Why write
I've been thinking a lot lately about why we write - or should I say not "we" but I. There's the practical side - I write to earn money. In this I will admit to sometimes whoring myself out for the cash. I sometimes write about the most unsexy things and I type the words "By [fill in a name that's not mine]" underneath it. Its money and we all need that. I write marketing materials for cash. I write press releases because they'll pay me. But that's not "my writing." That's my work.

My real writing - the stuff that I put in here or the things I try to evolve into essays that I can attempt to sell for more of that cash - is cathartic. I write. That's just what I do. Some people have therapist that they can unload on. I don't have that nor do I want that. Some people bitch and moan to their friends or lovers. Sure, I do that. I do it a lot.

But there are things that aren't quite as eloquently expressed verbally. Too often feelings get interrupted by someone else's two cents. There are times when advice is nice to have. There are times when you really do go to a person looking for their take on a situation. But then there are other times when all you really want is someone to listen to you not to guide you. This is a skill too few people have today. Too often we, myself included, want to fix it. We see someone we care about in pain and we want to make it better by telling them what to do or how to feel or what to think instead of just listening to whatever it is they just said. There are times when this is far from helpful despite the best intentions it comes with.

So sometimes I write. I stare at a blank screen and I spit out the bile welling within me. I let the emotions or the conflict flow out me through my fingers and fill the "paper." Once there its removed from me. Its not gnawing at me any longer, its there waiting to be read, to be processed, to be managed if need be as if it was another person's concerns. When its out on the paper it can be dealt with. I can stand back and think it through a bit more objectively.

Other times I write to silence the chatter in my head. There are things that just flow from a writer without her stepping in to direct it. Its as if something bigger than herself is putting those words out there using her body as a conduit. The essay, the story, the written verse is just begging to be birthed and all a writer can do is let it out. These, I often feel, are the most honest, most evocative pieces a writer can ever produce.

For me, this blog's second entry on fear and fertility came from that spot and also satisfied the emotional purging I needed. It was a way to deal with emotions so I could put them behind me and approach the attempt for a second child a bit more rationally. At the same time, it was a verse that was singing itself in the most inner recesses of my right brain, begging to be unleashed. I merely set it free.

By the way, for what its worth, when I wrote said post, I was, unbeknownst to me, already pregnant with our second child. I have a whole new set of internal battles being fought - most predominately the one over whether or not I get to digest my lunch without sharing it with the porcelain throne. But alas, this is another post for another time.


Open Letter to a pregnant friend and anyone else who will listen,

By now you have heard more advice than you ever thought was humanly possible to have heaped on one set of shoulders. Well I've got some more for you. Undoubtedly you've heard a couple of pearls a few times over.

First, I know you've heard this one so often it starts to sound like a matra - stock up on sleep now. Right. Like if you could hibernate through your final trimester those stores of sleep would carry you through the early sleep starved stages of parenthood. Face it, what sleep you get now isn't going to matter then. This is not to mention that merely suggesting "gather sleep while ye may" to a very pregnant woman is nothing short of cruel. Your body is no longer your own. The little person who has taken up residence in your womb now owns your once girlish figure. You sleep with so many pillows tucked around you at night your husband wonders if you're even in bed anymore or are you merely trying to fool him with a pile of fluff. Your bladder is more tissue paper than steel that its gotten to the point where you get up to pee more often than you actually sleep a decent stretch.

Besides, let's just be real for a minute. Yes, you will loose sleep once baby arrives. And yes, even when you reach that blessed point where your child 'sleeps through the night' you will have nights where you wonder if it was even worth unmaking your bed. These are the times those with good intentions speak of when they cluck their tongues and bid you to store up now. But, again, let's be real. Those very same experienced people stand before you alive and seemingly sane enough to not be committed somewhere. The survived sleep deprivation and you will to.

Second, many a mom has pleaded with you to not rush forward too quickly. To keep that baby a baby for as long as you can. They'll tell you how bittersweet it is to see your once wholly-dependent child take those first steps. They'll talk about how fast it's all gone. One day you cradle them gently being careful not to let their head tip back - the day they're driving off to college. Yes, it goes fast, but here's where my real advice comes in.

Live today. Yesterday is something to keep in a scrapbook. You can linger over it when you get a rare free moment over the next several decades. You can remember what it represents but don't lament its passing.

Tomorrow is lying before you. Its something to plan for, something to consider, but not to obsess over. Don't expend so much energy on tomorrow that you ignore today. Tomorrow will always be this thing that exists just beyond your grasp. The present is all you can directly impact at any given moment.

