JOURNAL NO. 35
January 1983 - September 1983
Age 25

"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  ... "


 





Monday afternoon
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 today -- 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!

Fortunately we have some other new games 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.





With the ever-present "Liddle Diddle"
1983



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 want 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 made! 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 again?







Tuesday 10 a.m.
January 4, 1983

Other questions regarding my future:

  • Is this the last time I'll be pregnant?
  • Who will I be, one year from now?
  • Who will I be ten years from now?
  • Will I remain a housewife/fulltime 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 day. 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.

Drinking hot 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!

Having watched 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 time.

One possible pitfall to try and avoid: comparisons between my two children. Unfair comparisons, anyway.

Evening:

Whew! I've been working like a whirlwind 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.







Wednesday morning
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.

I'm finally 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 so 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 the 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 know.








Saturday morning
January 8, 1983

Ray never came home last night: you can 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.




She followed the bride everywhere that day
1983




With my sister-in-law at the wedding
1983





Monday 12:30
January 10, 1983
 

Past noon, and I'm still laying around 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.

Nice weekend. 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.

1:30 p.m. 

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 hot dog.)

To continue my account of the weekend. 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.

Sunday afternoon, 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.

We're flat-broke 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 in 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 !!! It's 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 day, 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 kitchen floor, sitting 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.)







Wednesday afternoon
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 about 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??








Saturday morning
January 15, 1983

Ray has been home sick the past couple 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!

One unpleasant incident last night that 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 it.

Just took a good long shower, washed and 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

Tired, relaxed, 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.








Monday noon
January 17, 1983

No electricity. The power company came 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.

4:30 pm

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.

5:00 pm

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 on, the house is warm, supper is in the oven, a fire burns in the fireplace.









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.

9:45 a.m.

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.








Wednesday afternoon
January 19, 1983

Well. I don't know ... I think we might 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 visit 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 doctor's appointment 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.








Friday morning
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 disaster.

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.

Worrying about that dumb letter I wrote to Grandma and Grandpa P.








Saturday morning
January 22

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.

After "talk":

Is it possible to divorce your in-laws?????????????????!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?!







Sunday morning
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.








Tuesday morning
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 Saturday's unpleasantness, 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 close.

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 accurate??  Judy and "Patty" both had boys during the summer of 1983; "Sheryl" gave birth to a daughter in December 1984.

Robert Scorpio will offer to marry Holly 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 life 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 & better.

Noon:

Feeling a little better. I just wolfed down my entire TV dinner, plus a slice of bread with peanut butter and a glass of milk. I was so hungry.

Afternoon:

And a little better still. Beginning to 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.









Thursday morning/noon
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 last 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

Bright, sunny morning. If I can get my 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.







Tuesday early
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 mood.

The weekend was fairly nice, although 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 and took Jamie and I for a little excursion to Sears, where we picked up the portraits we had taken Dec. 29. (They're beautiful.)

Our 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 an 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?

SOME 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 ...









Wednesday noon
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 my 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)

  • Paper plates and cups - save on dishwashing
  • Coasters, mats to prevent rings on furniture
  • Separate laundry baskets for each family member, plus one for whites only
  • Move highchair away from walls - plastic mat underneath
  • Prepare bottles for both kids at one time, once a day
  • Fix Jamie's lunch and dinner at the same time
  • Jamie into disposable diapers; Kasey, Diaper Service

Now I've got the kitchen door open and 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.








Friday morning
February 4, 1983

The house is a mess, and so am I: I took 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!









Monday evening
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.

There's something 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.








Tuesday noon
February 8, 1983

Hungry. Waiting for my baked potato and 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.

Some minor 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

Happy birthday, dear Jamie ... fourteen 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" means shower!

Jamie had an accident a few minutes ago: 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 arrive? 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 football jerseys?

I'm aware of the baby's physical 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.

Thinking about 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 little better.

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 ...

My mother-in-law 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 "yes."








Thursday noon
February 10, 1983

Very, very DOWN. I'm about to say some 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 lifetime 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 someone 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, and 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 "acquire," if anything, 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 feel so introspective 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 of interesting dreams 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 unfaithful 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.

9 p.m.

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 we 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.

