1983 - September 1983
look at the white wicker basket sitting on the kitchen table and
tiny son or daughter sleeping in it ... perhaps a month or
so from right now ... "
January 3, 1983
I am very tired
today, and a little
depressed: the holidays are over. I took the Christmas tree down
yesterday and the house looks so empty. Christmas '82 wasn't perfect,
but I still feel let-down now that it's over.
I had all kinds of
grand plans for
-- I was going to get started refurbishing the back bedroom for the new
baby. Instead I'm curled up on the sofa, watching soap operas and
feeling Baby bumping my insides. Jamie is still toddling around in her
nightgown, spaghetti sauce and peaches smeared all over her face
(remnants of lunch). She has an annoying new "game" ... she sneaks up
behind me, grabs a handful of my hair and YANKS it as hard as she can.
When I yell in pain, she giggles delightedly. At first I thought it was
funny but now it has become quite painful! She's got quite a grip!
have some other new
that aren't quite so painful. When I ask her to "play the piano,"
she'll toddle across the room to the piano, stand on tip-toe and reach
up with one hand to plunk the keys a few times, turning around to look
at me and smile. When I ask her "What does the doggy say?," she grins
and goes "F-F-F-F" ... an abbreviated form of "woof woof." If I ask
her, "What does the growly bear say?," she growls deep in her throat.
She can clap her hands (clumsily still), and raises her hands high
above her head when asked, "How big is Jamie?" She likes to walk around
the house with her blanky hanging over her face or a jacket slung over
one shoulder, but that seems less a game than a security measure. She
has become very attached to her orange blanket. The thing
looks and smells unbearable, but she clutches it lovingly and
takes it with her everywhere she goes.
Now she's napping. I think I may go lay down myself for a while: a nap
may be just what I need.
First, though, a
word about the baby
little Kasey/Casey P., soon to be my second-born, sweet little pumpkin
seed growing and dreaming deep inside me.
I've been thinking
about whether I
this baby to be a boy or a girl. There are advantages &
disadvantages either way. A son? I know nothing about baby boys. Are
they much different from girls? Harder to handle? Or easier? What about
having another daughter? All those pretty baby-girl clothes stored in
Jamie's closet, begging to be worn again ... it would be nice to use
them again. But would Ray secretly be sorry not to have a son? I go
around & around about it. One day I think I would like to
balance my mothering experience by having a son, the next day I dearly
want another sweet baby girl.
But. The decision
has already been
It's out of my hands -- I've already got a son or another daughter.
It's just that I won't know which for another three months. The
suspense is excruciating.
I wouldn't have admitted this at the time, but I really, REALLY wanted
to have another girl.
My appetite has
picked up again. Ha
ha! What an understatement. I'm
hungry 25 hours a day. Even now as I write this, I'm waiting for my
chicken patty to reheat so I can have a chicken sandwich. For the first
few months of this pregnancy, my interest in food was minimal. Now I'm
eating cereal and toast in the morning, TV dinners for lunch,
sandwiches in the afternoon, fast food for late dinners. In between I
nibble on crackers, cheese, avocados, nuts, leftovers. Before bed I
crave something sweet - a slice of cake, a dish of ice cream, a candy
bar. In the middle of the night I gulp down whole cans of soda. I feel
like I've lost control of my appetite completely. Will I ever be thin
Tuesday 10 a.m.
January 4, 1983
regarding my future:
this the last time I'll be
will I be, one year from
will I be ten years from
- Will I
mother while my children grow up, or will I return to work? (And if I
do go back to work, will it be by necessity or choice?)
Yesterday was a
total washout of a
I ended up doing absolutely nothing: when Ray came home in the evening,
the dirty dishes were still sitting in the sink and the living room was
littered with toys and newspapers. I was a little ashamed of myself,
but maybe I just needed a day off. Ray understood. He was in a
wonderful mood last night, as a matter of fact, and happily fixed us a
hodgepodge dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup.
I watched all my favorite Monday night shows, made a big pan of fudge
brownies (just what I need, right?) and went to bed at 10:00, exhausted
after a busy day of doing nothing.
coffee -- my second cup.
Hoping the caffeine will pump some life into this tired blood. Rainy,
drizzly day. Jamie has discovered how to use the pull-toys she got for
Christmas, and now she's delightedly pulling the plastic turtle behind
me all around the house. She also has a plastic "bug" pull-toy with a
wobbly antenna ... I expect she'll be dragging that one out here any
minute, too. No one taught her how to use them. I'm continually amazed
by the agility of a baby's mind -- the way they figure things out for
themselves. Babies are remarkable people!
Jamie's growth and
changed this past year -- and having enjoyed it SO THOROUGHLY! -- I'm
looking forward to the opportunity of doing it all over again with
Kasey. All those funny little preliminaries: the first smile ...
holding that wobbly little head erect for the first time ... the
"push-ups," the roll-overs, the gradual mastery of fingers, sitting up,
crawling, standing ... I am so lucky because I get the chance to
observe it all over again. And this time I will be a practiced
observer, too. I won't have to run to the charts & manuals all
the time to check Baby's progress. I can worry less and enjoy more this
pitfall to try and
comparisons between my two children. Unfair comparisons, anyway.
Whew! I've been
working like a
all afternoon and now I'm tuckered out. I cleaned the whole house and
-- wonder of wonders -- even began to clean out the back bedroom.
January 5, 1983
Five minutes in
the life of Jamie P.:
Sits on the floor, pulls blanky over her head. Picks up toy turtle,
carries him out to the kitchen. Drops turtle on the floor, pushes him,
drags him along behind her. Sits down in front of the Busy Box toy:
picks it up, lays it on the floor, pushes and pulls the knobs. Reaches
into toy box and pulls out chain of snap-lock beads, then her toy
telephone. Stands up and "talks" on the phone. Tries to pull the phone
all the way out of the toy box, but it's stuck; she digs around in the
toys and finally manages to get the phone cord free. Falls over onto
her back. Stands up, tips over her yellow chair, walks quickly to
center of the living room to pick up blanky. Comes over to Mommy for a
kiss and hug; pulls Mom's hair just for good measure. Toddles over to
the TV, falls down a couple of times. Walks over and plunks on piano
keys three times, then picks up yellow chair and sits down. Begins to
yell in anger. "Da da da da da!" Falls on top of blanky in unhappy
heap. Blows a couple of spit bubbles, listens to TV for a minute, yells
again, stands up and carries blanky over to far corner of room, makes
little "motorboat" noises. Walks to the other side of the room, clangs
lid on copper can a few times, drops the can and lid onto floor, sits
down, pulls magazines off of coffetable and industriously begins
tearing pages out.
Thursday 8 p.m.
January 6, 1983
Lonely. I wish Ray
would come home. I
keep hearing funny noises outside, and the dog is barking like
crazy. At times like this I'm nervous about being in this
house alone. Besides, I'm HUNGRY. Ray was going to bring something home
for dinner. If he doesn't get home soon I'll have to eat another
goddamned tuna sandwich. Ugh.
getting the back bedroom
cleaned out! I worked on it for a few hours yesterday and again today,
and now I've got all the junk hauled out. I even moved in the dresser
and the boxes of baby stuff, to be sorted through later. Now I've got
to start needling Ray to paint it. I know he'll be a grouch about it,
but it's got to be done; the white walls are so dingy and depressing.
There's no light fixture in the ceiling, just a naked light bulb
dangling by a wire, and the closet doors are broken. Hard to believe
that ugly room will ever look presentable.
Later: Ray came
home later but he was
drunk he was incoherent. When we went to bed he immediately fell into a
dead sleep and started snoring so loud it drove me out to the living
room, where I slept on a mattress on the floor.
Watching All My
Children. Donna just
brought her infant son out to greet her guests ... he is so tiny and
sweet, it made my TOES curl. I want a baby!!!
Friday afternoon 4:30 p.m.
January 7, 1983
Blue. I feel
unaccountably down in
dumps this afternoon. Probably just my hormones again, since nothing
major is bothering me ... no big problems at the moment. I just feel
quiet, pensive, lonely, withdrawn from the world. Jamie is napping, and
Ray won't be home for hours and hours yet, probably. It's drizzling and
cold outside; I've drawn the curtains shut, turned on the living room
lamp and curled up in my chair with a cup of coffee. I wish I had a
good book or a new magazine to read. I wish that Ray would surprise me
and come home early - and sober. I wish it would snow, and that there
was a fire in the fireplace, and a pot of hot spiced wine simmering on
the stovetop. I'm alone so damned much of the time. Jamie is good
company, in a one-year- old sort of way, but I hunger for something
else once in a while ... adult companionship. In particular, the
companionship of my husband -- a man I rarely see and barely
January 8, 1983
Ray never came
home last night: you
imagine what that
did for my "blue mood." He finally came crawling in at 10 this morning
with his usual peace offering -- Egg McMuffins. And also as usual, I
have forgiven him.
Sheryl and Jeff
are getting married
tonight: I have to get myself cleaned up & gorgeous.
followed the bride everywhere that day
With my sister-in-law at the
January 10, 1983
Past noon, and I'm
in my nightgown ... I just poured my first cup of coffee. Jamie is
napping. Watching my soap opera, listening to the wind blowing,
sniffling -- I woke up this morning with another darned head cold. When
AMC is over (Cliff just found out about Nina & Steve), I'll
shower, wash a big load of dishes, pick up the house. My life is
completely routine, but today routine feels comfortable and good.
Sheryl and Jeff got
married on Saturday night in a large, formal wedding. Ray was an usher.
Judy and I sat in the second row with John and Billy, and Jamie stayed
downstairs in the nursery during the ceremony. As usual, I cried. The
music at weddings always affects me, and Sheryl picked all the
traditional music. Afterwards there was a big reception at Benjamin's
in Bellevue. We drank champagne and had appetizers and wedding cake,
but by far the best part of the evening was -- Jamie!!!!! My little
daughter was the absolute belle of the ball. I let her get down and
toddle among the guests, and she was at her bubbly, adorable best. She
giggled and flirted and teased and charmed the socks off of everyone
there. She particularly enjoyed toddling off into the kitchen and
visiting with the waiters: they all fell in love with her and gave her
candy, ice cubes, leftover hors d'oeurvres, balloons. Watching her, I
felt so proud and full of love for my little social butterfly.
An hour later, and
at least I'm
showered, shampooed and dressed! (My current favorite outfit: maternity
jeans, blue & white polka-dot smock with red cap sleeves.)
Jamie is up from her nap, dressed, and sitting in her highchair eating
lunch - celery with peanut butter, tomato wedges and a sliced hot dog.
I'm sitting on the sofa with my second cup of coffee and she keeps
peering around the corner at me, her face covered with peanut butter
and ketchup, little feet kicking happily. CeCe is prowling around at
the foot of the high chair, waiting to catch any falling bits of food.
(Jamie deliberately drops the kitty a chunk of celery, then a slice of
To continue my
account of the
Ray and I brought Jamie home from the wedding reception somewhere
around ten, and she dropped off to sleep with no fuss. I drank a LOT of
champagne at Benjamin's, and I fell asleep soon afterwards myself. I
was plagued with bizarre, jumbled dreams all night long. At one point I
dreamed that Peg was killed in a helicopter crash, and it upset me so
much that I woke up crying.
Don Jr., Judy and
Billy came over for dinner. Ray roasted a 14 lb. turkey and made all
the trimmings: mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, apple stuffing, rolls,
creamed corn. While dinner cooked, Judy and I sorted through baby
clothes, Billy and Jamie played with Jamie's new Christmas toys, and
the guys watched football and drank beer. It was a pleasant
day: I always enjoy Judy's company. We talked about the wedding and
about babies and husbands and the P. family in general. (We speculated
that Sheryl & Jeff will probably have a baby within the next
year.) Dinner was fabulous. It's amazing -- I never seem to get tired
of turkey, even though we've had it three times recently! Judy and I
gorged ourselves -- no father-in-law around to tease us about our
appetites -- and after they went home I was back in the kitchen, making
my favorite sandwich (turkey, butter, mayonnaise, cranberries and
pepper on white bread, mmmm). Our fridge is crammed full of leftovers
now. We'll have hot sandwiches with gravy tonight, and Ray is going to
make turkey soup later this week.
again. I have the
Diaper Man's $12 this morning, but I still owe Carol $15 for Avon. At
least we're not going to be hungry this week!
I gave the Diaper
Man an ad to place
the Diaper Service newsletter. It says "Wanted:
Std. size crib and mattress; portable crib or carry-bed; umbrella
stroller; infant boys' clothing."
I doubt that I'll get any response but it's worth a try. Every time I
look at the baby's room and see how empty it is, I get depressed. What
if Casey arrived next week? Where would he sleep? We've got to find a
crib somewhere. The other stuff isn't nearly as crucial.
I ALSO NEED A
WASHING MACHINE !!!
been almost a year since our old washer broke down, and I'm getting
sick of never having any clean clothes. When Kasey arrives, I'm going
to need a washer more than ever. I've hinted to Ray about this
repeatedly but so far without success.
Tuesday morning 10:15
January 11, 1983
Trying to get an
early start on my
for a change. I was up at nine and I've already changed, fed and
dressed Jamie, eaten my breakfast, showered, shampooed and dressed
myself. Now I've got last night's dinner dishes soaking in hot water, a
lemon facial mask tightening on my face, and the house already
partially picked up. The rain and wind this past month have come to an
abrupt and surprising end, and today the SUN is shining! I wonder if it
would be too cold to take Jamie for a stroll this afternoon? If I
bundled her up in her fuzzy coat and Christmas mittens? We could both
use the fresh air and exercise.
Jamie is on the
in one of my big glass baking pans (??), chewing on a small saucepan,
talking to herself, watching me writing. One of her favorite activities
these days is taking things out of a container and then putting them
back in, over and over. She'll open the bottom drawer of her dresser
and pull out all her pants and coveralls; she'll pull all of the
storybooks out of her bookcase; she'll empty the contents of my purse,
pull pots and pans from the kitchen cupboard, empty the magazine basket
in the living room, and dump all the dish towels and potholders from
the kitchen drawer onto the floor. Then she'll put it all back. The
only trouble is that she rarely puts things back where they belong.
She'll carry a potholder or a pair of her pants off to some other part
of the house and "hide" them in the most unexpected places -- in the
fireplace, under the sink, behind the sofa. I'm forever stumbling
across her hidden "treasures."
Kasey is thumping
like crazy this
morning -- must be the coffee. She seems to be centered much more on my
lower left side than Jamie was. (Jay was lodged high on my right side.)
January 12 1983
Had a minor row
with Ray last
night ... woke up this morning feeling crampy, achy,
depressed. Even so I've managed to keep myself working steadily all day
long and have accomplished quite a bit. Ray did some laundry at the
laundromat last night, so most of the morning was spent
drying and folding clothes. Part of our argument last night
was over a $75 puppy that Ray wants to buy. We need another pet like a
hole in the head -- we've already got one dog and three cats, for
Pete's sake. Geez. While Ray was talking about this puppy he wants to
get, I was checking the Classifieds for used washing machines, and I
found four or five of them for around $125. I pointed them out to Ray,
saying that if we could afford seventy five bucks for a puppy, why
couldn't we plunk down a few dollars more and finally get a washer? He
gave me a big song & dance about how he's going to "fix" the
old washer. "If it's so easy to fix, why didn't you fix it nine months
ago?" I said. He just shook his head and looked exasperated, and I
expect that will be the end of it for awhile. I'm so tired of dirty clothes piled all
over the place, hand-washing Jamie's plastic pants, once-monthly trips
to the laundromat ... can't he see that?! I hate making a big deal out
of something as ridiculous as a washing machine, yet I Don't feel I'm
being unreasonable. My life is going to be difficult enough in the next
few months, with two babies to take care of, without having to resort
to pioneer housekeeping methods ...
I'm also becoming
a bit depressed
my own personal financial situation. I have no money of my own -- none
at all -- and I never do. I feel like a criminal, asking Ray for $4.00
for stamps. How can I rectify this situation??
January 15, 1983
Ray has been home
sick the past
of days, but in spite of the sniffling & sneezing it's been a
very pleasant time for all three of us. Jamie has been happy as a clam,
having her Daddy around the house; she clambers all over him when he's
laying in bed, and follows him everywhere around the house. We are flat
broke -- last night we rolled our pennies -- but somehow we're getting
by. Ray found a new spaghetti place that serves fabulous food for
cheap, and he brought home two spaghetti dinners last night for a late
supper. I had mine with a thick meat sauce, a good green salad and
crusty bread. We ate three helpings apiece -- even Jamie had some, and
she loved it -- and went to bed feeling stuffed. Not bad for "poor"
people. Today we're going to take the aluminum cans in for recycling
and have a pitcher of beer at Dave's. Ray hasn't been drinking much at
all this weekend, and it's really made a difference in the emotional
climate around here. We talk, and I feel like I'm being understood for
a change. I wish it were always like this.
I need a SHOWER!
incident last night
I should mention. Someone stole $7.00 out of an envelope I left on the
porch for Carol (my Avon lady) the other day, and I'm 99 percent sure
it was one of the boys next door -- probably Rick. When Carol informed
me that the money was missing, I flew next door in a rage. I told
Rick's father that I knew Rick had taken the money, and Rick was so
stoned or drunk or whatever that he didn't even bother denying it. From
now on NO ONE from that whole lunatic family is permitted anywhere near
our house. We've bent over backwards trying to be nice to them, and
they repay us by stealing from us. I'm enraged about the whole thing,
but the most irritating part of all is that I know Carol thinks I'm
making the whole thing up! I suppose the lesson here learned is to not
leave Avon money sitting out where sneaky adolescent neighbors can grab
Just took a good
long shower, washed
conditioned my hair, put on clean maternity clothes. As usual, my
little "shadow" stood right beside the shower watching me. She's been
doing this for a few months now, but lately a new element has been
added to the game: now she throws stuff into the tub while I'm
showering. Toys, spoons, books, a brush and comb, candy wrappers ...
any miscellaneous household junk she can lay her hands on ...
Any mail today?
Nope. Darn. I'm
expecting a Current order, some flower prints from Family Circle, a
Peter Pan booklet of children's craft ideas, letters from Debbie Short
and a bunch of other pen pals.
Sunday evening 5:30 p.m.
January 16, 1983
happy. The past four
days have been so
nice. Ray took Jamie and I down to the tavern for a couple of hours
yesterday, and then we spent the evening at home in front of the
fireplace. Ray made chili dogs for supper. Today I feel run-down and
weak (I drank a few beers last night, and combined with the chili dogs
I have one heck of a stomach ache), but I took a three hour nap this
afternoon while Ray took care of Jamie, cleaned the kitchen and watched
his football game, and I feel much better now. The house is warm,
inviting and Sunday-evening-messy; Ray is puttering around in the
kitchen, concocting dinner out of the odds & ends in our
cupboard. (An amazingly elaborate meal is in the works: Italian
meatballs, au gratin potatoes, baked carrots, and biscuits.) I'm in my
bathrobe already. Jamie is following her Daddy around the kitchen,
chattering happily. The baby has been kicking vigorously most of the
day. My little family.
January 17, 1983
The power company
and shut it off an hour ago, and now the house is cold, dim and deathly
quiet. No TV, no stereo. No oven, either -- I had
to make cold peanut butter sandwiches for our lunch. I've closed all
the windows in order to keep the remaining heat from escaping, and I've
moved the perishables from the fridge to the freezer, hoping they'll
stay cold that way. I called Ray at work and gave him the bad news, and
now I'm just sitting here, bundled in a sweater, praying that he does
something about it before it gets dark. I thought the bill had been
paid, but obviously I was wrong. Why did I marry a man who can't pay
his bills on time?? Seems like we are always living without something
... electricity, water, phone service, food. We owe the diaper service
$59.20. We owe the hospital something like a thousand dollars. We owe
Jamie's doctor about a hundred. I can't even keep track of it all
anymore. Every day there's another nasty collection notice in the
mailbox; it's so depressing. I really love Ray, and sometimes -- like
this past weekend -- he can make me so happy. Still, it's hard for me
to respect him much when things like this happen. He makes good money
at his job. Where is all the money going?? I'm certainly not spending
any of it ... I'm lucky if I get ten dollars on payday ... half the
time I get nothing at all. I've been buying my makeup & such
from Avon, which amounts to maybe $40 a month. I don't buy clothes or
albums at all anymore, and Ray does all of the grocery shopping. So the
money isn't slipping through MY fingers.
At any rate, here
I am with no
electricity, wondering how I'm going to get through the rest of this
day. Jamie is napping now but when she gets up she's going to be
surprised by the silence, I think. It's positively deafening. The only
sound at all is the battery-run clock in the kitchen. I played the
piano for a little while, just to make some noise, but I can't keep
that up all afternoon! Wish we had a radio that runs on batteries.
The silence isn't
the worst of it ...
the COLD is. Until today I didn't even realize that the power company
provides not only our electricity but our heat,
as well. Now I know. It is SO COLD in this house. Jamie and I are
bundled up like fat Eskimos, but even so I feel numb and chilled. It's
beginning to get dark outside. I've got candles strategically
positioned all over the house, and I'll probably have to light them
soon. But they won't do much towards warming us up! This has been one
of the longest afternoons of my life.
I lit the candles:
the house looks
almost festive! At least there's enough light to see by. Jamie is still
napping; I'm trying to warm up a jar of baby food in a pan of hot water
for her supper. I'm beginning to get really depressed. Something tells
me Ray isn't going to get the power restored tonight. How will we make
it through such a cold winter night? I'm especially worried about
Jamie. Ray and I can always bundle up with extra blankets, but how do I
keep my baby daughter warm tonight? She is my main priority.
7:00 and all is
well. The lights are
the house is warm, supper is in the oven, a fire burns in the
Tuesday morning 9 a.m.
January 18, 1983
I should amend
that: all is not well.
All is pretty damned crummy, as a matter of fact. Any remaining shred
of respect I ever had for Ray has gone straight down the tubes. Here I
sit without a single penny in the universe; the car is gone - I have no
idea where Ray left it when he came reeling in at 2 a.m. - and Jamie is
crying because I have no milk to give her. I asked Ray to bring some
milk home last night, but naturally he was too drunk to remember
anything like that. He wrote a bogus check to Puget Power to get our
lights turned back on (he doesn't even have a checking account
anymore!) Plus -- the final blow -- he's been laid off his job for
three days because of all the sick time he took last week. I just don't
know what we're going to do. We quite literally don't have a cent to
our names, and things have never looked more bleak. I'm so depressed, I
can't even write anymore.
John from next
door just drove me to
Safeway so I could buy a gallon of milk. (I found one crumpled dollar
bill in Ray's coat pocket, and I borrowed 25 cents from John.) I was so
ashamed and humiliated ... I felt like a beggar. But at least Jamie has
milk to drink and the house is warm today. Ray is passed out in a
miserable heap in our bed. Now that my most immediate problem -- milk
for the baby -- has been taken care of, my heart has softened the
tiniest bit towards my errant husband. He must be feeling so low. I
didn't mean what I said on the last page, about losing my respect for
him. The only thing I lost for a moment was hope.
January 19, 1983
Well. I don't know
... I think we
make it after all. We still have 24 hours to go until Ray gets his
paycheck, though, so we'll have to wait and see. It's going to be
tight, but we just might make it.
I wrote a
pathetic letter to Ray's
grandparents in Arizona, explaining our financial troubles and asking
for a loan. I haven't told Ray about it because I know he will
be furious. Now I'm wondering if it was such a smart thing to do.
Dad and Valerie
stopped by for a
this afternoon. Jamie was more sociable around her grandpa
than usual, and even flirted with him a little. While she was playing,
she tripped on her blanky and smacked her forehead against the edge of
the coffeetable, narrowly missing her right eye. Now she's got a big
purple bruise above her eyebrow, but seems to otherwise be OK.
When Dad was
leaving, he slipped ten
dollars into the pocket of my smock and told me to buy "a couple of
steaks" with it.
Ray took me to my
this morning, incidentally. He sat in the waiting room with Jamie while
I had a quick check of my weight, blood, blood pressure, urine, etc. We
listened to Casey's heartbeat -- everything checked out normally. I'm
in week 31.
January 21, 1983
Ray returned to
work this morning. He
was terribly nervous about it, and some of his apprehension has rubbed
off on me. For the first time, I'm seriously worried about him losing
his job. What in the world would be do if this happened? It would be a
We went and did
some grocery shopping
last night, so there's plenty of food in the house once again. I've got
a gigantic pot of spaghetti sauce simmering on the back burner for
tonight's supper ... it smells wonderful.
that dumb letter I
to Grandma and Grandpa P.
Things have once
again taken an
unpleasant turn. I got out of bed half an hour ago, marveling at how
unencumbered and happy I was feeling: this lasted for approximately
fifteen minutes, until my mother-in-law called to announce that
she and Don Sr. are on their way over to "talk" to
us. Somehow they found out about my letter to the grandparents. Ray
isn't even speaking to me now.
Is it possible to
January 23, 1983
Extremely angry with my mother-in-law; too angry, in fact, to even
write about it. Anything I wrote now would be ugly and full of hate.
