Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Expecting and Expectations

From Expectation (noun) 1. the act or state of expecting; 2. the act or state of looking forward or anticipating; 3. an expectant mental attitude; 4. something expected, a thing looked forward to; 5. often expectations -- a prospect of future good or profit.

Sometimes, life is about expectations.  Sometimes, we spend our days expecting something, anything.  When I was a child, when my parents would go out they would tell me "We expect you to do what the babysitter asks of you and be a good girl."  That was their expectation of me every time they went out.  As I moved through school, my father had expectations of me as well, "I expect you to get good grades."  My parents always expected that my sister and I would do things with our lives that would make us happy.  I think all parents want their children to be happy and it becomes an expectation for them.

Those are some of life's expectations.  There are, I'm sure, thousands more that we all can think of, personal expectations about life and the future and friendships, love, hate, peace, war, etc.

So, there are other expectations.  For example, I'm expecting.  That seems like such an old-fashioned expression, "I'm expecting".  Expecting what?  Expecting a downpour?  Expecting a flock of seagulls?  Expecting?  I've always thought it was a strange way to say one is pregnant but it seems a lot of people say it that way.  When I told my love, Travis, that I was pregnant, I just said "So, I think I'm pregnant so I'm going to pick up a test from the store tomorrow after work".  I don't like beating around the bush, so I just put it out there.  He was stunned and then shrugged and said "OK".  So, I bought a test and used it and it came back positive and I made my first appointment, the 8 week one, and it was all confirmed.  I got to see the newly forming baby, who was 1.45cm long and its tiny heart was just fluttering away.  I'm due June 4, 2013.  That is the year of the Snake.  Snakes are intelligent, graceful and materialistic; they are extremely analytical and don't jump into situations, according to a Chinese Zodiac reference I found.  On a side note, I was born in 1976, the year of the Dragon.

We do want to find out the gender of the baby and we do have names picked out.  There's a lot of things we've been thinking about as well.  I've been worrying quite a bit about the overall health of the baby as it develops and making sure I take my prenatal vitamins and folic acid and calcium regularly.  I've also been dealing with nausea and morning sickness (which actually is all day, so from now on I'm going to call it pregnancy sickness which is what my doctor calls it as well).  My expectation is that the nausea and overall sickness will go away around weeks 12 or 13.  Thankfully, my doctor has prescribed anti-nausea medicine for me to take, up to 3 times a day, and it does seem to help.  I feel generally better this week, compared to last week and I'm hopeful this "better feeling" will continue forward and eventually I won't need the anti-nausea meds.  I hope!

I am expected to gain between 25 and 35 pounds during this pregnancy.  I think I should be able to do that, unless this whole nausea/vomiting thing keeps up.  The Nurse Practitioner told me that the soreness in my breasts is a good sign and that I should expect to be able to breastfeed with ease, so that's a new expectation I have.  Of course, there's the typical expectation of belly growth.  I expect that I'll be even more clumsy the bigger I get.  I'm a pretty solid klutz, and have fallen down twice in the past year.  I just lose my balance and go down and that's that.  I'm hoping not to fall down while pregnant and fear falling down while pregnant, but as a natural klutz I think all those who love and care about me expect me to fall down at some point during the pregnancy.

I did not expect to feel so tired.  I don't remember any of my friends talking about how exhausted they were the first trimester.  I'm tired all the time.  Several women who work with me all say that it takes a lot of energy to grow a person, and boy are they not kidding!  I had no idea.  I just wonder why no one tells you beforehand how tiring it is.  I just want to sleep in every day and not do anything until noon.  Unfortunately, I don't think my job would be okay with me coming in everyday at 12 noon.  Probably not.  I also didn't expect the sheer amount of gas my body would produce and release.  Boy, do I feel sorry for those who work around me.  It's embarrassing.  I realize that everyone does it, everyone has gas, but seriously!  Come on!  I had no idea it would be this bad!  I think I could kill a water buffalo!

