On Not Playing The Game. (About Blogging)

I have so many posts drafted. And when I go to publish them I imagine the backlash I might receive and I decide it’s not worth it. Because at some point during the last two years, I changed.

It occurred to me recently that I’m a part of a blogging group I know next to nothing about. Meaning, I am a mom and I am a blogger. I sit alongside members of this group (sometimes) but rarely chime in. I’m a spectator. And I don’t have the ambition (or knowhow) to enter the mainstream. Not that I’d make it anyway! When it comes to sinking or swimming and the Internet, I usually tread water.

Toby Joe has told me time and time again, “You gotta play the game if you want to get ahead! You gotta play the game if you want to get noticed!” And I always shake my head at that, actually it frustrates me to no end. And he knows this. He’s not trying to upset me. He says it to remind me that playing the game just ain’t my thing. It’s always the same conversation, one that ends with me asking him, “What’s the fucking point?”

I’ve never played the game. l probably never will play the game. I will continue to sit on the sidelines. Sometimes I’ll cheer people on. Sometimes I’ll boo and hiss at people. But I’ll always do so silently.

I’ve never been very good at playing the game.

And I don’t write much about heated topics anymore, even topics I feel very strongly about. I’m not sure why (or when) that stopped. I just hate the idea of anonymous hate mail, anonymous comments, or Tweets from Below. But I am even more freaked out by the chorus of commenters who write things like, “Wow. Just. Wow. You are AWESOME! I totally agree! I love you!”

Doesn’t that make people feel uncomfortable? It does me. It makes me cringe as a spectator. Comments like that tend to freak me out more so than ones spewing hate.

So, I just avoid heated topics altogether.

But I always have an opinion. Always.

Last week I wrote a relatively scathing post about Babble’s “Top 50 BEST OF” lists and lists in general. I gave up midway through that post because I worried that I might offend someone. And I’m pretty sure I would have been accused of being a jealous twat and I don’t have the energy to fight back even though that’s not the case.

But ultimately? I just couldn’t shake the voice in the back of my head asking, “What’s the fucking point, Michele?”

And I didn’t have an answer to that. So I hit save and walked away.

Yesterday I wrote a post about the whole Amazon/pedophile book fiasco. I didn’t partake in the shitstorm that engulfed Twitter because I didn’t want to draw attention to a book that, up until yesterday, had sold one copy and is clearly the work of a very, very sick man. But the news spread like wildfire. People called for a boycott. People were outraged.

Good news for all those opposed? The book was removed by Amazon last night.

Bad news for all those opposed? The backlash helped it go from the 158,221st best-selling Kindle e-books all the way up to #65.

(Please note: I’m not discussing how I feel about the book or Amazon having listed it. I’m also not suggesting others should have ignored it. I’m not saying anything. See? That’s my point. When it comes to the Internet? I RARELY MAKE ONE.)

There are just so many half-written posts. They’re piling up. And instead of publishing any of them, I just give up and write about my cat, baking, or something silly that happened while spending time with my son. All of this probably makes me seem pretty damn boring. Hell, I bore myself on here anymore.

So, yeah. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I suck at playing the game. I don’t see that changing. And quite honestly, I’m not even sure I know how to play.

But here’s my hunch regarding the rules:

Playing the game means linking to other blogs a lot, blogs at the heart of it all; it means knowing what one’s peers are discussing at all times. Playing the game means finding out about the hot topic straight away and writing about said topic immediately. Playing the game often includes heated debate. (It also means having a strong backbone something of which I do not.) Playing the game sometimes means being a decent writer, but more often than not has nothing to do with actual talent and more to do with who’s on one’s team. Playing the game means feeling passionate about one side of an issue (or pretending to feel passionate about one side of an issue) and I often see many sides. (Unless we’re talking vaccinations, animal rights, littering, or guns. Now, you unvaccinated, littering, gun carriers who torture animals? YOU DESERVE TO DIE.)

Playing the game means going to conferences. Playing the game means NOT finding out about something days after it happens. Playing the game means NOT getting annoyed by those on your team.