January 25, 1983
I'm glad I waited
a couple of days
before writing. I've had time to think about things and cool
down a bit. It occurs to me that someday my children will be reading
this journal, and I don't want them to see a lot of negative stuff
written about people they know and love (like their
grandparents). Regardless of any personal differences I may have with
my in-laws, I still want to nurture and encourage their relationship
with my children.
Our little "talk"
on Saturday morning
started out fairly smoothly and predictably -- the usual parental
lecture on money, family, responsibility. They knew about my letter to
the grandparents, and they were "concerned" about our financial
situation. They asked the usual semi-nosy questions, and Ray blandly
assured them that he had things "under control." Don Sr. seemed
friendly and relaxed, but Peg was uncharacteristically edgy. Finally,
she let loose with what had obviously been on her mind all along: she
said, point-blank, that she "knows" that both Ray and I have a "cocaine
problem," and she demanded that we seek professional help!!! I was
stunned, insulted, outraged and amazed. I couldn't believe what I was
hearing! Of course I said it WASN'T true, and I insisted on knowing
where she'd come up with such a ludicrous idea. She said she'd come to
this conclusion merely by "observing" us. I was so angry that I had to
get up and leave the room for a minute to compose myself. When I came
back, I flatly told them both that I was insulted and angry. They left
soon afterwards. Don apologized for upsetting me, but Peg was extremely
chilly, and when she left she obviously still believed her ridiculous
drug theory. When they were gone I just sat at the kitchen table and
cried. Imagine your mother-in-law thinking such a horrible thing about
you. It's true that I've dabbled with drugs in my past, and it's
something we may do once or twice every few months, but CERTAINLY not
now that I'm pregnant. She must think I'm complete moron, and that
hurts like hell.
In spite of
we somehow ended up going over to the folks' house for dinner the next
day! I didn't want to go, but it seemed the civil thing to do, since it
was Don Sr. who invited us. I think he was trying to patch things up
before they got any worse. Fortunately Don Jr. & Judy
were there, and they acted as buffers, particularly between Peg
& I. At one point when Peg and I were alone in the kitchen I
apologized to her for my "rudeness" the day before. She brushed it off
and seemed about to say something further when Barbara came barging
into the room and interrupted us. I suppose the whole thing will remain
buried just beneath the surface forever. Someday we may feel warm
& friendly towards each other again, but there will always be a
hidden core of resentment and suspicion. I feel saddened and somehow
cheated by this. Judy and Peg have such a healthy, friendly
relationship: she obviously has all of Pat's respect and love, and I am
a poor second.
I wish to heaven I
had never written
that crummy letter to Ray's grandparents. They sent us $200 yesterday,
but it simply wasn't worth all the trouble it caused. Lesson learned: DON'T
REACH OUT TO RAY'S FAMILY FOR ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY MONEY, EVER AGAIN.
The price, in terms of self-respect and peace of mind, is
too high. I will try to remain warm and approachable, but from now on I
keep my mouth shut and let them do the approaching.
Baby is kicking,
as usual. I've
showered, dressed and picked up the house, and it isn't even noon yet!
So now I'm comfortably ensconced in my armchair with a cup of brown
coffee, the whole day stretched out before me. I think this afternoon
I'll vacuum Casey's bedroom, clean the windows and closet, and put the
baby clothes into the dresser. March is looming ahead, frighteningly
For the past few
days I've had the
intuitive feeling that this baby is a boy. Some sixth sense tells me I
will have a son: his name will be Casey, and he will look like Ray. He
may have some minor health problems at birth, like his Daddy did, and
he will be a small, delicate baby. At first I may have some trouble
accepting the idea of a son, but will soon fall hopelessly &
completely in love with him. Jamie will be jealous of her baby brother
at times, but in the long run they will be very close: Ray will adore
his little son and will begin spending more & more time at home
with his family. I will watch Jamie and Casey growing up and will see
Dickie and myself all over again.
Judy will have
another little boy -
Nathan - and Patty will have a daughter, both in July. Later in 1983 or
1984 Sheryl will have a daughter. Are any of my predictions
and "Patty" both had
the summer of 1983; "Sheryl" gave birth to a daughter in December 1984.
will offer to marry
Sutton, won't he? (Yep.)
Someone is going to murder Susan Moore, aren't they? (Yep.)
Tad & Liza are going to get together, aren't they?
Wednesday morning 11:30 a.m.
January 26, 1983
Unaccountably down in the dumps this morning. Gray, gloomy day.
(Clatter of garbage truck rumbling down the street, cans being emptied,
men shouting.) Jamie is sleeping. Hungry -- my meatloaf TV dinner is
almost ready. Today I feel sort of fuzzy and out of focus. I keep
slipping in & out of daydreams. Yesterday afternoon when I was
vacuuming and cleaning Casey's room, I suddenly found myself standing
on a chair, staring off into space, totally lost in thought. Today I
stare out the window, sip my coffee, feel the baby moving gently within
me, consider the state of my life. Longing for something, but not sure
exactly what. I should be satisfied. I have most of the things I always
wanted -- a home, a husband, children, lots of time to myself -- but
it's almost as though something important is missing, something just
beyond my grasp. Most of the time I am content, but once in awhile I
have days like this when one piece of the puzzle is missing.
At least there is
one thing in my
that has given me nothing but satisfaction and joy: my little daughter.
Jamie is the dearest thing in the world to me, and my love for her is
constant, steady and reassuring. It feels wonderful to love someone so
freely and completely ... to just let go and offer someone all of my
heart. The love I feel for Jamie is unlike anything I'd ever
experienced before. It has nothing to do with sex or status or personal
need: I love Jamie simply because she's JAMIE. She is everything I ever
hoped or imagined my daughter would be, and every day I love her better
Feeling a little
better. I just
down my entire TV dinner, plus a slice of bread with peanut butter and
a glass of milk. I was so hungry.
And a little
better still. Beginning
consider going bowling with Ray tonight -- it might be nice to get out
of the house for an evening. I should probably take advantage of such
opportunities while I can. Once Casey arrives, it will be next to
impossible to go ANYWHERE.
January 27, 1983
Why am I still so
depressed? I just
can't seem to shake the glum feeling.
Jamie and I went
bowling with Ray
night. Usually I like to sit alone at a table, reading the newspaper,
sipping a couple of beers and watching Ray bowl. Jamie plays in the
nursery, and I have a chance to relax for two hours or so. Last night,
though, I found myself stuck between two talkative women -- wives of a
couple of other bowlers -- and I had to make polite small talk ALL
EVENING. I was in one of my less-than-social moods and would have far
preferred to be left alone, but I made a conscious effort to be
friendly, and chatted at great length about babies, pregnancies, the
price of food, our husbands' jobs, etc. I know I have a reputation for
being cold and aloof. This is just my own attempt to mask my own
insecurities, but most people don't realize that. Basically I'm a shy
person, but I come off looking unfriendly. I want to change that.
Friday morning 10:30
January 28, 1983
morning. If I can get
work done by 1:00 or so, I may take Jamie for a stroller ride. I'm
still feeling down and a little exercise may be what I need.
Ray was talking
last night about
getting a second job, to supplement our income. Business
at the plant has slowed down -- it will be closed on
Monday, in fact -- and he's worried. I may have to go back to work
myself, something I would hate to do.
February 1, 1983
6:30 a.m. Ray just
left for work -- I
was having a lot of unpleasant dreams (psychopathic killers, knives,
trying to find a place to hide) so I decided to get out of bed and
enjoy some peace and quiet before Jamie wakes up. I've got my coffee
and "Good Morning America" on the tube. Too early yet to assess my
The weekend was
it got off to a bumpy start when Ray didn't come home on Friday night.
I'd made something new and special for dinner that evening ("Beans and
Weiners Waikiki") and I was really irritated when he didn't come home.
I went to bed around midnight and tried to get some sleep, but that's
impossible when he's out drinking. I laid there and worried that he
might be dead or hurt or in jail or passed out somewhere. He finally
came stumbling in at 4 a.m., barely conscious: how he managed to drive
all the way home is a mystery to me. I wish he wouldn't drive in that
condition but you can't tell him anything. If we had two cars, I could
drive down to the tavern and pick him up when he's too drunk. Maybe
someday. Anyway, Ray took Jamie and I to Dave's Place for an hour or so
early Saturday evening. That's the best time for us to visit the
tavern, because we're usually the only ones there and no one
minds if Jamie gets down and toddles around a bit. We had a couple of
beers and read the paper, while Jamie had fun exploring. We picked up
some frozen Chinese food for a late dinner, and I fell asleep on the
sofa shortly after we ate. Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday. Ray watched
the game (Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins) while I made lasagna.
Ray was off
yesterday. Mom came out
took Jamie and I for a little excursion to Sears, where we picked up
the portraits we had taken Dec. 29. (They're beautiful.)
portrait, Dec. 1982
(Terri - age 29, six months pregnant with Kacie, wearing the dress
Grandma Vert bought me; Jamie - age 1)
We had a hamburger lunch at Coco's -- Jamie ate half a burger all by
herself! - and then Mom dropped us off at home. Jamie had a quick nap,
and then Ray and I took her to Dave's so we could cash a check and do
some grocery shopping. Home by seven, leftover lasagna for dinner.
Long, average day.
It was nice to get
early start this morning, although I didn't accomplish much more than I
ordinarily do. Washed a few dishes, picked up the house, wrote a letter
to Debbie Short, mounted a picture to hang on the wall (my one yr.
portrait), played with Jamie. Late in the afternoon I took a one hour
nap -- woke up in time to watch "The Rockford Files" and have a peanut
butter sandwich. Ray was home unusually early, at 5:00. Now he's run
down to the grocery store to pick up dinner materials; we're having
tacos tonight. Jamie is playing in the corner with her toybox. A few
minutes ago she came toddling over with her favorite book ("The Poky
Little Puppy's Wonderful Winter Day"), requesting that I read it to her
for the zillionth time: she sat on my lap for about two minutes whole I
read an abbreviated version of the story. Her attention span isn't very
long, and she'll only sit still for a few pages' worth.
Jamie has learned
to kiss! When
prompted, she'll pucker up her whole mouth and make a loud smacking
noise -- a "kiss-kiss" !
Here are some
things she says
frequently: "Gook" means cookie (she'll run out to the cookie jar in
the kitchen and wait for her special treat) ... "Joo" or "doo" means
juice. "Gog" or "dah" is doggy. "Kee" is kitty. "Bank" is blanky.
Why doesn't she
call me "Mama" yet?
OF JAMIE'S FAVORITE THINGS:
Empty beer bottles and pop cans .. sitting on top of things (toys,
pillows, pots & pans, large books, people) ... spaghetti
noodles, tomato slices, chocolate milk, orange wedges, meatloaf,
cookies ... TV commercials featuring small children ("I
love the smell of my Daddy! ")
... spoons, forks, kitchen utensils ... "The Poky Little Puppy's
Wonderful Winter Day" ... balloons ... ice cubes ...
February 2, 1983
Ray is riding to work with Dave McK. this week, which means that I have
the car. I also have $25 in my purse, and I'm considering packing Jamie
up (WARMLY -- she has another cold) and going somewhere ... anywhere.
Maybe to the bookstore in Bellevue to see if they have the book I've
been searching for, "Your Second Child" by Joan Weiss. It might feel
good to get out and do something with Jamie.
She just woke up
from her nap, and to
surprise she gobbled down every bite of her lunch (Oriental ramen
noodles, tomato slices, graham crackers & peanut butter).
IDEAS FOR CUTTING
DOWN ON HOUSEWORK /
TIME-SAVING (AFTER THE NEW BABY IS BORN)
plates and cups - save
- Coasters, mats
to prevent rings on
laundry baskets for each
member, plus one for whites only
- Move highchair
away from walls -
- Prepare bottles
for both kids at
time, once a day
- Fix Jamie's
lunch and dinner
the same time
- Jamie into
Now I've got the
kitchen door open
Jamie is happily throwing her toys out into the carport -- her favorite
pastime. The kitties are milling around, looking for food, and Jamie is
feeding them scraps from her lunch.
February 4, 1983
The house is a
mess, and so am I: I
the day off yesterday and let everything slide. Wednesday was fun.
Jamie and I did go shopping after all, and it felt glorious to be out
in the winter sunshine, doing whatever we pleased. I got my book ("Your
Second Child"); it is excellent! We also went to Safeway and I bought a
couple of Valentines and a package of balloons for Jay; at 3:30 we went
to Dave's Place and met Ray for a beer. He was so surprised to see us!
Ray went bowling that night but I elected to stay home, enjoy a few
beers, make some phone calls. Yesterday I recuperated; today I must
recuperate from my recuperation!
Feb. 7, 1983
Evening. Watching Ray pulling into the driveway: he's going to take
five big loads of dirty clothes to the laundromat tonight. GOD, I WISH
I HAD A WASHER!
Jamie has been a
royal pain all day
long, and I have a monstrous headache; one minute she's eating dirt out
of the fireplace, the next minute she's unplugging electrical cords,
the next minute she's throwing toys out the door or into the toilet
bowl. She follows at my heels everywhere I go and undoes everything I
do. I sort the dirty laundry; she pulls it out of the laundry basket. I
pick up newspapers; she scatters them on the floor. I don't know if
she's being deliberately disobedient -- I don't think she is -- she
just has this enormous curiosity about everything, and she doesn't
understand about limits yet. Ordinarily I try to remember that, and I'm
usually fairly patient, but today just wasn't one of my patient days,
I'm afraid. I don't believe in spanking, but I did swat her lightly
across the bottom after she'd gotten into the fireplace for the
umpteenth time. She didn't cry, but she sat and looked at me,
surprised. I felt totally crummy for a long time afterwards -- I kept
remembering the look on her face -- but within minutes she was back at
my side, trying to climb onto my lap for a hug and a little
reassurance, which I gladly gave her. There's an amazing resiliency
about her, emotionally and physically. I see it when she bonks her head
and screams in pain, only to happily toddle off after the kitties a
minute late, all pain forgotten.
else about her that
amazes me: her capacity for love. Lately she has become very open about
expressing affection, especially towards me. She hugs and kisses me,
pats me on the arm and smiles at me, and my heart melts like chocolate
in August. Up until now she didn't seem to be much interested in
sitting on my lap, and she would squirm in protest if I tried to kiss
her or hug her. Now, to my delight, she takes the initiative and climbs
up onto my lap with a storybook, or puckers up her little mouth in a
clumsy "kiss-kiss." She plays busily and happily with her toys, but
every fifteen minutes or so she'll just stop whatever she's doing and
toddle over to me for a hug. I see her hugging the kitties &
the dog, too, and of course she's very open about her love for Daddy.
I've even seen her kissing her dolls, tenderly carrying them around the
house in obvious imitation of Mommy & Jamie.
February 8, 1983
for my baked potato
hot dog to cook. Jamie has just gone down for a morning nap, a bit
later than usual, and I'm curled up in my armchair with a cup of coffee
and "All My Children" on the tube. This is one of those long,
effortless days when there isn't much housework to do (I did it all
yesterday) and I feel free to just sit and relax. I had a long phone
conversation with Judy this morning. She's suffering from a severe case
of the "pregnant blahs," and she's bored and frustrated by all
the free time on her hands. I feel completely the opposite: I'm
cherishing every minute of peace and quiet. Probably because I know
there isn't going to be much of it after Casey arrives. I'll look back
on these long, (relatively) lazy days and wish for more of the same.
physical discomforts: a
recurring lower backache, particularly when I've been standing for too
long. Leg cramps again, but only in my right leg. Very puffy, tender
gums that bleed when I brush my teeth. Nocturnal heartburn. Occasional
Braxton-Hicks contractions, and frequent muscle cramps in my abdomen.
Frequent need to urinate!! Baby doesn't seem to be "hanging" so low
anymore; the bulge has moved up well past my navel and is very central.
His movements have slowed down a bit, but I'm not worried about it, as
they still remain regular and are strong when they do occur. Most of
the time it feels like he's just gently swaying back and forth. (Once
in awhile I get a sharp poke in the gut, though.)
Wednesday 9 a.m.
February 9, 1983
dear Jamie ...
months old today! My funny little Pooh. One of her latest antics:
slinging Mama's purse over her shoulder and waving a cheery "Bye bye!"
Is she pretending to go somewhere, or is she requesting an outing?
New word: "shush"
Jamie had an
accident a few minutes
she tripped and fell against the camphor chest in the living room, and
now she has a huge purple welt in the middle of her forehead. She
howled in pain, but fortunately just at that moment a big noisy flock
of birds flew over our house. Instantly she forgot all about her pain:
she LOVES the birdies. As a matter of fact, she is still standing on
the sofa looking out the window, pointing at the trees and saying
"Birr! Birr!" I'm going to give her a baby aspirin because I wouldn't
be surprised if she develops a powerful headache. Thank God for the
birds. They helped distract her & prevent what might have
otherwise been a very stormy and unhappy morning.
I can see Judy's
point of view, in a
way. Too much of anything -- even leisure time -- can be too much of a
good thing. Late yesterday afternoon when the housework was all done
and Jamie was napping and Ray wasn't home yet, I had that same bored,
listless feeling Judy was describing. Nothing to do but sit and watch
soap operas, read old paperback books, feel the baby nudging me under
the ribs, nibble on leftovers, look out the window at the rain coming
down. Most of the time I like having so much free time, but every once
in awhile it feels more a burden than a blessing. I don't have enough
to DO. My life is too internalized. Cleaning the house, changing
diapers, fixing Jamie's meals, waiting for Ray to come home: that's it.
I need some new hobbies, some new friends and interests. I need more
things to fill my free time with. What good time is having it, after
all, if you don't use it?
Kasey ... when are
you going to
Are you going to surprise us with an early entrance, or tease us with a
late one, or appear right on schedule, like your sister did? What will
you be like? Happy to be here at last? Or confused by the sudden
changes in your universe? Will you be a noisy baby or a quiet baby?
Will you have brown eyes or blue? Will I dress you in frilly dresses or
I'm aware of the
presence within me all the time now. Early in this pregnancy, when
whole hours would pass without a nudge or a thump, I would completely
forget that there was anyone in there! Within the past week, though,
the "bulge" has moved up so high -- right below my left breast, it
feels like -- that it is impossible NOT to be conscious of Baby's
presence all the time. I can feel even the barest, slightest movement,
and even when Baby is completely still I can still "feel" her there,
lodged securely beneath my heart.
labor. A little bit
afraid -- I can still remember the pain. Why do they say you "forget"
about it afterwards? I didn't. I'm told I can probably expect a shorter
labor & quicker delivery this time, and that makes me feel a
I'm having the
same fears I had last
time: that Ray will die before the baby is born ... that I will die in
childbirth ... that the baby will die, or that he will be born retarded
or deformed. I'm also having some interesting new fears. Jamie will
turn sullen & angry when we bring the new baby home ... this
baby will have to compete for attention with the other P. babies due to
be born this year ... the strain of caring for two babies will be too
much for me ... my marriage will collapse after Casey's birth ... I may
prefer one child over the other ... I may be disappointed if this baby
is a boy ... I may not be able to love this baby ...
just called. Our
conversation was pleasant but superficial. She wanted to check on a
couple of things, nothing wildly important ... she asked about Jay, and
about the baby. On a whim I asked her if she could take me to my
doctor's appointment next week. She sounded surprised, but she said
February 10, 1983
Very, very DOWN.
I'm about to say
things I may later regret, but there is no one in the world to talk to
but you, Journal.
I think I made the
mistake of a
when I married Ray. By marrying him, I've condemned myself and my
children to a life of grinding poverty and loneliness. I'm trapped,
completely dependent on him financially. I can't leave because there is
nowhere to go. The phone is dead, the power will be turned off tomorrow
morning again, we have no money, and we just keep sinking deeper and
deeper into debt. I'm eight months pregnant and have nothing to give my
children but secondhand clothes, makeshift meals, and endless
days and nights trapped in this house. Ray never talks to me
about anything important, and we have zero in common. Our sex life is
horrible. Nothing is going right in this crappy marriage, and I feel
sad, isolated and scared.
I got married
because I wanted
to take care of me. I wanted to feel secure and provided-for and part
of a couple. I wanted my husband to work and pay the bills, and let me
run the household; I wanted children, a car, new appliances, a bank
account, family vacations, the PTA, a flower garden, coordinating
furniture, happy times. Everything but the white picket fence, I guess.
How naive could I be? I blundered into marriage with the first man to
ask me, and instead of wedded bliss I got wedded BLAHS.
Friday 10:30 a.m.
February 11, 1983
OK, OK, so I got
that off my chest,
as expected, I do feel bad about what I wrote. Or at least, I regret parts
of it. Ray isn't the complete loser I make him out to be, and my life
isn't all drudgery and unhappiness. Three years ago I would have given
anything to quit my job and have a home & family of my own! If
I now wish I could have some of the mobility and freedom I had three
years ago, well, that's the trade-off, isn't it? We're never entirely
happy, are we? Circumstances don't create happiness. I remember
thinking, "If I had a home of my own, I'd be happy forever." Cars,
pianos, new clothes, another baby ... a washing machine ... I always
think that an acquisition of some sort or another, a change in my
circumstances, is all it takes to guarantee happiness. If we were rich.
If I were skinny. If Ray wasn't hard of hearing. If I had a car. Etc.
etc. etc. ...
What I need to
is a new perspective. Things
aren't going to make me happy. Other people aren't going to make me
happy. The responsibility for my happiness is mine. If it doesn't come
from within me, it's not going to happen. I've got to stop dwelling on
things I don't have, expecting them to miraculously drop out of the sky
and transform me into a happy person. If there's something I want and I
feel it's realistically within my reach (weight loss, friends, a new
hobby, spending money), then the responsibility to get these things is
mine. If the thing I want simply isn't meant to be (wealth, power,
fame), I must let go of it and learn to be happy without it. I should
remember the things I have -- my house, Jamie, Ray, health, lots of
time alone, family -- and accept the things I don't have. But most of
all I need to be happy. There must be some inner resources I can tap
... hope, optimism, joy, contentment. There must be a way to cultivate
these feelings inside myself. We aren't born glum & unhappy.
Look at Jamie!
One other thing --
I've got to stop
blaming Ray for all my troubles. I married someone poor but sincere. I
could have married someone rich and insincere! (We're talking
trade-offs again.) True, he's nothing like I imagined my husband would
be, but he is gentle, and kind, and he's trying to look out for Jamie
and I the best he can. I was still feeling pretty low last night, and I
mentioned something about how maybe this pregnancy is a "mistake." He
hugged me and said, "No it isn't! We'll manage!" Just those few simple
words made a world of difference in my mood, and in my feelings toward
him. Maybe we are going to manage. Maybe this marriage - and this
family - is going to work. I've just got to remember that it takes two.
If the marriage is "crappy," it isn't all Ray's fault. We've both got
an equal responsibility to make it work.
I don't know why I
this morning. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately. With all this
free time on my hands, there isn't much else to do! I'm getting some
things sorted out in my heart, and trying to make some sense of it all.
I've had a couple
this week. They seem somehow significant.
1. Ray, Jamie and
I were in a tunnel,
walking along a railroad track ... I was carrying Jamie in my arms.
Suddenly we heard the roar of a train coming from behind us. We
couldn't see the train, but knew it would be upon us in seconds. In a
panic, I tried to toss Jamie to safety, but to my horror I was
paralyzed -- completely unable to move or to save my baby from the
train. End of dream.
2. (Last night's
dream) I was
to Ray. I went away on a church retreat and had an affair with my old
boyfriend, Phil. I didn't enjoy it, though: on the bus ride home I told
Phil that I had decided to "stay with my husband." End of dream.
Dark, rainy night.
Where is Ray? I
haven't even had a phone call from him. Wish he would come home.
Each of us makes
the choice about how
feel, though it often seems to be controlled by other people or events.
We can restore our balance. We can alter our perception. We can choose
peace of mind. We can choose the texture of our day.
seems to have a life of
own, but we are that life. We can choose to change the texture at any
point. Take a deep breath. Stop for a cup of tea. Smile at someone.
Think of something that brings you joy. Plan a dream. "Be here now" is
how Baba Ram Dass put it. This is the minute, the part of the journey
you are in now. Make this minute what you want for a lifetime. Alter
the texture of your day in any way you choose, but recognize that the
texture and the minute are yours.
-- Jennifer James
February 16, 1983
It has been
several days since I've
written ... several busy
days. Dad and Valerie are supposed to come out for a visit sometime
this morning, but I'm not doing anything elaborate to prepare for it:
I've showered, and dressed Jamie, and picked up the house a little bit.
I'm feeling too run-down to do much else, so I've settled into my
armchair with a weak cup of coffee, feet propped up on a stool,
watching Jamie puttering around the house.
We had a busy and
Saturday night we had dinner at Kurt and Wendie W.'s new place out in
Issaquah, Jamie included. They have a lovely, two-story condominium,
and Jay spent most of the evening delightedly crawling up and down the
carpeted stairway. She doesn't often get a chance to exercise her
natural love of climbing, and this was her golden opportunity! I sat on
the bottom step and supervised as she happily scurried up to the top
(about 12 steps) and then more cautiously backed down, peering over her
shoulder to make sure I was there to catch her if she fell. Wendie made
a pork roast dinner; Jamie sat on Ray's lap and ate from his plate. It
was an altogether relaxing & pleasant evening. The more I see
of Kurt & Wendie, the more I like and admire them: no wonder
Ray loves them so much. I think that if anything ever happened to Ray
& I, I would like Jamie to be raised by the two of them.
