Sunday, February 22, 2009

In the Pink

Yes, it's a girl.

Dan and I could not have been more surprised on Friday by the sonogram if there had been five or six babies in there. We just have been thinking of ourselves as the parents of boys, maybe because The Max Show is so all-boy-all-the-time.

I have a lot of emotions. Like I said, I am really stuck in a mode of thinking of myself as the mother of sons, and I have to admit that it's hard getting myself out of that mode. I mean, dresses? Bows? Barbies? Really? I was never that great at being a girl--I always felt most like myself when I was doing things that I tend to think of as gender-ambiguous. I never felt particularly girly or feminine--I don't dress that way, I don't think that way, and I don't really feel like I relate that well to women who do.

But the feeling I've had with this pregnancy up until now, the feeling that this is all old-hat to me and nothing to get that excited about, is sort of gone. I mean, I was excited, but not like I was when I was pregnant with Max: that feeling of anticipating a totally brand-new experience. But with a girl, now this feels like a whole new ballgame to me, and I'm finally starting to feel excited in a way I wasn't before.

Also, I'm starting to anticipate what this kid will be like. Max is so much Dan's kid: it's Dan who he wants all the time, and while it gives me a little free time to be pregnant and exhausted (both of which I really am; I am looking enormously pregnant already and I am so overcome by exhaustion that I am usually asleep on the couch within an hour of getting home from work every night), it does make me a little wistful when Max only wants his dad and never me. I keep joking that I'd better be this kid's favorite, and it's only half a joke.

I really wonder what being mother to a girl will be like. I am trying not to get too hung up on what ages 12 through 19 will be like (those are the years of my life that I like to refer to as "The Seven Year Bitch"), and instead think about all the things I am so enamoured of in Max: his sunny personality, his enthusiasm for everything he does, his curiousity, his one-track mind, his eagerness to please everyone, especially himself. I'm trying to imagine those traits in a little girl, and when I do that, it doesn't make me want to hide under a large piece of furniture for the next 20 years.

Like I said, Dan and I couldn't have been more shocked on Friday when the sonogram technician said, "To be honest, everything I'm seeing here says girl to me." We had a boy name picked out, but it's not even remotely unisex, and we hadn't really gotten anywhere with a girl name--that's how sure we were that we were having a boy. We have a few ideas, but I am open to suggestions. I made the observation to Kimberly the other day that as much as I tend to dislike the ultra-popular, Best-Girl-Names-Ever baby name lists, the fact is just that some names are popular because they're just good names. The requirements are as follows:

1. Nothing that rhymes with Max or Maxwell (what rhymes with Maxwell anyway?)
2. Must sound good with the last name Chase (Grace, for example, is out.)
3. No unpleasant associations: Dan's first wife's name was Melanie, his mother's name is Rosetta, and he has an ex-girlfriend who I found totally stupid and annoying named Erin. I went to school with a really mean girl named Nikki and another named Carolyn. Thumbs-down to all of these.

Also, if you happen to have a girl and you're now pregnant with a boy, and you'd like to trade baby clothes, send me an email. I dressed Max much more stylishly than I ever dress myself, and I feel incredibly sorry for this girl, who will probably inherit my sense of feminine style.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pink or Blue?

Ultrasound at 2:30 today. Boy bits, or girl bits? Or, like on Tuesday, will the Ghostrider be uncooperative and show us nothing helpful?

ETA: Girl bits! Dan and I could not possibly have be more surprised if you'd hit us both in the face with a bag of rendered chicken fat. Max, however, had a bit of a breakdown.

We are in Morgantown, West Virginia this weekend. My parents are stopping through on their way to Florida and have stopped to visit my cousin, who is serving a 19-month sentence for securities fraud here at the minimum-security federal facility. I've talked a lot about this in the past and won't revisit it now. However, I will say that my parents are thrilled beyond words with the news of a granddaughter. Also, if you ever find yourself spending a night in Morgantown, the Holiday Inn Express has possibly the most comfortable beds I've ever laid down in. If I have to spend any time on bed rest, I hope this is the bed.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In Which our Heroine Goes Totally off the Reservation and Writes a Letter to a Random Body Part

Dear Lower Back,

Please stop it, you're hurting me.

Seriously, whatever it is that's happening right now...wait, I know what's happening right now. I have a 20-week-old fetus in residence, and their head is resting against the top of my tailbone. That's according to my new, very sweet obstetrician, who I saw this week. She is a part of the practice who will be delivering the fetus-in-residence on June 27th, give or take.

Not that you care about any of that, Lower Back. All you care about is yourself. That's fine. You're selfish, I get it.

