Friday, July 18, 2014

Seven quick takes


It bothers me that I haven't been writing any real posts in awhile.  I have a lot I want to write about: why I don't think "tough" sermons are so great, ways sexism hurts men, how favors among neighbors are the cure for commercialism, and why for me "buy nothing" is always the goal.  But when do I have time to write this stuff?  Apparently, at 3 a.m., because that's when the ideas come to me. 

Why am I awake then?  Can't blame Michael, he's been okay.  Nah, it's just third-trimester insomnia, which of course is one of the chief causes of third-trimester exhaustion, unproductiveness, and crabbiness.  Sigh. 

Last night was pretty good.  I went to bed at 10, was almost asleep at 10:15 when I heard a cry.  It was Marko, who was too hot.  I took his blanket off and went back to bed, but then I couldn't sleep till almost 11.  Then I slept solid for six good hours (hooray!) before Michael woke up at five.  It's always iffy to get him back to sleep at that point, so I just lay with him in his bed till almost seven.  But I didn't sleep very well, because I was crammed into a toddler bed and because Marko barged into our room at six demanding breakfast.  (John got up with him so at least I didn't have to move and risk waking Michael.)

So, yeah, that's what we call a good night.  I feel pretty alive today -- haven't yelled at the kids, did the dishes before breakfast, mowed the lawn before lunch, and am now sore enough that I'm questioning when and how I'm going to get the sweeping done.  But the floor is just unacceptable, so I'll have to find a way.


My latest pregnancy whine is my abs.  Like pretty much every woman with a couple kids, I have a mild diastasis of the rectus abdominus ... that is, my abs are a bit separated in the middle.  I tried very hard to fix this with exercise after Michael was born, but no one really knows what sort of exercise helps (not crunches, is all I know for sure) and the pressure of a big ol' baby in there is pushing them apart again.

This is bad for a lot of reasons, firstly that it hurts, secondly that it fails to stabilize my wobbly pelvis and back so that those issues flare up again, thirdly that it lets baby move too freely and puts me at risk for breech birth, and fourthly that it puts me at risk for a hernia.  Delightful.

So I asked my midwife yesterday what the cure is, and she said that she too has separated abs -- and it's been a decade since she's had any kids!  Ugh.  I always believed that having babies doesn't destroy a woman's body; it's what we were designed to do, and if we take care of ourselves we should stay healthy before, during, and after childbearing.  But when I look around, every mother I know has at least one major or minor complaint -- weak pelvic floor, mild incontinence, thyroid or other hormonal issues, and so forth.  What the heck are we doing wrong?

Anyway, the midwife did suggest binding my abdomen with a belly band or wrap of some kind, just to stabilize the poor weak stretched-out muscles so they don't get any worse.  So I'm trying to figure out what I might have around that would do the job without being unbearably hot.


In GOOD news, the garden is at its most wonderful.  I just picked the first big tomatoes.  The Cherokee Purples win the race against the Pineapple, which makes me happy since the Purples are my own starts and the Pineapples were purchased at the farmers' market.  But really they got ripe at almost the same time, despite the Purples looking much spindlier at first.  I'm also harvesting cucumbers, green beans, chard still, broccoli, cabbage, and herbs.  The sugar snap peas aren't even dead, but they've pretty much petered out -- I get maybe one pod a week.

My neighbor just gave me a massive zucchini and some yellow squash.  I know what to do with the zucchini (shred it and freeze it in two-cup portions for my zucchini bread) but the yellow squash, I'm not sure.  I'm not a summer squash fan really, but on the other hand, free food, amiright?  So this morning I sauteed one of them with onions, added some black beans and salsa and cilantro, and then scrambled a couple of eggs in there.  Pretty tasty!  Michael thought so too, but Marko didn't eat any.  Maybe I should try frying them next; Marko likes most breaded and fried stuff (well, who doesn't?).


My most exciting news, I'm not supposed to share, for reasons which regular readers will readily understand.  Let's just say, you remember how I have had a deep and abiding longing for pet birds?  Well, I got the kind of pet birds I wanted, three of them, 16 weeks old.  They live in a dwelling that John built (it's really very impressive, how can he be good at carpentry on top of everything else?) and happily roam around the yard eating bugs and seeds and stuff.  They don't come running when I feed them, and in fact show very little interest in their food, because they are getting so much in my 1/4 acre near-jungle of a backyard.  I suppose winter will be different, but so far I am happy to be saving feed!

From henceforth they are "parakeets" and we're all going to keep this hush-hush, right?


I have somehow let myself get drawn into a heck of a lot of debates on Patheos lately.  Simcha Fisher's blog, in particular, is a favorite of mine, but it turns out that thanks to her "Issues Guy" who haunts her blog and disagrees with everything she says, if I comment there at all, I wind up in a fight.  He called me a lying shrew because I said I originally intended to obey my husband and later decided not to.  And said that if my husband thinks he's happy, it's only because he's too beaten down by me.