On Sunday we drove
down to see
V., and spent about three hours visiting, sorting through old family
photos and helping Gram move things out of the attic. Before we left,
Grandma wrote us a check - a gift - for $500. Ray had told her about
our financial dilemma, and she decided to help us out. We were stunned
but grateful, and we drove home feeling jubilant & RICH! We
stopped at Albertsons and bought some groceries, including two thick,
expensive steaks for dinner.
wasn't able to
Grandma's check anywhere. He tried several different banks, but it was
impossible to get a personal check that big cashed without having an
actual account at the bank. So yesterday I packed up Jamie and drove
back down to Grandma's. She went to her bank in Boulevard Park and
withdrew five hundred dollars in cash. I paid the power bill ($286),
took fifty dollars for myself, and gave the rest to Ray. I'm not sure
what I'll do with my portion, but the knowledge that it is safely
tucked away in my wallet gives me a good feeling.
yesterday, I got a HUGE
wicker basket for Casey/Kasey to sleep in (borrowed from Grandma's
next-door neighbor, Marian C.) ... it's white, with two carrying
handles, and it'll be perfect until the baby is at least three months
old, maybe longer. I'm thrilled -- there's one less thing to worry
about. Now if only I could get Ray to paint the damned bedroom!!
I should mention
that things with the
in-laws have improved considerably. Monday was Valentines Day, and late
in the afternoon Pat, Don Sr. & Barbara dropped in for
a surprise visit. They brought me a potted plant and a card, and a
little T-shirt for Boo that says "JAMIE" on the front and "12-9-81" on
the back. We sat and chatted for about an hour, and I felt remarkably
cordial. Both of my parents-in-law hugged me as they left, too.
Yesterday, Don Sr. came over alone for a while in the afternoon. A
Puget Power rep came out to inspect the house as part of a "Home Energy
Check-up," and Don needed to be here, since he owns our house.
Again I felt nothing but positive vibrations. Naturally, I would rather
be on good terms with Ray's folks. It makes life easier, all the way
around. They're my children's GRANDPARENTS, after all.
Hungry. Should I
fix my lunch now, or
wait until Dad leaves? Baby is nudging me, right beneath my breastbone
... just a "gentle reminder" that he's in there, I suppose. I look at
the white wicker basket sitting on the kitchen table and imagine my
tiny son or daughter sleeping in it ... perhaps a month or so from
right now. I must get a little mattress or something similar, to line
the basket with. (A firm pillow? Folded blankets or towels?) There are
other things I need, too: nipples, and plastic pants, and perhaps some
new baby clothes -- T shirts, nighties, piluchos, booties. Maybe one
nice little outfit, suitable for either a boy or a girl. Maybe some
animal pin-ups for his bedroom. Diaper pins - powder - bottle liners.
(Note: Dad and
Valerie never showed
Decided not to go
bowling with Ray
tonight. I'm still so awfully tired. Tough day with Jamie. I discovered
a molar in the back of her mouth - her first. Maybe that's why she's
been so cranky?
How has marriage changed me?
I've relaxed. I
don't walk into a
and feel that I'm "on" -- that every man in the room is "rating" me --
or that I have to work so hard at calling attention to myself. I feel a
sense of belonging, half of a whole. Somebody loved me enough to marry
me, and I take pride in letting people know it. I don't spend a lot of
time worrying about my love life -- wondering when this latest
relationship will end, wondering if "he" loves me. I feel comfortable
and natural as a married person, not at all confined. Marriage comes
very naturally to me.
If there's been a
change for the
it might be that I've become too dependent on Ray. I'm also probably
letting myself go physically, because I don't feel I need to work so
hard at it anymore.
February 17, 1983
the rain. Where in
world is my mother-in-law?? I had an 11:15 appointment with my o.b. and
we had arranged for her to drive me, but she still hasn't shown up! I
finally put Jamie down for a nap a little while ago, since she was
growing as fussy and impatient as I am.
February 18, 1983
Well, now I feel
like a dummy. My
appointment was TODAY - not yesterday!
came and picked me up this morning at 11:00. I was weighed and measured
and we listened to the baby's heartbeat -- everything checked out
perfectly. I have another six weeks to go. That doesn't seem like any
time at all.
February 19, 1983
Got our income tax
refund today -
I had a dream last
night that I had
baby -- one of few such dreams during this pregnancy. It was all
jumbled together & didn't make a lot of sense, but I do
remember a couple of things about the dream ... the baby was a boy, and
we gave him the goofy name Casey Prince Matthew. (?) I also remember
the way I felt: astonishment and sadness that the birth of my second
child was over so soon. Also anger and frustration, because no one was
paying any attention to the birth. I was running around all over the
place, telling people I'd just had a baby, but I wasn't getting a
reaction from anyone.
Ray has been
looking for a good used washing machine. Earlier this afternoon he
announced he may buy one "tomorrow." I'm holding my breath, hoping
against hope that he means it, but afraid to get too excited in case he
February 22, 1983
What a lovely
sound ... the sound of
washing machine, humming in the bathroom!! Ray decided against buying a
new washer, after all. With some new parts, he was able to restore the
old washer to perfect working condition, saving us about a hundred
dollars in the process. I've been happily doing laundry all morning
long. I never dreamed that doing the laundry would ever seem like fun!
I'm sure the novelty will wear out soon, but in the meantime I am
reveling in the luxury of CLEAN CLOTHES ...
We had a very nice
three day weekend.
(Yesterday was Presidents Day.) Perhaps the nicest thing that happened,
aside from getting my washer fixed, was Ray taking me out to dinner
Saturday night! Carol watched Jamie for us, and we went to Sea Galley
for steak and shrimp, just my hubby and I. How nice.
Last night I did a
the baby at Bonanza 88. I bought a new infant carrier and pad, two
nightgowns, a terry sleep 'n play suit, a package of cotton swabs, and
a vanity set (brush & comb, tRay, little containers for pins,
swabs, etc.) Later this week I've got to get nipples and plastic pants.
It feels amazingly
the cherry tree in the front yard has already begun to blossom. I have
the itch to do my spring-cleaning ... the whole house could use a
thorough overhaul. After I finish this cup of coffee and put a little
makeup on my face, I'm going to tackle the fridge and the bathroom,
although I'll probably have to forsake the heavy duty scrubbing for now
(too pregnant!). It's difficult to get down on my hands &
knees, and my back begins to ache if I do a lot of stretching or stand
for too long. Every few minutes I've got to plop into my armchair and
put my feet up.
Baby is thumping
morning. I wonder how he's doing in there? Dr. Heffron was unable to
determine the baby's position last week, although he guesses that Baby
is probably head-down. I have another appointment next week, at which
time I'll have an internal. If Dr. H still can't determine K/C's
position, he'll use the ultrasound again and get a sonogram. I'm not
sure, but I think maybe he could determine the baby's sex with the
sonogram, too. I'm dying of curiosity about that, but even so I don't
think I want to know. It would be like peeking at a Christmas gift
early. I'd rather wait until the big moment of birth, after all the
pain & effort of labor, when Ray is holding my hand and the
doctor says "Congratulations,
it's a ... !" That moment makes
it all worthwhile.
Jamie has recently
interested in babies! Any time a diaper commercial comes on TV, I say
"Look at the baby!" She stands directly in front of the TV, smiling and
pointing and jabbering. She sits on my lap and looks at magazines with
me: her favorite pages are the ads featuring babies. And she has three
or four baby dolls now, which she likes to cuddle and carry around the
Whew. I am one
pooped pregnant lady.
tore into the housecleaning like there was no tomorrow and did
EVERYTHING. Now I've got a Pepsi on ice, and my swollen legs are
propped up, and Jamie is down for a nap. Where did all that energy come
from?? Underneath it all I'm actually not feeling so hot physically ...
I've got a stomach ache and a bit of a headache ... so I'm amazed by
how much I've been able to accomplish.
Ray is working
extra late tonight,
Thursday 3:30 p.m.
February 24, 1983
to WAKE UP, but I
feel so tired and sluggish this afternoon ... most of my day has been
spent curled up on the sofa, watching soaps. Jamie's naps never seem to
coincide with mind. I would love to put her down right now & go
to bed myself right now, but she's wide awake and filled with what
Grandma calls "spizzerinctum." So instead, I've made myself a cup of
coffee, turned down the thermostat and cracked open a few windows. Ray
is working late again this evening (he works until 6:30) so it will be
hours yet until he comes home. The house is neat and there's nothing to
do. Today is one of those days when all the free time is more a burden
than a blessing.
A Typical Day
a.m. Ray leaves for work; I go
back to sleep.
a.m. I'm out of bed. Bathrobe.
Fix pot of coffee for me and a bottle for Jamie. Jamie is up, drinks
her ba-ba on my lap, "Donahue" on TV. Change her diaper. I fix toast
and cereal for both of us, and we sit on the living room floor to eat.
Two or three cups of coffee. Next I take my shower and shampoo my hair;
Jamie watches, throwing toys into the bathtub at my feet. Dress. Change
Jay's diaper (again) and get her dressed. Wash the dishes, do a little
picking up around the house. I'm very pregnant now so I'm not moving
very fast. Listen to "Love Boat" and "Family Feud" while I work.
a.m. Jamie goes down for her
nap. I put on makeup, clean house some more, watch "The Edge of Night"
and "All My Children." Eat lunch. Fix lunch for Jamie.
p.m. Jamie wakes up from her
nap! Eats her lunch. Change her diaper (again). Open the doors and let
the kitties come in and "play" with Jamie.
p.m. Jamie plays. I clean house,
write letters, check the mail. Apple juice and cookie snack.
p.m. Jamie down for Nap #2. Some
days she sleeps, other days she plays quietly in her crib. If I'm tired
(which is most of the time these days) I'll nap too; if not, I work on
my hobbies, watch TV, talk on the phone, make beds, curl my hair, play
the piano. Fix dinner for Jamie.
p.m. Jamie up. Change diaper
(again). Jamie eats dinner, plays until Daddy comes home.
p.m. P.J.'s on, bottle of milk.
Bedtime, sometimes, unless I let her wait up for Daddy (who is home any
time between 9 p.m. and dawn).
Friday 9 a.m.
February 25, 1983
empty day stretches
of me. Drizzly, gray, threatening to storm. Jamie is happily playing
with a bunch of plastic spoons & forks ... lining them up on
the floor, sorting them into piles, dropping them into a basket and
dumping them out again. Some new words she says (or attempts to say):
"no, no, no!" (shaking index finger),"buh-duh" (button), "choo choo,"
"shoes," "socks," "poon" (spoon), "pillow," "CeCe," "book," "bird,"
"juice," "car," "down," "BABY," "done," "boon!" (balloon), "SHUH!"
(shut up), "faf" (bath), "no no!"
She loves to look
at my photo albums,
and she's fascinated by my jewelry (especially pierced earrings), my
eyelashes and my tongue. She still enjoys pulling my hair and yanking
out my barrettes and headbands if I'm wearing them. She can point to
her belly button, her nose, her teeth and her hair when you ask her to.
She has learned to pull the caps off of pens and lipsticks (much to my
consternation), and is learning how to slide the kitchen cabinet doors
open. When I walk outside to get the mail or bring in the garbage can,
she clambers up onto the sofa and watches me from the living room
window. She follows me everywhere I go in the house, and watches
EVERYTHING I do.
Much of the time
her mood seems
influenced by my own. On days like this, when I'm feeling pensive, she
is much quieter than usual and plays alone with her toys. When I'm
keyed-up and agitated, she is irritable and demanding. When I'm buoyant
and happy, she is full of smiles and energy. Of course there are other
times when our moods are in direct conflict: those can be difficult
days. I'll be feeling tired and listless, and all I'll feel like doing
is sitting on the sofa quietly ... but she'll be
climbing all over me, chattering a mile a minute, poking her fingers
into my nose and pulling my hair and giggling. My little tormentor.
We spend so much
time alone together
we are at the very center of each others' existence -- and I suppose
it's understandable that we influence each other the way we do. We are,
after all, two human beings of similar temperament. Sometimes watching
Jamie is like looking in the mirror: we are so much alike. How much of
that is genetic and how much of it is acquired, who knows, but it's a
fact that she has a lot of her Mama in her ... the flashes of temper,
the hamminess, the studied concentration, the sense of rhythm, the
industrious way she approaches things. Even the facial expressions, the
vocal inflections, the belly laugh, the need for lots of close physical
contact. I look at her and learn things about myself. Some of it
pleases me, some of it is disconcerting, but all of it is a reminder of
the huge responsibility I have, to influence my daughter in a positive
way. I want her to acquire my positive traits and qualities, and avoid
the flaws. Impossible? Probably. Some of my crabbiness,
procrastination, self-centeredness, self-indulgence is bound to rub off
on her. She'll see me put things off, and fib, and cry, and argue with
her Daddy. She'll hear me swear when I stub my toe, and listen to me
complain when I don't feel well, and hear me gossip on the phone with
Judy. Still, if I can pass on to her even a few of the good things in
me ... love of music and reading, optimism, faith, belief in God, sense
of family, tolerance, imagination ... I will consider myself a success
as a mother.
I don't want a
little carbon copy of
myself, but I do hope to see at least a little bit of Terri in Jamie
... just as there is part of Karen in Terri, part of Carla in Karen,
part of Pauline in Carla ... and on and on. Mothers and daughters,
What sort of
relationship will I have
with the baby who is thumping inside of me right now?
Jay and I had an
afternoon! The sky had cleared up a little and the sun was peeking from
behind the clouds, so we went for a stroller ride up the block. On a
whim, I took her a little further than usual, all the way up to First
Street. Then -- on another whim -- I turned and began heading in a
brand-new direction. Imagine our surprise when, a block or two later,
we stumbled across a nice little neighborhood PARK! I sat and talked a
little while with a couple of other mothers, while Jamie delightedly
explored every inch of the place. Freedom! She sat in the sandbox, ran
around in the grass, pointed at the birds and had a grand time. I put
her in one of the swings and pushed her back and forth a little bit --
her very first time on a swing -- but it was new and scary and she
didn't like it much. "Down, down, down!" she screamed.
The other mothers
left after awhile, and we had the park to ourselves. I let her play for
nearly a full hour before putting her back into her stroller and
heading for home, feeling pleased with myself for finding the place. I
have a feeling we may go there often. Jamie needs the fresh air and
exercise (so do I), as well as the interaction with other children.
Perhaps I'll even find a new friend or two there myself.
February 28, 1983
out this morning: all
feel like doing is playing quietly with Jamie, watching TV, relaxing.
We had a nice weekend. Ray was at his tender, sensitive best, and there
was harmony between us: the whole house seemed to be filled with love.
I know that sounds corny, but it's the truth. There are times when I
feel so close to him.
March 1, 1983
Two days in a row.
I feel so crummy
today (diarrhea, headache) and I haven't had a shred of energy.
March 3, 1983
Better. I've taken
it real easy the
few days -- gotten as much sleep as possible, taken my vitamins, eaten
fairly healthy meals -- I still feel tired most of the time, but that's
March 5, 1983
trying to grab my pen
& notebook as I write this ... angry at being thwarted, she
bends over and bites Mama's big toe, then giggles when I scream in
I just picked up
house and made a big pot of coffee, and now I've settled into the
armchair to enjoy one cup, liberally laced with milk (I have heartburn
around the clock these days, and plain black coffee makes it worse)
before I wash my hair and get dressed. Ray is still asleep. I tiptoe
back to our bedroom every once in awhile to check on him: he is huddled
under the blankets, snoring like a buzzsaw, completely at peace. Jay is
in a chipper mood this morning, full of smiles and giggles, chattering
like a magpie, dragging "blanky" all around the house. Baby is very
active this morning too, thrashing hugely inside of me every few
minutes. The past two nights have been sleepless, because I can no
longer lay on my side -- it hurts too much. I sleep in snatches, my
sleep punctuated by odd little dreams. (Last night I dreamed the baby
was a girl: I was spoon-feeding her applesauce, while Ray fed Jamie
spaghetti and meatballs).
Ray will probably
this weekend, and I will probably finish my layette shopping. We are
very nearly ready.
Angry with Ray's
parents again. I
just learned (from Judy) that they are still telling everyone that Ray
& I have a drug problem.
March 6, 1983
beginning to happen more
quickly in this pregnancy. After eight and a half months of barely
looking or feeling like I was expecting a baby, I have "exploded"
practically overnight. Suddenly my belly has expanded to the size of a
watermelon, and I feel huge, stiff and sore. If I sit on the floor,
it's impossible to get back up without help. Each night it gets more
difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I tossed and
turned all night last night.
Sr. and Barbara
stopped by for another of their unexpected visits yesterday.
Considering the way I feel about them, it's a wonder I managed to be
civil. They stayed for an hour and a half, and for me it was a tense
& unpleasant afternoon. My father-in-law was at his obnoxious
worst, and my mother-in-law sat there silently watching us -- no doubt
assessing our every word & movement. (Did
Terri just sniffle? She must be snorting coke. Are Ray's eyes
bloodshot? He's probably half in the bag.)
They've offered to take care of Jamie while I'm in the hospital. I'm
not wild about the idea, but frankly it's my only option. At least I
know she'll be well taken care of, although probably over-indulged. I
want to stick to my promise about Jamie growing up close to her
grandparents, regardless of any personal differences between the
adults. It sounds good in theory, but in practice it will be tough.
Just the thought of my little Boo spending three days at their house
makes me anxious and unhappy. I wonder if I would feel the same if it
were someone from MY family planning to care for her?
Monday morning 9:30 a.m.
March 7, 1983
Slept a lot better
last night: Baby
"allowed" me to sleep on my side for a little while.
I've got a
doctor's appointment today
2:15 -- Peg will be coming by to drive me. I think I'm having an
internal this time, and we'll be able to determine how much longer I've
got to go. (Yesterday morning I briefly thought I might be in the
beginning stages of labor when I had a couple of moderate contractions,
but nothing came of it. I was probably just imagining things.)
Yesterday was a
very nice day. In the
morning Ray, Jamie and I took a drive to the paint store in Bellevue
and picked out the paint for Baby's room, a pretty "thistle green." Ray
spent most of the day painting and he did a neat, professional job.
When he finished, I treated the three of us to dinner at Denny's. It
was the first time we'd ever gone out to eat as a little family, and I
thoroughly enjoyed it. Jamie sat in her highchair and shared part of my
ham dinner and Ray's hamburger & fries, and although she was a
mess when she was through, she was very good and didn't fuss once.
news: Casey is a
baby! Wednesday morning at 6:45 a.m. I'll be going into the hospital,
where Dr. Heffron will attempt to turn him around.
March 8, 1983
Dr. Heffron had me
up on the
table, and he had just started to give me an internal exam when he
stopped cold. "I think we may have a breech baby," he said -- meaning
that Baby's head is where his feet are supposed to be, and vice versa.
Things just didn't feel "right" to him. I put my clothes back on and we
went to the ultrasound room. Using the monitor, the doctor was able to
determine that Casey is indeed in the breech position. His little head
is just beneath my ribs, and his legs and feet are in my pelvic area. I
could see his heart beating (strong & regular), and could even
see him breathing. Dr. H measured his head on the sonogram and
thoroughly examined him from every angle. When he was finished, he
turned off the ultrasound equipment and had a long talk with me about
possible risks and consequences of breech births. What it all boils
down to is this: breech deliveries can be very dangerous, and a
C-section is usually performed for the baby's safety. Before we decide
on a C-section, though, Dr. H is going to attempt to reverse the baby's
position manually. To do this, I'll be given a muscle relaxant to make
my uterus soft, and then Dr. H will try and turn Casey around from the
outside. It sounds weird but the doctor assures me it doesn't hurt, and
if it works then the baby can have a "normal" delivery. If it doesn't
work, well, then everything becomes more complicated.
Ray is sick with
worry. He held me in
his arms last night in bed and just cried. He's scared for me, and he's
scared for the baby: he kept going back to Casey's freshly-painted
bedroom, standing in the doorway and looking at the room without saying
anything. I did my best to reassure him, but my own anxiety was
obvious. It's hard for me to be very reassuring when my own heart is
filled with worry and doubt. Why is this baby not in the position he
should be in? Is it because of something I've done -- or haven't done?
Is he retarded, or otherwise abnormal? Is he going to survive?
I don't care if I
have to have a
Cesarean. That's the least of my worries. I just want the baby to be
I am eating
... an apple turnover with a ton of whipped cream, a cold eggroll,
waffles, a dish of peaches and pears, several big glasses of milk ...
probably because I'm anxious and worried, and stuffing myself provides
some temporary comfort. I have a headache. The wind is blowing blossoms
from the cherry tree; they are falling like snowflakes. Rain. Dogs
barking. Jamie napping. I feel disjointed and far away from things. I'm
going to go crawl into bed and pull the covers up over my head and try
to sleep for a while -- as soon as I eat this plate of leftover fried
rice and drink a can of 7Up ...
I have a terrible
stomach ache. Wish Ray would come home. Wish I could get my mind off my
problems for a little while.
March 10, 1983
morning. I have a
of things to say but I don't know where to begin. The routine and order
of my life have been suddenly turned upside down: overnight, nothing is
couldn't turn the baby
around yesterday. He poked and prodded and kneaded my tummy for a full
hour, but Baby refused to budge. Apparently one little leg is bent back
at an odd angle, making it impossible to rotate him to the proper
position. It also makes a normal vaginal delivery out of the question.
So ... I'm going to have a C-section. I left the hospital depressed and
frightened. This is all so unexpected, and I'm not sure how to deal
Jamie and I spent
the day at Peg's
we left the hospital. I needed to rest and think, and Peg gladly took
over the care of Jame for the day while I napped on the sofa. I
appreciated her concern and attention, and I put aside our differences
for the time being.
Here are some of
the things I've been
Since a C-section
is inevitable, I've
decided to approach it as positively as possible. It's a terrible
disappointment, but if I try, I'll probably find some good in all of
this. Above all else, it's the safest kind of delivery for the baby. I
shouldn't lose sight of that. The most important thing, to me, is that
Casey arrives safely.
Labor -- if I even
have any labor --
will be greatly decreased, won't it? That's a huge "plus." I Don't know
much about the actual procedure (I always skipped that chapter in the
books), but I assume it's relatively painless. I'm not much concerned
about scars, so that's no big deal. I may have to spend more time in
the hospital afterwards, but again I would consider that more a "plus"
than anything. On a purely selfish level, I'll probably get more help
when I get home from the hospital, because I will be recovering from
surgery. I could be wrong, but wouldn't it be nice if I'm right?
"plus" that Judy
pointed out to me yesterday: since my C-section will likely be
scheduled in advance, I'll be able to do some of the last-minute things
before leaving for the hospital that might not otherwise be possible
... washing & setting my hair, picking up the house, writing a
few notes for Ray, making phone calls, etc. There won't be that frantic
feeling of leaving a lot of loose ends dangling.
Ray is squeamish
about the operation
says that although he wants to be with me, he won't watch me being cut
open. That's OK. At least he'll be there again, and that's what counts.
Jamie will be well
taken care of
I'm in the hospital: there'll be no need for me to worry about her.
I'll miss her like crazy, but she'll be in the hands of people who love
her. Peg has promised to bring her to see me in the hospital: that will
undoubtedly be one of the highlights of my stay.
If all goes as it
should -- and there
no reason to doubt it will -- I'll have a quick, safe delivery and a
lovely new son or daughter to show for it. Plus a few days of rest and
attention afterwards. Sounds great.
biggest part of me
ISN'T at all optimistic about this. Deep inside, I believe there is
something seriously wrong with the baby, and that he'll either die soon
after birth or else he'll be handicapped or sick in some way. I've
resigned myself to it, and I carry the knowledge around with me, like a
millstone around my heart. I've stopped making plans: it seems
pointless. I've stopped worrying about how Jamie will react to the
arrival of a new baby ... how I'm going to cope with the workload ...
how to decorate the baby's bedroom. Why bother? We won't be bringing a
baby home with us. The little green bedroom will be locked and empty.
If this baby dies,
how will we handle
the grief and the guilt?
If the baby
survives but is
impaired, where will we find the strength and the money to raise him
March 13, 1983
Trying to set my
worries aside for
day ... the baby's health, the C-section, overdue Puget Power and
pediatric bills, my doctor's appointment tomorrow ... for one afternoon
I wish I could simply forget about ALL of it. Raining. Ray is still in
bed. I've been up for hours ... I've already cleaned the kitchen and
started a potato salad for tonight's dinner. Jamie is laying flat on
her back in the middle of the living room, eating a graham cracker,
idly kicking her feet, listening to the stereo. I've been trying to get
her to lay down on our bed next to Daddy to take her morning nap, but
she still won't sleep anywhere but in her crib. I'll put her down in a
few minutes, I guess, and while she sleeps I'll work on my potato salad
and do a few odd jobs around the house. Anything to keep my mind off my
troubles. Baby is very quiet today, as he has been all week, but I know
that's normal for this final stage of pregnancy.
March 14, 1983
Had an eventful
appointment with Dr.
Heffron this morning: we've set a date for the baby's birth!!
