Archive for April, 2009

Daddy’s Girl

Posted in Mommy stuff with tags , , , on April 22, 2009 by talesofanunfinishedmom

When I was pregnant, I have to admit that I wanted a girl. Actually, I was quite forthcoming with this information and would pretty much tell anyone who asked that I really wanted a girl. It was funny. I always felt like I had to throw in the disclaimer “Obviously, if I have a boy, I’ll love him just as much as a girl” since it seemed my declaration of wanting a girl was always met with an odd glance as if I shouldn’t have a preference. Even my own husband – the future Daddy – would sort of shake his head when I said that I REALLY wanted a girl and he would always follow up with “I don’t care –I just want a healthy and happy baby.” Well, OBVIOUSLY. Does that point really need to be stated? Everyone seemed to think so.

I contined to  imagine how wonderful it would be to have a special female in my life having never had a sister. A special buddy. I imagined that having a little girl would enable me to sort of undo any wrong doing I felt I had experienced and due to those efforts, she would always adore me. She wouldn’t resent me for all the mistakes I will undoubtedly make, she wouldn’t defy me too terribly as a teenager, and she would be a devoted little girl. Ha.

What I never factored into the picture was how much girls LOVE their Daddies. (And that kids come with personalities and desires of their own but that’s another story for another day.)

I remember the day I found out I was having a girl. It was at the end of a very stressful two weeks waiting for the results of genetic testing. Due to my age and increased risk, we had a CVS, which is a relatively painless procedure (if you’re not averse to having a two foot needle stuck through your belly and into your uterus) that enables perinatal specialists to determine almost 100% if there are any major genetic issues with the fetus.

Waiting for the results of this test was one of the most stressful two weeks of my life. Although I felt pretty confident that things would turn out OK, after three miscarriages, I was taking NOTHING for granted. At the end of the second week, we decided we couldn’t wait anymore and proactively called the perinatal office. We left a message and then waited anxiousy for a call back. I was convinced that given it was Friday that no one would get back to us until Monday (and I wasn’t sure how I could possibly make it through another weekend of not knowing) but about an hour later the phone rang and thanks to caller i.d. I could see it was the moment of truth. I will never forget the way the conversation opened and I could not be more grateful to the specialist on the other end who said right up front “I have good news regarding your genetic results…”. After she relayed the good news that everything looked perfect with the baby she asked me if I’d like to know the sex of the baby. Hmmm…did I? Oh yes. I remember saying “sure”…and she followed with “Congratulations. You’re having a girl!”

It was like the entire universe stopped for that one second. I couldn’t believe it. A girl. I had hoped so long and hard for a girl but couldn’t believe my wish was actually coming true. I called EVERYONE near and far and through tears shouted the exciting news “I’m having a girl!” . It was truly one of the happiest days of my life.

When Ellie came into the world, it’s as if all my wishes were further coming true. Breastfeeding went smoothly and I got to spend four glorious months home with her on maternity leave (exhaustion aside). We were inseparable. (As most breastfeeding Moms and their newborns are.) We napped together, went for walks, did tummy time. Mom and Ellie.

It continued this way for quite some time. And even after the breastfeeding finally ended, I still felt as if we had an incredibly special bond.

And, then one day, right around the same time Ellie discovered “Daddy’s penis” my world changed. All of a sudden, Daddy became the focus of her world.

 

Daddy's Girl

Daddy's Girl

 

Now don’t get me wrong. Daddy is an awesome guy and a patient and loving Daddy. And in my more rational moments, I feel grateful that Ellie is developing this special bond with her father, that she is learning what it’s like to be loved by a man unconditionally. I know this will serve her well throughout her life and for that, I am very grateful.

In my not-so-rational moments, however, of which there are many, the constant “I want Daddy” and rejecting of Mommy’s affection can be downright painful.

In my efforts to process all of this, I’ve sought out the experience of many others and I have to say, it runs the gamut. I have heard everything from “Oh, it will pass” to “It’s just a phase” to more extremes such as “Oh yah. My sister was like that with my Dad and then she developed an eating disorder and a drug habit. She’s engaged and still shows up at home looking for Daddy.” Um, huh?

For the purposes of maintaining sanity and my continued efforts to evolve as a human being,  I have mostly gotten to a place where I have realized that no matter how much Ellie loves her Daddy, she has only ONE mother.  And, it’s my job to be as loving a Mother as I possibly can.

And, I convinced myself that this is likely just a phase. A girl can hope, right?

And, then, I went to get my eyebrows waxed. (Bear with me. This will all come together.) I’ve been seeing the same girl for several months now but given that it’s been a long cold winter, I guess I’ve never really seen her wear any kind of clothing revealing skin. On this day it happened to be very hot and hence she was wearing a low cut shirt which revealed a beautiful and VERY large tattoo. Basically, picture something like this except on a chick:

 

That's gotta hurt

That's gotta hurt

 

I’m not really sure that I found it attractive but I was intrigued and at the very least, had to appreciate the pure artistry. When I looked a little closer, I noticed there was some writing inscribed in the design across the entire width of the tattoo. I asked her what it said as I was having a hard time making it out. Her response:  “It’s my father’s name.”