That made me very upset for about 24 hours.  I have a pretty thick skin about internet criticism (or I wouldn't do this stuff!) but it does play on my interior doubts that I could possibly be a good wife while doing things so differently from the way I was raised with, or the way dictated by a lot of Catholics.

And then I remembered that I do, in fact, submit to my husband all the time.  He thinks we should buy a new car?  Well, he knows more about cars and our finances than I do, so ... yeah, I asked some questions and then said, "Go for it."  I didn't need to see the car first.  I trust him.  He doesn't want to go to this Mass, but this other Mass?  If it's important to him, I think he should make the call.

The difference is that I don't think I am obligated in conscience to obey him.  When I know in my heart of hearts that I'm right, I don't think I'm a sinner if I stick to my guns.  And likewise, my husband is aware that the Bible never gives him the right to order me around, and so he doesn't.  He submits to me all the time too.  We're happy with it.  We don't see marriage as a competition about who's the boss -- we see it as an opportunity to become holier by serving each other.

And then I remembered that of course Issues Guy knows nothing about this, because he's never seen me, my husband, or our marriage in action.  Duh.  He's just talking based on what he thinks evil feminists are like.  So ..... can't let it get to me, you know?


34 weeks is supposed to be nesting time, right?  Well, for me it's procrastination time.  I think a part of my subconscious thinks that if I don't order the birth kit and gather labor supplies, I never have to go into labor.  Whereas even doing the slightest birth-related thing makes me think about being in labor, and I can't stand that thought.  I'm trying to pretend it's never going to happen to me.  The midwife says denial is okay; after all, it's not like it actually works!  Ready or not, I'm going to give birth one way or another.

That sucks.  The pendulum has swung back to "being pregnant isn't so bad" and I'm digging in my heels.  I have maybe a month left, but I want to get every week out of this pregnancy I can.  I am not going to be one of those women eating pineapple and going for long walks to force my body into labor -- I'm going to be drinking wine in the bathtub up to the very last minute to try to get those contractions to stop.  Because labor is scary and I remember it very well.  Also, I remember how little newborns sleep.


I did at least force myself to get the newborn clothes down from the attic.  I figured the kids would like to see just how tiny their new brother or sister is going to be.  They were very excited.  Really they are excited about every detail of babies right now -- though Michael is a little confused sometimes.  He says things like "the baby will drive the new car" or "I will bite the baby and the baby will cry and then I will hug the baby and kiss the baby and the baby will feel better!"  And I get a wee bit worried.

Anyway, after I did that I felt anxious because almost all the baby clothes are footie pajamas and on the one hand, it's going to be August, and on the other, I plan to be doing elimination communication from day one, and I can only imagine the trouble of snapping and unsnapping jammies every twenty minutes or so so that baby can use the potty.  So I took an old t-shirt of John's out of the rag box and made a baby nightgown, just by sewing up the sides and trimming down the sleeves.  I figure I can crank out a few more of those with no trouble, if I can summon the energy.  It's a sitting-down job, anyway.

Aaaaand .... I think that's it for the week.  Kinda late to link up to Conversion Diary, but I will.


Julia said...

Oh man. Simcha's "Issues Guy". I know the one. I'm 24, a woman and unmarried, and I'm a practising Catholic who has no desire to get married in the near future (for various reasons). And that's mostly why I'm not interested in dating. If "Issues Guy" ever found out about my existence, he'd probably blow a fuse ("What do you mean a 24-year-old laywoman doesn't want to get married soon and isn't interested in dating??????"). I can't bring myself to care about his thoughts though. He can think what he wants and expect what he wants, and it doesn't affect me. I mean, I have no plans to date him, so I don't care what he expects from a woman.

Look, he's a rude, insensitive jerk - one of these self-proclaimed "gentlemen" who is pretty much anything but. Makes secular guys almost look appealing.

In Australia, as far as I can tell, Catholic guys aren't really like "Issues Guy". I feel sorry for my American sisters, because you seem to cop most of the crazy.

Betsy said...

Yes, crunches are very bad for separated ab muscles! I have heard that standing ab work is good, especially exercises where you contract and release your stomach muscles repeatedly. I haven't had this problem yet, but I know there are some good exercises you can find online to fix this problem. Basically anything where you pull your abs in is going to be good.

Sheila said...

No, it's pretty rare that I meet Catholic crazies in real life either. They're all on the internet! So either they pass for normal in public, or there's like 100 of them in the whole country, by far outnumbered by perfectly sweet, normal, reasonable guys.

I don't know why Issues Guy would criticize you for being single ... he himself is single and intends to stay that way because why would he get married if he couldn't have sex whenever he wanted? Um .... the fact that he asks that question proves that no one should ever marry him. I sincerely hope for the good of everyone that he stays single for life.

As for you, 24 is pretty young! I was married at 23, but that felt very young to me. John said to me just the other day, "Hey, if we'd waited to get married until now, we'd be debt-free and could buy our farm!" Well, it wouldn't really have been practical, but for sure, getting married a little older can be a real advantage.