I suck at playing the game.

I’m admittedly a bit emotional these days and I gotta be frank with you: I don’t know how much of what I’m feeling is legitimate Michele stuff and how much of it is hormonally induced reactionary stuff. So I feel crippled when it comes to making any changes.

I do know I’m not a very good blogger (anymore) and I have no idea how to change that or if I should. I’m even losing sight of my own voice while reading everyone else’s. And Twitter seems to be making it worse. You give people 140 characters and they use all 140 repeatedly and often. And then sometimes they re-tweet the same sentiment from others. Before you know it, you’re reading 140 characters a dozen times from a dozen different people and in a dozen different ways, but all of which are saying the same thing.

So, yeah. I feel a little lost out here, online. And I’m realizing I always have, which is probably why this blog is facing its 10-year anniversary and not many folks know about it. (Not that I’m complaining! I assure you. Making my family laugh has been worth it. And those who have reached out to me regarding their miscarriages or infertility have made the entire decade I’ve been blogging worthwhile. I mean that completely. Your loss is something I will always care about. That’s why I started this blog 10 years ago: I was hoping to make people feel less alone.)

But overall? I find myself wondering how and why everyone seems to care so damn much about seemingly pointless shit. And then I just get frustrated at myself that I don’t care enough. I don’t care enough to write about Babble’s lists. I don’t care enough to write about baby slings, attachment parenting or breastfeeding in public. I don’t care enough to write about who harassed who and how they went about admitting it. I don’t care enough to give some attention whore even more attention because she wrote an article about hating fat people in exchange for some ad revenue.

Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that I’m terrible at playing the game, and I’m frustrated by it too. And I think it’s safe to say that I’m too much of a pussy to actually say (or do) anything about it.

NaBloPoMo: Old TV Show Theme Songs.

Earlier today I went in search of a live recording I’d made at a Mountain Goats show back in 2005. It was a Halloween show. It was at The Knitting Factory. And it was amazing.

And I recorded the entire thing.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I’ve gone through a few computers since 2005. We’ve had a few desktops, backup hard drives—the list goes on and one. I wasn’t really sure where this recording might be. Toby Joe searched our vast MP3 server. Nothing. I looked on my old computer. Still nothing. Finally, I found a bunch of old CDs I’d burned when I left my previous job, the job I had when we attended that show.

The good news is: I found the recording. The even GOODER news is? I also found a folder full of old TV show themes. And I simply must share a few. (Also: if someone can tell me why I have these? That’d be awesome.)

See how quickly you can guess them all.

  1. I can’t remember, who shot him?
  2. If This song were a human being, it might be a child molester. (Shudder)
  3. I had NO IDEA what this one was from. But the husband got it on the very first note.
  4. Remember the sexual tension on this show? I was 10 and I felt it.
  5. I was four when this one aired for the first time. FOUR.
  6. Remember Balki and his strange “Greek” accent? Also, that weird tuft of hair that always flipped around his forehead?
  7. And (last and probably least): thank you for being a friend.

Just think: in 30 years from now, someone is going to be blogging (from their flying car—FINALLY!) about how lame the theme song for “CSI Miami” was.

Oh, wait. That’s an actual song.

I just had a thought: Are songs written specifically for TV shows anymore? Or do shows just adopt existing songs as their opening themes?

NaBloPoMo: Four Little Birds.

Toby Joe and I have been stressing out about our living situation again. We live in a tiny apartment. We pay a lot of money for a tiny apartment. And the rent is set to go up 200 bucks in December. Between that, the size of the place, and the fact that we’re about to become a family of 4, we’ve been stressing out a bit.

Where do we go? What do we do? Do we pay the extra amount until we figure it out? Do we move? Do I want to move while 8 months pregnant in the dead of winter when our lease is up? Not really. We’re just not sure what to do. We feel stuck and we’ve been stressing out about it.

Em is in school three days a week. He loves it. He loves it so much he wants to go every day and tells me this often.