Each day seems to have a life of its 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 --







Wednesday morning
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 productive weekend. On 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 Grandma 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.

Unfortunately, Ray wasn't able to cash 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.

At Grandma's 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 up)

Evening:

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?







Question: How has marriage changed me?

I've relaxed. I don't walk into a room 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 worse, 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.








Thursday noon
February 17, 1983

Sitting. Watching the rain. Where in the 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.








Friday noon
February 18, 1983

Well, now I feel like a dummy. My appointment was TODAY - not yesterday! Peg 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.








Saturday night
February 19, 1983

Got our income tax refund today - $999.36.

I had a dream last night that I had the 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 perusing the classifieds, 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 doesn't.








Tuesday morning
February 22, 1983

What a lovely sound ... the sound of a 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 little shopping for 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.

11 a.m.

It feels amazingly spring-like today ... 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 vigorously this 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 become very 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 house.

3:30

Whew. I am one pooped pregnant lady. I 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, 6:30 or so.








Thursday 3:30 p.m.
February 24, 1983

Desperately trying 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
February 1983

7:00 a.m. Ray leaves for work; I go back to sleep.

8:30 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.

11:30 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.

1:30 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.

2-4:00 p.m. Jamie plays. I clean house, write letters, check the mail. Apple juice and cookie snack.

4:00 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.

5-6:30 p.m. Jamie up. Change diaper (again). Jamie eats dinner, plays until Daddy comes home.

7:30 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

Another long, empty day stretches ahead 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 directly 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, connected.

What sort of relationship will I have with the baby who is thumping inside of me right now?

5 p.m.

Jay and I had an adventure this 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 & children 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.








Monday morning
February 28, 1983

Verrrrry burned out this morning: all I 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.







Tuesday noon
March 1, 1983

Two days in a row. I feel so crummy today (diarrhea, headache) and I haven't had a shred of energy.








Thursday afternoon
March 3, 1983

Better. I've taken it real easy the past 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 understandable.








Saturday morning
March 5, 1983

(Jamie keeps 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 pain.)

Saturday morning. I just picked up the 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 paint Baby's bedroom this weekend, and I will probably finish my layette shopping. We are very nearly ready.

Angry with Ray's parents again. I have just learned (from Judy) that they are still telling everyone that Ray & I have a drug problem.








Sunday morning
March 6, 1983

Things are 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.

Pat, Don 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 even "allowed" me to sleep on my side for a little while.

I've got a doctor's appointment today at 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.

5:30 p.m.

Heart-stopping news: Casey is a breech baby! Wednesday morning at 6:45 a.m. I'll be going into the hospital, where Dr. Heffron will attempt to turn him around.








Tuesday morning
March 8, 1983

More about yesterday.

Dr. Heffron had me up on the examining 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 all right.

Afternoon:

I am eating compulsively this afternoon ... 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 ...

More afternoon:

Not surprisingly, I have a terrible stomach ache. Wish Ray would come home. Wish I could get my mind off my problems for a little while.








Thursday morning
March 10, 1983

Cloudy gray morning. I have a heartful 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 the same.

Dr. Heffron 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 with it.

Jamie and I spent the day at Peg's after 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 thinking about:

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?

Another possible "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 and 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 while 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 is 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.

Unfortunately, the 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. forever.

If this baby dies, how will we handle the grief and the guilt?

If the baby survives but is physically impaired, where will we find the strength and the money to raise him properly?








Sunday noon
March 13, 1983

Trying to set my worries aside for one 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.








Monday afternoon
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.

I'm strangely elated about all of this. 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 Baby's health) still lingers, though. Please be healthy, Kasey. Please be healthy and whole and alert.









Tuesday morning
March 15

JOURNAL!! Dear, patient, all-knowing 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 dreary plains" that 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 murder!!!

Don't I sound giddy? Bear with me. There 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 into premature labor before the 25th!

2. That I can find a good doctor for the baby SOMETIME THIS WEEK.

3. That Ray is with me during the C-section (he's vacillating).

4. That the surgery is quick, painless 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 and restful.

Kasey Pauline, Casey Paul Edward, Kacie, Kacie, Kasey Pauline

The key to getting through this week and 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 work 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 and 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.

