Halloween and Marauder Junior

Garden gate and blossoms
Last year on Halloween, I decided during the middle of the day to go see the remake of Carrie by myself, and went. This year on Halloween, my mom is coming over so I can take a nap, after which I'm taking my seven-week-old daughter to go get her picture taken in her Halloween costume. She's going to be a pirate.

Marauder Junior has huge eyes, frequent hiccups, Mr. Marauder's detached earlobes and long eyelashes, my long toes, not much hair on the top of her head and a whole lot in the back, tiny little pink lips that made me understand for the first time what a "Cupid's-bow mouth" looks like, baby acne, a short middle finger on her left hand which requires a splint to help her learn to fully lift it, and is incredibly adorable. It still feels weird that I'm actually someone's mom. (Right now as I'm typing, she's in a sling on my chest and trying to figure out if she wants to fall asleep or not.) I had hellish postpartum depression for the first couple of weeks after she was born. It didn't help that:

1. I was recovering from a C-section and wasn't allowed to go up and down stairs more than strictly necessary, or lift anything over ten pounds.
2. I was hugely sleep-deprived.
3. Our heater quit working and Mr. Marauder was up fixing it in the middle of the night.
4. Our cat ate part of a stargazer lily and had to be rushed to the emergency vet's for charcoal treatments and IV fluids.
5. I found out about the short middle finger in the middle of the night when Marauder Junior was a week old - it took us that long to think to stretch out the fingers she kept curling in - and my mind jumped to a worst-possible-scenario of Marauder Junior, age five or so, crying because she couldn't do things everybody else could and other kids were mean to her. (The orthopedic surgeon we saw says she's seen kids with similar fingers who type and play the piano.)
6. The aftereffects of the Oxycodone they gave me in the hospital totally messed up my digestive system.
7. My hormones were all over the place.
8. It was my first time ever taking care of a baby. (This is what happens when you're an only child who grew up in a rural area with no one around to babysit.)
9. Mr. Marauder's dad was coming from out of state to visit with his new girlfriend, who I'd never met, and I was anxious about having a total stranger come into my house and meet my newborn child when I felt awful and the house was a complete mess. (Still haven't met her - she decided to stay home and Mr. Marauder's dad came by himself.)
10. I couldn't drive for the first week after the C-section and felt trapped in the house.
11. I couldn't even knit, because I knit with one needle propped against my abdomen and I was afraid of poking the incision.

Luckily, Mr. Marauder was home for the first few weeks - he got a week of paid family leave, then took a week of vacation time, then worked from home for two weeks after that before going back full-time. Also luckily, my mom was able to come over for at least a few hours on most weekdays, which she's still doing. So incredibly thankful for both of them.

The more chances I have to do the things I did before Marauder Junior was born, the better I feel. It really helps now that I'm finally off weight restrictions and able to carry Marauder Junior in the car seat, and that stairs aren't an issue anymore and I can watch Netflix again. (We have a split-level house and one TV downstairs. Marauder Junior's first words are going to be either "Magic always comes at a price" or "Previously on Pretty Little Liars." My mom watched soap operas when I was a baby and I turned out all right, although TV exposure did lead me, at the age of two, to notice a black woman in the grocery store and exclaim, "Oprah!")

Biggest surprises from Marauder Junior's birth and the days following:

1. The actual C-section was easy and pain-free compared to the recovery. I'm going for VBAC next time if at all possible.
2. The doctor had to cut me slightly wider because Marauder Junior's head got stuck on the way out.
3. Oxycodone is heinous and made me throw up water all over the bed.
4. The incision was gray until recently and is now pink.
5. Marauder Junior weighed a whole pound and a half less at birth than I did.
6. On the second night after Marauder Junior was born, I was so tired that I fell asleep in the middle of a sentence and then, when I woke up two seconds later, couldn't remember what the first part of the sentence had been.

Favorite baby milestones so far, in order that they happened:

1. The umbilical cord stump finally falling off after something like twenty days. No more sponge baths! (Haven't been able to bring myself to throw the stump away yet. My mom still has mine in an envelope somewhere.)
2. Moving from two middle-of-the-night feedings to one late-evening feeding, one middle-of-the-night feeding, and one early-morning feeding. (I'm going to be so thrilled when she starts sleeping through the night. SO. THRILLED.)
3. Marauder Junior learning to smile in response to other people smiling at her. (Question most likely to provoke a smile: "Did you make poops?")
4. Today! First post-utero holiday!