The school is in our neighborhood. We can walk there in under five minutes. It’s one of the main reasons we feel tied to this area. We are very, very happy with the school. So is our son.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was there picking him up, he came out singing. I didn’t pay it much mind at first because Em is almost always singing something. But it seemed oddly familiar.

“Em, are you singing Bob Marley?” I asked and I hummed a little bit of what I thought it was.

“No. It’s just a song we sing.”

“Oh, OK.”

He continued singing it all afternoon. At the playground, he sang it loudly. It sounded an awful lot like Bob Marley. Had he been singing Bob Marley in school?

When we got home that evening, I decided to dig out some Bob Marley. Only I guess one doesn’t really “dig out” music all that much anymore. No. Instead one fires up the computer that hosts one’s thousands of MP3s. One turns on the Playstation 3 (or whatever), the receiver and the TV. (Wait! What was that? I just heard something from inside the closet! Why, it’s the sound of my vinyl collection sighing! And, OMG! What was that?! The dust made my one-of-a-kind, pink-pressed vinyl of Sonic Youth’s Evol cough! And that’s the sound of me sighing.)

I flipped through the list of MP3s and found “Three Little Birds”.

“Emdash, is the the song you’ve been singing?”

I could tell immediately from the look on his face that it was. He began to sing and dance around the room. I sang and danced along with him. It was impossible not to. Our apartment roared with noise and laughter.

Later, Toby Joe came home from work and I showed him what happens whenever you play “Three Little Birds” in front of Emory. Em immediately began to sing and dance again. Toby Joe started to as well. And just like that, the whole family began to move around our small, overpriced apartment.

“Singing:

Don’t worry ’bout a thing,

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

This is my message to you: The space we call home may be very small. And it’s most definitely overpriced. We may be seen as a little stupid for putting up with it all, but the sound and joy that fills it up is monstrous.

And it’s just gonna get bigger.

And you can’t put a price on that.

NaBloPoMo: It’s Not The Voting That’s Democracy; It’s The Cocoa.

I voted yesterday. I brought Em with me and we voted together. I thought we’d turn it into “A Thing”. I’d teach him what it means to vote; take him into the booth with me; introduce him to democracy. We’d share an American moment—mother and son.

So we set off at 8:15 AM. But I quickly realized that I had no idea where I was going! (It’s true what they say, by the way. Each pregnancy makes you dumber. I’m amazed that women with multiple children aren’t walking about the place, flinging poo, clapping for shiny objects and laughing at bare walls.)

I called Toby (aka my brain). He isn’t yet stupid from having a second child. He informed me that we failed to update our address. So our polling place was actually a mile or so away.

It was a brisk morning, a scant 38 degrees. And I could have driven but I needed the walk. I mean, I really, really needed the walk. I need about 100 walks. You see, on Monday I had a check-up. I hadn’t been to the doctor in over six weeks. And even my doctor raised an eyebrow whenever she saw the scale. My doctor is a friend of mine. She’s seen me through some of the best times of my life and some of the worst. She’s pretty forthcoming with me at this point. And I’m pretty OK with that.

So I got a (albeit sweet) lecture. Things like, “You should start going on more family walks!” and “How about visiting the gym?” Or (my personal favorite) “You should probably lay off the pastries!”

I’ve put on a lot of weight. Too much. My body is failing and I’m only a little over 25 weeks along. I have trouble walking up stairs. My knees ache. My hips hurt. I’ve got those little purple veins. (Varicose? Or are they different? I’ve been told they’re different from the ones on the inside of my right knee. Either way, they’re ugly.) On Sundays, after standing for 8 hours at school, I feel completely blasted. I remember feeling this way with Em, but it didn’t happen until I was 36 weeks along. I have 10 more weeks before I get to that point! That’s insane.

But I digress.

We walked. I pushed the stroller. I even took the long way to get there, the scenic route through Greenpoint. It was a lovely morning overall. I’m not complaining. Em and I discussed what it means to vote. And I promised him that after we were done, we’d get hot cocoa and hit the playground.

“What’s hot cocoa?”

“Hot cocoa is awesome.”

