Tag Archives: pregnancy

Three’s Company

**I am a regular contributor to the It Builds Character parenting site. (Yeah, I know – they let me write about parenting! Whaa?)  Anyway, this was one of mine originally published there in March 2011.  I thought it might be worthy of share on (Love) Notes because I feel too lazy to write something new today . **

When I had my first baby 6 years ago, everything, including the baby, was perfect. I got pregnant about six seconds after going off birth control, and the baby held off entering this world until I could graduate from business school the day earlier. He slept a lot and ate a lot. I sat around my house watching Oprah and Dr. Phil and everything else on daytime TV wondering, “What is everyone complaining about? Babies are easy!” When he was awake, my kid was always smiling and he was cute too. He didn’t have any health issues, allergy issues, sleep issues – nothing. My husband I brought him out to dinner with friends, baseball games, the grocery store, and he just sat there content the whole time. He was so good, there was an uneasy part of me that thought maybe he was the second coming of Christ, which would mean my husband wasn’t his biological father, and that could make things awkward if anyone ever found out. I eventually decided that since no wise men came to the hospital when he was born, I probably wasn’t the mother of God, but then again, maybe they just got lost – that place was really confusing.

The point is, having a baby didn’t really change our lives at all. We were well rested and had no reason to fight because our baby was perfect and so were our lives.

So when my son was 18 months old, I was all about having Number Two because kids were so easy and all those other parents were kind of whiners. Maybe they just weren’t doing everything right like I was – even though what I was doing I just made up everyday and my kid turned out totally perfect and above-average, which kind of proved that I just have a really natural penchant for child-rearing and really great genes. Man, was my son lucky I was so full of Awesome.

But when it was time for Number Two, things didn’t go exactly like Number One. Getting pregnant? Not so easy this time. And I don’t tolerate failure well, so I was naturally a joy to live with from the time I didn’t get pregnant immediately to the almost year later it took to conceive. I am kind of surprised my husband ever consented to sex after that again, because I regularly screeched things like, “We need to have sex precisely between 8:03pm and 8:11pm today or else I won’t get pregnant for yet another month!” and “I hope you have been following Section 3.1.2 of the Conception Rule Book I authored which states no alcohol, loose underwear and no masturbation. Be showered, shaved and ready to perform when I beckon. Failure is not an option.” So, needless to say, our sex life was truly awe-inspiring – not in a good way.

Eventually he finally did it right and I finally got pregnant with Number Two, who would surely turn out to be as perfect as Number One. Because after all, past performance is the best predictor of future performance, right? Number Two was born two days after Number One’s third birthday. I didn’t really prepare all that much because babies were easy and he could wear all his brother’s old clothes and he would like all the same stuff as Number One and this would be even simpler than Number One, so what was the point? My in-laws came into town a couple of weeks after the baby was born and we decided now would be a great time for my father-in-law and husband to renovate the family room by themselves. Because kids were easy, so I wouldn’t really need much help and who needs a family room in tact anyway?

Weeell, so Number Two wasn’t a clone of Number One. He cried a little more. He was gassy. After a few weeks, he began to projectile vomit. And then suddenly Perfect Number One was whiny and withdrawn and seemed to want constant attention as if that was what he was used to before this baby was born. Oh wait….right. And then on top of that, I was the lucky winner of a little bout of postpartum depression, so one of my favorite activities was sitting in my room crying for no reason. Nice. Within no time at all our perfect family of three became a sad, dysfunctional family of four. It turned out Number Two had a rare condition that required surgery to fix and without going into all the gory details, Year One of having two kids sucked. Really sucked hard.

And, I had to deal with the realization that I actually wasn’t the best parent ever, because Number One and Number Two were hard to deal with individually, and collectively. They drove my husband and I insane more than a few times and Wally and the Beav never did that to June and Ward. Perhaps we all weren’t as perfect as I had imagined. We had all we could handle with two kids and two full-time jobs and keeping our marriage out of the Alec Baldwin/Kim Basinger range, so we decided we were all finished with kids. After surviving that first year, it looked like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Our sons were healthy and happy and we were sleeping again. We were done. Thank God.

That was until about 15 months ago when I miraculously got pregnant again. Maybe I was to be the virgin mother of God after all. I mean, the odds of me getting pregnant were about equal to the odds of Oprah and Gayle breaking up – which has miracle written all over it. I’m still confused how you can try for a year and have no luck and then when you are doing your best not to, you get pregnant. I guess stuff happens. Well, to us at least.

I wasn’t thrilled. I was scared. We just barely made it through two – how on earth was I going to make it through another? This time my depression started immediately upon the discovery of pregnancy of Number Three. We had to move from the city to the suburbs. We had to get rid of the sedan and find a car that could fit three car seats. We had to become just like “real” parents and real adults that shuttle a bunch of kids around all weekend long. We had to change everything. And I wasn’t happy about it. I had gone from The Best Mother of All Time just six short years before to The Worst Mother of All Time Because I’m Really Super Not Excited About Another Baby.

And then we found out Number Three was a girl. Everyone delighted in exclaiming “You got your girl!” like I was going to keep having kids until I had a girl. I knew boys. I like boys. What on earth was I going to do with a girl? I spent most of the pregnancy disturbed and in denial as we sold our house, moved to the suburbs and turned into the nuclear family cliché. I thought I outsmarted the suburban gods by saying no to the minivan, but then I realized my gas guzzling, insanely huge SUV I had to buy to fit my entire litter was about as original as any Nickelback song you can think of. I would have saved some face buying the minivan.

