Sober Lullabies

That post title is a great excuse to link to this video by Flogging Molly.

Music is important to me, so I want baby & I to share good musical taste...

Music is important to me, so I want baby & I to share good musical taste…

My dad came by to visit the other day and caught me singing a lullaby to PJ.  It was simply Rock-a-By Baby, but I specifically changed the lyrics since I don’t really think a song about baby and her cradle crashing out of the tree is a reassuring put-baby-to-sleep sort of song.  I changed it the first time off the cuff, and I liked it so I made a mental note to recycle my version as permanent lyrics.  Dad also liked it, and encouraged me to share my lyrics.

Rock-a-bye Piper, here in my arms

Mommy will keep you safe from all harm

You’re going to grow up, so big and so strong.

I’m going to love you, all your life long.

Is anyone going to sleep in this picture?  Sadly, no.

Is anyone going to sleep in this picture? Sadly, no.

Dad also brought me a gift.  The roughest thing about single motherhood is the fact that little Piper Jo doesn’t believe in sleep schedules and I have no one to pass her off to.  Back when I dated Jeremy, he had all sorts of semi-witty aphorisms about why parenting was a two-player sport, which I mostly blew off because I wasn’t ever going to be a mother.  Cue some sort of ironic dirge for the my soundtrack there.  An aphorism Jeremy missed was that parents come in pairs so that one can sleep while the other has the baby.  As a single mom, I’m always the one with the baby, never the one that sleeps.  As a result, I’m a little frazzled, and my sense of humor and patience have both worn somewhat thin.  The giveaway was when I caught myself asking Piper, in that super-cheery baby talk tone that was nails-on-a-blackboard to my pre-Piper sensibilities, “Widdle baby doesn’t let mommy sleep, because she hates mommy and likes to see her cry, doesn’t she?”

Now, I’ll admit I really have no idea what goes on in a baby’s head.  At some point, I know, Piper is supposed to figure out that she and I have a connection that is different from her relationship with the other random big people that infest her world.  Early on there are all kinds of intuitive and emotional ramifications to the general concept of Mommy.  As PJ ages, matures, and enters verbal, intellectual, rational thought, she will begin to deal with specifics, both relating to me as I wear roles other than ‘Mommy’ and dealing with the fact that her specific mommy- me- doesn’t always match up to the generalized abstract mommy.  Eventually she will have extensive and expensive therapy to help handle this.  This early in Piper’s development, however, I’m not really sure if PJ knows I’m her mother or has just noticed I’m the most frequently present big person in her world or if she even differentiates between me and any other big people around.  Given how young she is and the classical view of object permanence, I’m not even sure if she knows I exist when I’m not around her.  I know I have more separation anxiety than she does.  So it was only frustration and a rather dark sense of humor that made me joke about PJ torturing me with sleep deprivation.

What I love about my dad is that he shares my dark sense of humor.  (OK, technically he had it first, so I share his dark sense of humor.)  Like me, he may not always have the right words for emotional/feel-good stuff, but he is affectionate in his own morbid way.  He knew I was at the end of my rope, and brought me a book that reminded me I am not alone in having a child who sleeps according to her needs, not mine, and that it’s okay to feel stressed as long as I can still find the ability to laugh.  I don’t think I’ll ever read this book to PJ, but I’ve smiled and thought of her each time I’ve reread it.  (Several times, so far…)  One writer to another, I seriously admire Adam Mansbach for this creation…

Sheer writing genius and oh-so relevant!

Sheer writing genius and oh-so relevant!

Oh, and one last note before I finish.  My outfit for today’s post is Band Groupie (Avenged Sevenfold edition) from AR Music Co.  It’s a complete outfit- mesh tank-top, mesh mini skirt, fishnet gloves, leg tape.  It also came with boots, although I preferred a pair of my comfortably broken in Prozak kicks.  My razor wire bangle from Grumble, Grumble and the “Vaded” necklace and piercings from ellabella added some extra toughness to the outfit.  My skin was Angelina (shade 04) from Mr. Bloch and the hair and shape were freebies.