“I want awesome hot cocoa.”

We arrived a little after 9 AM. There was no line, but the place was full. I was a little surprised at how smoothly it went for me get signed in especially considering I no longer lived at the address listed. But it worked out well.

Some of the volunteer ladies cooed over Em asking if he was there to vote and who he might be voting for. He just nodded a lot, unsure of why we were spending our morning in an elementary school basement.

I tried to keep him apprise of everything we were doing, but it’s hard doing several things at once when you’re getting dumber.

Whenever it came my time to vote, I brought him up to the booth with me.

“See these bubbles?” I asked him. “I fill them in next to the person I want to vote for. And that’s it!”

He nodded from underneath his winter hat.

I filled out my ballot and then flipped it over to vote on proposals.

“These are proposals.” I said. “I’m not voting for people here. I’m voting for ideas or laws.”

He nodded from underneath his winter hat.

“Ok, I”m finished!” I said. “Now we have to go over here and feed it into a machine.”

A volunteer welcomed me up to the feeder that would accept my ballot. “Do you want to help, Em? It’s just like our shredder at home, only this won’t shred the paper—at least I hope it doesn’t shred it!”

“Yes, that would be a very, very bad thing.” Said the volunteer. “We don’t want to shred your votes.”

Em helped me feed the ballot into the machine. We thanked the volunteer and moved along.

“Did you have fun?” I asked him as we were exiting the school basement.

“Not really. It was kind of boring.”

I laughed. “I guess it is a little boring.”

“But hot cocoa isn’t boring. It’s awesome.” He said.

“That’s true, little man. That’s very true.”

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Title comes from a quote by Tom Stoppard. “It’s not the voting that’s democracy; it’s the counting.”

NaBloPoMo: Big Intentions

How many times does a blogger need to start and then give up on a post a few sentences in before giving up on blogging altogether? Because everything I’ve written (or have tried to write) for almost a year just seems completely blah. I’ve been asking myself the same thing for many months now: Is the end nigh? Or do I need to try something like NaBloPoMo again? Is it just that I lack ambition?

And so here it goes: day one of NaBloPoMo. And look! I’m already setting myself up for failure. But I keep thinking about the first time I participated in NaBloPoMo and how forcing myself to write every day ended up being all sorts of awesome. And I seem to remember some pretty memorable posts/comments being born because of it. Like Desperate Measures, where I used something (not so babylike) to try and soothe my son to sleep. Then there was the entire “Birth of Emory” series.

And last but so not least, there was a post called My Sack Of Cells, which is just so difficult for me to read today given everything that happened over the last two years.

Excerpt from that post:

“Over the years, many friends of mine (so many, I no longer have enough fingers to keep count) have had miscarriages. Still others spent months and months and months crying and fighting while trying to conceive. I know couples who spent nearly their entire life savings trying to have a baby. I have heard horror story after horror story. And I wish I were exaggerating, if anything, I’m holding back a little bit. But if there’s a point to be had here, it’s that I was convinced, based on what I learned from the people I know, that it would take me forever to become pregnant. And I was even more convinced based on the number of miscarriages I had heard about (seriously, dozens and dozens) that I would most likely experience at least one miscarriage.”

Ugh. Just ugh. A giant sigh.

Anyway, so, yeah. I’m going to give this a go again, my friends. And I do hope something good comes out of it. And I do hope I can jumpstart whatever part of my brain is needed to compose and actually “print” a post.

So, here goes nothing.

NaBloPoMo: Toddler Politics

Emory is going through a strange phase. At least I hope it’s a phase. He’s never been a really outgoing kid, but he’s always been unabashedly joyful. (Remember this post?) But recently, he’s become a great deal more introverted and shy. He’s also easily spooked and/or scared away from a situation. And I think that some of the other kids pick up on this.

Now, I’m going to try really hard to complete this post as unbiasedly as possible. I would hate for it to come off as my suggesting that my son is perfect (he’s not) and sweet and all the other kids are beating up on him. That’s not the case at all. I know firsthand that life throws at us strange relationships and confrontations; it’s natural for folks to not always get along. So I’m going to try and finish this post as neutral as a mother possibly can; I’ll present the facts and hope that someone out there has some answers.