But then a funny thing happened. Number Three was born and the world didn’t crumble. My life didn’t end. In fact, it got richer. I was in love with my daughter the second I held her. I can’t believe I spent so much time pissed off I was pregnant when I look at those three kids playing together. Having three kids is actually better than having two. Number One and Number Two keep each other busy and they are turning out to be insanely great big brothers and Number Three is not only the cutest kid in the universe, but she started sleeping through the night at three weeks. It makes me think – “Hey, this is easy!! What is everyone complaining about? Maybe we should have a couple more!?”

I think I just heard my husband smash his head into the counter and then chug his glass of wine.

Is that a no?

The gods must be crazy…

Okay. So I’m back. Hopefully for good, but you know I’ve found out that god has a sense of humor recently, so you never know.

So where have I been? What have I been doing?

Remember all my posts that detail what a good mother I am? Like the one about how I didn’t breastfeed and the one about how I feed my kids McDonalds once a week and how my two year old feels me up in Target?

And then remember how I had that really mind bending post entitled, “Hellz Yaz” about whether its better to have huge puss-filled zits all over my chin or have a sex drive? And everyone voted that I remain a sex kitten with zits? And my big-boobed sister warned me that natural family planning was a very bad idea?

And then remember when I told you the story about when I had to tell Professor Bourbon I was pregnant after they let me into the PhD program?

Do you see where this is going? Yeah. Surprise!! I’m preggers. Not really what I was planning for 2010, or 2011 – 2050.  And my angel didn’t even have the balls to warn me this time. The news hit right after New Years Day (same day I got my new job offer, so my new boss got to be the second to know) and I don’t think I’ve been quite the same since. I can’t figure out whether the nausea is from the pregnancy hormones or the idea that the gods thought it would be a good idea to put another human on this earth who has me for its mother. When I found out, BD was so worried about my mental state (probably because he’d never seen anybody catatonic before) he promised to stay sober with me this whole pregnancy, which is awesome. The other two times I was the designated driver and it was not awesome. It actually does make me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who will be suffering the next nine months, which I think is what makes BD love me so much.

So I won’t lie – the change of plans has had me in a tail spin for the last two months, which I probably could have recovered from in a week if wine could have been involved, but without alcohol, and with nausea and a new job and exhaustion, I could sum up my life perfectly in one non-word: “meh”. Which is why you haven’t heard from me. The juice has been gone.

However…the good news is that I’m over it now. I’m going to be a mother yet again, and red wine no longer calls to me during my long, sleepless nights and now I have a third chance to make a first impression. Maybe I’ll try breastfeeding this time. Or maybe I’ll freak out and change my mind a month before like I did the last time. No promises there.

And maybe this kid will be the one who winds up changing my diapers when I’m 92 and I’ll be like “Oh, now I get it, God. You’re the best!” And lets not forget about the nightly “happiness” I have to look forward to in the coming months. This time I will make buying porn a part of the getting ready for baby checklist, just so we don’t have to go through the histrionics of yesteryear.

So I’m psyched. I didn’t think we’d have any more kids but now that it has been determined that we will indeed, I’m stoked. And I haven’t seen an episode of Oprah in two months, and its given me a strength I didn’t know I had. I think I might be okay when she stops the show now. I think I might survive. And that goes for everything – the pregnancy, the delivery, the new job, the new house we’ll have to buy and even the…GULP…minivan? (okay, that last one was really hard for me to say)

It’s a new world order.

Welcome back to my life. I’ve missed you guys.

Love’s PhD Trilogy: Numbers

I told you about how and why I came to the conclusion that I needed to be a business professor in the Genesis part of the story. That thinking deep thoughts all day and having the esteem of millions would beat working for a living any day of the week.  So I did everything necessary to get into the PhD program at the University where I was getting my MBA. I switched into their full-time program, I quit my sales job, I started having interviews with current faculty to talk about the process and the career AND I got pregnant.  YUP. Yup.  That last part wasn’t really what most aspiring PhDs do right away, but hey! Why not make it that much more difficult? You know, so when there is a movie made about my life, I’ll have even more adversity  to overcome (maybe I’m the only one who considers motherhood adversity?) on my quest to solve all of the worlds deepest, most elusive marketing questions. (And P.S., I vote for one of Gwen Stefani’s sons to play mine in the movie).  It makes a lot of sense if you think about it that way. No.  I know – it actually it doesn’t.

Okay, so I have to beat out a lot of people to get into this program.  So I sat in front of all my MBA classes and I talked to all of my marketing professors about their jobs and they all told me it was really weird for an MBA to want to be a professor.  And that it was a lot of hard work and would take a lot of dedication and yada, yada, yada. I’m all about hard work and dedication, so what is the issue? I got the feeling that they thought the Type A, overachiever, know-it-all MBA assholes they taught most of time wouldn’t have the patience or temperament to make it as a grad student.  I couldn’t really figure out why. I mean, I was an MBA student and I really wanted to do it.  I was good at school and I loved it in a fairly unnatural way, so I didn’t understand why they all said stuff like that.