Casey/Kasey P. will be making his/her entrance into the world on
Friday, March 25, 1983 ... eleven short days from today!!! I'll check
into the hospital at 8 a.m. that morning, and Baby will be born shortly
thereafter -- certainly before noon, anyway -- I'll be in my recovery
room afterwards, watching "All My Children," just like I did after
Jay's birth! I'll be in the hospital for five nights: we'll come home
the following Wednesday.
elated about all of
I've been in a kind of happy fog all afternoon long. My mind is ticking
with plans and lists of "must-do's" (fix up the bassinet, buy plastic
pants, put film in the camera, give the house one final over-all
cleaning). Even my usual worries about money and bills have been
temporarily shelved. I feel too happy. Knowing the exact date &
time of the baby's birth may take away some of the element of surprise,
but the advantages of knowing ahead of time are ENORMOUS. I'll feel
prepared! Emotionally and otherwise!
Some of the worry
(in regard to
health) still lingers, though. Please be healthy, Kasey. Please be
healthy and whole and alert.
journal ... I'm going to NEED you this week & next more than
ever. How would I manage to get through the interminably long days
between now and "C-Day" without you??
Remember the "long
Dad and I used to joke about? Those vast stretches of time, between the
present and the place you want to be? That's what I feel like ... all
these long empty days, like miles of desert, must be crossed before I
get to March 25. It might as well be DECEMBER 25: it would feel just as
distant to me. This is hilarious. I haven't felt this kind of
little-girl-impatience in God knows how long. (Waiting for summer camp
... waiting for the weekend church retreat ... waiting for John to ask
me to go steady ... ) I'm mentally hopping up & down on one
foot, fingers in my mouth, waiting for the first day of school ...
waiting for Santa ... waiting for the Easter Bunny ... I am six years
old again, and I haven't a shred of patience. I want to cross days off
the calendar, or go to sleep for ten days and wake up to find it's
Thursday night. Anything, ANYTHING to get through this waiting. I would
like to hear that Tom Petty song that says, "The waiting is the hardest
part." I would like to make that my motto for March '83, wear it
emblazoned across my chest. THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART. It's
Don't I sound
giddy? Bear with me.
is probably lots and lots of such gibberish to come. I'm going
to leave you laying open on the kitchen table, Journal, and any time
the waiting gets hard I'm going to tell you so. Aren't you fortunate?
Here are some
things I'm hoping:
1. That I don't go
before the 25th!
2. That I can find
a good doctor for
baby SOMETIME THIS WEEK.
3. That Ray is
with me during the
C-section (he's vacillating).
4. That the
surgery is quick,
and successful, and that I feel the same rush of exhilaration when I
see Baby for the first time.
5. That my
hospital stay is pleasant
Casey Paul Edward,
Kacie, Kasey Pauline
The key to getting
through this week
next, I think, is to stay busy. If I keep myself occupied I won't have
time to sit and brood. Unfortunately, there isn't a heck of a lot to do
around this house.
Wednesday morning 7:30 a.m.
March 16, 1983
Got a fairly good
night's sleep, and
woke to find the sun shining and birds singing ... still, I feel tired
and depressed because of an argument with Ray last night. He didn't
come home until after eleven, first of all, and of course he was very
drunk. I was starving -- there is NO food in this house -- and I was
hoping he had brought home some spaghetti from Sunshine Pizza, as he
had promised to do that morning. Instead all he had was a pukey ham
sandwich and a bag of potato chips he'd obviously grabbed from the
tavern as he was leaving. It was late, I was tired and hungry, and I
had already had ham sandwiches for lunch & dinner! I felt like
crying. Instead, I slammed the sandwich down on the table and told him
to eat it. Then I stalked off to bed without a further word. Childish
behavior, I know, but there was more involved here than just a stupid
ham sandwich. Ray slept on the sofa, and he left for work an hour ago
without saying anything to me -- just leaving me a terse, scribbled
note to call Kirkland utilities. Shit. Part of me wants to ignore his
stupid note and just let them shut the water off.
I was thinking
about calling Ray at
later this morning, just to say I love you and clear the air,
and maybe I will. It would make us both feel better. Still. I'm so
sick and tired of nights like last night, Journal! He said he
"worked" until 8:00, but even so it was 10:00 before he bothered to
call, and 11:00 before he got home. In the meantime, Jamie went to bed
with the last of the milk in her bottle, another whole day spent
without so much as a glimpse of her father. Tonight he'll go bowling --
that means another evening home alone without him. Jamie doesn't seem
to be suffering without her Daddy, but the time is coming soon when
she'll wonder why he's never home. What do I tell her?
I'm up early
today. It's only 8:30
already I've showered, started a laundry, made the beds, picked up the
kitchen, dressed Jamie and fixed her toast & jam. She's walking
around the living room munching on it now; every couple minutes she
squints happily and says "Mmmm!" to let me know how good it is. It's
such a beautiful spring day. I would dearly love to stroll her up to
the park this afternoon, but I'm terrified that I might go into labor
while we're gone. I hate cooping her up in the house with me on a day
like this, though. She needs fresh air and sunshine and room to run.
Maybe if we go slow and take it real easy, it will be all right. I'm
beginning to feel a little cabin fever myself.
I'm such a
marshmallow when it comes
Ray. I can't stay mad at him, even when he deserves it. Not only did I
call Kirkland Utilities for him, I also called him at work, just to say
I love you. He sounded genuinely relieved and sorry, and I was glad I'd
softened after all.
I also took Jamie
to the park for
two hours. We just got home, and I am pooped: I forgot that it's mostly
uphill getting to the park. By the time we arrived, I was huffing and
puffing like an old lady. It's sunny and balmy today, so I took off
Jamie's sweat jacket and just let her run around in her
shirtsleeves. The park was swarming with small children, and she joined
right in. (Not so her mother, who sat alone and shyly watched the other
mothers through dark glasses. I felt bashful today, or maybe I just
wanted to be alone.) Coming home - DOWNHILL, thank God - I suddenly
felt very flat and depressed. I Don't know why, but the feeling
lingers. Jamie is happy as a clam, thanks to the exercise and fresh air
and the cooky and 7-Up she just had as a snack. She's running
around the house at breakneck speed, chattering ten miles a minute,
chocolate cooky crumbs all over her face, her hair windblown and her
cheeks bright pink from the outdoors. I'm glad I took her to the park,
but I wish I felt as cheerful and energetic as she does. Maybe I
overdid things, walking so far?
March 16, 1983
(five days before her little sister was born)
A little better. I
took a quick nap
the sofa -- the little girl from down the street (Terry S.) came to
visit -- I made a pot of coffee -- I had a brief phone conversation
just now with Cathie W. I'm not exactly happy, but the "flat" feeling
has subsided. Ray has already come and gone, off for an
evening of bowling. He brought home a bag of McDonald's cheeseburgers
for dinner. Jamie ate half of one and a handful of fries; mine is
re-heating in the oven. I'm famished, but that's hardly news.
March 17, 1983
Had a minor crisis
this morning ...
to fix Jamie a bottle and discovered that the whole half-gallon of milk
was curdled. At first I panicked, especially since I had no juice (or
anything else) to give her. I tried phoning all over the place for
help. Peg was on her way to Southcenter, Carol doesn't have a car, Judy
wasn't home. Then I tried Ray at work, but as usual he was no help at
all. Finally I borrowed three bottles' worth of milk from Lori next
door, and now I feel pleased with my resourcefulness. I just wish I
hadn't bothered calling Peg or Ray: I want to be able to handle these
things without their help. I want to quit running to them in blind
panic every time some little thing goes wrong! Ray is never any help,
anyway. ("Well? Whuddya want ME
to do about it?")
Friday 9:25 a.m.
March 18, 1983
One week from
right now, will I be a
mother again ... ? (Baby nudges my breastbone.) There is no panicky
feeling this time when I think about the delivery. I feel calm and
happy and unafraid. The idea of a C-section has had time to sink in,
and it's become less frightening. I keep reminding myself, "No labor!,"
and that happy fact alone is enough to pick me up.
Yesterday I sat
and looked at a
of Jamie's newborn photos. The funny bowed legs, the snub nose, the
blue belly button, the peach fuzz on her head ... I can't wait to bury
my face into the soft folds of a newborn's neck again, and smell that
sweet, new-baby smell.
day. Ray has left me
the car today and -- surprise! -- $30 to spend as I please. I haven't
made any plans yet, but I'll probably take Jamie to the park to play
and then do some shopping somewhere. Jamie needs shoes, and I still
have to get plastic pants for Kasey. If there's any money left over,
I'd love to treat myself to some new makeup, and maybe a pretty
nightgown for the hospital.
Just got back from
expedition. K-Mart was hot, stuffy and crowded, but I spent every penny
and got all the things on my list. For the baby, I bought eight pairs
of plastic pants, two pairs of booties (one white, one yellow) and a
package of diaper pins. For myself, I got a turquoise nightgown that I
really like, and some new makeup. I had enough left over to buy Jamie a
plastic pail and shovel and a little storybook. After we shopped, we
drove down to Dave's Place to meet Ray. I drank one beer with him and
Kurt, but then Jamie started getting cranky and I brought her home. Ray
should be home fairly soon, I hope. We haven't seen much of him this
week, and it would be nice to spend an evening together, watching "The
Wizard of Oz" for about the zillionth time and thinking about who we'll
be a week from now.
I watch Jamie
running around the
cool and dry and free to scamper around for the first time all
afternoon -- happy as a clam -- bare feet, chubby legs, tousled hair,
shining eyes, new red pail in hand. Will she change much when we bring
her brother or sister home? She's such a bright, happy little girl
right now. Please stay that way, Puss.
March 19, 1983
Ray didn't come
crashing in until
midnight last night, in spite of his promise. It was the third time
this week that he's stayed out late, and the second time this week that
he has slept on the sofa. I'm furious with him, and this time I don't
intend to let him off the hook. I haven't spoken a word to him yet
(he's still sleeping), but when I do I'm not going to accept any
half-baked excuses or apologies. I can't let him think he's getting
away with something again, the way I always do.
day. We've had a
of spring weather this week, and it makes me feel like getting outside
and doing something. I'm sitting here now in my new nightgown, drinking
black coffee, watching "Bugs Bunny" cartoons on TV and listening to
Jamie riding her little car around the kitchen ("B-rrooom,
b-rrooom!") In a while I'll get
us cleaned up and dressed and take her to the park, since the car is
available and we won't have to walk up the damned hill to get there.
Thank God I discovered that park. I can tell it's going to be a
lifesaver this summer. I can take both of my children there for
afternoons of fresh air and sunshine: Jamie can run and play
in safety, and Casey can sleep in his basket or lay on a blanket and
keep me company. If I can find a good double stroller, I can walk them
to the park and get some much-needed exercise. Maybe I'll even strike
up a new friendship or two with another young mother. Wouldn't that be
playpen/Daddy in background fixing lawnmower; Mommy pregnant/blue
couple of days before Kacie's birth
March 20, 1983
- tickle (rubs belly to show me what to do)
This is becoming a
coffee and scribbles in my journal. It sort of gets my day off to a
good, organized start. Of course, after next week all semblance of
routine in my life will be blown to hell. I'll have to sneak a word or
two into the journal whenever I have a free moment ... IF I
have a free moment ...
I was a
marshmallow with Ray again.
There was about half an hour of silence between us after he got up, and
then I couldn't stand it anymore. (Terri: "Don't you think you owe me
an apology?" Ray: "I'm sorry ... " Hug, hug.) He must have been feeling
guilty about staying out late, because he spent the whole day doing
nice things for us. He mowed the lawn so Jamie could play outside this
week, and later in the afternoon he went out and did a massive
grocery-shopping. We've got FOOD again!! In the evening he grilled
steaks on the Webber, fixed baked potatoes and green beans, and
deep-fried mushrooms and onions to go with the steaks. I was dazzled by
this display of generosity and attention, but today there's some stupid
damned party down at the tavern, and I'll probably end up home alone
with Jamie again.
told me she thinks
Ray is sewing
his wild oats before the baby is born, and that Don Jr. does
the same thing. It's a coping mechanism. Ray is probably anxious and
nervous about this coming week, and it's making him a little crazy.
It's unfortunate that he can't be more supportive, but when you come
right down to it I would rather have him get it out of his system now,
rather than waiting until after the baby is born. That's when I'll
really need him. I just hope he knows that.
suddenly ... I'm the mother of two.
March 24, 1983
thought I'd forgotten
you, Journal, but that's not the case at all. I've simply been very
busy this week. I have become a mother again!! I have a beautiful
little daughter named Kacie Pauline, born Monday night at 9:29 p.m. It
all happened very suddenly and dramatically and now here I am,
beginning my third day in the hospital, thoroughly ashamed of myself
for not writing sooner! There has been a lot of physical discomfort,
and grogginess from my medication, and phone calls, and all sorts of
interruptions to prevent me from writing, but this morning I feel
almost human again. Dr. Heffron just woke me up to say "hello," and I
feel so much better, physically, that I think I'll stay awake awhile.
The sun is shining outside the window of my room, and the hospital is
strangely quiet. My roommate, Maura R., is snoring peacefully; outside
in the hallway I can hear an occasional gurney being trundled back and
forth, muffled voices, the swish of a toilet, footsteps. I feel
amazingly good. Last night I had considerable pain and I had to summon
the nurse twice. The first time she gave me two more pain pills and a
sleeping pill, but an hour and a half later the pain was worse and I
was still awake, so she gave me a jab in the rear (morphine) and that
did the trick, finally. I slept like a log. This morning I've still got
cramps, and I'm still waiting for my first post-surgery b.m., but other
than that I'm really quite rested and refreshed.
Kacie is a
beautiful, normal little
girl with a shock of blackish-brown hair, a very round head and face,
wide-set eyes and the beginnings of Ray's nose and chin. I see her
every four hours, when the nurses bring her in for feedings. She
usually doesn't eat much of her formula yet, so we spend our visiting
time cuddling and getting to know each other. At birth she weighed 6
lbs. 7 oz. and was 19-1/2" long, almost exactly the same as Jamie. Both
of my daughters were (are) tiny but compact. She's got all her toes and
all her fingers (!) and everything is beautifully in place.
morning I had a routine
planned at noon with Dr. Heffron, so as usual Peg came and picked up
Jamie and I and gave us a ride to the doctor's office. I was given a
brief internal exam to make sure the baby was still in the breech
position -- she was -- and the doctor said that otherwise everything
checked out great. He said he would see me "bright and early
on Friday morning," and I left his office feeling excited and more than
a little impatient. Peg took us to McDonald's for lunch, where Jamie
and I split an order of Chicken McNuggets, fries and a chocolate shake.
We came back to the house, and I put Jamie down for a nap. The house
needed some picking up, but I didn't feel much like cleaning; instead I
sat and read a couple of new magazines, drank a Pepsi, visited with
Carol when she dropped off my Avon order. I really felt nothing out of
the ordinary until later in the afternoon, when I noticed my underwear
was soaking wet. Still, I thought nothing of it ... I attributed it to
normal late-pregnancy secretions. I continued to "gush" fluid,
off and on, while I talked on the phone with Judy around 5
p.m. I told her that I wouldn't be surprised if "that time" were close
at hand. I called Ray at the bar where he was having a drink and asked
him to come right home; I said I wanted him here in case something
"unexpected" should happen. At the time I was only about half-serious,
but he was home soon afterwards, just as I was packing the last of my
things into my hospital bag. The "gushing" was becoming more
pronounced, especially when I was standing up, but I still wasn't sure
if my water was breaking or I was just peeing my pants! Ray was fixing
spaghetti for dinner, and I was hungry as heck, but I thought I'd
better not eat anything ... just in case. In a very low-key and
unhurried way, I was beginning to realize that this was, indeed, the
beginning of Baby's arrival. I was excited but I felt no panic -- and I
felt NO pain. I calmly telephoned Mom, Dad and Judy to tell them the
news while Ray finished his supper. Then I got Jamie into her p.j.'s,
finished packing her bag and finally called my doctor, who urged us to
come straight to the hospital.
Ray put our bags
into the car, I
Peg and Don and arranged for them to meet us at the hospital,
and off we went. By then my water had broken completely and my jeans
were soaked. Ray missed the entrance to the hospital, and (cursing) had
to double back to find it. He dropped me off at the entrance so I could
go in and admit myself while he parked and waited for his
folks to pick up Jamie.
I checked in at 8
p.m., and was
immediately taken to a labor room, where preparations began and things
were happening at a fast and frantic pace. Blood pressure,
reflexes, heart rate were all tested ... I was shaved EVERYWHERE ... I
was hooked up to a catheter and an I-V ... various nurses and doctors
prodded and poked me, asked questions, explained procedures. I signed a
thick stack of consent forms. Ray slipped into his green hospital
"p.j.'s" and paper cap, and then he hovered outside the doorway while
the final preparations were made. It was all happening so quickly it
took us both by surprise -- suddenly there I was, being wheeled into
the delivery room!
The spinal I was
given left me with
sensation from the waist down, just a warmth and heaviness,
particularly in my legs. My arms were strapped down, as were my legs,
and a blue fabric screen completely obliterated my view (and Ray's) of
the surgical proceedings. The spinal made me feel weak and nauseous,
and I threw up a couple of times. It also made breathing difficult so
they gave me oxygen. Ray sat on a stool beside my head and held onto my
fingers, nervously. Once or twice I met his eyes: he looked at me
steadfastly, refusing to watch the surgery at all. At 9:29 the baby was
born, and was immediately taken to a small table adjacent to mine,
where they started her breathing and cleaned her up. Several people
told me the baby was a girl. I looked at Ray and repeated the message
so he could hear it, then mouthed a silent (and unnecessary!) "I'm
sorry!" The pride and love in his eyes made it abundantly clear how he
felt: this second tiny daughter is every bit as special and important
to him as the first. If he was disappointed not to have a son, you
would never know it to look at him.
Kacie Pauline Polen
Ray and I were
both allowed to
with the baby briefly while I was being stitched up, and then I was
wheeled back to the recovery room. By that point I felt terribly sick,
weak, cold and numb. I couldn't move my legs at all - I couldn't even
wiggle my toes - and while Ray used the bedside phone to call my Dad,
all I could do was lay there in a groggy haze. Ray left soon afterward,
at my urging. He was tired and overwhelmed by the events of the last
I was taken
upstairs to a hospital
and all I wanted to do was get the feeling back in my legs so I could
wiggle my toes and get some sleep. Unfortunately I could do neither. I
was put alone in a dark room, shivering under piles of warm blankets,
and was given occasional doses of pain medication through the I-V. For
awhile I would feel warm and drowsy and I would doze off for an hour or
so, but then the nurse would come back to check my blood pressure and
I'd be wide awake and in pain again. The worst part of all was being
paralyzed from the waist down. I've never felt anything like it, and I
pray I never do again. It was a completely helpless, agonizing
sensation, laying there in darkness, willing myself to MOVE MY TOES,
and not even being able to do that much. It was agony.
I watched the
night pass. The nurse
would offer me ice chips and give me pain medication from time to time,
and very gradually I began to feel warm. Even better, I could move my
toes! Soon afterwards I was able to turn over on my side, with my legs
curled up. Bliss. My incision burned and ached, but compared to the way
I felt earlier, this was heaven. I got a little sleep, but it came in
snatches: I would begin to think about Kacie, and about everything that
had happened to me that evening, and I was excited and buzzing with
thought. I watched the sun come up. At 6:30 a.m. I turned on an early
morning news program on TV, and another hour later I started making
phone calls. I called Ray before he left for work, and then I called my
mom. Mom and I discussed possible spellings of the baby's name, and it
was then that I decided to change Kasey to Kacie.
I spent most of
the day (Tuesday the
22nd) in Room S315, a deluxe room with a gorgeous view. I was hooked up
to the I-V and the catheter so I was completely bedridden, but at least
I had full use of my frozen legs again, and my pain medication kept the
worst of the hurt to a minimum. I had dry toast and juice for both
breakfast and lunch but couldn't keep it down either time. I napped,
made a few calls, visited with Peg and Don and Jamie when they visited,
and I got to know my new little daughter at her feeding times.
Kacie in her isolette (left); Jamie's first glimpse of her baby sister
Kacie P. is a
sweet, quiet baby with
round face, wide-set eyes and tiny ears set close to her head. Her nose
has a tiny indentation just below the bridge, and there is a scattering
of small bumps (temporary) across her forehead. I've only seen her open
one eye at a time -- dark, liquid, inky-colored eyes. Her toes and
fingers are slender and tapered, and she already has fine brown
eyebrows and smooth, pink coloring. I think she looks a LOT like Ray,
particularly her hair, her nose and her eyes. At birth she weighed 6
lbs., 7 oz. and was 19-1/2" in length.
I was eventually
moved to another
317 - which I share with another young mother named Maura (her new baby
Aaron is her third son). We are cordial and considerate of one another,
but careful not to overstep any boundaries ... a good arrangement. We
talk, a little. We both had C-sections, and therefore we share certain
things in common, including pinching bandages and cumbersome elastic
March 30, 1983
Again a lapse
between the last entry
this one -- six days this time. We are home. Much has changed, and yet
nothing has changed, if that makes sense. Here I am, sitting at the
kitchen table with my coffee, watching the world outside my window,
listening to trucks rumbling up and down the street, planning lunch. In
some ways things are exactly as they were two weeks ago. Except ...
this morning there are two
babies napping as I write. There are two sets of bottles in the fridge:
the Playtex nursers filled with Enfamil, the Evenflo bottles filled
with milk and Hawaiian Punch. There are three people living and
breathing in our little home today while Ray is working ... me and my two
Today -- so far --
has been a good
Yesterday was a crummy day, but today is shaping up well. I'll
elaborate in a moment.
We left the
hospital on Sunday
Originally we were scheduled to leave Saturday, but I developed a
fever and infection around my incision so I stayed one extra
night. Leaving the hospital was exciting but sad -- I had
gotten to know my nurses and my roommate, and it was sad to say
goodbye. Pat, Barbara and Jamie brought us home, and then Jamie went
back to the folks' house and spent one more night.
Home from the hospital
adjusted to the
basket, and she's done little but eat and sleep since she came home.
She is a quiet, sweet-tempered baby, and taking care of her in
unbelievably easy. Even the night feedings are easy. The last two
nights she woke up at 12:30 and at 5:30 a.m. I feed her 3 to 4 oz. of
formula, rock her for a few minutes in the rocking chair, and then she
falls right back to sleep with no fuss at all. I think I've only heard
her cry ONCE so far! I love the way she looks up at me with those big,
inky-black eyes while she's eating ... that look of complete trust. I
love her madly already. So does Ray. I think the fact that she looks
like him moves him deeply.
Jamie came home
Monday night. At
she was really excited when she saw Kacie. She kept pointing at the
basket where her sister was sleeping, saying "Dee! Dee!" (Baby!
Baby!) She clambered up onto the sofa and gingerly touched
Kacie's hair, her nose, her blanket. A real live baby! She thought it
was pretty neat. Some of the novelty is beginning to wear off now,
though. Jamie is never openly hostile towards Kacie - yet! - but she's
started having temper tantrums over every little thing, and she lays on
the floor, kicking and screaming. I usually just ignore her and walk
away, and a lot of the time the tantrum ceases as abruptly as it began.
April 1, 1983
One daughter is
nestled into the
of my arm, dreamily sucking on her bottle and staring off into space
... the other daughter has clambered onto a kitchen chair next to mine
and is happily playing with Daddy's car keys, shouting at CeCe to
"SHUT!" Drizzly, gray morning, but the house is warm and neat and
comforting. Ray has the day off and he's still in bed, sound asleep. My
morning pain pills have taken effect and I feel comfortable, free of
pain, able to get through another day of juggling babies and doing
laundry. Ray took me to the doctor yesterday. The bandages were removed
from my incision finally -- blessed relief from itching!! -- and Dr. H
gave me more pain pills and a prescription for antibiotics. I've been
struggling with a fever and painful urination all week, symptoms of
infection, and the antibiotics will hopefully take care of that. I'm a
little tired, and there is still pain where I'm healing from the
C-section, but other than that I am recovering from my first major
surgery with remarkable ease.
Kacie continues to
be a sweet, happy
little baby -- I swear that she's smiling already! -- and taking care
of her is sooo easy. She likes to be held. All babies do, of course,
but Kacie seems to enjoy it more than anything else, even more than
April 2, 1983
I'm having a
crummy morning. Ray is
laying like a lump in bed, refusing to lift a finger with the babies,
the house, anything. Yesterday he went off and played basketball with
his friends all afternoon. Then he came home at 7 p.m. and promptly
started making this huge, greasy steak dinner ... deep-fried everything
... and when it wasn't ready until 10 p.m., he couldn't understand why
I was too exhausted to eat much. I shuffled off to bed at 10:30, a
Kacie fell asleep
in her little
in the living room, no more than three or four feet from where Ray sat
eating his dinner, and I assumed he would watch her while I slept. With
any luck I might catch two hours of sleep. But ten minutes after I'd
flopped gratefully into bed, I heard her start to cry. I buried myself
deeper into the blankets and prayed that, just this once, Ray would
take the initiative and feed her. I was just SO tired.
he completely ignored her! I listened as she grew steadily more
agitated, and then I couldn't stand it anymore. I stalked out to the
kitchen and grabbed her bottle out of the fridge. Ray was sitting there
at the kitchen table reading a comic book! I glared at him, and he
looked at me with this big dumb innocent expression and said, "I was
gonna do it!" I muttered one choice obscenity at him, slammed the
refrigerator door and carried Kacie out of the room.
up and down with Kacie
all night and I feel awful this morning. The kitchen is a greasy mess,
and guess who gets to clean it up?! Jamie is fussy and cranky, too.