I did not expect the indigestion either.  I've never really suffered from indigestion or heartburn or acid reflux.  Now I feel it all the time.  I feel so extremely sorry for my Travis, who has Gerd and deals with acid reflux all the time.  Poor guy.

I also didn't expect my sense of smell to increase so greatly.  I cannot walk by a coffee shop without feeling nauseous.  I love coffee!  I love the smell of it, I love sitting in coffee shops, I love brewing coffee.  Now, I can't stand it!  It makes my stomach turn, which is so sad to me.  Of course, I also cannot drink coffee, so I guess not being able to handle the smell is a good thing.  I'm having difficulties with tomato sauce too.  I can't seem to handle foods that have any kind of tomato sauce or tomato base in them.  I can't handle spaghetti, lasagna, tomato soup, nothing with tomato sauce (except for pizza amazingly enough).  I love spaghetti and lasagna, but right now I can't have it.

So, what am I expecting?  I'm expecting a happy and healthy baby at the end of all of this.  I'm expecting my life to change for the better.  I'm expecting to experience the beauty of life in a profound and beautiful way.  I'm expecting to be reminded everyday of why I'm blessed.  I'm expecting a whole new adventure.

So, here's to expecting and expectations.  I'm not going to set up any expectations for what kind of parent I think I will be or what kind of child I expect to have, those are the kinds of things that come along as you move forward as parent and child.  Ultimately, though, I will say, that my #1 expectation is that my child is happy from birth through adulthood and into old age.  I hope my child is happy, with him or her self and withe me as the mommy.

Cheers ~ TLN

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kids Who Hit

I have been doing a lot of reminiscing lately, thinking about my childhood and people who swam in and out of it. One thought that has followed some memories has been "I should have smacked him/her at that time". Now, I realize this is not a positive thought and I'm not advocating hitting others, but for some reason, there is some appeal to smacking the jerk or stuck-up twit from my memories when I think of the times they made me cry.

I admit, rather embarrassingly, I was a cry-baby as a child. I cried over everything. You name it, I cried. It's completely embarrassing now, when I look back to see just how often I cried. I cried A LOT. Way too much. According to my parents, I was hyper sensitive. Even my elementary teachers commented about my sensitivity on my report cards. I was that kid in elementary school who, while being picked on and ridiculed, would just sit there crying which of course fueled further ridicule. I was a total baby.

I do remember classmates who reacted in a different way to ridicule. They hit. They would just curl their hands into fists and POW, fist met face. There were bloody noses and tears, from the bully not the victim. Then, that classmate was sent home for a few days. The classmate returned and was never picked on or ridiculed again. I always secretly wished I was strong like those kids.

My parents raised me with the lesson that hitting was bad. "Don't hit, it's not nice" is what I was constantly told. So, being the good girl that I was, I didn't hit. My parents said that if someone was being mean, I should tell my teachers. So, I did. I embarrassingly admit I was a tattletale. That pretty much explains 50% of the ridicule and bullying aspect of my school years. The other 50% I'll save for a different post. Being a tattletale pretty much sets you up as a bully target.  So, I was picked on, which resulted in crying and tattling, which led to me being called a cry-baby.