Keeping Abreast of the Situation…

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I never thought I would be the individual to speak out against the cult of the breast.  I’ve generally been pro-breast.  My personal pair may be small- I prefer the term ‘fun-sized’- but I like wearing low necklines and tight clothing to accentuate what I do have.  When I’m cattily deciding if another woman is attractive, the […]

A Labor of Love

Over the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried not to talk a lot about Jonas Giovanni, the owner of Giovanni’s.   He is a brilliant restaurateur; Giovanni’s is a busy, high-volume eatery, with great food, good value, and consistent regulars, and it has been his hand at the helm as this has happened.  On the other hand, I’ve never been that fond of him as a person.  He’s a bitter old man.  He’s cheap.  He’s hot tempered, and blows up at people for trivial reasons.  I once watched him make one of our hostesses, a little high school girl barely sixteen, cry because she had grabbed a stack of disposable napkins to clean up a spill instead of paper towels or washable rags.  He has a crass sense of humor, and what he generally sees as funniest is making fun of people for being different.  The way he makes fun of Lenny, our weekend dish tanker, for being intellectually challenged and borderline alcoholic, leaves me feeling ashamed and dirty for standing by without protest.  He’s racist, homophobic, and misogynistic.  And while this is probably the least of his sins, he is a very back-of-house restaurateur.  The cooks are his fair-haired boys, the reason for Giovanni’s success, the talent pool he taps when he needs to promote a manager or supervisor.  He’s had several cooks cross-trained to serve so they understand the whole restaurant.  No waitress has been cross-trained for the kitchen; he treats us as interchangeable and the most easily replaced components of the restaurant; he takes our skill set for granted, even though it is a skill set he doesn’t have.  As I said, least of his flaws, but one that particularly sicks in my craw, because I’m prideful and I expect to be acknowledged both for being good at what I do and for the contribution my peers and I have made to Giovanni’s success, an expectation that has gone woefully unmet.  I’ve tried not to talk about Jonas because I always figured no good could come of admitting I tend to think of my boss as an a-hole, even an a-hole with some redeeming values, in a public forum.  I’m only admitting that now so I can confess that when I misjudge someone, I get it wrong by the numbers.

Spoiler Alert: I end up hospitalized...

Spoiler Alert: I end up hospitalized…

Sunday was supposed to be one of my last shifts working before I gave up and waited in bed for my pregnancy to end.  My due date is December 1oth, and I’ve been trying to read all the blogs and forums so I know what to expect and don’t freak out quite so much.  I knew as a first pregnancy, I was more likely to be late than early.  Every one keeps saying every pregnancy is different, so I knew not to take any particular description or prediction as gospel, but the ability to judge probabilities and play odds is part of how I serve so well.  When I felt a heavy trickle down the side of my leg while I was taking my first table’s order, I was embarrassed but not alarmed.  Sadly, it wasn’t the first time the pregnancy had caused me to wet my pants, so I’ve been keeping a spare pair handy.  I grabbed the plastic Walmart bag with my backup pants, ducked into the lady’s room, and hoped my table wouldn’t notice that I changed my jeans before I put their order in.  I closed the door to the stall, and as I was struggling to push my jeans off, that’s when I really, well, had something to be alarmed about.  I panicked, really.  It had to be my water breaking, that much fluid couldn’t be anything else.  But it couldn’t be my water breaking either, because I had read that many moms never get more than a trickle and that the water usually doesn’t break until during or just before labor, and I couldn’t be there, because I hadn’t even had any Braxton Hicks contractions, the false alarm contractions that usually only become strong enough to feel in the last few weeks before the real thing.  I’m not sure how long I just stood with no pants in a puddle in the bathroom thinking, “oh, shit, oh, shit,oh, shit, what do I do?”; it couldn’t have been even a minute.  I pulled my pants on, tried to pull my self together, and rushed back to the kitchen to find a manager.  I walked around Jonas and found Christian, a line cook and supervisor who was working expo line, and I just kind of dumped on him, “Chris, my water just broke in the women’s room and someone has to go mop and I can’t because I need to put table 302’s order in and then I need to go to the hospital and I’m so sorry.”  And Christian is a couple years younger than I am, still living in his mother’s basement, and only gets an extra buck or two an hour when he’s supervising.  By the time I was done speaking, he looked even more panicky than I did.

I’ll admit I walked around Jonas because I tend to think of him as sort of a large mobile obstacle.  Giovanni’s is fairly cramped for space- Jonas is, depending on your perspective, either too savvy or too cheap to allow any space that can be used profitably to sit idle.  Jonas’s ownership style is to wander around, keeping an eye on how every thing and every one is working.  He blocks aisles and doorways, and no one calls him on wandering around like he owns the place because, technically, he does.  But he doesn’t fill any particular role in the restaurant, just watches and occasionally randomly goes off at someone like a claymore mine.  So I was a little surprised when Jonas started barking out orders.  “Craig, quit helping Lenny.  He can’t fall that that far behind while you mop the women’s restroom.  Make sure you have a waitress give you an all clear before you go inside.”  He looked to see who all was in the kitchen, “Mackenzey!  You’re taking over table 302, get the order from Emily.  Chris, just stay on expo line and keep the food going out.  Yell for Davy if things start to back up.  Emily, go and sit down in the office while I call nine-one-one.  Put a trash bag down on the chair.”

