Sodas, strategies, and breathing

Couldn’t think of a third s-word that fit.  Ah, well.  Anyway…

I need new soda options.

On the one hand, there are sticky, thick, sweet, high-fructose-syrup-y nightmares, which are enough to make me gag after a while.  (Yes, even my beloved ginger ale falls victim to this after I have too much of it.)  On the other hand, there’s stuff like Diet Coke, which is much crisper and lighter and I much prefer the flavor… but I can’t imagine the chemicals in it are really very healthy.  I’m experimenting with fruit juices (with or without spices) mixed with soda water; hopefully that’ll yield positive results?

So I’ve been reading up on Attachment Parenting over at http://www.raisingmyboychick.com/, and about raising free-range children over at http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/.  Which, at first glance, would seem to be opposing philosophies, but I’m not convinced that’s the case.  While one seems focused on keeping your child close and the other on letting them have their space, they both have, as a primary principle, profound respect for children.  I can dig that.  I’m pretty new to both philosophies (while parenting strategies are interesting to me, for obvious reasons I’ve only been a dilettante until recently), but I’m looking forward to finding out more.  I suspect I’ll find some correspondences.

In other news, is claustrophobia a normal reaction to pregnancy??  I dunno, I guess I should be grateful that the nausea and fatigue seem to be fading, but I’m not sure the don’t-touch-me-can’t-breathe! reaction is much of an improvement.

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Don’t Panic!

So.  Panic attacks.  Apparently they’re a thing.

They’re happening every damn day and I’m sick to death of them.  It’s not so bad on the weekends – I can close myself into my room, I can go for a walk, I can step away from my email, I can take a shower, I can take a nap.  I can get away from the thing causing me to panic.

I can’t do that at work.

I know what triggers it – feeling pressured to do something when I don’t know what to do.  So a customer asking me questions I don’t know the answer to, or presenting me with a completely jacked-up account where I can’t even begin to understand where it went wrong, let alone how to fix it, is a sure-fire ticket to panic-land.  But there’s other things too.  An email scene where I’m blanking on how to respond, or where I feel like I don’t understand the mechanics enough to know what to do, will do the same thing.  Feeling like someone’s mad at me when I don’t understand why?  Oh hell yes, because I can’t fix that shit.

And then my heart is hammering and I’m hyperventilating and all I can think is I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this even though I know that’s not a productive mantra, and all I want to do is run and hide and have a good cry somewhere private.

It’s a combination of pregnancy hormones/emotions and the fact that I can’t take my anti-depressants because, well, bebe.  I understand this.  I know that the world does not hate me, I know that my friends love me, I know that I’m smart enough to figure out almost any problem at work (and if I can’t, we have a tool for that – it’s called starting a ticket.)  I know all this.  I know all this.  I know the emotions aren’t real, that they bear absolutely no resemblence to logic or reality or facts.

This knowledge helps not at all.

So yeah, if I’m distant and uncommunicative on the weekends, or weepy and freaking out over nothing during work hours during the week… that’s why.

Tomato alien

8 weeks, 3 days.

That’s the official word as of the ultrasound this morning.  Puts my due date, apparently, at June 29th.

So my mother told me about this trick.  It relies on the fact that, statistically, you’re not likely to give birth ON your due date.  So on the day of, you go out to dinner.  When someone asks (and they will), when you’re due, you tell them “Today!”  And then watch as they walk on eggshells around you 🙂

Since it’s a couple weeks further along than I thought, my rice-baby is technically bigger than a grain of rice now.  Based on the picture I got back, we’ve determined that it is now an alien tomato-baby.  (Cuz it kinda looks like if a deformed roma tomato mated with a bug-eyed alien…)  All except my roommate, who insists that it is a chupacabra.

I actually started tearing up when I heard the heartbeat.  I was surprised at myself, cuz I’m not usually that sentimental, and then I remembered – oh yeah, I’m weepy all the time right now.  It’s actually one of my default three settings, along with cranky and sleepy.

On the up-side, this means only one more month of perma-nausea!  Yaaay!

Stoopid needles

Got guilt-tripped into getting a (preservative-free) flu shot today.

Because it’s important that I let someone stick a needle in my arm.  For the baby’s sake.

It’s blackmail, I tell you.

(also, needles needles ick ick ick!)

There were no white horses

So this was how you got married to a king.  It all got arranged for you.  There were no white horses.  The past flipped straight into the future, carrying you with it.

– Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

It’s kinda like that.

Spouse-man and I, while not actively trying for a kid, had decided we weren’t going to actively prevent it either, and if it happened, it happened.  I knew this.  Intellectually, I knew it, and I knew it could happen at any time. 

