Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time After Time

"If you're lost, you can look and you will find me / Time after time / If you fall, I will catch you; I'll be waiting / Time after time"

Dusty and I were cuddled up on the couch watching The Time Traveler's Wife last Friday night when Diana woke up, whimpering. We listened for a few moments, to see if the whimpering would turn into something more alarming. Like the pained cry that immediately made Dusty jump up from the couch to go to her room. Usually, Diana is soothed back to sleep with a few minutes of rocking and singing, but then I heard Dusty's shaky voice: "Mama, we need you!" I don't remember the last time I moved so fast with so much baby belly.

I won't go into the gory details of what I saw when I flicked on the light in her room, but it turns out that Diana had caught the stomach flu at daycare. As soon as Dusty got within arm's reach of me, Diana practically leaped onto my belly, wrapped her arms tightly around my neck, and whimpered "Mama" between racking sobs. Everything and everyone between her room and the bathroom seemed covered in yuck. I'd like to think that Dusty and I are generally fairly level-headed people who manage all right in tough situations, but this is the sickest we have ever seen our kid. We panicked.

I somehow managed to haul myself and Diana into the shower, gingerly peeling each of her trembling limbs off me one at a time and washing underneath, all the while whispering, "Shhh, it's all right. Mama is here" so she would stop freaking out. Meanwhile, Dusty scrubbed the bedroom carpet and the hallway and bathroom floors, then threw a big load of laundry in the washer. He and I nearly collided a couple of times in the bathroom and hallway as we tried to get ourselves and our daughter calmed down and cleaned up. It was the most unfunny Keystone Kops routine ever.

Diana was still listless and clingy on Saturday, eating very little and keeping down even less. She stayed in her pajamas all day and mostly sat or slept near me while I did light household chores. That evening, the bug hit me hard and I spent most of the night and the next day in misery. The long weekend was supposed to be a celebration of Family Day in Alberta, but when Dusty was taken down by nausea and chills on Monday evening, we decided that Tuesday would be Family Sick Day.

It actually turned out to be a lovely day, except for the "sick" part. I piled up a bunch of blankets and pillows on the living room floor, where we made our base camp for the day. Diana gave it her enthusiastic seal of approval: "Is cozy, Mama!" We drank juice and water from teeny tea cups. We ate English muffins and dried berries, our plates and bowls balanced on our laps, and cheered on Daddy as he played Mass Effect 2. We watched HOURS of television and napped in between episodes of Wonder Pets. Sure, we broke a few house rules, but anything goes on Family Sick Day!

Oddly enough, Family Sick Day made me reflect more on The Time Traveler's Wife, and not just because it was the last thing we were watching before everyone got sick. The movie focuses on the love story between Henry and Clare, naturally diverging a bit from the book. I enjoyed both the book and the movie on their own merits, and the love story was certainly compelling, but the movie rang truest for me whenever it explored the bonds and bounds of familial love. That theme actually resonated more for me than the romance, whether it was Henry and Clare's struggle to have a family of their own, or Henry trying to build relationships with his parents, or Henry and Alba being "parental" to themselves and each other. Time may be fleeting, but family is forever.

Like Henry and Clare, Dusty and I initially had trouble starting a family. I cried all-too-familiar tears during the scenes depicting their heartbreaking miscarriages. I remembered similar discussions and arguments that we had over whether or not we were meant to be parents. I cried again--happy tears--when they finally had their beautiful daughter. I remembered those first days after Diana was born, when we were all getting used to our new family. But I cried most when sad little Alba climbs into bed beside her grieving mother and they just hold each other close, clinging to what is still left of their wee family.

In just four short weeks, our family of three will become a family of four. It might seem like a strange time to think about my mortality, but one is never closer to death than when giving birth. Dusty recently said to me that he never feared death until he became a father. Now he is terrified of dying before Diana and her sibling have a chance to know him. The movie touches on this fear, that a time traveler like Henry will not be there to catch his child when she falls, that he will not be there for her when she feels lost.

I know that someday I will die. I know that someday sooner than that, my children will leave my home and my side. They will get sick and maybe nobody will be there to pile blankets and pillows on the floor for them to snuggle into until they feel better. They will get scared and freak out and maybe nobody will be there to calm them down. But until then, I can continue making Family Sick Day "cozy" and save a spot next to me when they just need to know that Mama is here.


"Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mama

"She used to be my enemy and never let me be free"

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella continues to make me suspect that Justin Pierce may be spying on me. How did he know I have a daughter?

[Click image for full comic]


Cookie: I want to order this print, frame it, and hang it in the girls' bedroom. Would that be wrong?

Dusty: Yes, love. That would be very wrong.

Cookie: Awwww! You NEVER let me do ANYTHING! Gaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwd!


"Mama" by the Spice Girls. Who knew?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hazy Shade of Winter

"Time, time, time / See what's become of me"

My friend Carlo calls February the Hump Month of the year and I am inclined to agree. December was all about racing to our deadlines and gearing up for the holidays. January was consumed by Mass Effect 2 madness and the giddy anticipation over finally seeing our game in stores and playing it on our big-screen TV. [If you haven't yet bought/played ME2, go do it now. Seriously, OUR GAME WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.] 