The Sojourner said...

I remained in denial up until 36 weeks, at which point I panicked because OH MY GOODNESS BABY IN LESS THAN 6 WEEKS and made an elaborate to-do list, 9/10 of which never got done because I gave birth at 37 weeks.

In hindsight perhaps I should have seen the sudden burst of "nesting" energy as a sign of impending labor.

Also, I spent my whole pregnancy carefully training myself to expect a baby shortly before Christmas--my due date being in earlyish December, and first babies always come late, right? I was honestly a little shell-shocked for the first few weeks after J was born, which I think was a combination of his early birth, a fast labor, and all sorts of unexpected breastfeeding difficulties. (That was the other part of the narrative I had absorbed--my mother went 2 weeks late with each of us, but she produced gallons of milk and we were little Jabba babies. So I had no idea what to do with my sleepy, slow-growing baby.)

I have no idea how I'm going to handle the cognitive dissonance next pregnancy, since I'll KNOW that going early is possible but still try to resign myself to going late just in case. Probably I'll eat a lot of chocolate.

Julia said...

"I don't know why Issues Guy would criticize you for being single ... he himself is single and intends to stay that way because why would he get married if he couldn't have sex whenever he wanted? Um .... the fact that he asks that question proves that no one should ever marry him. I sincerely hope for the good of everyone that he stays single for life."

Issues Guy hasn't criticised me because I haven't engaged with him, but he just seems like the sort of guy who would criticise women for not getting married at 21 in spite of the fact that he himself is however old and not married. Whoops. I guess that's a pretty uncharitable assumption of me.

As someone else in Simcha's combox said, Issues Guy is not going to need help to stay single.

I just think that if one's standards for a potential spouse are really particular and detailed, then one shouldn't complain when so few people meet those standards. Issues Guy has this insane list of requirements, but seems angry that so few women meet them. Well, what did you expect? Part of having such particular standards for a potential spouse is realising that most people won't meet those standards, and that they're not obliged to. So suck it up and just don't marry that person. Sheesh.

Anyway, good luck to you and The Sohourner with your respective babies!!

Sheila said...

I think IG is more concerned about the Downfall of Civilization than the unavailability of the sort of woman he wants. He feels that men are oppressed by current Catholic teaching on marriage, and that his rather pagan view of patriarchy is supported by Casti Connubii (which it really isn't) so it's his duty to instruct us all.

On a personal level, even if he DID find his ideal woman, he fears she would change post-marriage -- which, of course, is the big thing with marriage. Things change and you can't just set up a perfect marriage and expect things to chug along just the same for 50 years. I'm afraid he actually *could* find a woman to agree to his rules -- I know women who think this sort of thing is good -- but he knows as well as I do that sooner or later she's going to get sick, or he's going to get sick, or they'll be poor, or they'll have a disabled child, and his carefully-planned setup is going to disintegrate. And so he steers clear altogether, which for a person in his situation sounds like the only smart option. I hope he sticks to it, unless he changes drastically.

Sojourner, those last weeks of pregnancy really mess with your head. Can't plan anything serious, because you might have to cancel, can't leave anything on your to-do list because then it might not get done, and yet if you have nothing to do, you'll go absolutely insane with waiting! "Eat chocolate" seems the only solution.

Belfry Bat said...

"I don't know why Issues Guy would criticize you for being single ... he himself is single and intends to stay that way because &c."

Clearly, whoever this character is (if indeed he is anyone at all) he hasn't anything like the belief of anyone here on equality of Men and Women in any practical plane at all; so at best it is futile to point out what would be incongruous to you as if it were a contradiction in him. He may be wrong, he may indeed even be a hypocrite; but if a hypocrite, yet this is not the locus of his hypocrisy.

In other matters, I'd be keen to see the fruits or inspirations of the parakeets anytime!

Sheila said...

You have a point. Perhaps he thinks every single woman, like every married woman, is contributing to the Downfall of Civilization.

The "parakeets" aren't producing anything of interest as yet .... hopefully within a month or so they will!

Enbrethiliel said...


The parakeets sound great! ;-) Seriously, I'd love a few myself. I may struggle getting stuff to grow, but surely I can keep a few animals alive. (Right???)

Someone once told me that "parakeet maths" means you should get yourself two more parakeets than you believe you'll need. (He told me that after two of his own had an unfortunate run-in with a neighbour's cat!)

Sheila said...

That's why we got three. I only really wanted two, but I didn't want to chance having only one ... apparently they don't handle being alone well.

I was worried about being able to keep them alive, but then I remembered I somehow manage a dog, two cats, and two children and I hardly ever forget to feed them. I did almost forget to shut up the coop last night -- it's hard to remember, because I have to wait till sunset and sunset comes so late. (If I try to do it early, I have to chase them all over the yard!) But I hurried out in the dark to see if they were okay, and they'd gone to sleep on top of the coop.

Our cat is afraid of them. I think this is a good thing. ;)

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