And yet…

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I guess I just assumed there would be… more.  Like we’d decide.  We’d, I dunno, clasp hands and look meaningfully into each other’s eyes and chant something solemn, light a candle to Eisheth or something, and make sweet and soulful love… and afterwards I would just know that I was pregnant.  Or something like that. 

Instead I was just riding my bike in to work, trying to shake off nausea for the umpteenth day in a row and bemoaning the fact that I apparently needed a new bra, this one was starting to make my breasts hurt… and it was basically on a whim that I decided to stop in to the store and buy a pregnancy test, just a quiet “hmm, I wonder if?” in the back of my mind, nothing more.

And now, 5 days later and I’m weighing my options for pre-natal care and wondering what color to paint the baby’s room and planning how to afford a car and calculating things like If I have this cup of coffee with breakfast, can I still have a diet Coke with lunch or is that too much caffeine?  And it’s just… it’s so FAST!  There was no transition.  I got a half hour of wandering around outside on my lunch break staring dazedly up at the sky, I got one lunch with my parents where my mom freaked out and started hugging us, and then… life just kept happening, only now it’s suddenly life where I’m pregnant.

Shouldn’t there have been something?  This is literally going to change the entire rest of my life; shouldn’t the heavens have opened and the angels sang or something?  Not just this clinical matter-of-fact-ness?

Shouldn’t there have been white horses?

Christmas wish-list!

Whew!  That last post was a doozy.  Time for something more light-hearted.  How about a Christmas list?

Here’s what I want:

  • Reliable 4-wheeled transportation!
  • A raise, and/or a better job for the spouse-man
  • A real bathtub.  Like, the kind that fills with enough water to actually submerge myself in.
  • cute wrist sweatbands – nothing to do with rice-baby, and everything to do with the fact that I get cold ridiculously easily!
  • an external hard drive for my computer, chock full o’ memory
  • an external battery backup for my computer and alarm clock (seriously, who makes an alarm clock WITHOUT battery backup? *shakes head*)
  • sparkly, dangly, jingly jewelry
  • Mary Kay Warm Amber perfume 😀
  • a spa day
  • books on attachment parenting
  • a baby sling (purchased or made!)
  • a car seat to go with the aforementioned 4-wheeled transportation
  • a breast pump
  • new cd’s from Heather Dale or Emerald Rose
  • nice (not cutesy!), gender-neutral wall decals (I could copypaste those all day…)
  • …god, I don’t know.  What do pregnant wimmins need?  What do babies need?  A crib I guess?  (I follow a blogger who swears by co-sleeping.  Having spent most of college unconsciously beating the crap out of my then-boyfriend – who luckily forgave me and married me anyway – I think that might be a terrible idea.)
  • A jacuzzi in the backyard and a redone, much bigger kitchen and a supercool computer with all the bells and whistles that hooks up to a giant flat-screen tv.  And a motorized self-cleaning cat box.  And a year’s worth of a cleaning service.  And a pony.

Obviously I don’t expect to get all of these 😛 

 

On freethinking, choice, religion and parenting

I mentioned yesterday in the comments of a blog I follow that I’d just found out I was pregnant.  Amidst all the congratulations was one half-teasing request that, when my grain of rice gets big enough to read, that I not subject hir to the joys of Elsie Dinsmore.

Not.  A.  Problem.  Partly because, according to the excerpts included in the above link, the series seems particularly insipid.  But mostly because it promotes an ideal of “Christian virtue” that I happen to think is downright unhealthy.

See, one of the main themes in the book is obedience.  Blind, unthinking obedience.  Little Elsie is a Good Girl when she does what others tell her, regardless of who that other may be (particularly egregious when it comes to her distant, neglectful, borderline abusive father) – and, of course, a Bad Girl (who punishes herself terribly for her transgressions, of course), when she does not – regardless of her reasons or the circumstances.

I can’t think of a worse lesson to teach a child.  (Ok, that’s not true, I’m pretty creative, I can think of some terrible lessons to teach a child.  But you know what I mean.)  Part of this comes from the fact that I am, in fact, a Dirty Pagan, and proud of it.  Insofar as my religion has rules (it really doesn’t), rule #1 is Think For Yourself.  Don’t accept dogma, and don’t let other people make your decisions for you.  The reason why paganism has so many variants, in fact, is because it’s so non-dogmatic – if something doesn’t ring true, doesn’t make sense to you, or doesn’t jive with your own experiences (even purely subjective experiences), it is TOTALLY ok to think about it for a while and come up with something else that works better.  You can respect other people’s knowledge and experience, but in the end, you make your own choices and you’re only accountable to yourself and whatever gods you worship.  (If any.  Like I said, a LOT of variants.)