Every two minutes she falls down or runs into something and starts
screaming. Poor little Kacie is bearing the brunt of all this, because
I just don't have the time to give her a lot of one-on-one attention. I
feel confused and unhappy and sadly let-down. I've got two beautiful
babies and a home of my own - and yes, an occasionally decent husband -
but for some reason Kacie's arrival feels more like an ending than a
beginning. I feel as though I've already done all the glorious things
I'm going to do in this life, and from here it's all downhill. All that
lay ahead are bottles, diapers, greasy dishes, baskets of wrinkled
laundry, diets, arguments with Ray, lonely afternoons ....
April 3, 1983
Sitting at the
kitchen table with my
little bunny rabbits. Jamie is "reading aloud" to us from the
ever-present "Pokey Little Puppy's Wonderful Winter Day" ... Kacie is
wiggling in her infant seat, watching me with those huge, "E.T." eyes
of hers. Ray, of course, is sleeping. (Must be nice.) It's a bright,
sunny Easter morning. I've got a ton of stuff to do this morning --
we're going over to Peg & Don's for dinner this afternoon, so
I've got three people to get ready for the outing. I felt OK when I
first got up, but now I'm beginning to drag. Long day ahead. Sigh.
Monday morning 9 a.m.
April 4, 1983
The girls have a
with their new pediatrician, Dr. Bauer. Peg and Barbara will be here
soon to drive us and help me juggle babies. I've been almost
manic about housework lately, in spite of everything, so the house is
neat and orderly this morning. I learned yesterday that it takes at
least three hours to get everybody fed, clean, dressed, packed and
ready to go anywhere.
Yesterday was OK
... a typical P.
gathering. (The roster: Don, Pat, Barbara, Don Jr., Judy, Billy, Jeff,
Sheryl, and a little blond boy named Jason, who Sheryl was
babysitting.) The very instant I walked through the door my
father-in-law started in on me with the toilet training stuff. I
haven't written about this previously, because frankly I didn't think
it merited mention, but Don and I have been going around about this for
a couple of months now. He's gung-ho about getting Jamie
trained RIGHT NOW, while I have chosen to listen to our pediatrician,
who says "Wait until she's two." Big Don flatly refuses to accept this,
and he's driving me crazy. Yesterday he said -- this was supposed to be
a joke -- "I talked to Jamie's doctor, and he
didn't say anything about waiting until she's two." I was struggling to
get the girls' jackets off and get them settled, and I looked
at him and said "Bullshit" and walked away. He didn't speak to me for
two hours afterward. I must have really offended him, although I didn't
mean it that way -- it just popped out of my mouth. Judy has already
told me horror stories about the pressure Big Don put on her to toilet
train Billy last year, and I don't intend to let it happen to me.
Advice is fine: pressure is out of the question. Today I will ask Dr.
Bauer what he thinks. If he says I should start to train her now, I
will. Otherwise we will just take our time and let nature take its
I felt depressed
around Judy and
yesterday. They're both still pregnant (Judy is six months along,
Sheryl is "just barely" but already wearing maternity clothes, of
course), and it gave me pangs of longing & envy. More of that
feeling that everything is "over." Sheryl is already acting very wan
and weak, spending most of the afternoon curled up on the sofa while
Peg brought her glasses of milk. I don't know if I can stand another
six months of it. Judy, on the other hand, looked robust and healthy,
and somehow her pregnancy was easier for me to take. Still, sitting
between these two "glowing madonnas," I felt very flat and ordinary.
The spotlight is very definitely not pointed at me anymore. I remind
myself that a year from now all the babies will be here and there will
be no need to feel envy or resentment, but in my present post-partum
state of mind, any reminders that my own pregnancy is over are
getting much of a
"spotlight," either, and that bothers me. It's as though she has
quietly slipped into the family and no one cares. With Jamie's arrival
there was such an uproar, but this time -- nothing. A tiny trickle of
congratulatory cards, a few cards, a phone call or two. I was told to
expect this, but we're talking about MY BABY!! It doesn't seem fair.
Kacie may be my second-born, but she's still special and important. She
deserves to be in the limelight, even for a little while ... doesn't
Wednesday 9 a.m.
April 6, 1983
I have company
every morning during
coffee-and-journal routine ... Jamie, now proficient at sitting at the
"big" table with Mom, eating a banana and yelling about nothing in
particular ... and Kacie, hiccuping in the infant seat balanced on the
table in front of me. Privacy is a thing of the past. I have an
audience now for everything I do -- washing dishes, making beds,
brushing my teeth, showering, even going to the bathroom. I can't say
that I mind too awfully much, though, particularly since Jamie is
becoming increasingly verbal and we'll soon be able to have actual
appointment the other
went fairly smoothly. Both of my girls are in perfect health. Jamie
weighs 22 pounds, Kacie weighs seven. Jay had to get a shot, her MMR,
and of course she hated that, but things in general went well. Dr.
Bauer is neat. He uses little puppets, toys and funny noises to keep
the kids amused and distracted. Jamie loved "Choco," the monkey puppet.
I just hope we Don't get all screwed up financially with this
pediatrician, the way we did with Dr. Van Paaschen.
EXCITING AGENDA FOR THE DAY AHEAD:
1. Wash and fill
bottles for the day.
2. Shower, shampoo, dress, put on my face.
3. Change and dress the girls (at least once!)
4. Dishes, clean up kitchen
5. Make beds
7. Fold and put away clean laundry
8. Take the girls outside to the backyard for fresh air and play this
afternoon, while I enjoy a glass of wine and a magazine (AFTER
everything else has been done.)
Spring is here.
Yesterday I opened up
the front door (which is usually kept closed, year-round) and we
enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. I had my annual "itch" to do
something new with the house, so I got out the hammer & nails
and changed all the pictures around on the living room walls. Wish I
had the money to get a few new things ... some picture frames, a new
plant, some dried flowers, some kind of wall-hanging for the area above
the piano. I think the house looks nice in a shabby, comfortable,
makeshift way, but it would be fun to add a few new things to brighten
it up. I've got a little bit of money stashed away that Ray doesn't
know about -- about $30, I think. He's got a birthday coming up,
though, and I really ought to use it for his gift. I was thinking about
taking some pictures of the girls and getting them developed right
away, and then maybe blowing up a nice one and framing it for him.
Just took my last
two pain pills ...
should be a mellow afternoon. Wonder if the doctor would refill my
prescription again? Probably not. (Besides, I'm too chicken to ask.)
Jamie is verrry
cranky at the moment.
went outside and played in the backyard for a little while, which she
loved, but when it began to look like rain I had to bring her in. Now
she's mad at me. I gave her a cooky and some 7-Up as a peace offering,
which she promptly threw on the floor.
Maybe it won't be
such a mellow
afternoon after all.
April 7, 1983
My sister Debby is
going to come and
stay with us for the next four days. Mom is bringing her over this
The house is
astonishingly quiet ...
Carol, God bless her, just came and picked up Jamie for the day, giving
me one blissful day alone with Kacie! Jamie is going to Carol's new
apartment in Redmond to play with Joshua & Matt, and she'll be
home later this afternoon. I plan to take full advantage of the
situation and do all the things I can't do when Jay is around ...
little housecleaning projects, maybe get a couple of letters written,
take a long hot shower WITHOUT INTERRUPTION, nap in the afternoon ...
and, most especially, give Kacie some personalized love and
attention. It feels funny not having my little Puss underfoot, but she
needs some time to play with children her age and to get out of the
house, as much as I need the time alone with Kacie. It'll be good for
both of us.
the weekend. Debby
here from Thursday till yesterday. I enjoyed her company, but it was a
relief to see her go home ... the neighbor boys "discovered" that she
was staying with us, and they all but moved in with us for the weekend.
The house was overrun with young teenagers, loud music and cigarette
Mom & Ken
brought a crib for
Kacie when they came to pick up Deb yesterday. It's Kelli and Ben's old
crib, and it needs some repair and a good paint job. It also needs a
mattress, which Mom has offered to buy as a baby gift. Kacie is quite
content sleeping in the white wicker basket for now, so there's no
gigantic hurry to get the crib fixed up.
Tuesday 10:30 a.m.
April 12, 1983
Having my first
rough day with Kacie.
Until now I've been pretty lucky, but today we're having trouble. She
woke up at seven and has been eating practically non-stop ever since --
four bottles' worth, in fact, and she's still acting hungry. Jamie is
running around in her underwear and I'm still in my nightgown, longing
for a shower, but until Kacie goes to sleep I can't do anything. I have
a splitting headache and I'm exhausted, but I'm doing my damnedest not
to take it out on the girls. It's not their fault.
Having one heck of
a day. The girls
taking turns being absolute pills. It was well past noon before Kacie
settled down, and now it's Jamie's turn to be fussy and cranky. Argh.
Is this what life will be like from now on?
My most immediate
goal is to get the
of them synchronized somehow. Naps, mealtimes, bedtimes, baths, diaper
changes, waking times ... will they EVER coincide? Until they do, it's
going to be pretty rocky around here. Mommy is going to be a ragged
mess until we develop some sort of routine.
Wednesday 9 a.m.
April 13, 1983
The only way to
fight the constant
fatigue, I've learned, is to go to bed when the girls do, usually
around 8 p.m. This means giving up favorite TV shows, the evening
paper, time alone, time with Ray ... but if I want to feel halfway
human during my busy days with Jay & Kacie, I've got to get
some sleep. Last night I made it to bed at 9:00. I slept for three
hours, until Kacie woke up right on the dot of midnight. She ate
quickly and easily, and we were both back in bed within 45 minutes. She
next woke up at 3:45 a.m., approximately another three hours later.
This next feeding was more difficult, because Kacie wanted to stay up
afterwards. I finally put her back to bed, on her tummy for a change.
Bingo! It worked like magic, and she dropped right off. It was a little
past 5 a.m. by then. Much to my joy, we all got to sleep for another
three hours -- both babies woke simultaneously at 8:30! I feel more
rested, cheerful and energetic now than I have in days, and I think my
kids can sense the difference ... they woke up to the sounds of Mommy
singing and happily clattering pans and making coffee, instead of
schlepping and grumbling wearily around the house. The sun is shining
and it's a gorgeous spring day. We'll go outside and play in the
backyard this afternoon.
I would love to go
bowling with Ray
tonight and take the monkeys with us. We might. I'll have to think
about it. If we do go, though, I must resist the temptation to have a
drink or a beer, AND I must be home and in bed by 9:30. No "Dynasty" at
OWE LETTERS TO:
Jody Waltz, Gram
Amanda, Carol, Melinda, Debbie, Karen, Bonita, Larry, Joseph, Michele
IF WE GO BOWLING:
Set hair, makeup,
Jamie dressed, Kacie dressed, two bags packed (Jay - nursery bag, one
bag for Kacie & I)
April 14, 1983
(Kacie's umbilical "plug" fell out in the night)
crummy, but now I know
why, at least -- my period has started, my first since last June, and
it's not a whole lot of fun. I feel tired and draggy. The babies
haven't been much trouble the last two days, anyway. The work isn't
hard physically, just repetitive and tiring psychologically. Ray was
out late last night, and I know he's going out again tonight, so I
haven't had anyone to talk to. Plus our phone is "restricted" again,
and I can't call anybody. I'm boxed into a house with nothing but
babies and dusty furniture and menstrual cramps.
Peace. Both of my
into bed. Ray has been home and is now off again for an evening with
his friends. I'm alone and feeling better. I'll go to bed myself
momentarily, but first I want to sit here for a little while in the
dark living room, munch on a piece of chicken, sip a Pepsi on ice,
savor the quiet.
Saturday 11 a.m.
April 16, 1983
The girls are
napping - I expect
to wake up shortly - and Ray is snoring happily on the sofa. He came in
this morning at 5 a.m., while I was warming up a bottle, and he seemed
astonishingly sober. Apparently he drove all his drunken buddies home
from the tavern, because he was the only one in "fit condition" to
drive. He was afraid I would be mad about the late hour, but I really
wasn't, considering the circumstances. I wish he and his tavern friends
would take turns driving each other home like that, because I think
it's a good idea. Ray said he stopped drinking at 11 so he would be
sober enough to take everyone else home. If one person would do that
each time they get together down there at Dave's, I for one would
certainly sleep easier. The thought of Ray driving home when he's drunk
is always so frightening, and I lay awake waiting for him, scared he
may have slammed into a telephone pole or something.
It feels like a
permanent condition. I pump myself up with caffeine all day to stay
awake, and then I can't sleep at night. A vicious cycle.
My bleeding keeps
stopping, so now I'm not really sure if my period has started after all
or not. My belly has been very tender and sore this morning. It hurts
to the touch, and my too-tight jeans just aggravate the problem.
My moods go up and
down. I guess I'm
still in the throes of post-partum craziness. Sometimes I feel content
and happy, and sometimes I feel almost unbearably sad and let-down.
Mainly I just can't believe how quickly everything has happened. One
minute I was pregnant, and then, BOOM, I'm the mother of two. It still
doesn't feel completely real. I was reading last year's journal this
morning, some things I wrote during the first few weeks with Jamie, and
I found it both encouraging & discouraging. I'm feeling many of
the same things ... the fatigue, of course, and the boxed-in feeling,
wondering if life would just be one endless round of diaper-changing
from this point forward. Of course, now I know that newborns eventually
start sleeping through the night, and start smiling at people, and
develop some personality, and fall into a routine. So I don't have to
wonder about all of that. I know that pretty soon Kacie will begin to
cooperate with me and that things will get easier. Still, today is
where I am now, and it's difficult to see much further than the next
Kacie always looks
She has those big sad eyes of Ray's -- blue at the moment, but
undoubtedly destined to turn brown -- and his deep frown lines between
her brows. It makes her look like she's always in anguish. It's
positively heart-rending, even though I know it's just a facial
characteristic and not a reflection of her feelings!
April 17, 1983
(Roll call: Ray
and Jamie are in bed,
Mama and Kacie are sitting at the kitchen table.) My house is a
horrifying mess. Toys and greasy taco dishes everywhere. Bevutiful,
warm spring day. Feeling more rested than usual, thanks to two easy
nighttime feedings, but I Don't feel much like cleaning. If I could do
anything I wanted to today, I would pack up the girls and go for a
long, leisurely drive. Out of the question, however -- Kacie doesn't
have a car-seat yet. Plus I know Ray would never go for it. He might
mow the lawn today, but other than that I don't expect him to do much.
He says he's feeling "sick." POOR BABY.
Kacie is very
alert this morning.
huge blue eyes follow me everywhere are I move around the kitchen.
April 21, 1983
Kacie is one month
We had our best
night. Kacie went down at 10:30 p.m. and slept straight through until 5
a.m. ... then back down at 5:30 for another 2-1/2 hours, and up for
good at 8 a.m. We went bowling with Ray last night so maybe the noise
and excitement tired her out.
I noticed last
night that she is much
more sensitive to noise than Jamie was at that age. Whereas Jay used to
sleep right through the mayhem of the bowling alley, Kacie was jumpy
and unhappy most of the evening and never really fell asleep the entire
time. I held her and comforted her as best I could, but even the
slightest sudden noise bothered her. The car ride home didn't soothe
her, either ... she laid on my lap and stared up at me with huge,
troubled eyes until we finally got her home. I gave her a warm bottle,
changed her diapers and p.j.'s, and put her into her dark quiet
bedroom, where she finally dropped off. I stayed up for an extra hour
afterward, watching the season finale of "Dynasty" and listening for
her in case she woke up, but she was out like a light and we
all got a fairly good nights' sleep.
Ray's 28th birthday. I
gave him cards from the girls and me, and a glass picture frame that
says "Dad" and holds photos of his three girls. (Jamie, Kacie and ME!)
He got cards and money in the mail from D & H, Gram &
Grandpa P. and Grandma D. On Saturday we're having the in-laws here to
the house for a birthday celebration. We haven't entertained here since
before Christmas and I'm out of practice! My house needs a
super-thorough cleaning, but I know there won't be time. Wish I could
get the carpet shampooed and the drapes cleaned, but when?
I feel tired and
here nor there, not up, not down, just kinda in-between ... I sit and
look out the window and let my thoughts take me away. Every once in a
while Jamie comes over and jabbers at me, bringing me back to reality.
I'm thinking about
how much my life
changed in the past five years, about all the things that have
happened, the people who have passed through my life, the places I've
lived, the different people I've been ... I'm back at Ridgway
Packaging, answering the phones. I'm in Lahaina on Thanksgiving night
1978 with Scott W., eating a ham sandwich in an open-air cafe. I'm
sitting on a barstool at Gatsby's, drinking a screwdriver and flirting
with Billy. I'm moving into Ray's house on Presidential Election night.
I'm giving birth to Jamie. I'm pregnant with Kacie ...
... and then, here
I am, sitting in
kitchen on a stuffy, cloudy spring day with my two daughters, a
glassful of melted ice cubes, a headache, a soap opera on the tube, a
heartful of memories and nothing to look forward to in the immediate
future but Jamie's afternoon nap ...
That's one reason
I feel so hollow
lately: I have nothing concrete to look forward to. I've spent eighteen
of the last twenty-one months looking forward to stuff -- babies'
arrivals, my wedding, Christmases with my new family -- and now there's
oddly down and far
Wish Ray would come home ... I need the comfort of his presence. Just
having him in the house, puttering around in the kitchen or something,
would help. Our phone is still dead so I can't call him at the tavern
and ask him to come home -- damn. Maybe ESP would work. ((HONEY ...
COME HOME PLEASE!!!))
Friday morning 7:45 a.m.
April 22, 1983
Too early to tell
if I feel any
today -- I'm just now having my first cup of coffee. Kacie gave a
couple of indignant squawks about fifteen minutes ago, and I thought it
was my signal to get up, so I hopped out of bed and started warming her
bottle and making coffee. Now, though, the house is completely silent.
Has she gone back to sleep? As long as I'm up I might as well stay up,
I guess, early though it is. I've got a lot of cleaning to do today.
Sigh. Another fun day in the life of Terri P. ...
Ray wasn't home
until 9:30 last night
and he was quite drunk. I decided not to make an issue of it, since
overall he's been pretty good about spending time at home with us
lately. Kacie only slept in two hour chunks last night -- she woke up
at midnight and at 4 a.m. I'd tell you how tired I am this morning as a
result, but you're probably getting sick of hearing about it. The story
of my life. This will be a two pot of coffee day.
Oops - she's
awake. See ya.
Saturday morning 7:15 a.m.
April 23, 1983
Ray didn't come
home last night. (HA!
just pulled in, as a matter of fact.) And Kacie only slept in two hour
stretches, so between the two of them I'm feeling surly and groggy this
morning. This is the day of our family dinner, and it looks like I
can't count on Ray to help me. (He came in the door wordlessly and fell
on top of our bed with his clothes on. I went into the bed and said, "I
want an explanation." He mumbled something about "watching the
basketball game" and "sleeping in the car" ... the same old shit.) I'm
nearly out of formula for Kacie.
I had dreams about
Phil all night
and today I can't seem to get him out of my head. How odd. I feel
strangely sad and lonely for him. He was one of the best friends I ever
had, as well as one of my deepest loves ... I wonder where I would be
today if we'd stayed together?
April 27, 1983
There just isn't
much time to write
these days. I'm constantly being interrupted by one daughter or the
other. Both the girls and I have been sick this week, with
some kind of intestinal "bug" ... diarrhea, mostly, and yesterday I was
throwing up and had an awful headache, chills and fever. I had to
change poopy diapers all day long and I thought I was going to die.
Fortunately Ray came home early to give me a hand. He fixed Jamie's
dinner and washed the dishes for me while I got some rest. Today I
don't feel nauseous anymore, at least, but I'm still weak and
wrung-out. The girls still have diarrhea, though, and I'm worried about
them. Jamie has been in good spirits and doesn't act "sick," but if she
still has diarrhea tomorrow I want to call the doctor. Kacie seems to
have it to a somewhat lesser degree.
Kacie smiled at me
today for the
time! A true, crinkly-eyed, radiant smile. It lit up her whole face. I
was THRILLED!! This was what I've been waiting for ... the first
indication of personality, a glimmer of what she'll be like in a few
months. She looked me right in the eye and smiled at me. (Hello,
Thursday 8:15 a.m.
April 28, 1983
Feeling ashamed of
Ray came home from
bowling last night
11:00, when the girls and I were already asleep. I heard him knocking
on the kitchen door, and I groggily stalked out to the kitchen, let him
in, and then wordlessly turned around and went back to bed. I didn't
give him so much as a "hello." I don't know why. I wasn't really mad
about anything. I guess I was just half-asleep. Anyway, this morning I
came out to the kitchen and found a brand-new bowling trophy hanging
forlornly on the kitchen wall. It says, "Northern Handicap, 2nd, 82-83,
Ray P.." I also found evidence of a special dinner he'd brought home --
no doubt to celebrate - Rax sandwiches and my favorite chocolate chip
cookies - as well as a brand-new People magazine, a couple cans of pop
and the laundry soap I'd requested. The cash register receipt says he
bought the food at 10:30 p.m. He bought all that food and then made a
special stop at the grocery store for milk and formula and the other
stuff. He was probably feeling proud and excited about his trophy, and
he looked forward to sharing it with me, and then he comes home to the
frostiest reception this side of the North Pole. I feel like a real
Poor Ray. No
wonder he fell asleep,
alone, on the sofa. I found him there at 2 a.m. when I was up with
Kacie. He was half-covered with an afghan, still fully dressed and
sound asleep, and I woke him up and sent him off to our bed. I was
asleep again when he left for work this morning, but I vaguely remember
him kissing me on the forehead. At least he isn't mad at me. Still, I
feel bad about last night, and I want to make it up to him somehow.
Today I'll mount his trophy in a prominent spot in the living room. In
the madness and mayhem of my life these days, with its continual round
of diapers and bottles and constant fatigue, I simply must make time
for Ray. We depend on him for so much. I must remember to show him
appreciation, recognition, empathy, support, love.
It's a beautiful,
clear morning, 52
degrees already and due to reach the 70's later. These warm spring days
are more of a problem than anything. Jamie has discovered "outside,"
and she passionately adores the freedom of running & playing
outdoors. I can't always take her outside when she wants me to, though
... there is housework and baby work and the conflicting schedules of
two baby daughters to work around ... when she approaches me with her
sweater in hand and lifts her arms up to me, requesting that I take her
out to play, it breaks my heart to say "Not now." She doesn't
understand the concept of waiting, and "maybe later" means nothing to
her. Her face crumples and the tears and howls begin and I feel like a
HEEL. My family has the ability to inspire such guilt in me, don't
Actually, my own
aversion to the sun
have more than a little to do with it, too. I might be making excuses
and putting her off, simply to avoid having to go outside myself. I'll
take my cool, dim little house over a sweaty romp in the backyard any
day. But that's not fair to my daughter, who needs sunshine and fresh
air and room to run, and I am determined to put aside my personal
preferences in this instance and take her outdoors as often as
I'm saddened by
the thought that our
long afternoon stroller adventures are now a thing of the past. Maybe
someday I'll get a double stroller, and then I can take both of the
girls for walks.
We've lost the
spontaneity we used to
have around here. Nothing can be done on the spur of the moment anymore
-- no quick trips to the store or to Dave's Place, no unplanned
stroller rides, no deviation from our rigid schedule. Whims must be
ignored. If I feel like a shower in the middle of the afternoon or a
session at the piano early in the morning, that's too bad! EVERYTHING
must be planned, even my morning shower or a walk outside to the
mailbox. I have a 9:30 a.m. doctors appointment tomorrow morning, and
I'll have to start preparing for it this afternoon or we'll never make
-- long something
I've detested -- is now my biggest fear. So naturally we've been having
more of it than usual lately. People are constantly dropping in on us
at precisely the wrong moment ... when I'm right in the middle of a
poopy diaper, or when the house is in total chaos, or when I only have
half my makeup on ... or, worst of all, when both of the girls have
miraculously gone down for a nap at the same time & I finally
have a minute to myself. Right about then a car will pull into the
driveway, and all my plans to shower or write a letter or catch a nap
will go out the window. Simply writing this journal entry is the most
I've done purely for myself in days, and even so I've been interrupted
half a dozen times already.
Every morning I
have to choose: what
will it be today? Housework and babies? Or letter writing and babies?
Or laundry and babies? Or (as on Tuesday when we were all sick), just
babies and nothing else? Even though Kacie provides a lot of extra
baby-work, I still feel compelled to keep my house clean, and usually
I'll use any free time to wash dishes or run the vacuum or make beds.
