.

While Mommy tries to adjust to the silence. It feels like my heart was put in the car seat with her. I look at my house with six months worth of accumulated clutter and I try to get motivated to do something about it. I think of all the places I go where I always think it would be so much easier to run into without Anja and the car seat. I think about going back to work and I cringe.

I'm confident there will be gallons of tears between Anja and me as we make this transition. If anything, it shows how much we love each other, how bonded we have become. It's something I think I have underestimated, but never will again.