It’s a birthday, baby.

My birthday is coming up this month. My twenty-sixth, to be exact. I like birthdays; I enjoy cake, going out to eat and the knowledge that something “different” will hopefully happen that day.

The Hubs sent me an email today saying that his original plan for my birthday had fallen through. He had planned on getting me tickets to see Wicked while it was in town. I was impressed because it was something I had mentioned wanting to do, but didn’t think he was paying attention. Unfortunately for both of us, tickets are very hard to come by. No Wicked for me.

I’ve been thinking about this subject a lot recently, with Christmas coming up and the inevitable “what do you want” questions that arise. I’ve thought for awhile, trying to think of what I want. I do not want anything tangible; I can’t go to the store and point at an object and say “That. That is what I want.”

What I want can’t be wrapped up with a bow.

When I think of what I want, it is an abstract concept at best. I want time with my husband. I want to do something out of the ordinary. I want to feel excited. I don’t want to feel tired.

The deal is, I don’t know what really embodies that concept. Sure, we could go out to eat, but that’s not really exciting. Movies? Yeah, we can hire a babysitter and do that.

I want to be me, to be us, but better. More relaxed. With more smiles and laughter. I’m not saying that we don’t have smiles and laughter, but when you have a small child and another one on the way, sometimes the smiles and laughter aren’t as much as they could be.

I was laying on the couch tonight, discussing with our friend, The Pilot, about people getting married and divorced. I told him how I couldn’t have imagined marrying someone just because that’s what people do. I do not think our marriage is hard, no, in fact, I do no think that we have had to try that hard at our relationship at all. If anything, I think that the two of us go extremely well together. But, that being said, having children is hard. The tax on you, on your time, on your body can get to you. Instead of wanting to snuggle, you find yourself sitting on the toilet, reading a magazine, just hoping for some peace and quiet.

Having a baby changes everything.

My friend said he has noticed some changes between us. I did not ask him to elaborate because I guess, deep down, I don’t want to know if someone has seen a negative change. I do not think we have had a decline in our relationship, just a decline in the amount of time two people can spend, gazing into each other’s eyes and acting lovey.

There’s diapers and food and bottles and boxes and teething. There’s life.

Sometimes life is messy. Sometimes it is full of snapping at each other for leaving the door open too long, or for not keeping the baby out of a certain room. It involves less hugs, less “us” time and more “her” time. It happens. It doesn’t mean it is bad, it just means it is different.

So I guess, I guess, if I have to pick what I want for my birthday, it would be this: To really enjoy life, to enjoy that day, that moment, with my husband. To get away from the daily humdrum that can bring me down, and to create that magic again.

37 Responses to “It’s a birthday, baby.”

  1. robyn
    November 3rd, 2005 01:02

    Just hang in there when #2 arrives. I wondered if we’d ever feel any of that again, but I’m happy to admit right about month 4, it all came flooding back…

    I didn’t realize you were a Nov. baby, too. Mine’s on the 28th. When’s yours? You’re a wee baby though. I’ve got 7 years on ya’. *whimper*

  2. Eulallia
    November 3rd, 2005 01:10

    Happy birthday SJ! I hope you have a wonderful celebration. And if you really don’t want anything, can you at least ask for a luxurious pair of slippers and send them to me? My feets is cold.

  3. whoorl
    November 3rd, 2005 01:12

    happy birthday to you! i’m a november birthday too..actually this weekend.

    are you a scorpio or sagittarius?

  4. murmur
    November 3rd, 2005 02:42

    Hey SJ.

    I’ve been reading you for a while. Your life, in some ways, mirrors mine, but you’re much better at penning it. I have an older daughter (The Kid) and a five-week-old son. And like you, I’ll be the big 2-6 this month. Hell, I’m even a journalist in the Southern Carolina.

    Freaky, right?

    Anyhow, my husband and I are right in the middle of those fun “I’m gonna pretend I don’t smell that and hand you the baby/I’ll pay you $50 for another hour of sleep” days. The Kid is a wholly terror and I’m not sure she’s ever going to recover from the trauma of having a sibling.