And so yes, today. Live within this day. Savor every moment with your child but don't forget to also make moments for your spouse and yourself. Don't get so caught up in being Mom that you stop being Woman and Wife. Remember none of those facets is complete without the other two.

Every stage your child passes through will be more miraculous than the one before it. I still remember holding my days old son close to me marveling what a miracle he was. I remember the awe he inspired by merely breathing in a set rhythm - his body's cadence matching my own. I remember distinctly thinking how amazing it was to watch him stare at things. Knowing that he was unable to mobilize and get to whatever it is had his attention. He wasn't able to verbalize what he saw or question it. But he could study it and study it he did. I learned so much about myself from those early days. I learned to stop rushing and take time to really stop and study the small things. I learned that even a cloud dotted blue sky can be worth a few minutes of consideration. I learned that everything is wondrous and new if you let it be.

Then he learned to sit up and began to explore his surroundings. I will be honest, I didn't really miss that blob stage. I enjoy interacting with my son. I like watching him test and experiment. This was a wonderful stage of his development and one that will never come to an end. The mundane was suddenly exciting again. A simple block held such possibility.

Next came walking and talking. He may be only 18 months old, but I am his student. Through him I've come to understand the nuances of my very own language. The way sounds are formed. The confusing nature of a single sound spelled so many different ways and meaning different things. I, eye, Aye. I wonder how it is we ever learn to differentiate and yet he does. I can see the wheels turning in that little head.

I watch his eyes fill with understanding. I see his absolute delight and pride when he's accomplished a new skill - hearing his excited, proud little voice calling out "Mommy! I DID IT!" When is it that we loose that ability to find great joy in small accomplishments. When did we ever toss out the small goals to focus on just the big, overwhelming and seemingly unattainable.

Before I know it we will move to another stage. I will tuck this raw little person into a scrapbook and I will watch a work in progress move to the next level. I will smile when I look at the video and the pictures. Perhaps still shake my head in amazement that he survived all the climbing and running. I will watch him step off the school bus from his first day of school or climb out of his first car. . .still smiling with absolute delight and pride.
These stages as wondrous as the ones before them

Yes, friend, each milestone is to be celebrated then moved on from. Don't linger too long that you fail to appreciate the next small step for your little person. There is no holding back. This child of yours will grow and become adult some day. Just hug your dear one tight every chance you get. Inhale the smell of baby deeply every day. Savor the moment and live today.


It occurred to me that I don't have to be profound in these entries. Its my blog, I can blather on for pages and pages about the over-abundance of white socks if I wish. Of course that's not what I feel like going on about. No, today I want to rant about pasta. Namely the disparity between "traditional" pasta and healthy whole wheat pasta.

I am not a dietician. I have no idea the scientific ins and outs of refined flour vs good old whole wheat. I only know that the brown stuff is better for you. I try to eat whole grain breads. I actually prefer them to so-called white bread, truth be told. Pasta, however, I've been a bit cautious on.

I love my pasta. I could never be good student of the Atkins diet. It would require me to give up too much of my only one true food passion - pasta. You don't mess with pasta. You put different sauces on it, sure. You mix it with some fresh diced tomatoes. Right, that's fine. . . but you don't alter it. You don't make it out of tofu or something funky. You have plain old regular pasta.

But, I also want to be healthy and good and do the right thing. I want to try to eat better and to make wise choices for my child. So I broke down and bought whole-wheat pasta. Now I've yet to eat it. I did make it up last night so I could bring in some pasta salad for lunch today. I tired a single Rotini noodle. Although the taste is different, its nots so dramatically different that I feel as if I've betrayed my pasta-loving tongue.

So I get to thinking. Perhaps we'll make the leap. Perhaps I'll give up that regular stuff and just make the brown stuff. Perhaps I'll ditch that refined flour and stick with whole grains. Then I remember the aisle in the supermarket and how severely limiting that declaration seems all of a sudden.

The pasta in our supermarket takes up half of one side of a traditional aisle. There are multiple brands and every size and shape noodle you can imagine. Small pastina stars, long thin angel hair, twisty corkscrew rotini and bent elbows. I feel like a kid drooling in a candy store. Of all this selection, however, there is minimal options when it comes to whole wheat. Of that long span of loaded shelves, there are merely a fraction of the good stuff. I stared at merely a dozen or so different boxes - seperated by brand and shape.

The bread aisle is similar. Nearly an enter side of a full aisle dedicated to loaves of pre-cut, packaged bread. The vast majority of these loaves made of refined flour - white bread, buttermilk bread, potato bread, etc. The whole wheat, Whole grain, health-nut options pale in comparison.