Lately, Emory has been reacting to other more outgoing and vivacious kids’ by cowering. It happens while playing with kids he knows and doesn’t know. For example, he’ll be on top of the slide waiting to come down and another kid will come over and say MINE! (Perfectly normal, even Emory does it!) and instead of waiting or stepping aside, he’ll cower—sometimes he runs away. And more recently he’s begun to burst into tears. If he’s near me, he hides behind my legs. It’s really quite hard on my heart, but I want to teach him to face his fears and embrace confrontation in a healthy manner.

Lately, we’ve been telling him after the fact that when kids are mean to him it’s OK to say, “Please be nice to me.” He’s starting to understand more, so we want him to confront the situation instead of running to me or running away period. And bursting into tears solves nothing. Plus, it breaks my heart.

Just last night when Toby Joe asked him how his day went and he answered by telling him that a kid was mean to him.

A few weeks ago, all three of us were on the playground and one of his friends pushed him away and said, “Emory no! GO away!” And he ran away sobbing, like the kind where no sound comes out and no air gets in. As he walked toward Toby Joe and me he said, “I’m so sad, I’m crying.” It was heartbreaking. I wanted to scoop him up and protect him forever, but life doesn’t allow for that a great deal of the time, so we’re trying to introduce him to a happy medium. Does that make sense?

Naturally, I can’t help but blame myself for taking him out of school. But that can’t be it, can it? He sees and plays with other children, it’s just not always the same group of kids. Plus, he’s just two. I didn’t go to school until I was five. Certainly this can’t be that, right? It’s not like he’s not socialized.

I do hope that this phase goes away. My once joyful kid now reacts to others with wariness. And I don’t know how to help him without changing the world and I’m too busy to take that on. ;]

Has anyone else had a kid go through this? Thoughts? Suggestions?

Maybe he’s just going to be a more apprehensive kid. I’m ok with that. But I’m not ok with this manifesting itself in other ways and he thinking twice before doing something creative and carefree.

NaBloPoMo: ING NYC Marathon

Today is the first day of National Blog Posting Month. What does that mean? That means I’m going to try and write every single day in the month of November. I tried to do this once before (right after Emory was born) and I completed all but one day. This year I’m shooting for all 30. Wish me luck.

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Today also marks an amazing international event: The ING New York City Marathon. I get really emotional during large gatherings of people and the marathon is no exception. I weep during live sporting events, political speeches, protests, marathons–you name it. I love the marathon. Every year it’s the same, I stand near mile 12; I weep, cheer, scream and clap. By the end of the day my hands feel like runner’s feet. It’s a fantastic feeling.

This year we took Emory along with us. He loved it. He sat in his stroller and watched in awe, clapping a bit. Then it was nap time and it showed on his face—the sheer exhaustion of it all, like he ran it himself.

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And now he asks if we’ll take him back outside to see the runners.

“Where the runners go, Mama?”

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And we try to explain to him that the race is now over—the runners have all gone home—they are eating, sleeping, celebrating and that they’ll be back next year. And I see it in his eyes as he tries to process this information and I wonder if he’s thinking that the runners aren’t 40,000 individuals running in unison, but are instead a singular entity that exists in that exact form and returns once a year like a comet or a tide of hope and human integrity.

NowBlowPoMe: The Mental Aftermath Hurt Far Worse.

You should read this in order. Previous Chapters: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7

Enough people have written me email or have left comments about my birth story to warrant some clarification.

For starters, I want everyone to know that when I think about my experience giving birth to Emory, I don’t think about it as a negative one. For me to see it as negative, something would have had to go wrong with Emory. And he was happy! His heartbeat never took a turn. He was totally fine throughout the entire ordeal.