    I’m not the kind of person to give relationship advice. Child-rearing, yes, but not relationship. Most of the time, when it comes to relationships, people are just wanting to vent. They really aren’t looking for someone to relate. But this time, I feel like crossing that line.

    Heed this warning: It gets worse. It gets worse at the end of the second pregnancy, and it gets worse in the wee hours of the morning after the baby is born when no one is attractive physically or verbally. But remember that these kids will only be this little for two to three years apiece and you’re gonna want to hang onto that guy hopefully for the rest of your lives. This “different” is going to change into another “different” which will eventually evolve into a wonderful time when the kids don’t need your attention and are in bed at 8 and don’t get up until the next morning. Such a time does exist…I’ve seen it. And while you’ll never be the way you were, you ‘ll hit a time when “different” resembles something close to what you remember.

    I hope you can come up with something clever for your birthday that will light a fire in you and remind you that this rut is on the verge of changing.

    And enjoy this peaceful (yeah, peaceful) time while you can.

  5. Susan
    November 3rd, 2005 03:59

    I’m sort of a dreamer (not like the new Dakota Fanning movie), an avid believer in you-can-create-whatever-you-want type of thing. Things may grow and change between you and The Hubs because Time is a little bitch, but if you’re looking for a new spark and flare in the relationship, maybe bake him a cake with icing on top that says, “Do me in the butt like you used to.”

    Okay, but seriously, happy early birthday. You are awesome, so awsomeness will happen to you. Or something proverbic like that.

  6. gorillabuns
    November 3rd, 2005 08:41

    i understand where you are coming from. i feel it daily. kids are a joy but at times you wish for the time when you and your husband where first together, the exciting time…

  7. Dawn
    November 3rd, 2005 08:51

    When I was young and strong and not yet a parent, my husband and I would look at the other couples with children around us and say “We will never be like that when we’re parents.”

    And our friends would smile benignly at us, for they already knew what we could not.

    Having a baby with another human being fundamentally changes the insular relationship that you had before. In many, many good ways - I love to see my husband and his daughter laughing together -but the trade offs are there.

    The exhaustion - the deep soul crunching exhaustion. The constantness of being aware and responsible for another person, it just never stops.

    Now I understand why my mother would greet me all wide eyed and hysterical if I hadn’t called her when I should have. She had no choice.

  8. Anne Glamore
    November 3rd, 2005 08:55

    I think what you’ve described are the inevitable highs and lows of any marriage. Sometimes you feel the butterflies in your stomach; sometimes you’re so damn tired you just want to sleep.
    Having stuck together for 13 years through 3 boys and some significant health issues, I can look back and see the patterns more clearly than I could when i was mired in the blahs.
    The blahs pass. Take it a day at a time. You’re doing great.

  9. Nancy
    November 3rd, 2005 08:58

    Happy birthday from another November baby (though I’m a decade older than you are.)

    It’s true that children do change your marriage. There’s a lot of ways in which they can make the bond stronger, and there’s also times when there’s just more pressure on the relationship due to the juggling act that comes with parenting. And it’s smart of you to recognize that you need time with your spouse to nurture that bond as it changes. It might take some time to discover just what it is that will help — what will be the magical moment when that spark (which is still there, by the way, just simmering) will completely resurface. But it will come. :-)

  10. karen
    November 3rd, 2005 09:00

    I totally know what you mean. I’ve been trying to come up with what i want for Christmas, and i just keep drawing a blank. I could say, “Hmm…well, i need new oven mitts.” But that is highly practical and uninspiring. So it comes to this: I want him to somehow find something that will inspire me and prove how well my husband knows me by buying that perfect something. Not that i have any clue what that would be. And really, yeah. It’s not something i could point to.

    I think when you’ve got two kids, time is really always the best present.

  11. Mariselle
    November 3rd, 2005 09:14

    To feel like me, what a concept…sometimes I look in the mirror and I’m like, who the hell are you??? Then I open an old album and look at the olden times and I feel a void….I miss me.

  12. Fellow Eskimo
    November 3rd, 2005 10:23

    Ebay, “wicked tickets houston”. Happy Birthday too yooooooooooooooooooooou. I hope you get what you *really* want though.