Happy Halloween, everyone. :D

Marauder Junior is here

Very happy baby
Marauder Junior - who is a little girl - was born on September 10 via C-section. We're home from the hospital and I'm doing my best to cope with all the feelings and responsibilities. I love her and I'm very glad she's here safely. Online time will be very limited for some time.

Marauder Junior, Thane of Fife

Garden gate and blossoms
Remember last entry, when I said "The reality that I actually have to push out this kid in another few weeks is setting in"? Well, now it appears I'm not going to be pushing Marauder Junior out at all, because s/he is still in a breech position at 36 weeks and unless s/he manages to flip, it looks like I'm having a C-section. This is going to be my first major surgery ever, so I'm a little freaked out by the idea.

Disadvantages of C-section:

- they have to actually cut me open!
- I can't drive for two weeks afterwards
- I can't lift stuff over ten pounds for six weeks afterwards (this will be an issue if Marauder Junior grows really fast)
- can't eat before surgery and it's scheduled for late morning, which means I'll probably be hungry
- scar on abdomen
- will have to figure out "second C-section vs. VBAC" issues with Marauder Junior Two someday
- what if it gets infected?
- what if if gets infected and I have to have a hysterectomy?
- OMG WHAT IF I DIE

Advantages of C-section:

- possibility of Marauder Junior being born on September 11 is now off the table
- don't have to push (I've had Braxton-Hicks contractions twice and both times were painful)
- extended hospital stay means all early visitors will show up when I'm still in the hospital, and I don't feel obligated to clean the house ahead of time
- whole thing should be over with in three to four hours start to finish
- Marauder Junior can skip the cone-shaped head phase
- will be around lactation consultants once milk comes in
- didn't really have the whole "birth plan" worked out yet anyway, so it's not like I'm one of those people who was all set on a natural birth in water (or whatever) and this ruined it
- it's kind of a relief to have a lot of the uncertainty taken out of the whole thing

I'm trying not to spend too much time dwelling on it, which isn't hard to do because there's still so much stuff to get done around here before Marauder Junior shows up.

Marauder Junior update

Very happy baby
Posting because I haven't posted in a few months - I'm 34 weeks pregnant and pretty preoccupied with getting all the baby stuff together. Marauder Junior has gotten really big (although on the smaller side compared to other babies the same age) and likes kicking me a lot. We don't know if we're having a boy or a girl. Room theme is bunnies. I've tried several times to finish a new chapter of Another Prisoner, Another Professor while I still have the time, but between just being pregnant in general and having been taken off all my medications, my brain is kind of fuzzed over and I'd rather post a really good chapter later than a mediocre chapter earlier. The kitty cat is dealing well with no longer being able to sleep in "her" room (Marauder Junior's room) at night. So far my feet haven't swelled up and all my shoes still fit, so I'm hoping it stays that way. Mr. Marauder put the crib together the day before yesterday and is going to take a week off work after Marauder Junior is born (he could do more than a week, but it would be unpaid). The reality that I actually have to push out this kid in another few weeks is setting in. I'm just hoping to be one of those people who's in labor no more than six hours or so.

Wizard rock allegations

Sailors
Having been preoccupied with Marauder Junior, I only now just found out that a number of sexual abuse/sexual coercion allegations were made against some people in the wizard rock community a couple of months ago. Although Mr. Marauder and I had a wrock band called The First Task Is Dragons and I wrote for Wizrocklopedia for a while, I was never "in the wrock community" outside of online activities and therefore I don't personally know anyone involved. The band consisted of Mr. Marauder and me recording random stuff in my old apartment during law school, before we got married, and what I did for Wizrocklopedia was mostly round up new bands to add to the master list, along with doing a few update posts about new songs or albums. Because I don't know anyone involved, I don't feel qualified to comment on the allegations, but there is one thing I want to say.

In reading reports of people claiming they were sexually abused or exploited by wizard rockers - there are a lot of links here and here, with more on the topic here and here - there seems to be a prevailing theme. People didn't want to come forward with what had happened to them because their allegations involved popular wrockers. I quit wizard rock partly because I'm not very good at it (which I always knew) and partly because life took over, but the other part was because, for a community that was supposed to be so big on love and friendship and acceptance, wizard rock always felt really cliquish to me. It seemed like a lot of the fandom was centered around telling the BNFs how great and talented they were, and around in-jokes between bands and band members. It was to a level that I've never personally seen in other parts of Harry Potter fandom, and after a while it was like hanging around a group of people, all close friends with each other, who weren't particularly interested in hanging around you. Therefore, it doesn't surprise me at all that people didn't want to come forward. In other subsets of HP fandom - this is a generalization based on my personal experience - the subset, whether it's the ship, the character, or whatever, is what the fans are there for. In wizard rock, it seemed like the BNFs were a lot of what the fans were there for, as opposed to the music or the community at large. In retrospect, it almost seems like wizard rock was a perfect breeding ground for this kind of behavior - several male BNFs in their twenties or older, female fans who could be as young as high schoolers, and an attitude that "we're all one big happy family here and we don't criticize each other." These allegations are not nearly as much of a shock to me as they could have been.