And another part of it comes from good ol’-fashioned ego.  I am intelligent.  My husband is intelligent.  Statistically, any child of ours is likely to be intelligent.  Growing up, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to realize that simply having authority is not the same thing as being smarter than me – and that even the authority figures that I do respect, who are intelligent, are not necessarily going to be right all of the time.  Given that… why on earth would I teach a child to always listen to an authority figure?  I’d rather take that time teaching them to use their own minds to the best of their ability, because logic, compassion, and plain old common sense is going to be far more useful to them in the long run than obedience.

Thinking about it, though, I was amused to remember something.  This may not just be a pagan virtue after all.  In fact, depending on who you read… this so-called “Christian virtue” may not be so Christian after all.

Back in, oh, 2004 or 2005, during the last dying gasps of my own Christianity, I read an absolutely delightful book by a charming Anglican theologian named Francis Bridger.  The book was called “A Charmed Life: the Spirituality of Potterworld,” and it was exactly what it sounds like – an examination of the Harry Potter books from a (sane) Christian perspective.

The book had a lot of really good ideas and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, but one of the things that stood out to me dealt with the issue of obedience.  Many Christians, Bridger notes, have taken the books to task because the main characters break so many rules, thus teaching kids that this is ok.  He points out, though, that this isn’t the whole story.  In the early books especially, the kids rarely break rules, and when they do, often do so reluctantly – and only when not breaking the rules would be worse than the alternative.  The few times when rules are broken for selfish or shallow reasons, it goes badly and they are punished (either by teachers or by the universe.)  As the series continues, they do become more rebellious – but, Bridger says, this is entirely appropriate.

He draws a connection between the rule-breaking in Harry Potter to the Epistles of St. Paul (and that’s a sentence I’ll bet you never thought you’d read.)  Specifically, the bit about “When I was a child, I spoke as a child… but when I became a man I put aside childish things.”  One of these childish things, he argues, is blind obedience.

Obedience, he says, is entirely appropriate for children.  After all, children lack experience.  Almost all the knowledge they have of the world is dependent on what an authority figure tells them, and following the instructions of those authority figures can literally be of life-and-death importance.  But what’s appropriate for a small child is less appropriate for an older one, and not appropriate at all for an adult.  As children get older and gain more first-hand knowledge of the world, and more experience thinking and reflecting for themselves, they will inevitably find times when the rules set by an authority figure will just seem wrong – factually or morally.  Whether the authority figure actually is wrong is beside the point; what a thinking person decides to do when forced to choose between the rules and what they honestly believe to be right, however, can be significant.  For an adult – for anyone capable of thinking and making moral choices – to obey rules just because they are rules, is not only lazy thinking and potentially immoral, it is (if you’re religious) an insult to the Creator who gave you a brain to think with.  Part of growing up is learning when it’s time to “put aside childish things,” and think for yourself.

I don’t know if Mr. Bridger ever read the Elsie Dinsmore books, but so far, I’m not sure he’d approve.  Elsie is taught to think like a child and obey like a child, but there’s been no indication that any of the adults responsible for her expect her to ever become an adult, or are concerned with what will happen when she does.  Obedience – unthinking, unreasoning obedience – alone is prized, and any display of free thought or decision-making on Elsie’s part (other than, of course, the decision to blindly obey) is punished.  Not corrected, not reasoned with or argued against – just punished.  How would this child, or any child brought up with this model, ever learn to be a fully-functioning adult?  How on earth would they be prepared to deal with an authority figure who is clearly, demonstrably wrong?

This is not just an idle concern or a knee-jerk “fuck the Man!” on my part.  It may seem like an impossibly distant other world to us now, but even a cursory glance over the last, oh, hundred years or so – less than the blink of an eye, in terms of history – will show plenty of situations where the decision between obeying rules vs. following one’s conscience was not a bloodless academic question.  Lives – thousands of them – have been lost or saved based on how people chose to answer that question, even in so-called “civilized” countries.  If you think such choices could never come up again in our or our children’s lifetimes, read a book.

And disobedience takes practice.  Learning when to disobey, and when it’s the better part of valor to just bite your tongue and move on with your life, takes practice.  It takes being encouraged to think, and to make decisions.  It takes fucking up, and having people there to see you through your fuck-ups and help you understand them better, rather than just getting mad because you didn’t obey.

So no.  I do not intend to expose my child(ren) to Elsie Dinsmore, except as an exercise in picking out the flaws in the books.  I have too much respect for my intelligence, my potential child’s intelligence, the deities whom I believe have blessed us with that intelligence, and the many, many people in history who have disobediently taken a stand for what they believe is right, to teach any child of mine the lessons from those books.