But what they were getting at (that I found out only much, much later) is that being a PhD candidate is really best suited for Type A, overachiever, know-it-all assholes who will put up with getting emotionally, intellectually and financially bitch slapped on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  It’s for people who revel in being told they are a constant disappointment and that they can barely read or write or theorize better than a retarded goat.  It’s really great for people who don’t require sunlight, like to read journal articles for 15 hours each day, act as their advisor’s bitch for another 5 (including cleaning their office) and be publicly chastised for their work by faculty during the other four.   There isn’t a whole lot of time left over for any sort of healthy, normal relationships outside the four cinderblock, windowless walls of the PhD room.  No, they can’t have that or you might come to your senses and tell them to go to hell instead of respectfully listening when they maniacally laugh as they tear apart your precious ego and illusions of future grandeur. Yes, you get all that, plus paid less than a deformed hooker at the Greyhound station. That’s why MBAs should not become PhD candidates.  Because they are used to giving and getting ass kisses for 10 to 12 hours a day, sleeping for 6 and fucking around for the rest. Oh, and making 6 figures while doing so. Trust me on this one – I know.  So the two entail fairly different lifestyles, you see?

Okay, but I wasn’t aware of any of this at the time.  So I made it very clear to several marketing faculty members that I wanted to be in the program, I filled out my applications, wrote my essays, crossed my fingers and prayed like hell.  Meanwhile, I got pregnanter and pregnanter.

May I just say that being pregnant in an MBA school like the one I went to is about the same level of offense as raising a nine iron over your head and slamming it down into a green, creating gaping three inch crater only a foot away from the hole, for absolutely no reason at all.  It’s one of those things that say a few things about you: a) you’re a jackass, b) you’ve just proved you shouldn’t even be there in the first place, and c) you’re ruining it for everyone else.  That’s kind of the way I think most of my peers felt about it, but I’m probably projecting because nobody actually said that to me. I came to the party late, and they had their friends already, so people didn’t talk to me unless they had to. They mostly just looked at me with either pity, wonder or disdain, reactions which hit points a, b and c rather nicely.  I did not win the Most Popular prize for sure.  I couldn’t go out and get wasted with them and/or talk about how many consulting firms or investment banks would be begging me to work for them in 9 months, which is what I gathered were the most common social activities. So I was a bit of an outcast. But that’s okay because I was a rebel on a mission to pure intellectual awesomeness.

Then one day I get a call from the chair of the marketing department (one who I actually feared and adored at the same time and with equal intensity – lets call him Professor Bourbon) saying they were letting me in. AWESOME! SERIOUSLY? AWESOME. Because I was so close to getting my big wooden office with floor to ceiling bookshelves and those little ladders I would have to climb to get all the books off the high shelves. Big pimpin’.  If they made maternity twill jackets with corduroy patches on it, I so would have bought one at that moment.  But the joy was short-lived.  Now I realized that I probably sort of had to tell them I was pregnant and I was pretty sure this wasn’t news that would be particularly well received.

I told myself that it should be fine, because my son was due the day I graduated from MBA school (indeed, his birthday and the date on my diploma match perfectly), and I’d have the summer off before the PhD program started.  So it didn’t really affect them at all. I didn’t need to ask for special treatment or anything, but still…when they found out I was pregnant, I could imagine them likening my pregnancy to slamming my nine iron into their little academic green.

When I’m about 8 months along, Professor Bourbon invites everybody who was accepted into the program for a little orientation day.  I figure it is at this moment when all of the professors and my future mentors are going to see me and be thinking, “The fuck?! I already hate her bitch ass. Is it too late to rescind the offer and give the spot to someone who is serious about being an academic?”  So rather than have my big reveal on orientation day and have it be the big surprise of the day, I decided to call up Professor Bourbon and schedule a meeting with him beforehand and tell him my dirty little secret.  It was my intention to have him as my advisor, so I thought I should just get it out on the table and give him the option to kick me out in private, rather than in front of the group that would be my cohort. You know, all the Aspergers kids from China.

So that day, I don all black to make my big belly less noticeable and because I may be going to my newest, shiniest dream’s funeral and I have what I think is going to be one of the most awkward and hard conversations ever.  Something along the lines of , “so I got knocked up, but please don’t change your mind because I’m a total geek and if I can’t be a professor then you are shattering my dreams forever and I might go postal.”

But what I actually said was:

“Thank you so much for letting me in the program and I’m so excited and I’m ready to work really hard and I’m definitely going to accept the offer but I feel like I have to tell you something that you should know but I don’t know whether or not you care or if it affects your decision or what you think of me or whatever and it wasn’t like I planned it or anything but really I think you should know before the orientation that I’m…I’m….um….I’m….kind of….um….pregnant. BUT! I’m due in June and I’ll totally be back in September and ready for school and I’ll have a daycare and everything worked out and I’m very serious and I really want to do this and….are you still okay with me being in the program and working with you?”

Little beads of sweat had formed on my forehead and on my big belly under the big gross panels they put to cover your belly on those damn maternity pants.  All I wanted to do was take that fucking thing off my stomach and let it just cool in the breeze, but I think that would have been very unwise under the circumstances.  I was about to hear whether or not my questionable family planning was going to take away my chance to be one of the smartest, well-known, famous fucking people in the universe, or at least among the 1000 or so marketing professors in the US.

I put it all on the table and I held my breath for my fate to be revealed. And this is what he said:

“Congratulations! Of course we still want you. Having children is one of the greatest gifts in the world! I have three of my own.  On top of that, I would argue that you’ll have even greater marketing insights as a parent.  Never apologize for bringing another life into this world. This is great news and you should enjoy it. Congratulations!”