  13. AMP
    November 3rd, 2005 10:33


  14. MamaQ
    November 3rd, 2005 11:55

    First, happy almost birthday!
    Second, I remember hearing a study in which they found that regarding marriages, there is proof that 18 months after the birth of the first child is, to use their words, “when the wheels fall off the cart.”
    I read that when my son was about 18 months old and I was depressed because I “wanted my life back,” but had no idea how to get happy.
    So I’m not giving out advice here, just want to let you know that marriage is a living, breathing organism that grows and changes, and you guys are growing and changing now. We never get back to the “just like it was in the old (pre-baby) days” until the kids are grown and gone, and by then we’re too old and tired to have good sex anymore and you just end up watching Law and Order reruns on Bravo together all day. But hey, at least you’ll be together!
    So, there’s that.

  15. Mabel
    November 3rd, 2005 12:47

    I’m hoping Wicked plays for the next 10 years. It’ll be the only way I get to see it.

    Happy birthday!

  16. Steph.
    November 3rd, 2005 13:04

    Hey, if Santa brings you that wish, would you ask him to stop by my house and bring me the same? That sounds perfect to me as well!

  17. kb
    November 3rd, 2005 14:27

    I agree with you. Before I was married, I would hear people talk about hard marriage is. I disagree, though. It’s not marriage that’s hard. It’s life. Never enough time, money, etc. It wears on you after a while. And, you’re only 26! At 26, this daily juggle was a million miles away and I was able to be as selfish as I wanted to be. Of course, the rewards now are much greater.

  18. AMP
    November 3rd, 2005 14:29

    Happy Birthday!!

  19. Surcie
    November 3rd, 2005 14:33

    When I first had my son, I kept thinking of the Johnson & Johnson commercial tagline, “Having a baby changes everything.” And doesn’t it ever. I had a difficult time adjusting to all the changes. I’m sure I mourned the loss of my freedom and the change to my relationship with my husband. Someone said to me, “You need to stop thinking that different equals bad. It’s not bad. It’s just a new kind of normal.” Somehow, that was helpful.

  20. Dawners
    November 3rd, 2005 14:39

    Damn! Yesterday you had me wanting a kid with the prospect of being a Candy Pimp. Today, I’m crawling back into my warm envelope of “not having kids ever”. Wah, I know.

    Happy almost birthday - I hope you get what you want for at least that day.

  21. debutaunt
    November 3rd, 2005 14:45

    Ok. I hereby command you to do the following for your birthday. You and your husband wait until E goes to sleep. Rent the funniest damn movie you can find. Get naked and eat cake in bed. Exactly in that order.

    If you can’t feel normal, then be as perfectly abnormal as possible.

  22. Dottie
    November 3rd, 2005 15:02

    First of all, Happy Birthday!
    As parents of four, ranging from 19 months to 13 I really do know that place that you are at right now. It changes with each child, you change with child and your relationship changes. That isn’t a bad thing at all. I miss those hot days where we couldn’t imagine not having time for each other but if I had to trade it for the relationship that we have now, as I watch him father our children, comfort a crying baby, get all protective when a boy has hurt our teens feelings, or guide our boys along the path of being good and kind men, I don’t think that I would trade it. Each stage is beautiful in and of itself if we stop to savor it. Our secret is getting away for a couple of hours, cuddling on the couch after the kids are in bed or if we are really lucky….slipping away for the weekend. I hope that you get your birthday wish!

  23. sonali
    November 3rd, 2005 15:19

    hmm..got sum insight into married lives..yup, its just different:)

  24. Tammy
    November 3rd, 2005 16:27

    that’s exactly what I want for christmas. I never really want things. i mean, there’s nothing that I can’t either get myself, ebcause it’s in budget, or live without because it’s not in budget. But a day away from school and work would be wonderful. Gettng a hotel room with a hot tub, and getting all the attention from my husband and having him take care of me for 24 hrs.
    Of course, he asked what I wanted for my birthday last year, and I said a picnick and I’m still waiting. *sigh*

  25. clickmom
    November 3rd, 2005 16:58

    Whe I had wee little ones, my friends and I would refer to that post partum time, y’know, the first two years after the baby is born, as “husband repulsion period” Since your babies will be born close together- you never left the period and are going to double up for a while. Try to keep it light, and remember, it all passes.