I also want to talk about why I was induced. I have always had a steady blood pressure. My doctors have always described my blood pressure as perfect. So, whenever things drastically changed so much at week 40 my doctor was rightly concerned. Not only was I off the charts where blood pressure was concerned, but I was seeing little white fireflies in my peripheral every time I stood up. My doctor (who I trust with my life and my baby’s) decided it was time to take action. She gave me four days go “get things going”. If I came in after those four days and still had problems with my blood pressure, we should talk about scheduling an induction. Guess what? Four days later, things were worse.

I would not have scheduled an induction had there not been a medical reason for it. I was miserable toward the end, sure, but my discomfort wasn’t reason enough to induce. Because of my deteriorating health, Emory was at risk as well.

I also need to mention that I never really had a birth plan. A couple of people asked me why I never came up with one. I put a lot of faith in my doctors throughout my entire pregnancy and looked to them to decide what I should do. I felt both my baby and me were in excellent hands the entire time. While the actual labor may not have come off as smoothly as I may have liked, Emory was in very capable hands. I really believe that. Even when he was admitted into the NICU I felt he was safe and looked after. I will say this much: if we ever do have another baby, I won’t think twice about going back to that hospital. I would like to see that evil desk clerk fired first, but otherwise, I have no complaints.

More than a few people have hinted both passively and aggressively that I would have had a better time with a “natural” childbirth. That very well might be true. We’ll never know. But I get annoyed with how loosely the term “natural” is thrown around. In order for anyone to correctly use a word, we need a common definition. When does something become unnatural? Is human action, presence, or influence the source of the distinction? Medicine? And if it’s medicine at what point do you draw the line between “natural” medicine and all other? My point is that your definition of “natural” probably varies from another’s. Is anesthesia natural? How about using acupuncture as an anesthesia? Ice is pretty natural, right? How about being submerged in ice before a medical procedure? The truth is, the word “natural” is an empty rhetorical trick used to mask a lack of clarity or spin a simpler and more concrete distinction in favor of one side over another.

I think what people mean to say when using the word “natural” is without the use of pain management drugs or an epidural. In such a case, it would be more productive to use a term such as “birth without pain management drugs.”

I did not choose to go about childbirth without the epidural. I was frightened. I hadn’t ever done anything like it before. I hadn’t been around women who had. I know of two people who nearly lost a baby because the baby swallowed meconium during labor. And still one more person very close to me lost a baby this way. I couldn’t imagine going through nine months of pregnancy, growing attached to a baby only to see it die. The idea still terrifies me. Also, there are no known downsides to the use of modern pain management drugs aside from stepping on the toes of ideologues.

One person asked me if I felt that having doula would have made things different. I don’t know. I asked my mother to be there for my labor and delivery because she went through all three childbirths differently. My older brother was born by use of an epidural. My mother was induced for me and she was then given both narcotics and an epidural. (Which is the most preferred state when dealing with me.) And my younger brother was born without the use of any drugs or anesthesia at all. I felt (and still feel) that she was a perfect person to have around. I also wanted to share it with her. Had I been able to have more than two people in the delivery room I may have entertained the idea of hiring a doula. But it never came to that. I knew from the beginning that I wanted both my mother and my husband in the room with me.

Looking back, however, it would have been nice to have a person I’m not close to around to tell me that what I was going through and how I was feeling was perfectly normal especially after the baby was born. I really beat myself up for weeks following Emory’s birth. If doulas can be hired for that purpose, I suppose it may have been helpful. But I always thought that the doula’s role is to keep a woman from agreeing to something during childbirth that she may not have agreed to under more rational circumstances. Since I didn’t have a birth plan and I’m known for changing my mind and wholeheartedly believing in said change, a doula sounded like she could become more annoying than helpful. I’m stubborn and rather pigheaded when I need to be. I probably would have pissed off a doula and fired her midway through my labor. (Granted, this is all based on what I have heard a doula is hired for. I could very well be proven wrong about a doula’s role in all of this.)