Um, whaaaaaaat?? May I just say I love you more than Angelina and Milo put together, Professor Bourbon? Will you marry me? For real? For really real? Oh wait, that is what got me into this predicament in the first place.  For the record, I should tell you that this was one of those pivotal conversations that I will remember my entire life and why I will love Professor Bourbon like Take 5 bars and TiVo forever.

Whew. So I was in. And my advisor was going to be kind of kick ass. He thought I was even cooler for having a kid.  So now I just had to meet my new classmates. I was pretty sure they’d probably all be a lot fucking smarter and less cool than me. But that would be okay because maybe I’d learn something.  I just hoped they weren’t d-bags. And that they were US Weekly subscribers.  And that some of them were Americans or Canadians, because my Mandarin really sucks. Oh yeah, and maybe someone there would also count Oprah as their personal savior too.

I actually think I got a little of everything…

To be continued in Love’s PhD Trilogy: Judges

Love’s PhD trilogy: Genesis (also, Why it’s just “Mrs.” instead of “Dr.”)

This is the story of how I was almost a doctor. Not the kind that actually helps people, but the kind that everybody listens to, because if you have PhD at the end of your name, people think you are an authority on any and all subjects.  Which is kind of my dream.  To have everybody listen to me and feel like I have some credibility, even if I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Do you know they give out PhD’s in marketing? They do.  I suppose a PhD in physics is probably higher on the totem pole than marketing, but I’m pretty sure you can’t have ADD and get a PhD in physics. I think you need to have Asperger’s for that.  So I’m S.O.L (does everybody learn that acronym from their dad at age 6?).  So marketing seemed like a reasonable alternative. Plus, after you get a PhD in anything, you’re a PhD. Nobody knows or cares after you get a PhD  what it is in, so I figured I could kind of be like Dr. Phil.  He has a PhD, albeit probably from an online university, but nobody questions his credentials any more. So what if it’s in marketing? I’d be Dr. Love and suddenly, the editors at O would be busting down my door begging me to write a monthly column. But instead, Oprah found Dr. Berman, PhD, a hot blond who loves to talk about sex and suddenly my dreams are shattered.

But I digress. Here is the story:

So I’m in this job that is kind of boring. And the people I work with are really nice, good people, but I had the suspicion that they weren’t as intellectually superior as I was.  So to stave off my boredom, I decided to go back to school part-time because my company would pay for it.  But it had to be something relevant to my job, which only gave me a single choice, which was MBA school.  So luckily I live in a city that has about 6 trillion universities/colleges that offer part-time MBAs.  But going to just any MBA school would have been too easy and wouldn’t have inflated my ego to the levels I crave.  I had to pick one that was prestigious and where I would meet a lot of intellectuals so I could have an intelligent conversation about the current events I read about in US Weekly.  And I am very lucky, because the top two MBA schools in the U.S. are right here in Chicago.

One has a reputation for being really fun and one has a reputation for being really not fun. So it was a really hard decision, but I eventually settled on fun.  I took the GMAT to prove to myself and the admissions group that I was as brilliant as I fancied myself.  I didn’t get a perfect score, but there is math on that test instead of celebrity trivia, so it doesn’t really test true genius. But I did alright. So I applied to the part-time program and they let me in and it lived up to its reputation. I was having a good time.  The people I was going to school with were very smart – maybe some were smarter than me — which then made me feel kind of average and inadequate, but that was probably good, because sometimes I need to be taken down a notch.

So while I’m in MBA school I decide that I need to get into health care sales, so I could do something that helps people and still make lots of money. (Please stop laughing — I was just very naive at that point. Who knew the health care industry is even shadier than the financial sector?).  So in order to network my way into the health care industry, I go to this health care conference being held by my business school.  And they have CEOs from some of the top pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers on this panel discussing sales strategy and management,  and the conversation is being led by this professor at my business school.  He keeps throwing out pretty good questions and the executives answer but they always finish up their answers by looking at the professor expectantly, like they needed his approval for what they just said.

And then it hits me.

OMG. I should be a professor. I want to get paid for thinking about whatever I want to think about!!  I want to facilitate discussions between people who work for a living and I’ll be the big PhD at the table who everybody listens to and respects even though all I do is teach a class here and there and maybe write some books and get quoted in the New York Times every other day. Yes! It is my calling. I’ve found my life’s work!! Elation!

I was a newlywed at the time. My husband asked me to marry him a couple of weeks before I started my MBA adventure. I have to assume he thought that I would pull my own weight in our marriage at least financially because I was going to a great school and that should guarantee me a solid place in the career world, right?  Maybe he could be a house husband if he felt like it because I would be making wads of cash as I scurried quickly up the corporate ladder. Because I was the very definition of a future baller and we’d be big pimpin’ (spending Gs).  So I run home from this conference and I announce to BD that I am going to be a business professor. Fuck sales. Fuck working for a living. It was so simple! Why hadn’t I thought of it before!! I’m going to be a professor. And now I could finally earn the right to wear cardigan sweaters with little patches on the elbows and start smoking a pipe. I already had the scholarly specs. All I had to do was get a PhD and how hard could that be, especially with me being such a genius and everything?