2:30

I'm such a marshmallow when it comes to 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 almost 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?

  
At the little neighborhood park
March 16, 1983
(five days before her little sister was born)

6 p.m.

A little better. I took a quick nap on 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.








Thursday noon
March 17, 1983

Had a minor crisis this morning ... went 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 handful 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.

Sunny, beautiful 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.

5 p.m.

Just got back from our shopping 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 house, 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.









Saturday morning
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.

Another pretty day. We've had a streak 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 nice?

Took pictures today: Jamie in playpen/Daddy in background fixing lawnmower; Mommy pregnant/blue nightgown





A couple of days before Kacie's birth
March 1983








Sunday morning
March 20, 1983

"cack-ack" - cracker
"ink" - tickle (rubs belly to show me what to do)

This is becoming a nice routine: morning 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.

Judy 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.











And suddenly  ...  I'm the mother of two.





Thursday morning
March 24, 1983

You probably thought I'd forgotten about 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 baby 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.

On Monday morning I had a routine visit 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 called 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 no 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
March 1983

Ray and I were both allowed to "visit" 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 few hours.

I was taken upstairs to a hospital room, 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.

 

           

Hospital pics
Kacie in her isolette (left); Jamie's first glimpse of her baby sister (right)

March 1983

 

 

 

Kacie P. is a sweet, quiet baby with a 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 room - 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 binders.








Wednesday noon
March 30, 1983

Again a lapse between the last entry and 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 daughters.

Today -- so far -- has been a good day. Yesterday was a crummy day, but today is shaping up well. I'll elaborate in a moment.

We left the hospital on Sunday morning. 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
March 1983

 

Our family
March 1983

 

Kacie immediately adjusted to the wicker 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 first 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.


 

Doo!
March 1983






Friday morning
April 1, 1983

One daughter is nestled into the crook 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 eating.








Saturday morning
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 weary mess.

Kacie fell asleep in her little basket 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. Instead, 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.

I was 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 ....








Easter Sunday
April 3, 1983

Sitting at the kitchen table with my two 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 2:30 doctor appointment 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. family 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 course.

I felt depressed around Judy and Sheryl 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 profoundly depressing.

Kacie isn't 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 she?








Wednesday 9 a.m.
April 6, 1983

I have company every morning during my 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 conversations.

The doctor's appointment the other day 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.





MY 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
6. Vacuum
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.

2 p.m.

Some afternoon thoughts:

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. We 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.







Thursday morning
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 afternoon. Rain.







Monday morning
April 11

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.

Recovering from the weekend. Debby was 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 smoke.

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.

3 p.m.

Having one heck of a day. The girls are 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 two 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 10 p.m.!

OWE LETTERS TO: Jody Waltz, Gram Deines, 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)








Thursday afternoon
April 14, 1983

(Kacie's umbilical "plug" fell out in the night)

Still feeling 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.

8:30 p.m.

Peace. Both of my daughters are tucked 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 Kacie 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.

Tired, naturally. 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 starting & 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 feeding.

Kacie always looks so worried. 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!








Sunday noon
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. Those huge blue eyes follow me everywhere are I move around the kitchen.








Thursday noon
April 21, 1983

Kacie is one month old today!

We had our best night, sleep-wise, last 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.

Yesterday was 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 "wispy" today. Neither 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 has 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 my 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 nothing.

6 p.m.

Still feeling oddly down and far away. 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 better 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! He 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 long, 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
Wednesday night

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 first 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, Mama!)








Thursday 8:15 a.m.
April 28, 1983

Feeling ashamed of myself this morning.

Ray came home from bowling last night at 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 shmuck.

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 they??

Actually, my own aversion to the sun may 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 possible.

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 it.

Unexpected company -- 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 of bed.

10:10 a.m.

Would you believe it? I was just getting 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.








Friday noon
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. I 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" ...








Sunday morning
May 1, 1983

Seven thirty. So tired, it's an effort 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 begin sleeping through 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 once 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 night I 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, but 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.



I'm pretty sure this is the one and ONLY time Ray ever changed
both of their diapers at once.
Spring 1983

 

4:30 p.m.

Deeply depressed. Ray can't even manage 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.