  26. pink lotus
    November 3rd, 2005 17:39

    I feel the same as you (although I only have the one baby now). I need to be with my husband, alone. I miss when it was just us, but then I feel guilty for wanting him without the baby. I know that I’m not always nice to my husband anymore. I’m tired, bitchy, and I want him to read my mind.

    Sounds like the baby doesn’t want to take a nap right now. I’d better go rescue him. Happy Birthday!

  27. Stacey
    November 3rd, 2005 21:37

    Scorpio or a Sag?

    I’m on the 17th. And you know that Blink 182 song? That’s so me.

    “No one likes you when you’re 23….”

    most boring. age. ever.

  28. coolbeans
    November 4th, 2005 01:01

    The feeling you’re looking for? I call it, “Getting my shine back.”

    My favorite way to do this is to get a hotel room in a neighboring city. Go out to eat, shop, walk, talk, lay in bed too long, etc. I insist on a king sized bed and I always make the pot of complimentary coffee. It’s just us, no kids, in a bubble.

  29. coolbeans
    November 4th, 2005 01:01

    Also? Happy Birthday!

  30. denise
    November 4th, 2005 01:35

    Happy early birthday!

  31. Rayne of Terror
    November 4th, 2005 10:19

    Wicked is overrated unless you’re a middle school girl and her mother. My hubs and I saw it in Chicago in July and were dissapointed. We had both enjoyed the book a great deal and were surprised to see so many children at a show full of sex drugs and rock n roll. And then it began skipping completely over the adult stuff and wallowing in the middle school age stuff. Besides Elphaba missing some over her BIG notes, the music was totally cliched and Galinda stole the show in kind of a lame way. My mom however, who teaches middle school, was extremely entertained and she had read the book too. If it runs 10 years your kids will be the perfect age to take.

  32. Shannon (Sentimental)
    November 4th, 2005 13:23

    Hi ya honey, happy early birthday to you! I had my birthday earlier this week and I was so down and I think it is just for the reasons you say. I wanted to have that tinge of excitement you had as child. I wanted to want something. I wanted to feel special for just 5 minutes. But life happened you know? Marriages changes with kids. We all find out niche! Hugs honey!

  33. Beth
    November 4th, 2005 14:00

    Happy Birthday! Trust your instinct and your perspective. They are both good things. You rock!

  34. Erin
    November 4th, 2005 19:27

    No, see, you only *think* you want the magic back. But when the magic really does come back for a bit, that’s when your husband actually looks appealing to you, one thing leads to another, bada bing, bada boom, that’s where you get *more* babies from!

    You’re way better off with Law & Order reruns and Chinese takeout.

    *I can only say this because we’re in the exact same boat - we’re the same age, my daughter is two weeks younger than Ellie, and my second is due about a month after Little Jizzy. And yes, there is never any magic in my house. We’re like two roommates taking turns looking after the third roommate who can’t stop pooping on herself.

  35. Erica
    November 5th, 2005 10:26

    SJ I just wanted to say happy birthday to you and wish you well on your big day. I hope you and the hubs can have the quality time together that you would desire.

    I’m preggers myself (with our first) and I think due about the same time as you. I’ve learned a lot by reading your posts-I just wanted you to know that I think a lot of your advice is going to be helpful when our baby gets here (but most is already really helpful), in kind of an irrevrent, “this is what it’s like folks” kind of way. You know, real life!

    Also I’ve been wanting to see Wicked, but have a feeling it won’t be here for awhile. Good to know your advice on the show, Rayne. Now I’ll save my $$–you know, if any extra falls from the sky that would have allowed me to go in the first place!!

  36. Laura
    November 6th, 2005 12:44

    Having kids if fucking hard. Recently, I was telling my sister, “I used to be funny, I used to have interests”. Now it’s just hard to go to the bathroom without a little person hugging my knees and screaming. I like the above poster’s suggestion of going to another city, sans kids, and hiding out for a while.

  37. Aimee
    November 6th, 2005 22:29

    Happy Birthday! I hope you found that spark again.

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