So that night I shattered BD’s illusion of having a responsible, rich, hard-working, baller wife.  I told him I was going to finish my MBA and apply to the PhD program.  I wasn’t really sure what PhD school was about, but it couldn’t be that different from MBA school, right? I mean, I knew what the 4 Ps of marketing were, so I was practically halfway there.  And in the PhD program, you don’t have to pay tuition and they even give you a stipend to live on while you think all your deep thoughts.  See?! They were already paying me to do what I loved doing anyway, which was being a geek and tricking people into thinking I wasn’t as clueless as I was and collecting degrees that I could hang in my future big office with leather chairs and floor to ceiling bookcases.

Since the PhD program wouldn’t cost anything and I would actually be bringing home some money, BD got on board and supported the decision.  So I quit my job and started going to school full-time so I could finish the MBA faster.  Of course, that blew up the whole plan where my employer pays for my education. I actually had to pay them back for everything so far and then shell out the money for the rest of the MBA, but no matter! I was on a mission. An intellectual journey. And what is money anyway? Bah! It is clearly only important to the bourgeois as a method to keep the peasants in their place (or something like that. All you need to remember is that I used the term “bourgeois” in a very dismissive and authoritative way, which is very academic of me, don’t you think?) As you can see, I was already starting to ask the deep questions required of a professor.

When you have a dream, you have to go for it, right? So now I just had to get into the PhD program. The odds were kind of bad. They accepted 8 people a year and there were probably close to a thousand applicants. And some of them were from China, where I think you need to know how to solve Rubik’s cubes in 14 moves, in 10 seconds or less just to pass 6th grade.  And they can do some fucking mad math, even without being Aspergers.  And all I have is ADD and a dream.

But when Love wants something, Love gets it.

That fall,  about six months after my epiphany at the healthcare conference,  I started MBA full-time and I started getting busy applying to the PhD program for the following fall.  Apparently that wasn’t the only thing I was getting busy at, because that’s also when I got preggers.  Awesome.

Another very well thought out plan by Love is put into motion…

Part II, Numbers is up next…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don’t know if I’ll get back before Christmas….so if I don’t, Merry Whatever-you-might-celebrate-at-the-end-of-December!

Adventures in Babysitting, Part I

I was due with my first baby in mid-June, just about the time I graduated from MBA school and about 10 weeks before I started my PhD program, a time frame which turned out to be perfectly suited for maternity leave.  I planned to find childcare during that time and I figured it would be like finding a doctor – you go on a website somewhere that lists all the doctors within a certain radius, you check their qualifications and then you pick one based on who has the best decorated waiting room and hope like hell they are in-network.

We lived just a mile outside of downtown Chicago, just down the street from Oprah, and I was pretty sure there had to be like 66 million daycares and each of them were pining for the chance to take care of my infant.  So then one day when I’m about 7 months along, I was in a deli minding my own business, eating my farm raised, low mercury salmon and asparagus sandwich and reading a Harvard Business Review case for class and two ladies on their lunch break sat down next to me.  They were talking about office gossip, which was way more interesting than my reading, so I was listening in. And they probably noticed I was pregnant and listening to them so suddenly they began talking about how annoying another woman was at work because all she did was freak out everyday about how there were no slots for infants in any daycare centers anywhere in Chicago and she was only 3 months pregnant and what a dumb ass for not realizing this before she got preggers. Hmmm.  I looked down at my belly and winced as two things happened concurrently: my fetus/son gave me a swift kick to my kidney, and I had an epiphany. I’m fucked.

The search for a daycare commenced immediately.  I went to Google to find the website that listed all of the daycare centers/ family daycares / nannys / nanny-shares within a 1 mile radius of my house.  We only had one car and I would have it most of the time at school.  BD would have to be able to walk from work, to daycare, to home with the baby.  I thought maybe 1 mile might be too large a radius, but we could start there and then figure out how to narrow down our choices.

I opened up Google. Now to find the website…..this nice, informational website….I’m sure it’s here somewhere….Hmm…wait, where is the website?….Nope, not it….Not this…..(My kid kicks my bladder at the same moment as if to say “you’re doing a helluva job so far, Mom) um, no. nonononononononono. NO…..

There. is. no. magical-daycare-finding website.

I am alone in the vast urban and Internet wilderness. Google has forsaken me. I had to sift through a tangle of daycare websites and dead ends and phone numbers. The whole finding-childcare-for-your-perfect-beautiful-newborn-that-you-can-afford-without-selling-your-kidney-and-is-located-somewhere-in-the-state-of-Illinois journey was kind of like the Trail of Tears for new parents.  At least finding the big daycare center chains was easy. They were nowhere near my condo, but I called anyway.  They had nine month waiting lists for infants.  Okay…I’m not great at math, but I think that means that on the day of conception you sure as hell better reserve your spot at Kindercare. Now I finally realized why God sent an angel to tell me of my children’s conceptions – so they could get a spot in daycare on time.  It would have been nice if he had mentioned that as well.

Well, this is bad news. I need infant care starting five and half months from now, and apparently this is really late notice for the whole childcare world.  I mean, I haven’t even met this kid I’m going to have. I know nothing about being a parent or about babies or about my specific baby or what I’m going to feel like in five months and I have to find a perfect childcare situation now, or I can’t go back to school. I’m not going to get my PhD. I’ll have to be a stay at home mother. One thing I knew for sure was that being at stay at home mother was out of the question, because I already loved my unborn child. I would not subject him to the psycho mother he would come to know if he were in my care 24-7.  So I re-doubled my efforts and kept coming up short.