5:30 p.m.

I used some of my pent-up anger and hurt 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 refrigerator this morning:

"Dear - Mommy - Jamie - Kacie
I love you all very much
Thanks -
Your very own
Husband & Daddy"

Just when I'm feeling totally 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 much 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 indications that things 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 today 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 blessings. I'm always 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

The unexpected company continues to pour 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.

Rainy, cloudy, cool day ... an "indoors 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 wasn't disconnected ... 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

Jamie Lynn P., at nearly seventeen 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.

Her appetite fluctuates. She seldom eats 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.

Until recently she'd been taking regular 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. She 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.

Other favorite games:

  • "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 are 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."

  • Jamie's 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 she gets up in the morning until she finally drops from exhaustion in the evening, it is non-stop jabber jabber jabber.








May 8, 1983
Sunday morning

Mother's Day ... my second. "Jamie & Kacie" left me a beautiful card on the kitchen table this morning.

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 and 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

Feeling rock-bottom, physically. Woke up 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 get 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 sure.

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?) 




"Playing" in the backyard
Spring 1983

 






Friday 8 a.m.
May 13, 1983

24 hours later, and the sludge has moved 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 much worse.





Kacie:

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!








Sunday morning
May 15, 1983

Sleepy Sunday morning. Jamie is sitting 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 in severity.

Last night was a wonderful night. As a 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.








Friday noon
May 20, 1983

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I 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 day vacation tomorrow.








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.

laundry detergent
potatoes
dish soap
tomatoes & onions
vacuum cleaner belt
frozen french fries
chicken (2)
frozen carrots
ground beef
cheese
hot dogs
milk
taco seasoning mix
Hamburger Helper









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 hours straight.








Friday noon
May 27, 1983

We've been having a nice week, in spite 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 happy.

(Is Sam going to tell Jenny he loves her?) (Yes.)

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, but like me, he doesn't want to talk about it yet.

1:00 p.m.

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.








Saturday
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. I 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 as 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.

Today we're expecting Don 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 house 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 expected to come over this afternoon. Guess I'd better clean the house AGAIN.








Tuesday 9:30 a.m.
May 31, 1983

Wonderfully rainy, chilly morning ... it 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 a 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 depressed because:

  • 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 yet
  • My vacuum cleaner is broken
  • Jamie and Kacie are both wide awake, and bedtime is a million hours from now









Thursday 10:30 a.m.
June 2, 1983

Another cloudy morning. I just got out 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 doesn't listen.

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. I 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 moving.








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 in 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 NIGHT:

It is 8 p.m., the end of another long, 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 wave of uncontrollable 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 the 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 quietly, resignedly.

"I'm afraid I am," I say, and I bury my face into the sofa cushions. He wraps his arms around me. "I love you," he says.



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 firmly, "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 borrowed 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.








Wednesday noon
June 15, 1983

JAMIE: 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!"

KACIE: 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 completely nauseous 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 "no 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 putty. 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 don't 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 half.

If I don't mobilize myself into action soon, however, the choice will no longer be mine to make. Or is that what I want?





Jamie: "Mom-mom? Hi-yi! Hi!"
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 she's 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 wilder. 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 endearingly comical.

I have determined the following: Kacie has Ray's eyes, nose and brow, and my hair, chin, mouth, ears and round face.

8 p.m.

Where in the world is RAY?!?!

Kacie has been screaming hysterically for an hour, and my nerves are shot.








Monday 11:30 a.m.
June 20, 1983

Typical Monday 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.

Kacie with Terry S.
Spring 1984

Still no period, but I've been feeling 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 intact):

"Dear Terri
Don't worry about Jamie & Kacie getting Daddy anything
for Father's Day = because you already have Jamie & Kacie - & you.
Love,
Raymond
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 get soon."









Saturday morning
June 25, 1983

Tired and slightly hungover from the six 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.

I'm functioning fairly well these days, 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.

4 p.m.

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 this afternoon.








Sunday 11 a.m.
June 26, 1983

Note we found on Ray's car two days ago:


"Ray - Terri - Jamie - Kacie -

Dinner on Sunday - at 4:00 p.m.
Sheryl's Birthday Dinner!
Menu - Spagitti! (sic)
Love
Mom !"