If it’s NOT a doula’s role to make a woman feel as normal and comfortable as humanly possible after giving birth, there is a huge market for a person like this. I really could have used NOT a lactation consultant, NOT a birthing coach, NOT a midwife, I could have used a sane someone who’s been there before. I would have benefited from someone telling me that it’s OK if I can’t get the hang of breastfeeding. It’s OK if I am afraid to hold the baby right away. It’s OK that I feel like I dismantled any previous version of my life and that one day I would learn to how live the new one. I wanted someone to grab a hold of my head, shake it clean and let me know that everything I was going through was entirely normal and the sadness would one day subside. Instead, that role was filled by several hundred voices from the Internet.

If we do have another baby, I will likely go about things differently. I would like to avoid being induced unless it’s absolutely necessary. If my blood pressure raises again as it did with this pregnancy, I might asked to be watched closely by a doctor to make sure we’re both ok instead of being induced. If it doesn’t work out that way, I might ask that they NOT give me the epidural until I am further dilated. (The reason they didn’t give me enough Pitocin the first time was because they had no way of judging how intense my contractions were.) If that can’t be done, I might ask for the internal monitor from the get go so they can judge how much more Pitocin to administer.

And yes, for all those out there with a boner for a childbirth without the use of narcotics or an epidural, I might give that a try as well. Now that I know what happens, now that I’m no longer terrified to give birth, I might give it a shot. Who knows. I don’t want to make an absolute plan. If there is one thing I learned from all of this is that all of it is entirely unpredictable. I planned on so many things before I actually had the baby and when I returned home with him, I was barely able to accomplish one of them. And the seeming failures made me feel even more depressed. I really beat myself up over my failures and spent little time rejoicing in having a baby.

If you take anything away from this post and the 7 chapters I wrote over the last couple of weeks it’s the following statement:

The mental aftermath hurt far worse than the days I spent in the hospital.

And I went through that both drug and epidural free.

NowBlowPoMe: What Blow Means

I worked at a video store in college. I was 18 when I got hired. Even after I graduated, I continued to work at the video store. (I was one of those people who stuck around after graduation, you know, in order to bang the new freshmen. That’s what I loved about those college girls, man, I got older and they stayed the same age.) In the years that I worked there, I saw four different managers come and go before I became one myself. Today, I want to talk about my very first video store manager, the guy who hired me. He was a short, plump, gay man named Steve. (Names changed to protect the innocent.)

Steve wasn’t outlandish. He didn’t stand out in a crowd. He was as usual as the day is long. He always wore khakis, tucked in button down shirts, loafers, and his puffy, feathered brown hair always looked as though he had just spent the last hour driving around with the windows down. Steve always wore the same excessive amount of cologne to cover up the fact that he rarely showered or did laundry. Steve was almost always overlooked, which is I think what made him so bitter and resentful.

There was one quirk about Steve that stood out. It was his pinky fingernails. They were long and slender and perfectly filed. No other nail was as long or as well kept. I used to stare at those pinky fingernails as they typed away at the keyboard, checking out movies like two perfect military men. I often wondered what it was he used them for. Did he use them for peeling eggs? Apples? Did he use them to turn the pages of his Bret Easton Ellis novel? What were those pinky fingernails used for?

I’m now 33. I am a mother. And the other day as I stood over Emory I noticed that he had some lampreys in both of his nostrils. I found myself pondering a great question: How was I going to clean the snot out from the little guy’s nostrils? We were told not to use the suction unless he’s having trouble eating or sleeping and he’s obviously too young to understand what blow means. What was I going to do? And that’s when it occurred to me. Humans have two perfect shovels designed specifically for that very task.

After 15 long years, I have finally figured out what Steve used those pinky fingernails for. I now know why he kept them so long.

My gay video store manager was using those nails to dig the snot from a baby’s nose.

NowBlowPoMe: Birth Stories

Pghgirl gave me an idea…

Let ‘em rip! I want to hear from others. If you feel up to it, share your birth story in the comments section. If you already have it written somewhere, give us a link! (See the FAQ section for formating instructions.)

P.S. Please leave politics out of this. Those are valid discussions but I don’t care to host them on my site. If you write about how one birth is better than another, I will delete your comment.