Listen, you know that I can't do anything about all the pain you're causing me. I know that, because you and I have talked about it before. Seriously, just this morning, when we were lying in bed together--remember, I was crying, I was asking you to just stop hurting me, because ohmigod, the pain...Okay. No, I didn't think you were listening at the time either, but I just wanted to let you know how I was feeling.

The very sweet obstetrician was just so nice that I kept almost forgetting that she was a doctor, and when she took a look with the ultrasound yesterday and saw 20-week-old-fetus butt, and that was about it...she hypothesized that the reason you're hurting me so freaking much is that there's a forehead pressed against my lower back. I understand, you know? It can't be all that comfortable to have a forehead pressed against you. I'm sure it's unpleasant for you.

I just...I don't know. I think you're being a little bit self-centered, is all. You know, we're stuck with each other for a little while, and the lease on my lady bits doesn't run out until June, so we're both stuck with the fetus, too. I think we all ought to learn to get along together. I've been talking to the fetus on your behalf; I know you're not great about talking about your feelings, so I just thought I would say something. I know it's not that fun to have a head pushed up against you. It's not a big head or anything, but still--it's a head where there usually isn't a head. I understand. Also, when I have another, more advanced ultrasound on Friday, I really want to find out whether it's a boy fetus or a girl fetus, and unless it moves around a little by Friday, we won't be able to see much of the determining factor. I'm just trying to think about all of us here, you know?

It's just that the thing I'm not sure you're aware of is that when I would usually seek some sort of pain remedy in order to deal with the fact that you're really causing me a lot of pain right now, I no longer have that luxury. I guess it's bad for the fetus for me to take Aleve, or Motrin, or to inject pure Pakistani heroin directly into the sclera of my left eyeball. I don't know if you knew that was bad for the fetus...I mean, I'd heard, and I said something to you about it this morning, but I know it was early, and you really don't do mornings that well. I can take Tylenol, but, I mean, come on. My three year old can take Tylenol. What's that supposed to do to help me? I use the heating pad on you--I know you like that a lot, because when I do that, sometimes you leave me alone for, like, a whole hour--but I can't bring it to work, because I don't have anywhere to plug it in.

Listen, I really hate to be a nag. You don't want to listen to me whine for the next 20 weeks, do you? Could we work something out? Like, maybe I'll just write you this letter, and you'll stop hurting me, and we can both just move on from here? Try to get along and live together? I know we can--we've done so well together up to this point. But like I said, you're really hurting me. I just want you to stop. I'll forgive you, I promise--it'll all be water under the bridge. But I need you to really make an effort, show me that you want this as bad as I do. We're in it together now, Lower Back. I can't do this without you--and by this I mean, you know, walking around, or sitting, or standing, or pretty much anything--and I'm pretty sure you won't get far without me, so can we try to work it out? For the baby?



Saturday, February 14, 2009

I'd Rather be in an Aquarium in France with the Jolie-Pitts

I missed yesterday. But I have a good excuse.

Max didn't want to eat dinner. He didn't want to eat anything. Very strange for him. Not so much that he didn't want to eat dinner, but that he didn't want to eat anything.

He came upstairs last night around midnight. "My bed is all wet," he said.

Max had thrown up in his bed. Oh yes he did.

He threw up all night. Dan took the night shift, and I had a dream about visiting Angelina Jolie in the hospital after her twins were born. Oddly enough, the hospital looked a lot like the church that I went to when I was growing up. Throughout the dream, it eventually became clear to me that I was still married to Dan in this dream, but he was Brad Pitt's brother. We also visited an aquarium with Brad Pitt and their other children.

I had a better night than Dan did.

This morning, I took over and sent Dan to bed. Max and I have been sitting on the couch, watching cartoons and drinking water. About half an hour ago, Max sat up, looked at me, and said, "I need medicine."

"What feels bad, buddy?" I asked him. "Your head or your tummy?" He's had the sniffles all week, and a post-sinus drip cough.

"For coughing," he said.

I got him some medicine, which he swallowed cooperatively. He immediately burst into a round of hard coughing and gagging.

Do not ask me what posessed me to do what I did next. I will never be able to tell you, except that it was that insane motherly instinct that is impossible and pointless to fight.

I put my hand under his chin just as Max threw up.

I grabbed an empty cup and he threw up more into the cup. I called for Dan, and in general had no idea what to do.