That brings me back to hitting.  As a child, there were only 2 occasions where I actually hit someone.  The first time I hit someone, it was completely out of self-defense and because my mom, grandmother, 2 aunts, 1 uncle and my grandfather all told me to.  My cousin Nikki and I are 3 years apart, I'm older.  Nikki's father is one of my mom's younger brothers, that's how we're related.  Well, on her mother's side, she only had male cousins, and they picked on her a lot.  Whenever we were together at our grandmother's house, Nikki usually picked on me, she was a biter.  She bit me A LOT.  Well, after crying and tattling (because I was an expert at both), my mother, grandmother, 2 aunts, 1 uncle and grandfather all got tired of me crying and tattling, so they said "The next time Nikki bites you, hit her back, then she'll stop biting", sounded like decent advice.  One day, Nikki and I were playing in our Aunt Sonja's room and she bit me.  I cried out and then I backhanded her.  She screamed and I screamed and then my grandmother, who was babysitting us, yelled for us.  Well, I ran into the other room, told Nana what had happened and Nikki was right behind me saying "Nuh uh".  Nana made us sit on the couch and wait for our respective parents.  My mother showed up first and Nana told me to tell her what happened, so I did.  Well, my mother rewarded me with a hug and a "good girl" comment and then sat down and started talking to my grandmother.  When Uncle Julius (Nikki's father) came in, Nikki told him what happened and his response was "Well, that's what you get for biting".  Nikki never bit me again after that.

The second time I hit someone, it was my younger sister and I'm just going to say, she deserved it.  I don't exactly remember how old we were, but she was young and I do believe she hit me first.  She was a bossy toddler and I usually received a scratch or a hit if I said no to her.  Finally, I decided I was done being abused by her and when she hit me, I hit her back.  She has, after all these years, continued to be bossy, but I ignore it.  I'm the oldest so her bossiness really just doesn't fly with me and I ignore her.  Or I make a snarky comment, which I think is better than hitting any day of the week.

Looking back at the response I received from adults after hitting Nikki and looking at the way other children picked on me throughout my school years, I do wonder what life would have been like if I had actually hit someone.  I'm sure at some point, I'd be suspended, and after enough of those I'd be expelled.  Maybe, I would have fallen in with the "bad" crowd, become a troublemaker, a rabble rouser.  Maybe, I'd be doing hard time right now, living in a cell not much bigger than the cubicle I currently work in.

OR...maybe all it would have taken was one slap to send the message that I'm not the butt of anyone's jokes.  Maybe, one well place slap would have commanded respect from the other kids.  Maybe, I would have developed  a high level of confidence at a much younger age than when it actually occurred.  Maybe I wouldn't have become a quiet, reserved assistant, but rather a brash, brazen, commanding attorney.  Maybe, just maybe...

I don't know what happened to all of the kids who bullied me growing up.  I do remember hearing that one girl, who bullied me in 8th and 9th grade, ended up in jail for stealing a car and crossing state lines in it.  A boy who tormented me in 2nd grade, ended up in juvenile detention for awhile and then was "sent away".  I know a few of the other kids grew up and out of their bully phases and by the time I graduated from high school with them, they were actually really nice and about 180 degrees different from elementary school.  Then, there are others who I just never heard anything about.

Isn't there a saying, "once a hitter, always a hitter"?  Or is it "once a cry-baby, always a cry-baby"?  I don't know.  I think people can change.  I think you can be a bully and give it up.  I think you can cry over spilt milk (i.e. be a cry-baby) and then learn to just shrug it off and go about your business.  I do think there are bad eggs that turn out good once they've matured, and there are good eggs who plummet downhill into badness.  Then, there are those who are just bad eggs, that's just what they are.  There are those who are good eggs, that's just who they are.  Personally, I don't agree with hitting or picking on those who are weaker than you (or who you perceive are weaker), but I think each person has to decide for him/herself.  Is hitting ever o.k.?  Is it ever necessary?  Is there ever a time/place/situation when slapping someone is absolutely the right response?  I don't know.  What I do know is that it took me a long time to learn to stand up for myself against bullies.  Maybe hitting or slapping the bully would have helped me develop a thick skin early on, become more confident and outgoing.  I don't know.  What I do know is this, I can stand up for myself, speak my mind, support my decisions, intelligently voice my thoughts, laugh at myself and look strangers in the eye NOW.  I consider myself confident, finally, and I got to this stage without slapping anyone (well, except for Nikki and my sister).

I'm not a hitter, it just wasn't my style, for better or for worse.

Cheers, TLN ~