At the end of the day I need to have things neat & orderly,
even though I know that by morning the place will look like hell again
and I'll just have to do it over. The futility of housecleaning never
seems to deter me. It doesn't stop me from doing the same chores over
& over & over again. No matter how many dishes I wash
or plastic pants I launder or coffeetables I polish, there's always
more to do the next day. It's frustrating and boring and depressing
sometimes, but still I get comfort from the routine of it. Not
satisfaction, exactly, since there's so little challenge in it, but a
feeling of place and order. I wake up in the morning and know there are
things that simply must be done, and it gives me a reason to climb out
Would you believe
it? I was just
into the shower -- I'd just turned on the water -- when Peg knocked on
the door! Am I leading a charmed life or what?! More of that lovely
unexpected company I was just writing about. Actually, though, I'm not
complaining ... Peg brought over an armload of adorable little summer
clothes for Jamie, which she found at a garage sale ... a bunch of
sunsuits and shorts, and a couple pairs of long pants, all in excellent
condition and exactly Jamie's size. I feel like a little girl with new
clothes for her Barbie! Right now Jamie's wearing a cute little shorts
& bolero outfit, dark green with bright flowers and red trim.
She's currently in the undressing stage of toddlerhood, and she's
trying like the dickens to pull her shorts off.
April 29, 1983
Went and saw Dr.
Heffron for a
post-partum checkup this morning. Peg drove us to the doctor's office
and stayed with the girls out in the waiting room while I was being
examined. The most depressing news is that I weigh a whopping 157
pounds ... the heaviest I have ever
been, outside of pregnancy. Must do something about it NOW, before I
get any fatter, or I may never lose it. What a frightening thought.
The doctor fitted
me for a diaphragm.
also have a two months' supply of b.c. pills. I most desperately and
urgently do NOT want to get pregnant again, and I'm going to be very
conscientious about birth control to make sure I don't.
Ray didn't come
home last night until
long after I'd gone to bed, and he left for work before I got up this
morning. I'm feeling a bit lonely and depressed today because of it. If
he stays out again tonight, I don't know what I'll do. I need
him. I need his company, and his support, dammit!! I saw him for about
an hour before bowling on Wednesday, and not at all since then. We
might as well be living apart for all the time we spend together. I
would like to issue an ultimatum -- spend more time at home with us or
else -- but "or else" what? Ask him to move out? Take the girls and
leave? I don't want to end the marriage, but in actuality there isn't
much of a marriage, as it us. We rarely see each other, we never go
anywhere or do anything together or as a family, we don't even talk to
each other. Jamie and Kacie are the only things we have in common! No
wonder I've been daydreaming about past boyfriends so much lately,
wondering where I'd be today "if" ...
May 1, 1983
Seven thirty. So
tired, it's an
just to move this pen across the page. Cloudy, gray Sunday morning ...
after several days of hot sunny weather, it's a pleasant change. Kacie
got up on the dot of six. I was hoping to feed her quickly and then
coax her back to sleep for a couple more hours' sleep, but she was all
bright eyes and hiccups and she insisted on staying up. I tried putting
her down once, but she became quite indignant. Now her eyes are
beginning to droop a little bit finally, but it's too late for me to
even think about going back to bed ... Jamie will be waking up soon, so
there's no point. I've made some coffee, and if I bustle around the
house and pretend to be busy & awake, maybe I'll really begin
to feel that way.
When will Kacie
the night? Jamie was two months old before she began to occasionally
bypass her middle-of-the-night bottle. Depending on what time she goes
to bed at night, Kacie wakes up twice, sometime around midnight or one,
and then again around 5 a.m. or so. Last night it was 2:30 a.m. and
6:00 a.m. The first feeding is usually pretty easy and we're back in
bed soon afterwards, but I never know about the second feeding. Some
mornings she slips right back to sleep, and some mornings - like today
- going back to bed is the last thing on her mind. My body is gradually
beginning to adjust to less sleep, and I'm finding I can function
without that awful, bone-weary fatigue I felt all the time at first.
I'm still tired, but it's no longer disabling.
Life will probably
be a bit easier
both of the girls have become regular night-time sleepers. Jamie has
recently taken to waking up in the middle of the night at irregular
intervals and crying until I bring her a cold bottle of milk.
Fortunately this usually happens when I'm already up with Kacie, or
else I'd be bouncing in and out of bed all night long, caring for one
daughter or the other.
Some things about
Ray. On Friday
sat and waited for him to come home, and when it began to look like he
was going to stay out late for the third night in a row, I borrowed the
next-door neighbors' phone and called him at the tavern. I told him, in
NO uncertain terms, to be home in half an hour with the formula
& diapers I needed or else he could "find a new wife and two
new daughters." I was deadly serious, and I think he sensed that
because it worked! A short time later he was home with a bag of
groceries and the usual contrite apologies. He said that he's been
working "double shifts" at W.K., and that was why he's been so late.
I told him that
he's going to have to
pay more attention to his family. Our life the way it is now isn't
satisfying for any of us.
He had to work a
long day yesterday,
he was home in the afternoon and spent the evening with us. He took Jay
out into the front yard for awhile and they played with his model
airplane, and then later in the evening he helped me get the girls into
their jammies. He even voluntarily gave Kacie part of her bottle and
tucked Jamie into bed.
sure this is the one
time Ray ever changed
both of their diapers at once.
Ray can't even
to spend one whole day at home with us. Mike Ross stopped by a little
while ago, and the next thing I knew Ray had his coat on and the two of
them were walking out the door, supposedly to go to the tavern for "one
beer." That was two hours ago. I just can't believe it. Here I am, shut
up in this filthy house again with a screaming baby and a fussy
toddler, just like I am every day of my life ... alone, angry,
discouraged, tears running down my face, exhausted, FED UP with my
ASSHOLE of a husband. I've HAD it. His thoughtlessness and
irresponsibility are killing my love for him.
I used some of my
pent-up anger and
and cleaned the kitchen, picked up toys and newspapers, put the house
back in order. Now I'm just sitting and waiting. Wondering
what sort of approach to use when he gets home. The silent treatment
never works - it just gives him a reason not to talk to me. Yelling at
him doesn't do any good, either: nothing ever sinks in. If I act hurt,
he'll just give me his standard apology and I'll fold up and forgive
him, the way I always do. I wish I had the nerve to pack him a suitcase
and hand it to him at the door. That might shake him up a little.
Wednesday 10 a.m.
May 4, 1983
Note from Ray,
found on the
"Dear - Mommy -
Jamie - Kacie
I love you all very much
Your very own
Husband & Daddy"
Just when I'm
discouraged about my marriage, he does a complete turnaround and
surprises me by being loving, attentive and thoughtful. The past two
days he has been home by 4:30 to give me a hand with the
monkeys and to give me a little moral support.
When he finally
got home on Sunday
night, I was a frazzled mess. I was hoping to confront him calmly and
coolly, but when he walked through the door I just fell apart. I
started shouting and screaming, out of control, about what a rotten
husband he is and how his kids are going to grow up wondering who their
father us. I said, "Don't you even care about us at ALL?" and he sat at
the table, staring expressionlessly out the window, saying nothing.
Finally I ran out of things to say, and he got up and began making
dinner. After awhile the tension began to lessen, and before we went to
bed we were speaking again. I said, "I'm not mad anymore, but you
really hurt me today" and left it at that. He at least had the decency
to apologize for running out on our "family Sunday," and I think he was
genuinely sorry, but unfortunately I know that nothing has really
changed. It will happen again. The next time Ray starts feeling
boxed-in by his family obligations, he'll deal with it by running out
to the tavern. All the threats and pleading and tears in the world
won't change that. He won't talk to me about his feelings, so nothing
is ever resolved. I yell, he apologizes, I forgive -- that's it.
He loves us. I
know he does. But as
as I wish things were otherwise, we don't take priority in his life. At
least not all of the time, anyway. Maybe we're a burden to him. Maybe
he's not used to having so much responsibility, and he resents it.
Maybe it will change, in time. I'm willing to give him a chance, and to
wait and see if things change, and to do whatever I must to ensure that
they do change. We've only been married for a year and a half, after
all; I keep forgetting that because it feels like so much longer.
I see occasional
may be changing ... the note on the fridge, for instance, which was
totally out of character for Ray. He is a dear man and I'm probably
much luckier than I realize. True, I miss things like conversation ...
vacations ... common interests ... all things I had in other
relationships. On the other hand, I don't miss arrogance ... insults
... volatile arguments. Some of the passion in my life has been
replaced by peace of mind. There are no more violent physical fights,
with me throwing plates of spaghetti against walls. Our "arguments,"
such as they are, are so extremely low-key that they're over with
before they've begun, practically. Ray has never purposely insulted me
or made fun of me. He has never been physically or verbally abusive. He
doesn't act superior or treat me as an inferior because I'm "only" a
housewife. He's gentle and kind and, when he wants to be, as attentive
and responsive a man as I could wish for.
I keep wondering
where I would be
if I'd married someone else ... Phil, or Scott S., or Scott W. I have a
feeling that even if I'd married one of them, I would still be finding
reasons to feel discontent and unhappy.
I need to count my
whining about the things I don't have. Here is what I DO have.
1. Ray - for
better or for worse.
2. Two healthy, gorgeous daughters whom I adore.
3. A house that I love.
(Hey! Ray just
pulled up --- that's
three days in a row!!!)
Thursday 9 a.m.
May 5, 1983
company continues to
in. Monday, Dad and Valerie came by at noon for one of their brief
visits ... they brought a new scrapbook for Kacie. Later that same
afternoon, Cathie W. popped in. Then, last night just as we were
beginning to eat dinner at 8 p.m., Peg and Barbara showed up. Ray was
irked because they always seem to come at dinnertime, but they brought
a wonderful surprise with them -- a double stroller for the girls!!!
Barbara found it at a garage sale. It's a Strollee, in excellent
condition. I'm very pleased. As soon as Kacie can hold her head up a
little, I'll be able to prop her into one of the seats and we can all
beginning going out for strolls.
cool day ... an
day." I'm in a better mood this morning than I've been in for several
weeks. Ray has really been making an effort this week to be here for
us, and I think that helps. I don't feel quite so alone in the world.
Wish our telephone
... I would love to give Judy a call and have one of our nice long gab
sessions. She's about six months pregnant at the moment -- I wonder how
she's feeling? Patty is also about six months along, due on July 19.
Sheryl is due sometime in October. All these future nieces and nephews
of ours ...
Jamie Lynn P., at
months, is a lively, quick little girl with endless amounts of energy
and curiosity about her world. Her moods go up and down like a
rollercoaster: one moment she is sunshine, the next moment
thunderclouds, the next, back to sunshine again.
We have been most
fortunate in that
Jamie has enjoyed nearly perfect health since birth. There have been
occasional colds, bouts with mild diarrhea and a few instances of
diaper rash, but aside from these minor problems she's been the very
picture of health. Although she's small for her age - she weighs
approx. 22 lbs. - she is sturdy, agile and reasonably coordinated for a
toddler. She runs around the house at breakneck speed, jumps on the
furniture, climbs onto the kitchen chairs, throws a ball, "dances" to
music on the radio, sits in her little yellow chair, attempts to climb
out of her crib or into the bathtub, and crawls up and down stairs with
ease. She is constantly in motion.
fluctuates. She seldom
breakfast, preferring a bottle of milk and an occasional piece of
toast. Lunch and dinner are generally whatever I'm eating, slightly
modified to suit her tastes. Certain foods fall in and out of favor.
Currently tops on her list of "untouchables" are eggs, in any form ...
also fish (tuna or fish stocks), hot dogs (once a big favorite), plain
bread, apple slices, french fries (unless they're the greasy McDonald's
variety) or raw vegetables. This week she likes cooked corn, Salisbury
steak TV dinners, soda crackers, cheese, canned green beans, bacon,
cooked carrots, and generally anything that's new or slightly different
(Daddy's meatloaf last night, for instance). She LOVES ketchup. She
also LOVES butter, and she'll lick the butter off the cracker and leave
the cracker. Some days her appetite is enormous, other days she eats
like a bird. Some days she's content to sit in her highchair, other
days she insists on sitting at the "big table" to eat. I always let her
choose. She has certain little rituals connected to mealtime that she
insists on following -- putting on her bib, moving her food around on
her plate in a certain way, holding up her dish when she's done and
saying "done! done!"
She drinks well
from a cup - usually
juice, Kool Aid or pop, and ALWAYS with an ice cube in the drink! - but
there are still moments when nothing but "ba ba" will do. She derives a
great deal of comfort from her bottle and I wouldn't dream of trying to
wean her from it, regardless of what my father-in-law says. When she's
ready, I'm certain she'll give it up herself. In the meantime, "ba-ba"
is an invaluable help to ME.
she'd been taking
daytime naps, one at 11:30 a.m. and one at 4 p.m., each lasting for
about an hour. Since Kacie was born, though, the two naps have evolved
into one long nap in the middle of the day. I think Jamie just wants to
be up & in the middle of "the action" in the mornings.
Bedtime is 8:30
p.m. or thereabouts.
is usually pretty good about going to bed and there is minimal fuss.
She likes to sleep with her "liddle diddle" - her much beloved orange
blanky - and a few favorite stuffed animals. Favorites at the moment:
her Monchichi and her old pals "Jingle Bear" and "Honey Bear."
Every minute of
Jamie's day is filled
with exploration, experimentation and imitation. She carefully watches
everything Mama does and imitates in her best fashion. She walks around
the house with her little leather purse slung over her arm, clutching
one of her baby dolls, and gleefully waves "bye bye" as she pretends
she's "going shopping." When I brush my teeth she demands her own
little toothbrush, and then she stands beside me, noisily sucking the
toothpaste off the brush.
- "Ickies." Jamie
will find odds
ends of junk laying around the house -- bits of string, crumpled pieces
of paper, bottle caps, old matches -- and will bring them to me, saying
"Icky! Icky!" When I accept her "gifts" she smiles proudly.
- "Foo." Any time
that the two of us
near one of the windows overlooking the back yard, Jamie raises her
arms up to me and yells "Foo! Foo!" This means she wants me to pick her
up and let her look out the window at the doggy, which she calls "Foo."
favorite toys: Baby dolls,
especially those with eyes that open and close. Dolls with clothes she
can pull off. Her pink toddler car, which she can now ride all over the
house. Pull toys, "Turtle" especially but also "Bug," "Bevr" and "Bee."
Her wind-up radio, which plays "When You Wish Upon A Star." Balls, from
teeny-tiny to huge. Books and magazines. Her new swimming pool. PENS!
Jamie is a
chatterbox! From the time
gets up in the morning until she finally drops from exhaustion in the
evening, it is non-stop jabber jabber jabber.
May 8, 1983
Mother's Day ...
my second. "Jamie
& Kacie" left me a beautiful card on the kitchen table this
The house is a
godawful mess. I
announced last night that I intend to take the day off today -- NO
HOUSEWORK - but frankly I don't know if I'll be able to stand all the
toys and newspapers on the floor, and all the dirty dishes from last
night's tacos spread over the kitchen. If I don't pick everything up,
no one will.
If Mike Ross shows
up this afternoon
tries to whisk Ray off to The Sit 'N Bull, as he has the last couple of
Sundays, I'm going to clobber him.
Thursday 7:30 a.m.
May 12, 1983
rock-bottom, physically. Woke
with a sore throat on Monday, and it has since escalated into a
full-blown case of my annual spring flu. I've got a fever, a headache
and a chest full of sludge.
The girls aren't
up yet. I couldn't
back to sleep after Kacie's 5:30 a.m. feeding, so I decided to just get
up and have some coffee. It is a gorgeous morning, should get up into
the 70's today. There isn't much I hate more than being sick on a sunny
day, but there's no escaping it -- Jamie will want to play outside for
Kacie has given up
her middle of the
night bottle! Yahoo! She sleeps from about 8:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. or
thereabouts, and then again from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. It happened for the
first time on Sunday night - her Mother's Day gift to me? - and it's
happened every night since, so I guess it wasn't just a fluke. Next to
come: giving up the 5:30 a.m. bottle? (When?)
in the backyard
May 13, 1983
24 hours later,
and the sludge has
north, to my head ... runny nose, sloppy wet sneezes, pounding
headache. My nose is raw from continuous blowing. Another sunny day
looms ahead, but I made it through yesterday OK so today shouldn't be
I am just
beginning to get to know my
littlest daughter. For the first month of her life she did little but
sleep and eat, but each day she is more alert, more aware of the world
around her, and exhibits signs of her future personality. She is a very
sweet, placid, adaptable and tolerant baby. Many times her feedings are
interrupted (when Jamie takes a nose-dive off a kitchen chair, for
instance), but rather than fuss, Kacie just waits very patiently for me
to return to her.
She smiles at me
often. She loves the
funny faces and noises I make at her, and she responds with coos and
gurgles of her own. She loves to look at bright colors.
Jamie shows signs
of having caught my
cold. She woke up half an hour ago, very cranky, her nose appears a
little stuffy, and she feels kind of warm. I put some Baby Tylenol in
her milk, but somehow she seems to know it's in there & she
won't touch it!
May 15, 1983
morning. Jamie is
inside her toy basket (?), playing with my music box and absently
brushing her hair. Kacie is laying on the floor at my feet, cooing and
gurgling and waving her little arms and legs around in the air. Cloudy,
gray. Ray is still asleep. The house is in chaos. I'm drinking black
coffee, watching "This Week With David Brinkley," trying to summon the
energy to get things done. Still have my cold, although it has lessened
Last night was a
wonderful night. As
matter of fact, so was Friday. This whole weekend has been great, and
it's all because of Ray. He has been so sweet and attentive. On Friday
night the two of us stayed up late, listening to music, talking,
dancing a little bit ... it was fun. Last night we spent a much quieter
evening with the girls.
May 20, 1983
I can't believe
I'm saying this, but
think I may be pregnant again. I've been waiting anxiously for my
period to start, but so far, no sign of it. I am terrified. Ray and I
have been trying to be very careful, but we know from experience that
these things happen. Getting pregnant again would be the most horrible
thing that could happen to us right now. Trying to shove it out of my
mind until I know for sure, one way or the other.
Ray begins a 10
Saturday 9:30 a.m.
May 21, 1983
Kacie is two
months old today!
Ray's vacation has
begun, and I'm so
glad. Much to my surprise he was home fairly early last night. The
first night of his vacation, after all ... I expected him to stay out
late & "play." He stayed up all night, I think, watching TV and
answering the girls when they called. I slept. Yesterday was a hot,
muggy day and it drained all the energy right out of me. Today it is
blessedly cool and overcast.
tomatoes & onions
vacuum cleaner belt
frozen french fries
taco seasoning mix
Tuesday 3:30 p.m.
May 24, 1983
HOT. I am parked
in front of the fan,
utterly devoid of energy: it must be somewhere in the 80's. I wish that
I could find someplace dark, cool and quiet and SLEEP for about ten
May 27, 1983
We've been having
a nice week, in
of the heat. I just love having Ray around the house. It gives me some
much-needed adult companionship and an extra pair of hands with the
girls. It's felt like summer vacation all week long, and I'm quite
(Is Sam going to
tell Jenny he loves
The only thing
bothering me at the
moment is that my period STILL hasn't started. I tried smoking a
cigarette a little while ago, but after about three puffs I felt a huge
way of nausea and I had to stub it out. Of course, it may be all in my
mind. I certainly hope so. Three babies in two years would just be too
damned much. It's taking every ounce of energy and patience I have,
just to raise the two I've already got.
Ray is vaguely
aware of the problem,
like me, he doesn't want to talk about it yet.
Ray has gone out
to run some errands,
but he promised he'd be back soon and not stay out all day, the way he
did yesterday. Jamie has gone down for her nap - two hours' worth, if
I'm lucky. Kacie is laying in the playpen, looking at her reflection in
the little toy mirror and gurgling. I wish she would go to sleep too.
(Nope. Now she's back in my arms with a cold bottle.) It is SO warm
today. My face and my clothes are damp with perspiration, and it's hard
to breathe. There's so little breeze that the air seems to be just
standing still. Is this an indication of the kind of summer we'll have?
Hot, hot, hot. If I were twenty-four years younger, I would go out in
the front yard and hop into Jamie's little wading pool.
May 28, 1983
I am having the
most colossally awful
day: it must be seen to be believed. First of all, it's hotter than
hell, and even my trusty electric fan provides no relief: it only
spreads the hot air around. Secondly, Ray and I stayed up until 6 a.m.
this morning, and I am running on two hours' worth of sleep and a
massive hangover. I look terrible and I feel worse. The house looks
like a hurricane hit it ... it hasn't been this messy in a long time,
and I'm praying fervently than no one decides to drop in unexpectedly
today (namely, my IN-LAWS). I don't have the energy to clean, and even
if I had the energy, it's just too damned hot. We're having people over
for dinner tomorrow night so I'll have to get up at the crack of dawn
and put things in order ... a three hour job, at least. Funzies.
Finally, both the girls are super-cranky and irritable because of the
heat, and bedtime is still an eternity away. Honest to God, I Don't
know how I'm gonna survive until then.
Sunday 1 p.m.
May 29, 1983
At least the house
is back to normal.
got up at 8:30 and did a thorough cleaning, top to bottom. My vacuum
cleaner is broken again so the carpet looks kinda cruddy, but
everything is picked up and the dishes are all done.
It's hot again
today but not as hot
yesterday. (The temperature yesterday broke the record - it was 98
degrees at one point.) I tried sitting outside a little while ago but I
only lasted ten minutes. I'm pale as a ghost, but that's hardly
anything new. I've been battling with this time of the year for most of
my life -- wanting a tan but not wanting to suffer and sweat to get it.
Jr. & Judy (with Billy) and Kurt & Wendie.
Ray's cooking chicken on the Webber, and I'm fixing baked beans and a
green salad. Kurt and Wendie haven't seen Kacie yet, so this will be
her "debut." I'm looking forward to having the company and sharing a
little girl-talk with Judy and Wendie, but I sorta wish we'd picked a
cooler day to entertain. I always feel kind of grouchy in weather like
this, and am not at my sociable best. (If I have
a "sociable best," that is.)
Monday 9 a.m.
May 30, 1983
I'm the only one
up so far ... the
is very, very quiet. Sipping a hot cup of coffee and savoring my
solitude, however temporary it may be. Surveying my house: it is a
shambles once again, from last night's dinner party. Dirty dishes,
empty beer bottles, newspapers and toys everywhere. Yesterday turned
out OK. It wasn't the greatest family get-together in history, but it
was OK. Kurt & Wendie never showed up, but Don, Judy and Billy
were here from 1:00 until 9:00. Judy is enormously pregnant and very
uncomfortable, so we sat outside in the shade and watched Jamie and
Billy play in the wading pool and tear around the front yard. Kacie
layed on a blanky with Judy and I, drinking cold bottles of Enfamil,
one after the other. After a while it got too hot to even sit in the
shade, so we migrated into the house and plopped ourselves down in
front of the fan. Ray made a wonderful dinner: the barbecued chicken
was perfect, and he slow-cooked the beans in the crockpot for three
hours. We ate at 8:00, and then Don and Judy left soon after to get
Billy into bed. By the time they left, the sky had suddenly clouded
over and a strong wind started blowing. Within half an hour it was
marvelously, blessedly COLD! We took the big TV into our bedroom and
Ray, Jamie and I spent the evening on our bed, eating more chicken and
reading the Sunday paper.
Mom, Gram St. John
and Deb are
to come over this afternoon. Guess I'd better clean the house AGAIN.
Tuesday 9:30 a.m.
May 31, 1983
chilly morning ...
feels like fall! We needed a reprieve from the record breaking heat.
Ray has gone back
to work, and I'm
feeling a bit down in the dumps because of it. His ten days of vacation
went by so quickly, and now it's back to the same old routine. I
enjoyed having him around to talk to.
Mom and Grandma's
visit yesterday was
vaguely depressing. There were moments when I felt as though they'd
forgotten I was even in the room with them: they chatted with each
other about people they know and things I know nothing about, and I
felt distinctly left out. When Mom is here with Debby I feel the same
way. I just don't seem to fit into my mother's life anywhere, at least
not in the way Grandma and Debby do. I try and try to feel warm and
close to her, but there is always awkwardness between us. Sometimes I
feel as though we barely know each other, and that hurts: I'm her
firstborn child, after all. I have a firstborn child myself now, and I
know that at one time Mom must have felt about me the way I feel about
Jamie. She still must. That kind of feeling doesn't just dissolve, does
it? All those years of being separated from each other must have done
more damage than either of us realizes. I'm probably carrying around
all kinds of hidden hurt and anger because "Mama" left me when she did.
It manifests itself in odd ways ... the manic way I clean the house
before one of her visits (polishing the toaster - dusting beneath the
rocking chair cushion - picking up stray leaves from the carpet). Or
the way I stuff myself after she leaves (steak, salad, cold chicken, a
banana split, two bottles of Pepsi ... so much that I had a horrible
stomach ache in the middle of the night) ...
I really like and
admire my mother as
person, and I want to be like her. I want to feel close and comfortable
with her. I don't want to blame her for all the things that have gone
wrong in my life. I don't want to begrudge Debby their closeness. I
need to work on these things.
Today is diaper
day. (Yesterday was
Memorial Day, so we get our diapers one day late.) We owe the diaper
service over a hundred dollars now so I'm hiding from the delivery man.
I wish he would hurry up and get here, so we can begin our day.
Wednesday 6:30 p.m.