I grew up in a home daycare. And I loved it. It was like having a second family, and we didn’t have any family nearby, so it was awesome. I guess I wanted something similar for my son, so I was partial to the idea of having my baby go to a home daycare nearby. But searching for home daycares on Google is futile and I was really starting to lose hope that the baby I was about to have wouldn’t be some kind of juvenile delinquent due to my poor parenting (non)decisions made while he was still in the womb.  So I went to the Starbucks in the building next door. It was an odd choice because I don’t drink coffee, but I felt like I needed something warm in my belly for the next few hours I planned to spend curled up in bed crying and worrying about what a bad mother I already was. And Starbucks kind of seemed like a church to so many yuppies, I thought maybe they sprinkled you with calming fairy dust when you went in and I might find some peace there.

No visible fairy dust, but as I waited patiently for my Caramel Apple Cider, I wandered over to the little bulletin board they have by where you pick up your drinks.  There was a lime green flyer right in the middle of it. My stomach did a flip and my knees kind of buckled and my brain said, “You are fucking kidding me, GOD!” (Yes, I have ongoing conversations with God in my head like “Oh God! You’re so unpredictable sometimes!”  or “God, why did encourage me to have the third glass of wine? I feel like ass this morning. You should have stopped me!”).

There on the board was a flyer for a new home daycare starting up in the condo building next to mine. I know, right?  Seriously.  I grabbed the flyer and ran home. I forgot my Caramel Apple Cider.  I was panting when I called BD.

Love: “I found a daycare for our baby!”

BD: “Cool.”

Love: “It’s in the building next door! And they do yoga! And its all organic food! Oh my GOD!”

BD: “You don’t even do yoga or know anything about organic food.”

Love: “What? Um. It doesn’t really matter. The point is that my prayers have been answered. I must call her immediately. She is The One.”

BD: “Go for it.”

I got off the phone with my heart beating fast and I immediately dialed Miss Amalia’s Place.  No answer, but the long-winded, rambling, breathless message I left went a little like this:

Hello! My name is Love and I have a baby. No, I mean I’m pregnant with a baby that I will have in a few months and I need a daycare in August and I just love home daycares and I saw your flyer at Starbucks and I took it but I will definitely bring it back but I was wondering whether you had a spot for a newborn and I’m sure he is going to be a really good kid because I didn’t cry a lot when I was a kid, but I guess we won’t know till he gets here  — heh, heh — but anyway I really think we should talk and I just love that I’m in the building next door so we’re neighbors and what great timing that I found your flyer and I will bring it back because I forgot to pick up my caramel apple cider anyway, so I’ll put it back but I really think we should talk and my baby should go to your daycare and please call me back.

I hung up and thought, “Seriously? What was that? You idiot. You sound crazy. Maybe you should call back again and explain that you aren’t crazy. Or would that be crazier? ” I hung my head.  But then I brightened knowing that stalking people who need to be in my life is one of my most valuable talents and Miss Amalia’s Place just moved up to the top spot on that list.

I waited five minutes with my hand clutching the phone receiver. No call back. Ten minutes. No call. Maybe I should call again? Just to say I’m not crazy? Fifteen minutes — the phone rings. It’s her!! The woman sent by God to take care of my unborn child, as soon as he gets born.

Love: “Hello?!”

M.A.: “Hi. This is Miss Amalia. You called about needing daycare in August for an infant?” (slight Korean accent)

Love: “Yes! Yes! Where do I sign up?”

M.A: “Ha ha. You are funny. It’s not that easy.  I will  interview you to see whether you’re the family I want to take.”

Love: “You’re going to interview us?”

M.A: “Yes. There is no other way. Can you and your husband come interview with me in a couple of days at 6pm @ Starbucks? You’ll both need to be present.  I have a long waiting list, but I will choose who gets the spot based on my interviews.”

Love: “Oh. I didn’t know this is how it worked. Here I thought I should interview you.”

M.A: “You should. Part of my decision will be based on the questions you ask me.”

Love: “Um. My son isn’t even born yet, and we’re new parents, so I’m not really sure what we’ll have to say.”

M.A: “I find my relationship with the parents is as important as with the child. This is the way I do things. If you’re uncomfortable with the process —”

Love: “No! No! Heh, heh. No! We’ll definitely be there. With good questions.”

M.A: “Great. Don’t be late.”

Love: “Right.”

Okay, so the world had changed from the time I went to daycare. Up to that point, I had spent my whole life competing to get in the best schools, in the best programs, hired by the best companies for the most exclusive jobs and I always won the things I set out to get. Because I loved those games and I was really good at them. No matter that I usually ended up not really wanting all the things I’d won, but who doesn’t like winning games? I wasn’t going to let a home daycare lady be the first to reject me or my unborn child. I wasn’t losing this game. She was our only hope and clearly God led me to Starbucks and this whole thing was meant to be.

We were going to be the family she chose. Period. Now I just had to figure out how to morph us into the “right” family for our interview.  I quickly opened my browser and searched for “yoga” and “organic food”.

Part II

Hellz Yaz!

I’m pretty much done having my own kids.  Physically, I just don’t think I can do it again.  Although the thought of having more kids delights me. If I could snap my fingers and have a potty trained 3 year old delivered, I’d do it.  I’ve also tried to talk BD into us getting an Indian surrogate mother, or better yet adopting a few Liberian choir boys (all Oprah’s ideas) but he is not for it.  At all. Sure, these ideas do seem a little far-fetched, even for me, but I’d be lying if I haven’t fantasized about each for days on end. I’m not sure if it is because I might be able to get on Oprah if I did it or because they’re the best fucking ideas I’ve ever heard.  Probably the latter.