GASP. I’m screwed.

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Vanity

Posted in Tiny spaces with tags , , , on April 14, 2009 by talesofanunfinishedmom

When I was a young girl,  I was a hardcore tomboy.  It didn’t help that my mother insisted on cutting my hair in ways that were less than feminine, but, more than that, I loved sports, was super fast, and took no crap from the boys in my class. Additionally, I was a straight A student and felt pretty darn good about myself considering I was a kid.

It’s still hard to believe that this same tough girl deteroriated into a male attention-seeking mediocre student come high school. It still escapes me how and why I thought I would EVER find more satisfaction from the attention of a boy than I would from following my own passions. I blame it on the hormones.

Whatever the reason, by the time I was in high school I was obsessed with my appearance. When college rolled around, this obsession didn’t get any better. What got better was that I was better looking and so I got a bunch of that male attention I never could seem to get enough of.  For the first time, the most popular boys in school (read: going nowhere kind of guys who played on the football or lacrosse team) were swooning for me.  For me.  It was hard to accept.

The scary part of this kind of validation of course is that when it passes, and let’s face it, boys who play on the football team eventually move on to their next tackle, all of those insecurities come flooding back in.

One of the things I NEVER liked about myself was my round face. If I could  find a place for a scanner in my 2×4 living space, I’d scan a picture in right now so you could see what I’m talking about. Mind you, it wasn’t freakishly round or anything — in fact, when I was 17, it even caused me to bear a very strong resemblance to the then famous Heather Locklear (before all the drugs obviously).

Regardless, you didn’t see many fat round-faced girls in magazines.  I took it upon myself to try every trick of the trade to lengthen my face, to try and “create” the look of an angular, cheekboned face.  Brown shades of blush, special contouring tools. Anything to get rid of those darn cheeks.  I hated those big round cheeks.  I liked looking younger than my years but never stopped yearning for the more accepted face. The model face.

Last week I went for a visit to the dermatologist. Nothing really on the agenda. Just a check-up. We talked about my skin and my challenges with it and she recommended a couple of lotions.  And then I asked her. I just asked her. “What else would you recommend?”

I wholeheartedly and perhaps foolishly expected her to say “You don’t need anything.” Instead, she got close up with an ungodly tool that allows her to see my face at something like 100x magnification and began to rattle off a whole host of things that would “help.” It started with Restylane and ended somewhere around Botox.

And then she said it. “In fact, with you, I might even suggest injecting the Restylane into the cheeks.”  Yes, she was serious.  She was suggesting that we PUT BACK those damn round cheeks that I spent oh so many years trying to disguise, hide, and wish away.  Those cheeks that I miss more than I would ever have imagined.

A little girl I never met…

Posted in Mommy stuff on April 9, 2009 by talesofanunfinishedmom

Before I had Ellie, before I was pregnant, before I had three miscarriages, life was different. I was different. For better or worse, a child does things to your heart. It opens and twists it, and exposes you to all of the rawness of the world. In one single push…

Before Ellie, if you’d asked me if I was an empathetic person I’d have said yes.  I felt badly when another felt pain, when a friend or family member was hurting.  But, truthfully, a quick jog around the block, a glass of wine, or a particularly hilarious sitcom could set me right again.

Today I encountered the kind of news that is unbearable to take in – like a million little pieces of glass shards that cut at your nostrils when you inhale. A beautiful little spirit named Madeleine Alice Spohr was taken from her parents in an unexpected fashion at only 17 months old.  I didn’t know Madeleine and I don’t even know her parents, but, I don’t have to.

Empathy, it takes on a hugely different meaning now. The imagined pain of a loss this great left me gasping for air. The thought of watching your little girl leave this earth before she’s had a chance to walk, talk, or simply grow up is an injustice so cruel, so unimaginable, that all words and reason escape me.

My day was consumed with needing to find out all there was to know about this beautiful little being. Looking at her first birthday pictures, getting lost in her contagious smile,  and thinking about the dreams her parents likely had for her — nothing outrageous — the same things most parents want for their kids. The simple expected things that most of us take for granted — taking that first step, hearing that first “I love you”, singing that first song.

 Yes, today the world lost a beautiful little soul named Madeleine Alice Spohr.  I feel like I’ve lost a little something too…

The beautiful Maddie

The beautiful Maddie

The first time…

Posted in Mommy stuff on April 6, 2009 by talesofanunfinishedmom

I’ve often wondered why it’s taken me so long to get started. I kept saying time was the issue. After all, a full-time working Mom isn’t exactly luxuriating in freedom, right? Then there was the coming up with a name for a blog. Oh so many excuses. And, when it really came down to it, I think all of those “what ifs” started getting in the way. I mean, “What if I can’t find anything to say after all?” (Never mind how many emails I’ve been sending to friends over the years or the fact that I’m never really at a loss for words.) “What if I suck at writing?” Well, there is always that risk. “What if no one EVER reads it?” You get the picture. At some point, you just have to jump, take that first step, and show your “art” to the world. (Not that I think my writing is art, but, you know what I’m saying.) And, so, the journey begins…

 

Hello world!

Posted in Mommy stuff on April 6, 2009 by talesofanunfinishedmom

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