June 1, 1983
- I'm fat, ugly
and sloppy looking
- I'm sure I'm
pregnant again, and I
simply cannot have a third child right now
- Ray isn't home
- My vacuum
cleaner is broken
- Jamie and Kacie
are both wide
bedtime is a million hours from now
Thursday 10:30 a.m.
June 2, 1983
morning. I just got
of the shower and felt marvelously clean and fresh ... until I had to
put on my scrungy old jeans and a big sloppy football jersey. Now the
fresh feeling has evaporated and I just feel sloppy. My jeans have big
holes in the knees, and the football shirt looks awful, but I have nothing
else to wear. All of my clothes are at least two years old ... most of
them are much older than that. This icky pair of pants is the only
thing I have to wear anywhere -- to the grocery store, to family
dinners or to scrub the bathtub. ONE goddamned pair of pants. I've
hinted and hinted to Ray how desperately I need some clothes, but he
All of this is
tied up with the way I
feel about myself. I look SO AWFUL. Looking into the mirror is a
nightmare. I'm fat, fat, fat, fat. New clothes wouldn't help.
I can't seem to
stop eating, though.
eat when I'm hungry, but more often I eat when I'm not. I eat
mechanically, without even thinking about it. I find myself eating
Jamie's leftovers right off her plate, or pulling the skin off pieces
of chicken in the fridge and popping it into my mouth. I rarely eat
breakfast, but when lunchtime rolls around I cook a big TV dinner for
Jamie and I to share, and fix myself a gigantic baked potato to go with
my portion. (Of course my potato must be smothered in globs of butter,
cheese and sour cream.) Ray usually makes dinner and it's never ready
until 9:00 or so. I eat and then fall asleep, so all those big
sandwiches and greasy french fries and rich sauces just sit in my
stomach like a lump and don't get worked off. My eating habits are
atrocious, but I have no control over them.
I keep thinking
that I've got to get
started on a diet soon, before I reach the hellish 200 lb. mark and the
weight never goes away, but I'm stuck "on hold." I can't seem to get
Saturday 1 p.m.
June 4, 1983
Waiting for Ray to
come home - we're
going to Don and Judy's for another *#$@*! family dinner, this time to
celebrate Don Jr.'s birthday. A family gathering is about the last
thing in the world I'm in the mood for, but as usual this one is
unavoidable. It'll be sorta nice to get out of the house for a day, but
taking two babies anywhere is such a headache. It takes an hour just to
get the diaper bag packed.
The in-laws (Peg
and Don Sr.) dropped
on us unexpectedly last night, probably just to see what their
"drug-addict" children were up to on a Friday night. (I'm so mean.)
They no doubt expected to find us drunk and disorderly, so it
must have been disappointing to find us instead fixing dinner and
spending a quiet evening at home with our daughters. I don't know why
they always expect the worst of us, but they do. We don't handle our
money very well, and I think they think we spend it all on drugs. The
fact is we're just not very good at managing finances. But we'll get
better. In the meantime Ray and I love the girls very much, and we are
trying to do our best by them. Jamie and Kacie are the dearest things
in the world to us. My parents-in-law need to realize that we would
never do anything to hurt or endanger our kids.
See what I mean?
I'm in a rather foul
mood today where Ray's family members are concerned. It might be
dangerous being around them today ... I'd better just keep my big dumb
mouth shut this afternoon and not say anything I might regret.
I look kind of
ragged. I'm neat and
clean, my makeup looks OK, my jeans are neatly patched and ironed, but
I know I still look like a model for Goodwill Industries. Judy and
Sheryl will be wearing their nifty little maternity outfits, and here I
am, a refugee from the Sixties, in my worn denims and too-snug peasant
blouse and long straight hair. I'm hopelessly out of fashion, but I'm
so accustomed to feeling this way that it doesn't bug me as much as it
might have a few years ago.
Wednesday 11:30 a.m.
June 8, 1983
SCENES FROM LAST
It is 8 p.m., the
end of another
sunny, routine day with the girls. Both Jamie and Kacie are tucked into
bed. Ray isn't home from work yet. I have settled into my armchair with
a glass of lemonade and an engrossing "spooky movie" on Channel 11. The
living room is dim, neat and cool; I enjoy the breeze from the open
doors. I am alone and relaxed, and it feels good.
Suddenly I feel a
nausea. The force of it takes me by surprise; in confusion and pain, I
lay down on the sofa and fight the urge to throw up. Was it the chili I
had for dinner? Or all the lemonade? Or is it something else, something
I've been struggling to put out of my mind but which is never far from
my thoughts ... ?
Just then Ray
pulls up. He comes in
door and sees me laying in a pathetic heap on the sofa. "Are you mad at
me?" he says.
"No ... I just feel sick to my stomach," I tell him. He empties his bag
of groceries silently, opens a beer, comes over to where I'm laying and
sits on the sofa beside me.
"Is Mommy pregnant
again?" he says
"I'm afraid I am,"
I say, and I bury
face into the sofa cushions. He wraps his arms around me. "I love you,"
A few minutes later. We are both standing in the kitchen. I watch Ray
begin to fix his dinner. "I don't know what we're going to do," I say
glumly, watching him boil hot dogs and dump a can of clam chowder into
a saucepan. The cooking smells are making me feel ill again.
"One thing is for
sure," he says
"We're not going to kill it!"
Bedtime. I sit on
the bed in our
darkened bedroom and look out the window at the first star of the
evening. I find myself whispering the words from my childhood: Starlight,
star bright / First star I see tonight / I wish I may, I wish I might /
Get the wish I wish tonight. I
add a silent "P.S." ... "And please Don't let me be pregnant." But in
my heart I know I'm too late and that the wheels are already in motion.
Friday 6:30 p.m.
June 10, 1983
Waiting for Ray to
come home. I
Terry's phone a while ago and called him at the tavern, and he said
he'd be home before too long. I'm ravenously hungry and I hope he
brings some McDonald's with him: I'm too tired and too sick to cook
anything. Last night Mercy B. from next door and I drank our way
through a bottle of Black Velvet, and I am paying for it today. It was
a stupid thing to do, and I feel foolish and repentant, but at least I
got it out of my system. Things have been building up inside of me this
week, and I needed an evening of lunacy to help me decompress.
June 15, 1983
Sitting in her highchair eating lunch ... cold chicken, strawberries,
chunks of cheese ... she says "Hi," and I turn around to see her
sitting on the tray of the highchair, facing the wall, smashed
strawberries all over the seat of her pink sweat pants. I put her
firmly back into her chair and say "SIT DOWN and eat your lunch-lunch!"
Laying in her infant carrier on the table in front of me, sucking on a
propped-up bottle, watching me with huge eyes, wiggling her feet ... I
washed her hair yesterday, and today it's soft and fuzzy and sticks out
all over her head.
Cigarettes make me
now, the most certain symptom yet that I'm pregnant. I am continuing to
shove all thoughts of it to the back of my mind.
On Saturday I told
Ray that there's
way" I'm going to have this baby. My heart was very hard that night,
and I was sure I'd reached a final decision. Even Ray agreed,
reluctantly - his eyes were sad - but we both seemed to feel that my
pregnancy was a tragic accident and shouldn't continue.
Today my hard
heart is as soft as
I can't stop thinking that this is another baby we're talking about -
another Jamie or Kacie. (Kacie is looking at me right this minute with
her Daddy's big, gentle eyes, cooing and gurgling happily ... Jamie has
finished her "lunch-lunch" and is sitting in the chair next to me,
chattering busily ... what if we had terminated their existence before
it had really begun? That would have been the real tragedy.
I just don't know.
I don't know, I
know, I don't know, I DON'T KNOW!!! I don't want to have another baby
right now, but I don't want an abortion, either. I am utterly torn in
If I don't
mobilize myself into
soon, however, the choice will no longer be mine to make. Or is that
what I want?
Mom: "Whatcha doin?"
Jamie: "Ooo, oo, ga. Da da DA!" (Pointing at Ray's picture on the
wall.) "Ooo! DA! Ma! Doo!" ("Doo" is her name for "sister.")
Mom: "What does the doggy say?"
Jamie: "DOO!" (Reaching for Kacie's bottle)
Mom: (persistently) "What does kitty say?"
Jamie: "AAA! OOO!"
Mom: "Is that good?"
Jamie: "MMMMMM! GOOOO!"
June 18, 1983
Some things about Kacie
She has outgrown
the white basket
been sleeping in, and since Ray still hasn't put her crib together
(despite my constant nagging) I've had to resort to putting her down on
the bedroom floor at night. I made her a soft, comfortable bed out of
blankets, and her room is warm and draft-free, so actually it's working
out OK for now. She has plenty of room to wiggle, and she isn't
constantly bonking her head and scraping her fingers against the
scratchy sides of the little basket.
Her hair grows
ever longer and
The other day I slicked it down with a dab of baby oil, and for about
thirty minutes it was under control. Today it's back to normal,
sticking out all over her head. She looks like she just hatched: it is
I have determined
has Ray's eyes, nose and brow, and my hair, chin, mouth, ears and round
Where in the world
Kacie has been
for an hour, and my nerves are shot.
Monday 11:30 a.m.
June 20, 1983
morning: trying to
restore the house and the girls to order after the weekend. The
neighborhood kids are now out of school for the summer. Jamie's
favorite friend, Terry S. (the 11 yr. old girl from down the block)
will be here at noon to offer me relief & assistance by taking
Jay off my hands for a couple of hours.
with Terry S.
Still no period,
but I've been
some abdominal pains and I still have hope. Today I'm going to borrow
Terry's phone and call Dr. Heffron.
Note from Ray
yesterday (his spelling
Don't worry about Jamie & Kacie getting Daddy anything
for Father's Day = because you already have Jamie & Kacie -
P.S. Beside, I Don't think their old enough to walk through Bonanza 88.
If they did they probably buy that frog swimming pool that Daddy will
June 25, 1983
Tired and slightly
hungover from the
beers I drank with Ray last night. I woke up at 4:30 this morning when
Ray left for work, and never went back to sleep; I was deeply engrossed
in Stephen King's "The Dead Zone," which I finally finished a few
moments ago. I guess that means I've been reading for five straight
hours, because now it's 9:30! Kacie is asleep on the floor at my feet,
and Jamie hasn't gotten up yet. I just finished the remnants of last
night's KFC dinner. There was something almost indecent about eating
fried chicken and gravy this early in the morning, but I was ravenous
and there was nothing else in the fridge. Now I feel stuffed and
sleepy, but it's too late to go back to bed. Jamie will be up
momentarily, I'm sure, and somehow I've got to get through this day.
fairly well these
although I'm actually quite depressed, underneath it all. In the face
of probably being pregnant again, it no doubt sounds frivolous to admit
that my biggest current worry is my weight. Later this week -- next
week, I mean - I'm going to see Dr. Heffron, and then we'll know one
way or the other if I'm really preg. In the meantime I simply do not
think about it. The only time it crosses my mind is when I light a
cigarette and I'm struck once again by how positively poisonous it
tastes. For now, though, the only thing gnawing at me is how terrible I
look. For the first time in my life I am fat, matronly and ugly, and it
hurts. I've always had the tendency to be a little overweight, of
course, but I've never completely lost control before, the way I have
the past two years. My enormous breasts sag nearly to my navel; I've
got a belly the size of a watermelon; my face is puffy and bloated, a
cruel distortion of my "real" face; my arms wobble when I move; my
inner thighs are chafed and sore from constantly rubbing together when
I walk. I don't even want to leave the house. What if - God forbid? - I
should run into an old boyfriend? I would rather die.
Very tired. I've
been up for almost
twelve hours, after all, and it's only mid-afternoon. I've been having
horrendous stomach pains today. For awhile I thought I might be
miscarrying. That would certainly be a solution to my problems,
wouldn't it? But now the pain is gone and I think it may have just been
gas, no doubt caused by my early-morning feast of chicken and gravy.
I wish that Ray
was home, but he
probably won't even be through working yet. I've started another
Stephen King - I'm re-reading "Salem's Lot" - and there's a dumb old
Western on TV, but I'm finding it difficult to concentrate on anything
Sunday 11 a.m.
June 26, 1983
Note we found on
Ray's car two days
"Ray - Terri - Jamie - Kacie -
on Sunday - at 4:00 p.m.
Sheryl's Birthday Dinner!
Menu - Spagitti! (sic)
So we have been
"summoned" to the
house for Family Dinner #87,564,732 of the year. Shit. The one day of
the whole week Ray doesn't have to work, and we have to spend it at the
in-laws'. We have a new car, a lovely '74 Impala that Ray bought for
$500 on Thursday, and we were planning to pack up the kiddlywinks today
and go for a nice long drive. Guess that's out.
The family dinner
was OK. The
was greasy, as usual, and Ray's brother was drunk and obnoxious - and
Judy, who is due NOW, was uncharacteristically surly - but other than
that we survived. We didn't have any money to buy Sheryl a gift, so
instead Ray has offered to have her and Jeff over for a barbecue in
July. Oh goody. I certainly don't see enough of the P. family.
June 28, 1983
My dream two
nights ago: Scott W. and
were still together, but we were living here in the Kirkland house,
instead of the Redmond apartment. We broke up and Scott moved out of
the house. Then I met Ray, and we fell in love. Ray was living in a
tiny, dirty little trailer, so I invited him to move into this house
with me. Suddenly Scott reappeared, though, and ordered us both to move
out. He owned the house and he'd sold it to somebody else, so we had no
choice but to vacate. I wandered around the empty rooms of my beloved
house and cried. "I LOVE this house!" I kept saying. "I don't WANT to
leave it!" Ray tried to reassure me. He took me to see his trailer.
"See?" he said, "There's lots of room for all your stuff." I looked at
the cramped, dingy interior of the trailer and my heart sank.
My dream last
night: Ray had a
"surprise" for me ... he decided we would move out of this house and
into a "great apartment" he'd found. I was stunned, but I agreed to
look at the apartment, given the provision that if I didn't like it, we
wouldn't move. The place was an absolute DIVE. The kitchen floor was
covered with cracked, dirty linoleum, and the rest of the apartment had
threadbare, ugly carpeting. Junk was piled everywhere, and the smell
was musty and awful. Suddenly I noticed that some of our furniture and
possessions had already been moved into the apartment. I was shocked
and angry ... Ray had deceived me! "I refuse to live in this dump!" I
screamed at him, furiously. "I want to go back to my OWN HOUSE!" But he
had already begun moving us in.
Why do I keep
dreaming that we have
move?! And it is always in anger and disappointment, too.
Wednesday 8:40 a.m.
June 29, 1983
A miracle has
occurred: God has
me a reprieve. Yesterday afternoon, as both of the girls were napping
and I was watching TV ... my period started!! I
am NOT PREGNANT!!!!!! YAHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Took the girls to
the doctor today
checkups and shots ... Terry came along to lend a hand. I loved driving
our new car for the first time; it handles beautifully. The power
brakes and steering were a little tough to get used to, and as always I
managed to get lost (briefly) while we were trying to find Dr. Bauer's
office, but I was in such high spirits about not being pregnant that
NOTHING could bother me. I'm bleeding profusely and I've got terrible
cramps, but I don't CARE! I'm not pregnant!!!! I feel like I've been
given a second chance. From now on Ray and I will be very, very
careful. I begin taking the pill on Saturday, and I'm going to be so
conscientious about it. Another baby? -- maybe, in five years or so -
but right now my two babies are all I want or need.
Saturday 8 p.m.
July 2, 1983
Where is Ray? He left four hours ago to "buy some beer & borrow
ten bucks from somebody"; I've spent the afternoon cooped up with a
cheerfully mischievous Jamie and an irritable Kacie. For some reason I
feel particularly low tonight. (Firecrackers bursting in the distance.)
No food in the house, no money, no one to talk to. Terry stopped by
earlier and I was very short with her.
July 8, 1983
Almost a week
later. It's almost
and I'm still sitting around in my nightgown, drinking bitter coffee
(I've GOT to clean the coffeemaker!!), waiting for Kacie to doze off so
I can jump into the shower. Cloudy and gray again today. We haven't had
much real summer weather yet.
I'm an aunt again.
Judy gave birth to
little boy on Monday, the Fourth of July - Nathan Edward.
We spent the
Fourth more sedately
in some years past. Ray and I were broke and couldn't afford any
fireworks or beer or special food, so we had to make do with hot dogs
cooked on the Webber and eaten at the picnic table outside. Dad and
Valerie were here for dinner. When it grew dark, we sat on lawnchairs
in the front yard and watched Dad and Ray shoot off the fireworks Dad
brought. Jamie loved the display and wasn't a bit scared, as she'd been
last year. (Kacie was asleep.) Jamie seems to have really taken a shine
to Valerie, and sat on her lap for quite a while. She still won't have
much to do with her Grandpa Vert, though.
I've got a
terrible cough and a sore
throat which have plagued me all week. It's incredible how much I've
gotten sick just since Kacie was born. This is the fourth time in four
months. Either I'm turning into the world's biggest hypochondriac, or
else my resistance has become unusually low. I'm picking up every bug
that comes along.
I've begun a very
informal diet. Peg
picked up three pairs of jeans at one of her garage sales, and if I
lose ten pounds or so I should be able to get into them. That would be
a tremendous boost to my self-esteem - not to mention my wardrobe - so
I'm determined to cut way back on my eating and drop some of the
blubber. I've been eating like a pig lately, usually in a furtive,
frantic sort of way, and it must stop. I look so bad that going out in
public is misery. I'm tired of being a recluse, and I'm tired of hating
The clouds have
lifted; it is
tentatively sunny. Both of the girls are in their rooms napping,
although I expect Kacie to wake up shortly. (Will Becky marry Asa?)
(Yep.) My housework is done ... a load of sheets and blankets are in
Kacie is really
beginning to grow on
We've gotten through the frantic first couple of months and have fallen
into something loosely resembling a "schedule." She is still waking up
between 5 and 6 a.m. for a quick bottle, but that should cease before
long? In the meantime, I sort of enjoy those quiet, early-morning
feedings ... it's a special, private time between the two of us.
She has started to
when I bury my face into her tummy and tickle her. I love the sound of
There has been a
subtle change in
Jamie's attitude towards Kacie, I've noticed recently. She is less
openly affectionate. She has to be coaxed into giving Sister a kiss;
she won't even approach her otherwise. When the baby is on my lap,
Jamie just sort of gives Kacie a wary sidewise glance and maintains her
distance. I'm not sure, but it looks like there's some resentment
building. Kacie is becoming less the helpless infant and more a real
presence within the family, and maybe Jamie senses a threat?
I'm trying not to
put a lot of
on Jay to love the baby, in hopes that the feeling will just evolve.
When she absolutely refuses to give Kacie a kiss or a smile, I Don't
make a big deal out of it. My feelings for my Puss have in no way
lessened since Kacie arrived; I still love Jamie very deeply. It's just
that I've discovered it's possible to love both of my children,
separately but equally, and I hope that someday they will love each
July 11, 1983
The racking cough
I've had for a week
now gets progressively worse. Last night was the worst night of all.
I've been sleeping in the living room for most of the week so as not to
disturb Ray. Last night I layed awake on the sofa, hacking and choking,
for hours. This morning my throat is raw, my head aches and I'm
dead-tired. Since this cough shows no sign of letting up, I'm going to
ask Ray to let me see a doctor. I can't function properly when I feel
In spite of the
was a wonderful day! Kirkland was celebrating its annual Moss Bay
Festival, and in the afternoon we packed the girls into the double
stroller and walked down to the fair for a few hours. Terry S. and
Rick Bruff, my two favorite neighbor kids, came along to lend a hand.
Jamie went on her very first rides! She rode the little cars and boats,
and both Terry and I took her on the merry-go-round. She was surprised
and delighted. I'll never forget the look on her face as she went round
& round in that little car for the first time!! I was so proud
was more nervous than she was, I think.
(I was worried that she was going to fall off and get hurt.)
Kacie slept in the double stroller for much of the day, although she
woke up fussy a couple of times and insisted on being carried around on
my shoulder. We strolled around among the booths and exhibits, looking
at everything. At one point it started to rain, and we huddled in the
shelter of a covered doorway, eating hot dogs, corn on the cob and
Vietnamese shishkebob until it stopped. Ray bought a balloon for each
of the girls - "Strawberry Shortcake" for Kacie, "Smurfs" for Jamie. We
got home at 5:00, tired but happy. Ray went out and got some groceries,
and then he made a big steak dinner for the two of us. When I went to
bed at 9:30 I anticipated a long, lovely night's sleep, but then the
coughing started and I was awake until two or three in the morning.
The house is a
moderate shambles this
morning - the usual toys, Sunday papers and dirty dinner dishes, plus
several loads of clean laundry in the bathroom that must be dried and
folded. I have no energy and I'm still sitting here in my nightgown,
choking down some more horrible-tasting coffee and watching the girls
playing with the helium balloons. (Kacie has one tied to her wrist and
she's laying on the floor, watching it float and bounce above her;
Jamie tries to use hers as a pillow, giggling wildly each time it slips
from beneath her head and floats back up to the ceiling.) I think I'll
just take it real easy this morning and maybe do my housework later in
the afternoon, when I'm (hopefully) feeling better. I'll just cross my
fingers and hope my in-laws don't decide to "drop in" today.
Tuesday 1 p.m.
July 12, 1983
A lovely thing has
both of the girls have started taking afternoon naps at the same time!
For two delicious hours every day -- usually from 1:00 to 3:00 - I am
completely free to do as I please while Jamie and Kacie sleep, each in
her own room.
July 22, 1983
Kacie has been
very sick this week:
think it's bronchitis. At one point she was coughing so hard and having
so much trouble breathing, we took her to the Emergency Room at
Evergreen Hospital at 2:30 in the morning. This was early Wednesday
morning, I guess. I heard her choking in her room, and when I ran in to
get her I saw huge bubbles of mucous coming out of her nose and her
mouth. It looked like she was fighting to breath. I immediately got Ray
out of bed and begged him to take us to the hospital. He was sleepy and
grumpy, but he agreed. Judy S. from down the street came over and
slept on our couch while we were gone, just to keep an ear out for
Jamie. (I hated pounding on her door in the middle of the night. Just
like Ray, she was sleepy and grumpy at first, but she threw on her
bathrobe and came back to the house with me anyway.)
At the hospital
Kacie was examined
given a blood test. The doctor diagnosed it as a serious upper
respiratory infection, and he gave me a few simple instructions: crack
her bedroom window open, and feed her more often but smaller amounts.
We brought her home at 4 a.m. and I've been watching her anxiously ever
Two things have
really helped her
condition. She finally has a crib, for one thing. Mom found a good used
one with a mattress for an astonishing $10, and we set it up for Kacie
yesterday. Until we got the crib she was still sleeping on the floor of
her bedroom. Secondly, Terry found us a good secondhand
vaporizer/humidifier at a garage sale for $3.00. Kacie slept with it
running last night - in her new crib! - and she's noticeably better
today. Her cough is letting up, anyway.
July 24, 1983
Debby has been
staying with us since
Thursday, by the way. The company has been nice. I get a little
impatient & irritated by her fourteen year old smugness and
vanity, at times, but mostly I enjoy having her around. Her opinions
are funny and naive and fresh. Are we all that silly at fourteen?
Tomorrow I begin
the first real diet
my life. A rep from the Herbalife Company stopped by on Friday and
dropped off my first months' supply of the Herbalife Slim and Trim Diet
Program ($33.85). Beginning tomorrow I'll be eating one meal a day,
dinner, 600 calories. The rest of the time I'll have the Slim &
Trim protein powder, mixed with nonfat milk or juice. In addition I'll
be taking 12 different Herbalife vitamins a day.
I'm very nervous
about starting this
diet, and not at all sure I'm mentally geared-up enough to stick to it
... but it's now or never, I guess. It's taken me five years to put on
this lard. The last time I was truly "slim and trim" was the summer of
'78, when I was twenty and living on my own for the first time. I went
on a coffee and amphetamine diet and dropped down (for about fifteen
minutes) to 118. I now weigh 160. In the years between, I put on weight
every time I was living with a man & lost it whenever I was
single. It was as though I didn't have to "try" when I had a man in my
life. When I'm in a committed relationship I become very lazy and
careless about my appearance. I'm securely married, and my man appears
to be satisfied with the way I look. He never complains, anyway. So why
bother starving and tormenting myself? Why not just continue eating
with fervor, dreaming and talking and thinking about food all the time,
planning my days around what's in the refrigerator? Why not just keep
stuffing and gorging myself until my little eyeballs pop right outta my
head ... ??
Because I hate
the way I look. Ray may not mind the flabby thighs and the bloated face
and the watermelon stomach, but I do. I mind it very much.
Because I want to
feel proud of
again. I want to set out to do something, and then do it. I want to
follow through for once. I want to astonish my family and friends with
my willpower; I don't want them to snicker and say, "I
knew she couldn't do it."
Because I want to
walk into the
gathering on Christmas Eve and look fabulous.
Because I want to
wear pretty clothes
again ... no more baggy old jeans and shapeless maternity tops.
Because - like the
TV commercial says
"I want to see my real face again." I know it's there, somewhere,
buried beneath the bags and sags. I still have the potential to be very
pretty. Just once more in my life, I would like to walk into a room and
see heads turn.
Because I want to
feel healthy again,
not sluggish and tired and grouchy all the time, the way I do now. I
want to feel energetic and full of life. My children deserve a mother
who can keep up with them.
