Questions, Part One

From Kirsty

I actually have two, kind of connected questions: how do you manage to never seem angry or annoyed (I know I don’t know you in real life, but you always seem – in your blog, photos, tweets… – so laid back and calm) despite having a two-year-old? I know Elizabeth is (or seems to be, anyway) a pretty well-behaved little girl, but she IS 2 and I had real problems not going insane when both my girls were 2 (actually from 18 months onwards with my younger girl).

Well, I don’t know.  I am pretty laid back and calm.  (Well, with children anyway, I am called Type A rather often in reference to my house and my organization.)  I’d say it is partially because I just have a lot of patience.  I also have a background in psychology, with a focus in child psychology, so I understand a lot of how the tiny little minds work and that they aren’t actually trying to drive me crazy, even if it may seem like it.  And this sounds kind of stupid because OF COURSE but I know Elizabeth really well and I know how to push the right buttons on her to get her to do mostly what I want.  And finally, the journey we took to get to her made me really appreciate how I could still be on that other side, wanting nothing more than to just have a baby, even one that cries and screams and throws tantrums on the floor.  I mean, a misbehaving kid is way better than a dead one or one that never existed, right?  I’m not saying at all that this is a magic answer, but I do think about it a lot because whatever is happening would be so much worse if she weren’t here at all. 

And, second, how do you manage to seem so upbeat despite your loss? I’m guessing you’ve had your “down” moments, but you still seem to hold it all together more than I did when my baby died (she was my first and, I believed, only chance at motherhood. But still). I can tell from your blog that you suffered, and I’m not suggesting you don’t FEEL pain and hurt and sadness, it’s more that you manage to not SHOW it on the web, whereas even now, I seem to be unable to be anything but sad and miserable on mine – how do you do it?!

A lot of it is that I have Elizabeth this time.  Firstly, I don’t get the luxury of wearing my pajamas all the time and not eating for days on end, like last time.  Another reason is that I don’t have to wonder if I will ever have a child, like I did last time.  And I think a big reason, probably the biggest, is that I did a lot of grieving for my first loss and so this is all familiar.  I’ve already moved through the stages of grief, so I was able to feel more comfortable in them this time.  I’ve already reached a place that I can live in.  The grief is there, but it isn’t overwhelming.

From Life of a Doctor’s Wife

Well, one thing I am very curious about is how you decided to stay home with Dibits. What led to that decision… What your parents and in laws think about stay-at-home-parenthood… How you and your husband made it work financially… What your plans are when you’re doing having kids… Etc. It’s something I think about a LOT… and something my parents and my husband’s parents have wildly different views about. And – while it’s a Far in the Future Thing – I am very curious about it.

Well, I always wanted to stay at home.  Matt and I were both raised by stay at home moms, so it was kind of normal for us.  I don’t actually know what my parents and in laws think about staying at home because I’ve never asked them.  Both my mom and my mother-in-law stayed at home and I think both did for most of our lives.  (My mom started staying at home when my sister was born- I was in daycare until I was two.  Neither mom went back to work when the kids were out of the house, actually my parents retired right after my sister graduated, so they both stay at home now.)

Matt and I made it work financially by magic.  I’m not actually kidding about that.  We both worked.  Then, when I was six month pregnant with Elizabeth, Matt got a new job that paid both our salaries.  So, he went to work there, I stopped working, and we made the same money.  (At the time, we were making pretty low salaries, both the same, working for our own business.  Matt’s dad, who also worked with us, was recruited away by a giant company and they came back for Matt later on.  So we sold our business and went to work for The Man.)  Like I said, magic.

I don’t know what the plans for the future are, really.  In an ideal world, I’d stay at home until Elizabeth and any Potentials are out of school.  And then some distant rich relative that we’ve never met will die and leave us lots of money.  Or if we don’t have any mysterious rich relatives, I’d like to get some kind of job that I liked.  But honestly, I’d be happy being a housewife forever. (Jen- belongs in the 50s.  Thanks.)

From Delenn

I guess my question would be about Dibits curly hair. It seems in some pictures she has curly hair, and I was wondering who she gets that from. (Reminds me of my brother when he was baby/toddler–always curly–then it was gone as he got older)

From me.  And then also from me.  I direct you to this post, of my hair left to its own devices before I had it straightened and then also these pictures:

You’ll have to zoom in to see it properly, but that is Baby Jen.  Also, remember the time before suitcases had wheels? Also, Holy Seventies Bedspread, Batman.

From Kristina

I love to talk books! What is your favorite book? Have you read anything lately that is a must-read??

Also- I was looking at your suburban crunch tab and I’m wondering about the cleaning stuff. I love to clean (I know, I’m weird) but I’m interested in learning how not to spend a gazillion dollars on products that probably aren’t good for me or my family.

I love books.  As a result, I don’t have a favorite.  I have some favorites, but way too many to list.  Currently, I am reading The Enchanted Castle, as E. Nesbit has never written anything bad.  (Well, never anything I’ve read anyway.)  I’m listening to the first Harry Potter in the car.  (I can’t actually read while I am driving, so I make up for it by listening to books on tape/CD.)

Yes, the cleaning posts that I never did transfer over, huh?  I’ll have to get on that.  In the meantime, my advice is to stop buying cleaning products when you run out.  See if you can get along without them.  I find that I can replace Windex with water and a towel and that baking soda perfectly replaces Ajax.  I have one bottle of bleach spray which I use on the toilets when they start to grow weird stuff around the water line, but besides that, I use soap and water to clean just about anything.  I’ll write some proper cleaning posts, remind me, okay?

And that will have to be the end of the Question Post for today, as it is dinner time.  You guys did well with the in-depth, thought-provoking questions this time.  This is going to take me some time to get through.