I'm due to pop in just about six weeks, and this month is my last one at work before I go on maternity leave for a year, but we are sortof between projects at the moment, so there's not a whole lot for me to do.

You would think this blessing of quiet downtime might prompt me to update this blog more often, but third-trimester inertia has sunk its claws deeply into my being and I am disinclined to shake it off. Every morning, I think, "I'm going to write today! No, for serious this time!" And then every evening, after Diana is to bed, I sit my phat ass down at my computer and find that I have just enough brainpower left to dick around on Facebook. See how evil that damn thing is?! [Hi, everyone who got here through my FB link!]

Anyway, here are four conversations from this week that I think pretty much sum up what my life is like these days. First, a discussion that may be the closest thing geeks have to "Dear Penthouse: This sort of thing never happens to me...":
Corey: Hey, so I'm stuck on DA:O. How can I get Morrigan to join my party?
Dave: Did you have sex with her?
Corey: No. You can have sex with her? [nods all around] I mean, yeah, we made out a little at camp, but it was just kissing and stuff.
Me: You didn't get past second base?
Corey: No. Did you guys?
Dave and Keith: [almost in sync] Oh yeah.
Dusty: I got the underwear dance and everything. Unh! [mimes dancing... and humping... That's my man: all class, all the time!]
Corey: You saw underwear? I didn't see underwear.
Dave: Well, did you give her gifts?
Corey: I gave her a couple of things...
[A small discussion ensues over what sorts of gifts Morrigan should be given.]
Dave: She likes baubles, man. More gifts = MORE SEX.
Me: Are we seriously having this conversation in the middle of the parking garage? Do you guys realize you are talking about exchanging gifts for sex with A CHARACTER IN A VIDEOGAME?
Dave: Yes. HELL YES.
Me: Sometimes working at this company...
Dusty: ...is SUPER FUCKIN' AWESOME?! I agree!

Second, a logistics chat with P-Tricky:
Me: My parents are getting here the day before I'm due, but statistically, second babies tend to arrive earlier. Your lovely wife has volunteered your services to watch Diana if I go into labor early.... Wait... she DID tell you this, right?
Him: [I could almost see the word "Loading..." flash across his forehead.] Y-Yes? Yes! She must have...
Me: [suspiciously] Are you cool with this? Can you keep my child diapered and fed? Maybe help her do a commando roll onto the snow if she catches on fire?
Him: Yes, I can keep your child alive for a period of 24 hours or until Someone of Authority takes her from me.
Me: You are made of awesome. So, maybe at some point soonish, you can accompany us to the daycare and we'll introduce you to the caregivers there.
Him: You mean I can't just show up in dirty sweatpants and a stained t-shirt? I can't spend a few minutes lurking over the kids while stroking my beard, then point to Diana and mumble, "I'll take that one"?
Me: NO. Please and thank you.

Third, small talk in the hallway that has got me thinking about how I can make it happen:
Adrien: Do you guys know if you're having a boy or girl?
Me: It's most likely a girl, which is great because we don't have to buy a lot of new clothes.
Adrien: I know, right? All my friends who are parents spend crazy money on kids' clothes! Kids grow so fast. They're like little Hulks, busting out of their clothes all the time.
Me: Yeah, the baby basically gets an entirely new wardrobe every three months.
Adrien: We should just invent some sort of eco-friendly--yet fashionable!--garbage bag with holes for the arms, legs, and head. It would have adjustable drawstrings to size it up or down. And the material is sortof a cotton/nylon blend so you can just hose it down at the end of the day. You wring it out and put it right back on the kid. Done!
Me: I may have to prototype that...

And finally, a sucker punch that occurred in the middle of the night, when I was at my most exhausted, emotional, and unguarded:
Diana: [wailing] Mama! Mama! Maaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Me: [entering her darkened room and kneeling by the crib] I'm right here, baby. What's wrong? Are you okay?
Diana: [heaves her entire body over the crib railing, wraps her arms around my neck, and sobs] Mama! Mama's bed?! Please?!
Me: [gently, but firmly] You have to sleep in your own bed, sweets. You're a big girl now.
Diana: [sobbing] Maaamaaa! Pleeease! Mama's bed! Please! I WOV YOU, MAMA!
My Heart: KA-SPLOOIE!
Me: [hoping I only said this inside my head] Oh for fuck's sake, kid.

I carry her to our bed and lie down next to her. She wraps her chubby little arms around my neck and whispers, "Mama, please sing?" She falls asleep like that, with her cheek pressed against mine, listening to me sing her a lullaby. Big sister knows change is a-comin'. I guess I'll allow her to be the baby for just a little while longer. And I'm supposed to be the "bad cop" to Dusty's "good cop". There goes all my street cred.

"Hazy Shade of Winter" as covered by the Bangles. Yes, the Bangles. I know Simon and Garfunkel wrote it, so shut up.