Motherhood is kicking my ass a little bit this morning. We'll return to our normal broadcast schedule shortly.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 12: The Movies

The last movie I saw in a theater was that last Indiana Jones thing last summer. I rarely go to the movies anymore. For one thing, I have a kid. We have great friends who would be happy to babysit for us, but we've rarely taken them up on the offer. I would be happy to go more than we do, but we don't, and it's because Dan is not a movie person. I like things like movies and TV and music--Dan is totally indifferent to them. I own what I think of as an average number of CD's--maybe 200. Dan owns three, and none of them are anything worth listening to. When I met him, DVD's were only beginning to be popular, and he didn't own a DVD player yet, and he didn't own a VHS tape that was less than 15 years old. He and I maybe have seen a grand total of 10 movies together in the theater in nearly seven years of dating and marriage.

I think maybe the reason we're like this is best described by the contrast between Dan and the boyfriend I had before him. He and I lived together for almost three years but I pretty well loathed him almost the entire time. We had nothing in common and not much to say to each other, but we went to a lot of movies because it was something we could do together that didn't emphasize our inability to communicate or even feign interest in each other. Dan and I do not have that particular problem. Before we were married, we used to make plans to go see a movie, start talking on the couch, and before we realized it, it was 1 in the morning and we didn't have any hope of making it to a movie on time.

It is one of the things I like the most about Dan.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 11: Guilty

I don't have a lot of guilty pleasures. Pleasure is not something I typically feel guilty about. However, if I had to name one, I'd have to say that my single biggest one is White Castle hamburgers. I would drive a pretty significant distance out of my way for a White Castle burger. Not a cheeseburger, not a double cheeseburger, just a regular old White Castle, with the dehydrated onions and totally limp and exhausted dill pickle slices on them.

I am making myself hungry.

According To Dan: When It Absolutely, Positively HAS To Be There Overnight...

Molly: "Did you hear the thing on the news about the guy who showed up with a rifle looking for President Obama?"

Dan: "No. What, at the White House?"

Molly: "Yeah. Like, this dude has got to be seriously the dumbest attempted Presidential assassin of all time. He walks up to the security checkpoint dressed up like a Fed-Ex guy and is all, 'Uhh, yes, I have a package for a Barack Obama?'"

Dan: "What, and they didn't let him deliver it?"

Molly, imitating the Secret Service: "Well, what is it?"

Dan, imitating a phantasmagorically stupid rifle-toting loony: "It's a box full of fetuses."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 10: Bitch Set Me Up

I am obsessed with former D.C. mayor Marion Barry. He is currently a member of the City Council, and most people remember him as the mayor who was caught on tape by the FBI in 1990, smoking crack in a motel room with a former girlfriend and escort. He was sent to prison for six months on a previous drug charge, and has been making a concerted effort for the past nearly-40 years to prove to everyone that he is completely space-fuck crazy.

I find it totally baffling that he enjoys the popularity that he does--getting elected to the City Council for term after term, despite numerous arrests on various drug, DUI, and tax evasion charges. Here's why I love him, though: his efforts to defend himself are nearly always successful despite the fact that he has yet to open his mouth without something totally ludicrous falling out of it. In 2006, when he was arrested near the U.S. Capital for DUI, operating while impaired, driving an unregistered vehicle, and misuse of temporary tags, the arresting officers found cocaine traces in his car and "a white powdery substance under his nose." Barry, in regards to the incident, said the following:

"First, it was not a strip bar, it was an erotic club. And second, what can
I say? I'm a night owl."


The man has claimed that the law of gravity is racist. He has purported that D.C.'s crime rate is very low, except for all the murders. He has claimed that he was more popular than President Reagan, who was elected to only two terms, while he himself was serving his third. In 1990, everyone in town was wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Bitch Set Me Up!" -- the line that Barry uttered as the FBI arrested him while smoking crack in the Vista Motel.

Barry's latest hairshirt: it's recently been revealed that he failed to pay his 2007 taxes. This should come as a shock to no one, as he hasn't paid taxes for eight of the past nine years (the ninth year, he didn't owe any taxes.) I would be totally disgusted by this, except I can't wait to hear what he has to say on the subject. I really hope that it's something like this quote attributed to our fine former mayor:

"The contagious people of Washington have stood firm against diversity
during this long period of increment weather."

Yeah. I don't really know what that means.