July 26, 1983
Day Two of my diet
... so far, so
I'm very hungry but I'm fighting it. The protein drink tastes awful,
but I'm determined to get used to it. I keep thinking about how nice it
will be to lose all that weight; I'm already picking out my new fall
wardrobe from the Lane Bryant catalog I got in the mail last week. Nice
slacks, pretty sweaters, maybe even one lovely new dress.
took Kacie to have
her picture taken
yesterday at Sears. We had to wait such a long time - over an hour -
that by the time it was Kacie's turn, she'd fallen asleep! I was
disappointed, but Mom suggested that we go have a cold drink in the
coffeeshop downstairs and let Kacie sleep for a while. If she woke up,
we could try the photo studio again. I layed her on the booth beside me
and toyed with a Tab, enviously watching Debby & Jamie split a
huge cheeseburger and basket of fries. After ten minutes or so, Kacie
began to stir. I took one look at her grumpy little face and my heart
sank: she was waking up hungry, and I was out of formula! Any minute
she would be pitching a major fit. So I grabbed her in my arms and
whisked her up the escalator as fast as I could, hoping to get at least
one decent picture of her before the tears started. The photographer
was just leaving for her lunch break! I begged her to please fit us in,
it would only take a minute. She finally relented and unlocked the door
and we all went back into the studio. But my problems still weren't
over. The photographer and I cajoled and prodded and pleaded with Kacie
to "look at the camera and smile!" but she was having none of it. She
was unhappy, hungry and tired - at one point she laid down and tried to
go to sleep, right in front of the camera - but finally, after what
seemed like a lifetime, she looked in the general direction of the
camera and smiled for a split second, and that was when the shutter
clicked. We'll just have to wait and see the results.
first I was disappointed in the way Kacie's portrait turned out;
over the years, it has become one of my very favorite pictures of her.
(Bev & Henry)
are visiting from Tucson - they arrived yesterday, and as usual they're
staying at Peg and Don's. (Peg and Barbara, incidentally, are staying
with Patty in Arizona, waiting for her to have her baby.) We took the
girls over to see their great-grandparents last night. Jamie played
outside in Grandpa's garden with her little cousin Billy, and came home
covered with dirt and missing both of her tennis shoes! Kacie sat on
her Great-Grandma Bev's lap for a long time, smiling and cooing at her.
Grandma thinks she's just precious.
Day Three of my
diet, and I've hit a
couple of snags: salad dressing and beer! Twice I've eaten salad with
regular, high-calorie dressing; I can't bring myself to ruin a
perfectly lovely salad with that bitter diet Italian we've got in the
fridge. The obvious solution is to buy some different diet dressings
and find one I like. I also drank one can of beer (150 calories) before
going over to see Ray's grandparents last night, but at least I kept it
to one and I added the calories to my dinner allotment.
The protein powder
mixed with nonfat
milk is pretty good! Tastes like Instant Breakfast.
determined to be totally
about the diet ... no cheating at all. I've borrowed a vacuum cleaner
from Ray's parents and I'm going to stay busy all day. Dinner tonight
will be a broiled, lightly seasoned chicken breast, green beans and
salad. I can look forward to that all day. No beer, and no fattening
Friday 4:30 p.m.
July 29, 1983
I just got myself
into a pair of
I've never been able to wear before!! (The Brittanias that Peg bought
at the garage sale.) They're a bit snug in the rear and around the
waist, but they fit! I now have three pairs of jeans to wear! Even
better, this is the first real indication that my diet is working. My
resolve was beginning to waver a bit this afternoon, and I almost
helped myself to a beer, but now I'm more determined than ever to stick
On a more somber
note: we learned
night that Don Sr. will have heart surgery next week. Ray came home in
tears last night - he is very frightened and very worried about his
father. I'll write more about this when I learn more. We're going to
the folks' tomorrow for a barbecue, and I'm sure we'll hear more about
it then. Peg is still in Arizona with Patty. Patty's baby is two weeks
overdue and I think she's going to have labor induced today. She may
have had her baby already, in that case. (Wish I had a PHONE.) Peg will
probably hurry right home after the baby's born, to be with Don.
Savoring an 8 oz.
glass of beer, 100
calories. I'm working it into my dinner allotment. I figure I deserve a
small reward for getting into these pants.
Jamie and I are
at the kitchen table ... she is jabbering a mile a minute in her
half-English, half-baby language, playing with her beloved empty
deodorant bottle, watching me write. Kacie is in bed. All the windows
and doors are open ... it was hot and sunny today, but now the sun is
setting and a lovely cool breeze is blowing. The kitties wander in and
out; an airplane buzzes overhead; "The Dukes of Hazzard" is on TV but
I'm ignoring it. I wish Ray would come home. We haven't seen much of
him this week. I borrowed Judy's phone at 6:00 and tried reaching him
at Dave's Place, but they said he's already been & gone. Maybe
he's over at his parents house. I'm anxious to see whether he notices
the jeans I'm wearing; I'm also dying to know if Patty had her baby. (I
predict that she had a GIRL.)
August 4, 1983
Nearly a week
later. I was wrong
... Patty had a boy. He was born at 3 a.m. on July 30th, and
they named him Gerald John.
I fell off my diet
with a BANG last
weekend. My downfall was beer. The weather was hot and summery, and one
cold beer tasted so good that it was quickly followed by another ...
and another ... I finally lost count. Plus, Ray made one of his
super-deluxe roast beef dinners on Sunday, and I couldn't resist having
a hot roast beef sandwich with lots of gravy on it. As a matter of
fact, I could resist having THREE of them ...
Still, I don't
feel too bad. I've
very good about the diet this week, sticking to the protein drink for
breakfast and lunch, and having a smallish dinner with lots of
vegetables, and I can feel my clothes getting looser on me. (Since we
don't have a scale or a tape measure, this is the only way I can tell
if I'm losing weight.) I'm finding it a lot easier to stay away from
food than I did last week; the hunger pangs aren't as frequent or as
distracting. Last week all I could think about was food. This week my
energies are directed elsewhere. I've been getting a lot of things done
around the house, and I definitely feel better. I don't feel so
sluggish. I also feel as though I'm doing something good for my body
and my health, for a change.
My children are my
Every day I thank God again for Jamie and Kacie, my precious daughters.
August 7, 1983
another hot summer day.
just got up after a deep night's sleep and am slugging down the usual
acrid coffee, trying to wake up enough to shower and begin picking up
the house. Hydro races are today. Amazingly, Ray is already up and out,
grocery shopping. Usually I can't get him out of bed on Sundays until
long into the afternoon.
August 9, 1983
Kacie slept from
8:30 last night
8:00 this morning ... one of the very few times this has happened.
Coincidentally, I started feeding her solids this week -- strained
bananas and baby applesauce. I wonder if the addition of solid food to
her diet helped her sleep through the night?
She's such a funny
little bunny ...
nearly always in the sunniest of moods, smiling and wiggling and
jabbering, watching every move Jamie & I make. The only time
she's truly unhappy is when she's been ignored for too long. She likes
"her" people nearby, and even more than that she likes to be talked to
an looked at and played with. Even as I write this, sitting here on the
floor next to her, she's getting irritated because I'm not giving her
my undivided attention. She can see me sitting here beside her, writing
in my book, but I'm not looking AT her or talking TO her ... and that
irks her! So she's kicking her feet and waving her arms in the air and
cooing loudly, in an effort to get my attention. When I break off from
my writing and smile at her, she squirms in pleasure and grins her
silly, toothless, ear-to-ear baby grin.
August 13, 1983
Hot and busy day
ahead ... I'm taking
advantage of the brief morning coolness to get a few things done (the
dishes, a shower & shampoo, running a load of diapers). We're
going over to Peg's at 4:00 for dinner. Big Don has had his heart
surgery, and from what I understand he had a bypass. He's out of
Intensive Care and Ray went to visit him at the hospital yesterday. Ray
said his father was weak but in good spirits. Bev and Henry
are still staying at Peg's, so this will give us another opportunity to
visit with them before they return to Arizona. I really don't mind
going over for dinner today; I only wish it wasn't going to be so
darned hot. We haven't seen Peg & Barbara since they got back
from Arizona, and I'm anxious to hear all about our new little nephew,
Gerald. I'm determined to be pleasant today and not give in to the
usual grumpiness I feel whenever I'm around my in-laws.
Kacie has gone
back to waking up at
a.m. for a bottle, solid foods notwithstanding. The solids she's been
eating have given her an awful diaper rash. I'm using huge amounts of
Desitin and cornstarch powder on her, but the rash is stubborn and (I'm
afraid) probably very painful. She's been terribly cranky.
My diet is
slogging along. Some days
really good about it; other days I blow it completely. At least I've
managed to cut way back on my eating, and I've gotten used to diet pop
and low calorie foods.
Dry hair - looped braid
Pack diaper bag
Jamie bangs trimmed
Kacie bath & shampoo
Pick up house
Wednesday 9:30 a.m.
August 17, 1983
The family dinner
on Saturday was a
disaster ... at least, as far as I'm concerned. Ray sat at the kitchen
table drinking beer and swapping dirty jokes with his grandfather and
his brother; I sat in the living room with "the women" and talked
babies. Or rather, they
talked and I listened. Everyone, even Judy, usually my dearest friend
in the family, was downright chilly towards me. There were moments when
I felt like I wasn't even in the same room with them. All conversation
centered around Nathan and Gerald. Occasionally Peg made a passing
comment about Kacie, who was laying on the sofa next to me -- usually a
comment about how "chunky" she is -- but other than that, Kacie and I
might as well have been invisible. I had come prepared to be pleasant
and have a good time, but by the time we left I was deeply depressed.
The thing that
hurt the most, I
was Judy's unnatural coolness. Several times I tried to start a
conversation with her, and each time I was rebuffed.
I knew that once
the babies began to
arrive this year, there would be a lot of changes in the P. family. I
thought I was prepared for it. Much to my surprise, I find that I'm the
one hardest hit by feelings of envy and competition. On Sunday I felt
like jumping up and shouting, "HEY! Look at my
baby, too!!" We heard endless tales about how strong Nathan is, how he
can roll over at age one month, how well he sleeps. Peg and Barbara
passed around photos of Gerald, and talked about how sweet-tempered and
good looking he is, and how wonderful it is of Patty to be
breastfeeding him. I'm ashamed to admit how slighted and jealous I
felt. Kacie was being so good that day, smiling and gurgling and
playing with her little toys, and no one seemed to notice. Or care.
When I took her into the back bedroom to change her diaper, I whispered
in her ear, "Well ... MOMMY thinks you're special, even if no one else
When we came home
that night I had a
colossal headache. I put the kids to bed and then went outside to sit
on the porch for awhile. It was cool and dark, and I needed to think.
I haven't really
become a part of the
family, the way Judy and Jeff and John have. I feel uncomfortable any
time I'm around my in-laws, and I'm sure it shows. It's not that I
dislike them, so much; I just can't relax and be myself around them,
and they misinterpret my shyness. They think I'm stuck up, probably.
Isn't that funny? Shades of junior high school! My mother-in-law is
also probably still certain I'm taking drugs, and that colors her
opinion of me further. The more I try to fight it, the more trouble I
seem to get into.
I want my in-laws
to like me. I want
them to think I'm a good mother and a good wife and an intelligent,
nice person. I want them to respect me. Instead, they think I'm moody,
aloof and incompetent. Even more, I get the feeling they think I'm
not-quite-bright. I don't know how I'm going to reverse their opinion
of me, but I know I've got to try. I'm the mother of their
granddaughters, and we're all stuck with each other.
more I agonize over
my in-laws, the
more I long for attention from my own family. I wish my mother lived in
Thursday 11 a.m.
August 18, 1983
I can't believe
I'm sick AGAIN ...
am. I've got a terrible cold, and the same racking cough I've had for
two months. I feel lousy.
Grandma V. came
out for an unexpected
Kacie wasn't sure about the wading
practically LIVED in it.
August 22, 1983
The days of my
life continue to roll
Jamie, ponytailed and diapered, her hair still damp from an afternoon
in her wading pool, sits on the floor beside Kacie and threatens to
pull the bottle out of the baby's mouth. "No no!" I say. Jamie gives me
a guilty look; she holds up the bottle and says "ba-ba!"
Sister's ba-ba," I say.
"Give it back to her right now."
Jamie rudely jams
the bottle into
Kacie's mouth, hard enough to hurt. Kacie is so thrilled to have her
big sister's attention, though, that she doesn't even cry. She just
looks at Jamie with huge, trusting eyes, her mouth twisting into a
smile around the nipple.
Summer day. I have
worked long and
today -- cleaned the bathroom, put away a ton of laundry -- and I feel
flushed and sweaty. A long, tall gin & tonic sits in front of
me. Jamie's dinner is cooking -- a breaded veal patty, "fruh fries" and
broccoli spears (which I KNOW she won't eat). Waiting for Ray to come
home. Will he bring Kacie's pictures from Sears? (Yes.)
Friday 6 p.m.
August 26, 1983
terrible stomach ache
that has bothered me all day long ... Kacie got her toes into her mouth
yesterday for the first time, much to her glee! ... new color TV in the
living room, which Ray bought last weekend. (So now when do I get my
vacuum cleaner & my PHONE back?) Sipping a gin & tonic.
Wondering: Will Ray come home tonight? Haven't seen much of him lately.
He won $50 in the state lottery this week, which automatically puts him
in the running for the million dollar state prize. Our chances of
winning are slim, but he is so hopeful.
August 29, 1983
Today is our
wedding anniversary. Two
September 2, 1983
This has been a
week, not only in my life but around the world: the Soviets shot down
an unarmed Korean jetliner that had inadvertently crossed Soviet
airspace. Over 200 civilian passengers were killed, including 30
Americans. The world is in an uproar. On the newscasts I keep hearing
words like "retaliation" and "revenge." Is this the beginning of the
war to end all wars? I hold my precious children in my arms, and I am
Ray didn't come
home until 4:30 this
morning -- of course he was extremely drunk and he passed out
immediately. He didn't bring home the diapers & formula I
requested, which put me into a real jam today. Fortunately, John next
door drove me down to QFC an hour ago, and I bought all the stuff I
need. Still, I am very angry with Ray.
I got into a
terrible argument with
awful neighbors across the street earlier this week. Gretchen managed
to get loose that morning and tore hell out of their garbage, and that
gave them the excuse they needed to land on me. They accused of
everything from living in sin to trying to kill Mr. Pierce!! I finally
burst into tears, called them both "insane" and walked away. I've been
depressed and bitter about this ever since. My neighborhood friends
keep telling me not to let the Pierces bother me, but it's difficult
living across the street from people who hate your guts.
I got very little
sleep last night
an hour, maybe. First I couldn't sleep because I was worried about Ray;
then, when he finally got home, I was so irritated and keyed-up, sleep
was impossible. I'm running purely on caffeine today. Terry S. has
taken Jamie out for a walk. Kacie just woke up from her nap and is
laying on the floor at my feet, playing with Jamie's "Liddle Diddle."
(If Jamie were here to see this, she'd throw a FIT!)
Jamie loves her
kitten, Wendie, more
than practically anything in the world. She calls her "En," and she's
constantly lugging her around the house, slung over one arm. I can't
believe how patient Wendie is. She puts up with Jamie's constant
mauling and teasing without complaint.
September 6, 1983
Summer '83 is now
officially over ...
yesterday was Labor Day, and today the kids went back to school. I am
shocked by how quickly this summer passed. We never had any real
"summer weather" this year -- an isolated hot sunny day, here &
there, but that was all -- so it never really felt much like
summertime. Now fall is almost here, and after that, the only definite
thing I'm looking forward to at this point -- Christmas.
Jamie has learned
how to get in and
of the playpen without help. She pushes the ottoman up against the side
of the playpen and climbs in, head first. Getting back out is a little
trickier, and this morning she scraped her chin against the metal frame
as she tried to climb out, but she didn't even notice. She's been
happily clambering in and out all day long, the little monkey.
Kacie has quite
suddenly reverted to
waking up twice in the night again. Last night she woke at 2:00, and
again at 7:00, and both times she was very hungry. She's going through
a quart of formula a day now, and she's always seems to be hungry. I
suppose it's time to begin feeding her solids on a regular basis. I've
been giving her an occasional spoonful of strained fruit or cereal, but
apparently she's ready to have daily "meals."
September 15, 1983
something of an
"slump" the past week or so, but things seem to be improved today. Ray
and I have been picking at each other more than usual. I've been
feeling irritable & let-down whenever he's around; bills aren't
being paid again, I'm never getting answers to any of my questions, and
he's been spending too much time at the tavern again. It comes and goes
in cycles. For a month or so, he'll be attentive and responsible, and
then BOOM ... he starts staying out all night, and the disconnection
notices start showing up on the doorknob again, and I start feeling
trapped again. A few days ago, the feeling was overwhelming. I felt
stuck in a crummy marriage, and I was very depressed. Still, things
seem to be a little better today. Not a lot, but a little. Ray and I
had a (rare) pleasant evening together last night, and I feel good
about him today. I still wish he would pay the bills on time and spend
more evenings here at home with the girls and I. I wish we had more
interests in common, and that he would talk to me more. I wish our
marriage was more like other peoples' marriages. Nothing I ever read in
books or magazines or see on TV ever applies to us. I feel so atypical:
half the time I don't even feel married at all. Still, I guess our
marriage must be better than some.
Whenever I start
& doom" descend, I count my blessings. This is what has picked
up my spirits the past couple of days. I think about all the things
that are right in my life. You already know what these blessings are,
because I've written about them so many times before. My children. Ray,
such as he is! This house, which I love. My health. The privilege of
being my own boss. And other blessings too numerous to list right now.
It also helps to think about others less fortunate than I am ... people
who can't have children, parents of seriously ill children, mothers who
would like to stay home with their kids but can't afford to, people who
have lost a spouse, married people who long for a house but can't
afford one ... etc. etc. Thinking about this makes me feel humble and
lucky and a little ashamed of myself. Why can't I always be content
with what I have?
I know I've said
this before, but
and Kacie - my sweet, sweet baby daughters - are my life's greatest
pleasure. I watch them growing and playing, and I can't believe how
purely and absolutely I love them. I especially like to watch the two
of them together. Lately Jamie has taken to "entertaining" Kacie. She
likes to make the baby laugh by making funny faces at her, and she
laughs as loud as she can to make Kacie giggle in return. Kacie thinks
Jamie is the greatest thing since canned formula!
September 16, 1983
Today I would like
to end this
with one extra-long, final entry. This is payday and I'm going to ask
Ray to buy me a new notebook this weekend. Too
bad I couldn't have made this
journal last until the end of the year ... but I did manage to cover
most of 1983 herein, didn't I? Of course, the thing that made this year
most memorable was Kacie's arrival last March. The three months
preceding her birth were "pregnant months" ... the months afterward
were "baby months," helping Kacie fit into our little family.
Taking care of two
little ones has
proved to be easier than I thought it would be. Changing two diapers is
(practically) as easy as changing one. I've amazed myself. I've gotten
Jay & Kacie into a loose but fairly regular schedule, and
there's always a little time left over for myself and for Ray. Some
days are more frantic than others, naturally, but for the most part I
can juggle babies and housework with surprising finesse.
One thing going in
my favor is that
pretty laid-back about most things. At least I think I am. Where Jamie
is concerned, I have only a handful of hard & fast rules: stay
out of the fireplace, stay out of the toilet, don't go in the street
without Mom, don't hurt your baby sister, don't eat your crayons.
But the rest we play by ear. She pretty much has the run of the house.
Her mealtimes, naptimes and bedtime depend more on her mood &
health than on the clock. I don't allow her to tyrannize me, but I
don't force her, either. I like to think of my approach as "gentle
discipline," and that she's got a hand in decisions that concern her
Kacie gets cuter
and more lovable
day. The resemblance to her Daddy is still there, but now I also see a
BIG resemblance to Jamie. It's VERY obvious that they're sisters! Same
eyes, same smile, same general family features. She is trying sooo hard
to crawl, and at the rate she's going I have no doubt she'll be
creeping before the month is over. She can already get up on her hands
and knees and rock back & forth ... the prelude to crawling, as
I learned with Jay last year. She can scoot backwards an inch or two,
also, but not forward yet. She is very strong and very determined.
Kacie is much more
aware of the world
around her now. She looks out the window at the wind blowing in the
trees. I hold her in my arms and she reaches out to touch the pretty
calendar on the fridge ... the kitchen curtains ... the toys in her
bedroom. She has discovered the kitties. Yesterday I sat her on the
floor (she can't sit alone yet, so I have to support her) and placed
Wendie Kitty in front of her. Kacie broke into a delighted giggle,
grabbed the kitty with both hands and tried to stuff her into her
This morning I put
the little white
shoes on her feet. She discovered them almost immediately, and happily
"chewed" on her feet for over an hour. She smiles hugely any time Ray,
Jamie or I look at her: we are her Favorite People. She also likes
Terry S., the little neighbor girl from down the street. She has
discovered the world of funny noises. Her favorite sound right now is
"mmmm," and she practices it over & over. In the mornings I can
hear her singing to herself in her crib; what a delightful sound!
Yesterday she ate
half a jar of baby
applesauce. She's gotten very good at eating solids; any time she sees
the spoon coming toward her, she opens her mouth WIDE and eagerly sucks
the food right down. She recognizes her bottle, too, and excitedly
tries to grab it and put it into her mouth by herself.
She likes her bath
(in the kitchen
and likes having her diaper changed. Her favorite toys are her Raggedy
Ann doll, the cold teething toys that I chill in the refrigerator,
small rattles, her string of teething beads, and mirrors. Her only
dislike - so far - is getting dressed. She fusses when I pull the shirt
over her head and put her arms into the sleeves.
She is very
her ribs, the soles of her feet and her chubby little thighs. She
laughs uproariously when I swoop her into the air, and when I bury my
face into her neck and nuzzle her.
Jamie grows more
Most of the time, of course, she's still my baby girl and needs my
help, but now she's trying more & more to do things for herself
. She brushes her teeth and her hair, wipes up her spills, fetches her
own clean diapers and p.j.'s for me, puts dirty dishes into the sink
and dirty clothes into the hamper. She feeds herself completely --
she's very adept now at using both a spoon and a fork. She is beginning
to figure things out for herself. One night she accidentally dropped
her bottle into the playpen. With no help from me, she pushed the
ottoman over to the side of the playpen and crawled over the side to
retrieve her ba-ba. This morning she dragged an empty laundry basket
into the kitchen and put one of her dolls in it; then she pointed to
the basket and said "Peh peh!" Her baby had its very own playpen!
Jamie howls in
anger any time I
her hair or put it into ponytails; yet, she is very concerned already
with how she looks. She loves to play with my makeup. She'll smear blue
eyeshadow and gray pencil onto her cheeks, peer into the mirror and
delightedly announce that she's "Pree!" She constantly names the items
of clothing she's wearing -- "shur," "pa," "shooosh," "cox." She loves
to be told that she's a "pretty girl," and she loves new clothes.
One of the things
I love best about
Jamie is her utter unpredictability. You never know what she'll come up
with next. Whether it's walking into the living room with her Daddy's
underwear draped around her neck, or dancing to a Tab commercial on TV,
or shuffling around in my big tennis shoes, there's no way of knowing
what she'll think of next. She's a complete original.
(I also love her
predictability. It's funny to set her up, knowing how she'll react! For
instance I'll put a new toy in a strategic spot in the living room
while she's napping. When she gets up I know she'll find it within
minutes, and I know exactly what her reaction will be.)
I think that
someday I would like to
have a third child, but ideally it wouldn't be until Jamie and Kacie
are in school. Ray isn't too sure about this idea, but I know that if
it's what I really want, he'll go along with it. I adore being
pregnant, and I would like to experience it one more time. Last weekend
when we were at the in-laws' (for Barbara's 14th birthday), I looked at
Sheryl, eight months pregnant, and felt distinctly envious. Sometimes I
wish Ray & I were really rich. Then we could afford all the
children we wanted. I would probably have a dozen of them! (Of course I
would also have a dozen NANNIES ...)
My marriage, as
you know, isn't the
world's greatest. On the other hand, it isn't the world's worst. When
he really tries, Ray can be an ideal husband. He is never deliberately
hurtful to anyone. I think that sometimes his gentle nature bothers
him: he would like to be rough & tough, but he just isn't.
(Sometimes however I allow him to believe he is.) He's lousy at arguing
and he's terrible at hurling insults. He's never the one to provoke a
fight. I've only seen him truly angry once or twice, and that was only
when someone was threatening to hurt what was his.
Music Listened to
- "Africa" - Toto
- "Gloria" -
- "I Need You" -
? (heard Jan. 8)
- "Down Under" -
Men At Work
- "You Can't
Hurry Love" - Phil
- "Twilight Zone"
- Golden Earring
- "Dirty Laundry"
- Don Henley
- "White Wedding"
- Dire Straits?
Islands" - Robby Patton
& Stevie Nicks
- "Cool Places" -
Sparks & Jane
- "Every Breath
You Take" - The
- "Stop In The
Name Of Love" - The
- "Slippin' Away"
- Dave Edmunds
Unknown" - Missing
to throw a rock?