My deliveries were traumatic, and I’m not that psyched to get strapped down again while they cut me open while I’m still fucking conscious.  I honestly believe history will look back on this time and shake its head in disgust with the c-section rate at 46%.  I hate to admit it, but I have to side with Ricki Lake for once (please don’t tell Oprah I said that, or she will never leave Gayle) – but all of these medical interventions during the process of childbirth is going way overboard. Routinely cutting women open to deliver children is not okay. It really isn’t. It’s fucked up. But this post isn’t about that. Not really.

It’s about Oprah , I mean birth control.  Right now the point is to avoid giving birth again and I would be kind of surprised if I changed my mind about that.  But here is the rub – I’m stuck in a terrible Catch-22 of Epic Proportions. I’ve spent the last 15 years on birth control pills except for when I’ve been trying to have babies.  Until I was off the Pill, I had no idea I actually wanted to have sex. Really wanted it. I suppose this is because in nature, people are supposed to have the urge to procreate. But, at least for me, the Pill is like the ultimate sex kitten killer. And nobody likes killing kittens.  Especially the sex ones. And I had no idea that a side effect of the Pill is asexuality non-existent libido. I just thought I was tired or my vagina was extremely anti-social or something. But I didn’t realize that was just the Pill talking.  I think my vagina is an extrovert.

But here is where the Catch-22 happens: off the Pill I look like an oily teenager riddled with zits all over my chin.  I went out to lunch with my old PhD advisor the other day and — I swear this is true — when she saw me she screached, aghast, “What happened to your face!?” Uh, thanks. Good to see you again too. Yeah, so she lacks a certain tact, but I appreciate honesty. She told me I should go to the doctor immediately because something must be very wrong for me to have my chin boiling in huge puss-filled cysts. Sorry I have to use that verbiage, but I have to make it clear how disgusting my complexion gets.  Apparently that is me being off the Pill.  That is the trade-off. Libido or zits. Nobody wants to have sex with me when I remind them of Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles, but when I get that all cleared up on the Pill, I don’t want to have sex with anybody. Since I’m only allowed to have sex with one man, the world isn’t suffering, but we sure as hell are.  A conundrum, see?

So I relayed this information to my doctor recently. Her answer was Yaz. I was like, “Isn’t that the one for crazy people?” and she said, “Yeah, but it will clear up your skin. For God’s sake, you need it!” So I’ve been on it two weeks. Hmm.

Here are the pros:

  • relatively certain I won’t get knocked up because I don’t foresee sex happening ever again.
  • no new exploding painful zits on my chin.

Here are the cons:

  • relatively certain I am now completely asexual. ” This is bad, real bad. Michael Jackson.” – Kanye
  • relatively certain I have eaten several times today, but my body thinks I’m a lying SOB.
  • relatively certain I will gain 25 pounds by next week if I stay on this drug.
  • relatively certain I lost my mind at each of the 1745 slightest infractions by one of my dear, sweet, young insane children this last week. “Now I’m mad, real mad. Joe Jackson.” – Kanye

(Ooh. I’m excited!! Did you catch that? I just crossed the threshold of blogging where I describe all of my medical issues with prescription drugs in detail. YES!.  Now I just have to wait to be nominated for some type of blog award. I’m pretty sure I also have to be hella funnier and have more than 6 people read my blog too, but those are just technicalities. I have a prescription drug problem everybody – Put your hands up, ya’ll. Woot. Woot. Holla. Holla.)

So I will have to say “Hellz No!” instead of Hellz Yaz. But that puts me back at square one again. I have a bad feeling that zits and sex drive are linked to the surge in the same hormone.

Okay, dear Internet. It’s time to pull your weight and tell me which way to go on this – is it better to be un-pregnant, asexual and beautiful, or an un-pregnant whore with grotesque chin zits? And just to sweeten the pot, if you find a solution that allows me to be an un-pregnant beautiful sex kitten, I will send you the Oprah quote magnet featured here:

I have one of these on every magnetic surface in my home.  You can start your collection today, if you can solve my Conundrum of Epic Proportions.  I will also nominate you for a Genius Award, and who doesn’t want one of those?

Ah, crap. I have to go eat again.

Hysteria – Love’s Mom Crush, the Finale

How sad that the only living woman in the universe that was made to be my best mom friend didn’t ever go anywhere.  I had lost Kirsten, but I still had Oprah. No, I didn’t have Oprah either. Things weren’t looking great, but I moved on.

I kind of let the Kirsten thing go for a couple of years….if by “kind of” I mean I still had weekly thoughts about our blended family commune.  I wound up never finishing my research because I decided that my dream of being an absent-minded professor wasn’t as important as my dream of reproducing again. At the time, I didn’t see a way I could make both happen.  So I became a PhD dropout, sold out to The Man and wound up preggers again.