I'm not sure this is a medically necessary procedure….

I’m not sure this is a medically necessary procedure….

I think I yelped in the office as the first contraction hit me.  It actually didn’t hurt as much as I feared, but it startled me, a sudden constipated feeling like I had to pass a really large movement.  Jonas put a hand over the telephone receiver to tell me to stay calm and breathe slowly, and I realized he was arguing with the emergency dispatcher.  “I know the EMT’s will come as ‘soon as they are able’, lady, I’m not scheduling an appointment.  I just want to know how long.”  A pause.  “Oh, for fuck’s sake, just cancel the call, we’re only two blocks from the hospital, I’ll take her myself.”  And so I found myself holding onto Jonas’s surprisingly muscular arm, as he ushered me out to the passenger seat of his X5.  I barely had time to try to call my dad before we were at the emergency room entrance, Jonas putting his blinkers on and escorting me inside.  He continued to bark orders to the hospital staff just like he had at Giovanni’s, and before I knew it an E.R. doctor- not Dr. Bob- was taking a look at me. He confirmed I was in labor, only about five cm dilated, he told me it looked like I had breech baby, and that there was time to move me from emergency to maternity.

Time but not much time.  My contractions were only about four and a half minutes apart, so there wasn’t time to try to reposition Piper in my belly.  Instead I was given a spinal block and prepped for an emergency Cesarean.  My memory of the next few hours, between the drugs, the panic, and the sheer emotional whipsawing, is pretty hazy.  I remember sobbing a lot of apologies.  I remember telling the anesthesiologist that I wanted my daddy.  Truthfully, my dad wouldn’t be my first choice to be there for my labor.  I think both of us are more comfortable when Sergeant Marik doesn’t have to acknowledge that his little angel has women parts and those parts have seen use.  However, since I don’t have a relationship with Piper’s father, don’t have a lot of family, and have many acquaintances but few close friends, dad was something more important than my first choice.  He was my only choice, and he wasn’t there.

But Jonas was.  I remember hearing a nurse telling Jonas only family could come into the operating room with me, and Jonas giving a profanity laced reply that he wasn’t going to let one of his waitresses be left alone.  I remember rolling my head in the operating room, trying to see over the sheet so I knew what was going on, and Jonas squeezing my hand and murmuring something quietly in Italian until I was paying attention to him and not the doctors.  I remember someone asking Jonas if he would like to hold his new granddaughter, and that while I was trying to slur a correction, Jonas just gravely replied, “I would be honored,” and I could hear how sincerely he meant that.  And I remember seeing a little wetness in the corner of his eye, once the doctors stitched the incision and propped me up, as Jonas handed me little Piper to hold for the first time.

What makes it all worthwhile...

What makes it all worthwhile…

I think I can say with total accuracy that if my dad wouldn’t be my first choice to be a birthing partner, that Jonas wouldn’t even be on the list.  And yet I cannot think of anyone who would have done a better job of being there for me when I really, really needed someone to be there.  I totally misjudged Jonas and I wanted to say so out loud.  And as a permanent reminder, I filled out Piper’s birth certificate papers slightly differently from my original intent… I’m so happy now to be the mother of Piper Jonasine Marik, who is nineteen inches long, six pounds and seven ounces, and absolutely gorgeous!😍

My little angel

My little angel…

Oh, and the obligatory style card stuff: 

  • Shape: Teen Katie, wk 38 by Cukabebe
  • Skin: Tiffany, by Kids5B
  • Tattoos: Vegas, by Infected
  • Hair: Paloma, Red2 by Dark Mouse
  • Outfit: Team Player (Pregnant Slut) by Ellemeno; source unknown Pink Sneakers
  • Accessories: Graffiti Bangles by Grumble, Grumble; Hearts a Flutter headband by Le Fil Casse; source unknown nose ring.

Whoo-hoo! Party with Dr. Bob!

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Giovanni’s is located in a place that gives it a demographically diverse traffic flow.  We’re close enough to the richest suburb in the area to get high end executives, but we are in a region of the city where retired factory workers are gradually succumbing to death and nursing homes and being replaced by a […]

State of the Blogger Address, Part II

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Matt the Firsty, back to hopefully finish my ‘State of the Blogger Address’.  Back in Part I, I was primarily talking about what’s going on in my life: still working two jobs, just became a home owner for the first time, about to become a father for the first time.  Time management was already the […]