Is it supply and demand or a conspiracy? Is there are secret group of diet-diva's desperate to make a buck off our fat butts pushing for less shelf space dedicated to 'good' food so we have less chance of finding our own way? Or is have so many of us fallen far off the beaten path that we've matted down a new one called the "not so hot for ya" trail.

I don't think regular old pasta or white bread will kill me any time soon. I also think its more chocolate and heaping servings that have contributed to my extra pounds. . .but I also don't think the disparity in good vs not-as-good quanities of food options have helped things. SO, all that rambling and thesis - for what?

Do you think its an oxymoron to have my whole-wheat pasta based pasta salad with a slice of french bread made from refined flour?


My mind, it wanders

This path that's not a path - the one on which we merely try not to avoid pregnancy rather than hotly pursue it - is confusing. I find myself pondering many things concerning the logistics. For example, when does one bite the bullet and pee on that damn stick? I wonder not because I sit here staring at box of First Response, but because I'd rather have it straight in my head before I get to that point.

The first time around I'd be running out for the HPT within the first few days of what I had assumed was "being late." Of course, each time I found my body playing a cruel practical joke - a new cycle starting just a day after I broke down and took the stupid test. I'm not what you'd called 'irregular' in terms of said cycles, but being irregular is not unheard of for my body. I've learned that being a few days late means nothing more than my body decided to take a leisurely stroll that particular month. So logic would say, you give it more than a few days - but how much more. I've yet to wrestle the answer out of myself.

Issue 2 - assuming someday fate smiles upon us and #2 is in production - when does one formerly infertile couple spread the news? With our son, we lived in denial of possibility so long we were nearly two full months along before even *we* knew of it. Telling our family and closest friends almost instantly wasn't nearly as big an issue since we were already closing in tight on that big "2nd trimester" doorway.

But, one would assume it'd not take us quite as long to test the 2nd time around. Then what? Do we sit on our news, bursting with excitement, and just wait? Perhaps its worth noting, my 18 month old has more patience than I sometimes. A 12-14 week wait won't happen. Do we wait till we see that heartbeat? Will we be as neurotically worried as we were the first time that the 1st to 2nd threshold will be viewed as critical a window?

I also worry about the mundane. How will I explain to my son that Mommy's belly isn't interested in sharing her lap? How do I balance the "no carrying anything over 10lbs" rule my OB tossed my way last time with the 24lb (granted more than that by the time its every an issue..if it ever is) snuggle monster? How do I get my sleep, drink my OJ (little boy thinks its awesome stuff but only when its from Mom's cup!) or maintain sanity?

I'm lucid enough now to know that I will not know these things until I do. I will not wrestle the answer from myself until I need to know it. I will not have a plan of attack. I can't because having one means allowing for the possibility that I'll need one...and right now, that's still too scary.


Some meandering thoughts

Off to a start?Five days into the new year and I've yet to make a daily resolution. Unless you count the fact that I avoided buying junk from the vending machine at the office. This is good. It'd be better if I had gotten to the gym. I have a theory that the boss and his buddies are conspiring to keep me from getting in shape. I'm not yet sure why, but it seems every day I go into the office with the intentions of spending my lunch at the gym, some one loads up my schedule with meetings the hours the gym is open.

Speaking of meetings - how am I to complete 60 hours of work in 16 hours *at* work if I spend 10 of those hours in meetings about more work I have to do? Somewhere in hell there is a person I once slighted laughing gleefully at my plight.

Beauty of self-entertainment
So the little boy is learning how to play on his own, sort of. Someone is still required to be in the room with him - or at least in sight. However, he's content to play with his airport or trains all by himself. This is huge. This means I actually got 2 months of 6 months worth of photographs slugged into a scrapbook. (Slugged being a keyword.) I suppose one can backtrack and say this was a bit of a resolution - to get my arms around my piles of photos (I take a lot!) before the boy turned 20. So go back and ignore item #1. . .in 5 days I have said no to the vending machine, did something with those photographs and held back from telling boss man that he's one of those words I'm working on cutting back on. One must cut back on all sorts of phrases when you have a parrot for a toddler.

Baby thoughts
Of course, with the little guy learning to be more independent (even if his new favorite phrase is "Mommy hep!" aka Mommy help!) I feel slightly less anxiety about juggling two dependent little creatures. Notice I used the word "slightly." Of course, this is not to suggest that our quest for pregnancy is over. I just like think ahead and be prepared. Ok, the truth? I just like to obsess over the unknown. Or something like that.