Today I did a spa day (mostly extended pedicure) with one of my best friends (and one of Joel’s fairy godmothers), Michelle at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown St. Louis. It went much more smoothly than my recent haircut (mostly), and this was long overdue, and it was so great to catch up with her.
The part that did not go smoothly was my actual trip to the spa. I was following my Nav, which told me to make a gentle right, but I didn’t notice in time, so I mistakenly went straight. Over the MLK Bridge. Into Illinois. Specifically, into East Saint Louis, Illinois. (For those who are unaware, although I’m sure there are kindred spirits here, this area is fairly famous for things like danger and violence and murders, and some of it looks like a warzone…)
Upon exiting into East Saint Louis, I called Mark, which shut off my vehicle’s Nav (because his voice was coming through the vehicle instead of my phone because this is how he has it hooked up), so Mark was like, “Just get back on the highway!” And I started following the Nav picture without the voice, but instead of taking me back to the highway, as I assumed it would, it just started taking me on the Tour De East Saint Louis, so I started screaming, “There are 17 highways here, and I can’t find any of them, and I am driving through the middle of East Saint Louis, and if you don’t hang up, my Nav will never work, and I will die!!”
So I hung up, and luckily I ran into the highway I needed shortly thereafter and sped back over the MLK Bridge and peeled into the Four Seasons Hotel parking lot before arriving to the spa, soaked in sweat from all of the stress, which is such a great way to start what is supposed to be an afternoon of relaxation. It reminded me of the scene from the Chevy Chase Vacation movie, except I escaped East Saint Louis with my rims intact. My pedicurist made me feel better and told me that each day she has a customer who accidentally tours East Saint Louis.
On Friday I was home alone with Joel all day, “momming.” I was looking to get out in the morning and couldn’t think of anything for us to do, so I decided we’d go to Target but then decided Target was too far away, so instead we went to the kids’ second hand clothing store right by our house, where they also hold breastfeeding support groups and classes for new moms. They had this one class going on, something for new babies, and I heard three moms talking, and one was like, “My baby went eight days without pooping so I gave her these special vitamins…” And I was thinking, “Joel pooped explosively every single time he ate for many months… I guess I should be grateful…” And then Joel threw around some trains that he’s too young to know how to play with while I debated whether or not to sit down in a toddler-sized chair (no), and then when it was time for Joel’s nap we left, and I felt guilty for having purchased nothing and after just standing in their store staring off into space for 30 minutes to boot. Does anyone else have these mom fails in the form of anticlimactic errands and activities?
On Friday night we had book club and discussed the book I recently deemed my most favorite ever, and I think after reading the final 59% of it, it’s just one I really enjoyed and maybe not my most favorite ever, but it was a short novel, and the other book club participants pulled deeper meaning from it compared to what I did, so now I think I’m the dumbest person in our book club.
Joel loves books with animals, and I’ve recently learned that I don’t know the difference between a lamb and a sheep. Mark doesn’t either. Is a baby sheep a lamb? Is this right? (Of course I’m the dumbest person in our book club.)
Joel got a haircut today, and it’s his best one yet, because he behaved, actually almost fell asleep in the chair. He looks so old with it. He looks like Mark.
Lately I’ve been taking Joel to story time at the library, and it really pisses me off that the library is located next to Matthew’s cemetery. Like I guess every time I take Joel (and any other living kids) to the library, for the next decade perhaps, I’ll also get to feel overwhelming sadness and anger and guilt that I can’t always head straight to the cemetery to see Matthew afterwards, when, for most, the library is just a fun, enriching activity. Fabulous.
Mark just RSVP’d to his corporate holiday party. He’s attending alone. I told him I would go next year.
I’m enrolling Joel in toddler gymnastics. He’s fairly gross motor focused and likes to balance on all sorts of shit, so I’m hoping he can walk across a beam or something. Today we went to check out the gym and make some inquiries, and the front desk lady was like, “We have some gymnasts at our gym who’ve reached very high levels!” And we were like, “Joel’s a tall kid – he has like zero future in this sport…”
Finch continues to measure suuuuuuper big on ultrasound, and it’s freaking me out even though each of my children have been huge. I know this logically, but it just makes me anxious when sonographers and doctors give me the side eye, even though they eventually conclude, “Just a big baby.”
Joel’s doing this new cool thing… When he’s ready for nap, he just runs to his room. It makes me wonder what kind of neat things Matthew might have done, which makes me cry.
We’re hosting a small Thanksgiving with my parents, Mark’s parents, and Mark’s sister, Kathryn, and her husband, Harvey. (My brother Andrew can’t attend this year.) On Thanksgiving I’ll be 32+4 gestation, the point at which Matthew died in my first pregnancy. I’m sure it’ll be a terrifying day, but I’m hoping good food and company gets me through it.
Lately when Joel wants to go play in the basement, he’ll just throw something down our stairs and whine, or talk in a language that sounds like German, and sometimes he sounds like a hobbit or a gnome or a gremlin or something… And then he shakes the gate like it’s a jail cell door and looks at us with the most pathetic face like, “Please can we go play again?” Throwing things into hard to reach places is also a game Howie used to play.
Mark purchased Joel some skis and wants to take Joel skiing at our local slope later this winter. It’s called Hidden Valley, and it’s in a hilly place, and they make fake snow, and for beginners, it’s a barrel of fun, and you think you’re good until you arrive to Colorado and realize you actually suck ass. I think 17-18 months will be a little young for Joel to ski, but I’m not opposed to Joel and Mark petering around on skis as long as Joel doesn’t get hurt. This, like everything, is both exciting and heartbreaking. We dreamed of taking Matthew skiing too.
My department is doing a gift exchange, and Mark is encouraging me to participate like, “Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do.” And I feel like I’m five that I have to be reminded of this, but perhaps he’s right, so I think I might try to attend, but, the awkward thing is, we’re supposed to write down what we want someone to buy us for under $20, and I’m not sure what I should say I want. Maybe food.