*Edited! Barry claims that he didn't pay his taxes because he is distracted by his ongoing kidney dialysis. He is in end-stage renal failure and has found a family friend who is planning to donate a kidney to Barry for transplant. All I'm sayin' is, are they not familiar, somehow, with the man's body of work? He's not exactly a paragon of well-being. I'm not saying drug addicts shouldn't receive organ donations, but I've got an uncle who's been on dialysis for seven years now, and to the best of my knowledge, he's paid his taxes every year and I'm really doubting that he's ever smoked crack in a motel room with a hooker. I'm just sayin'.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 9: South Haven

I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but when I was born, my parents lived in a little town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan called South Haven. South Haven is mostly a resort town; it has about 12,000 year-round residents and in the summer, there are about 60,000 people in town at any given time. At the time that I was born, there were fewer year-round residents than that, by far. The town has grown a lot.

My parents were year-round residents. My mother was the youngest kid in her family; she didn't know much of anything about babies when I was born and she felt incredibly isolated most of the year in South Haven. She made friends with a woman around the corner who already had about seven kids and who seemed to know everything about raising them; her name was Mary Jo and my mother made her my godmother.

I remember her being middle-aged almost all my life. Her youngest kid was maybe 12 or 13 when I was born. I remember that she always had a pack of cigarettes and a beer in a tall styrofoam cup. As I got older and learned to drive, I would park at her house when I went to South Haven in the summers--parking was expensive and hard to find, and they lived close to the beach. She crocheted. Max sleeps with the afghan she made me for a wedding gift.

Mary Jo died of cancer last week in Port Charlotte, Florida. She is survived by her husband Donn, her seven children, and her ten grandchildren. She is a part of most of my early memories, and she will be deeply missed by everyone who knew her, including me.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 8: Parent Fail

There are some areas in which my parenting falls woefully short. My kid is going on four years old, and he's still not potty trained. He is not even close, and I have no idea how to fix it. We ask him twenty times a day if he needs to go potty, and the answer is always no, even if he is visably in mid-poop. Also, I cannot get him to go to bed at night. We've tried everything. We've had to institute a policy of taking a toy away every time he gets up and putting it in a "naughty box." He has to earn his toys back from the naughty box by being extra-good.

So far, the goddamn naughty box is not working. Half his room is in the naughty box, and the little shit just got up for about the fifteenth time. I'm about to put his ass in the naughty box.

I have no idea if my parenting is to blame for any of this, but I am so tired of touching poop, I could just frickin' cry.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 7: Two Things

Yes, so I missed yesterday. I came home, laid down on the couch, and promptly fell asleep. I don't know what to tell you. Fatigue is kicking my ass this pregnancy, even more so than last time. I think it's because there's a 3-1/2-year-old already living here, which could make anyone tired.

So today, I will think of two random things about myself to make up for yesterday. As long as we're talking about it, I may even make them pregnancy-related.

1. When I was pregnant with Max, I craved chili-cheese dogs and graham crackers. I ate both a lot. With this one, whom we've nicknamed Ghostrider (yes, we have real names picked out, and I probably won't reveal them until Ghostrider makes an appearance, because otherwise, how will I get you to come back?), I am craving root vegetables in their least healthy forms: maple-brown sugar glazed carrots with pecans and bacon, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, beer-battered onion rings, raw radishes sprinkled with salt. Morning sickness also was a lot different with Max than it is with Ghostrider: with Max, I felt sick all day, every day, but just enough to make me feel terrible, not actually terrible enough to make me throw up. With Ghostrider, I feel terrible in the morning and the late afternoon, and I have actually been throwing up this time. Luckily, it's only been in the morning, when my stomach is empty. I hate to throw up.

2. I am one of the only people I know whose water actually broke without having to have it broken for them. I was in Sears at the time. We were coming back from my last doctor's appointment. It was two days before I was scheduled to be induced at 39 weeks, and we stopped to pick up Max's crib, which had been back-ordered. I was following Dan through the store, shuffling along, thinking about how uncomfortable I was, how tired of feeling uncomfortable I was, how I was tired of going to doctors and taking off my pants and having things put places where, frankly, things were already a little too crowded for my liking, know, I really am uncomfortable, maybe more so than I was a minute ago, I just wish this would stop...and just like that, it stopped, and as it did, I felt a wet, hot explosion. That is exactly what it felt like, and I apologize for how graphic it sounds, but there is absolutely no other way to describe it, and I knew instantly what it was.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 5: Take Me Away

There are certain pieces of music I love for their ability to take me to a particular place and time in my own history. For example: the songs "Queen of the Slipstream" and "Days Like This" by Van Morrison always makes me think of driving home on Friday nights after the ski resort closed. I practically lived there my Senior year. I don't know why I always listened to Van Morrison on the way home, except that after the adreneline of racing for six hours, I needed to come down a little, and Van Morrison helped me turn down the volume in my brain.