So we have been "summoned" to the folks' 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.

LATER

The family dinner was OK. The "spagitti" 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.









Tuesday morning
June 28, 1983

My dream two nights ago: Scott W. and I 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 to move?! And it is always in anger and disappointment, too.









Wednesday 8:40 a.m.
June 29, 1983

A miracle has occurred: God has granted 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!!!!!!!!!!!!

5 p.m.

Took the girls to the doctor today for 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

Wet, drizzling, cold Saturday evening. 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.








Friday morning
July 8, 1983

Almost a week later. It's almost 11:00 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 a little boy on Monday, the Fourth of July - Nathan Edward.

We spent the Fourth more sedately than 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 myself.

Afternoon:

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 the washer.

Kacie is really beginning to grow on me. 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 giggle, particularly when I bury my face into her tummy and tickle her. I love the sound of her laughter.

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 pressure 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 other, too.








Monday morning
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 this bad.

In spite of the cough, though, yesterday 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 of her.

*I* was more nervous than she was, I think. 
(I was worried that she was going to fall off and get hurt.)
July 1983


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 happened this week: 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.







Friday
July 22, 1983

Kacie has been very sick this week: we 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 and 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 since.

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.








Sunday morning
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 of 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.

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 myself 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 family 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.






Tuesday
July 26, 1983

Day Two of my diet ... so far, so good. 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.

We 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.


 

At 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.
1983

Ray's grandparents (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.

Today I'm determined to be totally good 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 dressing!








Friday 4:30 p.m.
July 29, 1983

JOY!

JUBILIATION!!!

I just got myself into a pair of jeans 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 with it.

On a more somber note: we learned last 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.

8 p.m.

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.

Summer evening. Jamie and I are sitting 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.)








Thursday morning
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 been 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 life's greatest joy. Every day I thank God again for Jamie and Kacie, my precious daughters.








Sunday morning
August 7, 1983

Beginning of another hot summer day. I 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.








Tuesday morning
August 9, 1983

Kacie slept from 8:30 last night until 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.








Saturday morning
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 4:30 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 I'm 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.

Shower & shampoo
Dry hair - looped braid
Pack diaper bag
Jamie bangs trimmed
Kacie bath & shampoo
Pick up house
Dishes
Make bed









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 think, 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 does."

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 P. 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.

The more I agonize over my in-laws, the more I long for attention from my own family. I wish my mother lived in Kirkland.









Thursday 11 a.m.
August 18, 1983

I can't believe I'm sick AGAIN ... but I 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 visit yesterday.






Kacie wasn't sure about the wading pool; Jamie
practically LIVED in it.
Summer 1983




Monday 5:30 p.m.
August 22, 1983

The days of my life continue to roll by. 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!"

"Yes, that's 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 hard 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

Little things: 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.







Monday
August 29, 1983

Today is our wedding anniversary. Two years!








Friday noonish
September 2, 1983

This has been a particularly crummy 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 frightened.

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 our 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.








Tuesday afternoon
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 out 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."








Wednesday morning
September 15, 1983

Went through something of an emotional "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 feeling "gloom & 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 Jamie 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!








Thursday morning
September 16, 1983

Today I would like to end this journal 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 I'm 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 directly.

Kacie gets cuter and more lovable every 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 mouth!

This morning I put the little white crib 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 sink) 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 ticklish, especially around 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 independent every day. 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 shampoo 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 my 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 occasional 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 During This Journal:

  • "Africa" - Toto
  • "Gloria" - Laura Branigan
  • "I Need You" - ? (heard Jan. 8)
  • "Down Under" - Men At Work
  • "You Can't Hurry Love" - Phil Collins
  • "Twilight Zone" - Golden Earring
  • "Dirty Laundry" - Don Henley
  • "White Wedding" - Dire Straits? Billy Idle Idol
  • "Smiling Islands" - Robby Patton & Stevie Nicks
  • "Cool Places" - Sparks & Jane Wiedlin
  • "Every Breath You Take" - The Police
  • "Stop In The Name Of Love" - The Hollies
  • "Slippin' Away" - Dave Edmunds
  • "Destination Unknown" - Missing Persons





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