Urgh

Sailors
Okay, not going to go into the circumstances that prompted this post, but...it is not okay to engage in stereotyping about only children and then claim that you can do that because you yourself are an only child. Having said that, it is extremely not okay to engage in stereotyping about only children and claim you can do that because you yourself are an only child when it turns out that you're not actually an only child, but consider yourself one because your only sibling is significantly older than you.

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Sailors
For whatever reason, my childhood is full of memories regarding where I was and what I was doing as historic true-crime events were happening. I remember listening to the radio in the car with my mom one day during the summer before third grade, and my mom exclaiming that O. J. Simpson couldn't have possibly killed his wife. (If I remember correctly, this was somewhere between the murders and the Bronco chase, when it was still possible to have missed hearing about Simpson's history of domestic violence if you hadn't been paying close attention to the news for the last few days.) I remember being in Washington, D. C. a day or two after Andrew Cunanan killed himself in the houseboat and hearing a tour guide point out a government worker who was taking down the FBI's Ten Most Wanted poster with Cunanan on it. I remember being ten years old and seeing magazine covers with JonBenet Ramsey all over the grocery store checkout aisles. I also have clear memories of being in seventh grade, getting home from school, and watching the live news footage from Columbine High school around the time that the SWAT teams were still finding dead bodies.

The aftermath of the Columbine High School shooting was a weird time to be an adolescent. It was a news story you couldn't avoid about kids around your age, centered around, when it came right down to it, social popularity, one of the overriding obsessions of young teenagers. The "unpopular kids" were the bad ones because they'd shot up the school. The "popular kids" were also the bad ones, at least a little bit, because they'd created a "jock culture" and alienated the unpopular kids. (The actual causes behind the shooting turned out to be more complex, but this was how it was portrayed in all the news reports in the months and days following the actual event.) The undisputed good ones of the whole story were the murdered kids, especially Cassie Bernall, who was erroneously believed to have been shot after telling Eric Harris she believed in God. The silently asked question to teenagers across the country was, which group are you the most like?

There were girls in my class whose mothers later bought them the book She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall in hopes that it would provide them with a good example of Christian strength. Newscasters were ominously intoning that Marilyn Manson's music was believed by some to have been an inspiration to the killers, and that they'd targeted "jocks" who wore white baseball caps. So, impressionable American teenagers, which Columbine faction are you? Are you an Abercrombie & Fitch fan who plays sports and owns a white baseball cap? Congratulations, you're only a secondary bad guy, more a product of society than of your own volition. You did not bring guns and badly-made bombs to school and orchestrate the biggest school massacre in American history. This makes you okay. Are you a weird kid who wears black a lot and listens to death metal? You have been elevated in your level of danger - no longer just the isolated doodler of dragons in fifth-period math, you are now a potential school shooter. No one knows when you may snap. (Even though Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris weren't really Goths, there were a lot of articles and news segments involving Goths defending themselves against allegations that A) the shooters were Goths and B) shooting up your school was somehow condoned or encouraged in Goth culture.) Are you a sweet-faced young born-again Christian? (Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott were by far the most publicized victims.) Congratulations, you are the best of all. You are attractive and morally innocent. Should you be tragically murdered, your name will live on in youth group circles for at least another few years and best-selling inspirational books will be written about you.

Part of what was personally a little scary for me, in a way I couldn't quite articulate at the time, was how seriously the Columbine shooting made adults take teenage social groups. For at least around a year, the attitude that it didn't really matter whether or not you were a "popular kid" in high school seemed to dissipate. Yes, it did matter, because it helped adults determine how likely you were to bring a gun to school and murder your classmates. Normal adolescent angst got seen as a "warning sign." It wasn't so much anything that adults said that promulgated this attitude; it was the fact that suddenly adults in the media seemed to take teenage social groups really, really seriously, and adults around me seemed to be absorbed in listening to them. It was the way adults looked a little longer at the "weird kids" going about their daily business. It was the way being picked on was suddenly seen as a warning sign for your own eventual bad deeds, not concrete evidence of someone else's.

Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, and in a cultural atmosphere where every celebrity seems to like to tell stories about how they were made fun of in school for being weird, it seems bizarre to think back on the immediate cultural aftermath of Columbine. It's also bizarre when I think how many of the "facts" turned out to be incorrect. Nobody was targeting jocks in white baseball caps, Cassie Bernall wasn't asked if she believed in God and then shot because she said yes, the shooters weren't Goths, and the social hierarchy of the school was much more complex than "all the popular kids relentlessly picked on Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold until they decided to shoot up the school." If there's anything to be taken away from this, I think it might be that sometimes with a very emotionally-charged news story, it takes a while for the truth to come out.

42 states

Garden gate and blossoms
The project to donate at least 20 baby hats to crisis pregnancy centers in all 50 states continues! I'm trying to get the whole thing done before Marauder Junior is born, but I'm not entirely sure if I'm going to be able to pull it off. Anyway, here's the updated map and list, with places that are new since the last update in bold:



Minneapolis, Minnesota: 20 hats
Brainerd, Minnesota: 20 hats
Apple Valley, Minnesota: 24 hats
Amherst, Massachusetts: 20 hats
Newport, Oregon: 20 hats
Huntington, West Virginia: 20 hats
Topeka, Kansas: 20 hats
Iron Mountain, Michigan: 20 hats
Chicago, Illinois: 20 hats
Anchorage, Alaska: 20 hats
Burlington, Vermont: 20 hats
Helena, Montana: 20 hats
Cocoa Beach, Florida: 20 hats
Middletown, New York: 20 hats
Boise, Idaho: 20 hats
Racine, Wisconsin: 20 hats
Jackson, Mississippi: 20 hats
Loveland, Colorado: 20 hats
Sioux Falls, South Dakota: 20 hats
Conroe, Texas: 20 hats
Worland, Wyonming: 20 hats
Red Bank, New Jersey: 20 hats
Kokomo, Indiana: 20 hats
Danbury, Connecticut: 20 hats
Salt Lake City, Utah: 20 hats
Ames, Iowa: 20 hats
Seattle, Washington: 20 hats
Kansas City, Missouri: 20 hats
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 20 hats
West Fargo, North Dakota: 20 hats
Memphis, Tennessee: 20 hats
Portsmouth, New Hampshire: 20 hats
Annapolis, Maryland: 20 hats
Fredericksburg, Virginia: 20 hats
Chadron, Nebraska: 20 hats
Charleston, South Carolina: 20 hats
Atlanta, Georgia: 20 hats
Little Rock, Arkansas: 20 hats
Owensboro, Kentucky: 20 hats
Waterville, Maine: 20 hats
Cleveland, Ohio: 20 hats
Flagstaff, Arizona: 20 hats
Tulsa Oklahoma: 20 hats
Wilmington, Delaware: 20 hats

Marauder Junior

Very happy baby
Mr. Marauder and I are having a baby in mid-September.

:D :D :D

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Philip Seymour Hoffman

Anteros
Two weirdnesses about Philip Seymour Hoffman's death:

1. February 2, Groundhog Day, is usually associated with Phil, the little furry guy, seeing or not seeing his shadow, not Phil, the famous actor, being found dead from drugs.

2. Groundhog Day is also the famous movie in which Bill Murray has to repeat the same day again and again, and I'm willing to bet that if Philip Seymour Hoffman could pick a day in his life to do over, February 2, 2014 would be a prime candidate.

Watching famous people die from drug overdoses is like being a judge who keeps watching the same bright and talented defendant show up for sentencing again and again. "Bob, why are you back here again? I was hoping last time was the final time I'd see you in this courtroom." "I know, Your Honor." "What happened, Bob?" "I don't know, Your Honor." "I have to say, Bob, I'm getting pretty sick of this." "I don't blame you, Your Honor." "What do we have to do to end this, Bob?" "I don't know, Your Honor. I'm sorry." Only "Bob" is at least alive to show up and make his sentencing hearing.

When I first heard that PSH had died, I thought I'd heard before that he had kids, but I was also thinking that they were teenagers. I can't imagine how you tell kids ages ten, seven and five that their daddy isn't ever going to see them again because he's dead. I don't want to have to imagine how you possibly tell that to little kids.

I talked a lot about celebrities and drug overdoses back in July when Cory Monteith died, so I'm linking to that entry. I'd like to not feel the need to write any of these entries again for a long, long time.

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