Maybe it was the hormones (whoremones?) and that I wasn’t getting enough sleep due to all that night orgasming I was doing, but Kirsten came back to mind.  What if somehow she never got my Evite? I mean, it said she never even opened it up. so there was a good chance she didn’t even KNOW I had planned a party in honor of us taking the next step in my pursuit strategy. Maybe she was thinking about me, and then when she realized that she wanted to invite my family to her next Disney World vacation, she would look for me at the university we shared and I would be gone. No forwarding address.  She would be heartbroken. The thought made tears form in my eyes (but it wasn’t enough for me to have them slowly roll down my cheek because I was fanning them so vigorously with my hands), so I decided that I must get back in touch with her again – two years after the disastrous party idea.

But first I polled all my friends to ask if that was weird and if I should do it.  Everyone told me to go for it, because I think they’re the type of people who like to drive very s  l  o  w  l  y past grisly car crashes, or TiVo and rewind a million times when Britney made her big “comeback” at the VMAs.  Yep, those are the types I chill with. So my friends and aquaintenaces encouraged me to go for it, knowing this would probably only end in disaster, and they wanted to have a front row seat. But the truth was that I was going to do it whether or not they approved — I just wasn’t going to tell them about it if they hadn’t.

My name is Love and I am a stalker.  I took a deep breath and wrote Kirsten an email, out of the blue, two years after our last contact.

I actually have the entire exchange in my email still and I’m thinking about reproducing it here, but Kirsten might see it and get mad at me. I don’t think she ever thought she would turn into a moving three-part series about a psycho-stalker who saw her as prey a potential best friend for life on a blog focused on an obsession with Oprah.  But she did, and hey – what the hell? So I guess I will show you what was written, word for word.  Here goes:

To Kirsten, From Love:

Hi Kirsten,

Its been over a year since we last spoke, but you may remember I interviewed you about finding daycare for E. How is he? Are you guys still going to [that daycare]?

A lot has changed on my side since then – I actually left the PhD program at [university] last year so I could spend more time with my boys – the hours just got too crazy…I still work full-time (now at [company]) and I’m expecting a second son in a couple of months. I guess we’ll have that in common now as well.

Anyway, I just thought I would reach out and say hi and see how things are going with you. Are you still working at [university]?  Maybe we can catch up over coffee (or McDonalds – lol) sometime!

Best Regards,

Love

Kirsten responded!! One day later:

Hey Love! Congratulations! Wow – these are big changes. I can understand why you left the PhD program. Even though you’re working full time, I bet it’s easier to leave work at work.

Now that E. is a little bit older, our family seems to be in a comfortable groove. We took him out of [that daycare] about a year and  a half ago and enrolled him in the [daycare] here on campus. Honestly, it was life changing. We love it and E. is thriving. I don’t have such negative thoughts on centers anymore…live and learn I suppose!

I would love to meet for coffee and catch up sometime – are you at [address]? If you’re downtown, maybe we can meet for lunch?

OH MY GOD. She is totally into me. RIGHT?! I mean, she responded right away and wasn’t even like “WTF? Why are you writing me two years after I did a stupid interview for you, psycho? Psycho, fuckface!” No. She sounded jazzed. Maybe I’m not crazy and I didn’t misinterpret our intertwined destinies!!

Over a few more emails we established a time and a place. I’d meet her on campus and then we’d go somewhere from there. So I’m thinking maybe Corner Bakery or Cosi or something like that, but when I got there Kirsten suggested somewhere much better and much cooler. We went to a small restaurant in a nearby museum that was really artsy and cool and only blocks away from campus. Did I say I love her yet? I do! I do!!

So I think lunch went really well this time and we just talked about stuff that friends talk about, so it was really our first real date and all I had to do was make her reveal her love for me so we and our families could sail off into the sunset….The only thing was that I was pregnant. REALLY pregnant. Like, giving birth in 5 weeks pregnant.  And I was huge.  I had the full-on preggers waddle and people would stop me and ask if I was having twins or just avoid me for fear I would go into labor at any moment.  My “little” guy turned out to be 9lbs, 12ozs, and non-pregnant I wear XS shirts,  so I was kind of hideously  HUGE. (I tried to add a picture here, but I’m WordPress challenged).

Unfortunately our lunch date had to end but I wasn’t leaving without a commitment that we would be BFF.  I asked her if I could see her again. She said yes, but that they were going on vacation for two weeks in a couple of weeks.  Given my due date that meant I couldn’t get together with her again until after the baby, and it takes at least three or four weeks after a c-section to feel normal again, so the soonest we could get together was two months later, and I’d have a newborn.  And my newborn turned out to be very sick in the beginning, so we didn’t get his surgery and medical issues put to rest until he was like 10 weeks old.  And by then, my beautiful date with Kirsten was a distant memory. And I was this new person. A new person addicted to porn. Remember?

So we emailed back and forth a few times and we couldn’t ever get a day to meet up that worked for her kids and my kids and slowly, slowly, we drifted apart again.  We never consummated our relationship with a secret handshake that I had secretly practiced so many times.  It just died out…and we aren’t BFF right now. We’re not in touch. Although I do think I’m LinkedIn with her…

As I wrote these posts this week I got all nostalgic and psycho and thought of doing it again — emailing her another two years later  out of the blue and asking her to go out for lunch again. But at some point you have to let it go, right? And now that I wrote all this about her, if we every became friends I would have to tell her and she would read it and get all creeped out and violated and then she would un-link me on LinkedIn.

But…..I did it anyway.  Today I emailed her again. I’m so creepy. GOD! I’ve come to accept that our love may have jumped the shark back in 2007, but I’ll let you know if anything changes….and then I will write the final finale for real, for real. Oh Oprah, I need you now more than ever.