Friday night after skiing was one of the only times of the week when I allowed myself to eat fast food or junk food, and I usually got Taco Bell and ate it in the car on the way home. Comfy shoes after six hours in ski boots was also a great visceral pleasure to me at that point. I associate Van Morrison with letting my body and brain both slow way, way down. Maybe that's why I have so much Van Morrison loaded into my ITunes "Vacation" playlist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 4: Mortifying

I have had notable crushes on the following celebrities: Joe McIntyre (from New Kids on the Block), Kiefer Sutherland, Ricky Schroeder. Johnny Depp circa 1988, Tom Cruise circa 1987, Ben Affleck, Brad Pitt, John Corbitt, Kyle McLachlan, Vince Vaughn, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Seth Rogan, Edward Norton, and Bradley Whitford.

It is my most fervent hope that my tastes continue to evolve.

Edited: Gahh! Sarah's right: I did forget Anthony Bourdain. Tony, I'm so sorry. Come 'ere, I'll make it up to you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 3: Stimulus

I think the auto industry bailout is, overall, a good thing, as long as it's accompanied by real change in the leadership and their greed and their short-sightedness and their mismanagement. I also think that the banking bailout has proved to be a giant fucking hairshirt of the worst kind; it was a stupid idea to use tax dollars to subsidize the spa retreats and annual bonuses of a bunch of assholes who send email to each other for a living and are paid more for running their companies into the ground than for making a profit.

No, I don't think the two are the same thing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 2: Chicken Fajitas

I love to cook for people and I have loved Mexican food for as long as I can remember, really good, spicy Mexican food. I would die happy, as long as I drowned in a bucket of guacamole. One of my favorite things ever is the chicken flautas meal from Mi Ranchito in Kalamazoo, Michigan--the one on Westnedge, which is now closed, was much better than the one in Oshtemo. I am firmly of the opinion that almost any food is made better when it's wrapped in a warm tortilla and dribbled with pico de gallo.

One of the first really great meals that I ever made for other people was chicken fajitas. I used a recipe from a cookbook called The Well-Filled Tortilla. I liberated that cookbook from my mother's house when I went to college. The recipe could not be more simple. Put a boneless, skinless chicken breast between two pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap (a heavy-duty freezer bag works really well) and pound it with a meat mallet until it's thin--like 1/4 inch or thinner. Unwrap it and sprinkle it on both sides with salt and chili powder--just regular old chili powder from the grocery store. Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes, until the oil is shimmering, and then lay the chicken in the pan. Cook it on the first side for a couple of minutes, maybe three. Turn it over and cook it another couple of minutes. Pull it out of the pan and slice the chicken into thin slices, wrap it in a couple of warm flour tortillas with whatever toppings you happen to like, and eat it. I like mine with sour cream thinned with a tablespoon or so of lime juice stirred in, chopped cilantro, pico de gallo, and a little crumble of cheese.

You can make this for a huge crowd of people--just make more chicken and warm more tortillas and have lots of toppings to choose from; people will sit around making themselves fajitas all night. You can do the same basic thing with thinly sliced steak (bottom round works great, and is cheap), pork tenderloin (cut it into half-inch rounds and pound it), a mixture of portabello mushrooms, red onion and bell peppers (slice them before you cook them), or shrimp (don't slice them, just season them, saute them, and serve them). It's a simple way to cook for a crowd, and it's practically impossible to screw it up.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 1: A Month of Interesting

It's February and it's the shortest month and therefore I feel at least slightly justified in talking about myself. I recently did a "25 Random Things About Me" thing on Facebook and I was surprised at how much I liked doing it and how much I liked reading other people's 25 things. I like to talk about myself. It's one of those things that sort of adds to my social awkwardness.

So in a sort of socially awkward and all-by-myself-out-here spinoff of NaBloPoMo, I will attempt a February MoBloPoMo (that's Molly Blog Posting Month, FYI) of an additional 28 random things about me. I will now attempt to be interesting for an entire month, and hope that what comes out isn't just clever, which is just the idiot's version of being interesting.

My career aspirations have included the following: actress, lawyer, architect, wildlife photographer, commercial artist, fine art photographer, photojournalist, print journalist, writer, and mobility and rehabilitation instructor. I have discovered that my abilities and interests are best suited to a career in research and writing, which is, in essence, what I now do for a living.

Most of the careers aspirations I used to have were abandoned after I discovered how much education I would need to have (I like to learn, I just am not so interested in school, although I did the whole college thing) or that they involved a lot of skills that I never really acquired: math, for example, or being pleasant to extremely annoying people for long periods of time.