Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Lucy: I'm Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
Me: Great, Dorothy. Get shoes on.
Lucy: Okay. They have those coffee shops in Munchkinland, you know.
I didn't actually, but I can't say I'm surprised.
This is the baby waking up at five thirty, in the house with the traveling Daddy.
This is the kid with the runny nose, with the baby awake at half-past-five, in the house with the traveling Daddy.
This is the baby, coming down with it too, the sister sniffling a runny nose, the baby awake at half-past-five, in the house with the travelling daddy.
This is the baby, skipping her nap, that sickly, snotty, coughy baby, the sister sniffling her runny nose, the baby awake at half-past-five, in the house with the traveling daddy.
This is the friends, calling to cancel, the play dates scheduled after the nap, of the wakeful, sickly, sniffly baby, the sister in tandem, blowing her nose, the baby awake at half-past-five, in that house with the travelling Daddy.
This is the mommy, asleep by nine.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Already, mealtimes are much more pleasant. Now when she starts to squawk, I can ask her if she wants more. And she's so surprised and proud and delighted to be able to communicate her needs that she has stopped being as much of a tyrant. Or--perhaps, perhaps it's just that I feel better, having some dialogue, instead of complete blind frustration.
She also learned the sign for nurse. We are doing that much more frequently. Big surprise.
Monday, November 29, 2010
When Lucy balked at the clothes she'd asked for my help choosing, I lost it. I yelled, and I contemplating throwing things.
Lovely. They're clothes, honey.
A few minutes later, we left the house. We went to a nearby park, and the sky was blue, and the grass kelly-green, and the sun was warm but the air cool and Lucy found herself friends across the playground, and I thanked my sweet Lord for the outside.
And by the time we came home, it was naptime.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
We celebrated the holidays, and took a lot of naps, and decorated the house, and watched the Wizard of Oz.
It was a good, if congested holiday.
And I just put away two loads of laundry and started the dishwasher and put another load of clothes in and cleaned the sinks. All of them. Because believe you me, they needed it after mouldering dishes and phlegm.
I'm ready for a holiday from my holiday.
Now, I have my own kids, and it's all new. And this time, I'm in charge. We made handprint turkeys and a banner and a thankful tree. We pulled out the ornaments and wreath and decorated the Christmas tree. We're getting the advent calendar ready and we lit candles today to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. I'm sure we'll fit in hot chocolate somewhere, along with cookie decorating.
And Lucy's right in there, eager to know about the traditions that just haven't had that richness without her there to make them come alive.
Ah, dear one, thank you for helping me celebrate Christmas so completely. Last year was lovely, too, but this year, you're so much more exponentially able to participate. And last year you were so much more exponentially able, as well. What a miracle it all is: the exponential growth, the family traditions, the wonder of creating them together.
merry, merry, merry.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Today, in the absence of a partner, she clinked my glass and said, "To the kings of China!"
To which I say,
--To the kings of China!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
She was still shivering, so I gave her hot tea. A few minutes later, she said she felt better, but she still wanted a blanket, and a pillow to lie down on, and was kind of quiet. Suddenly, my brain connected the dots.
So I put my hand on her head. Blazing hot.
Oh, dear. Looks like we did not dodge the bullet on Julia giving the illness to Lucy. Towels going on the bed tonight, not just outside the door.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I'm prompting, and prompting. Here's what happens:
Me, tapping my chest: "Mama."
Julia, smiling, patting my chest: "Dada!"
Other words so far: "All done" (Ah-da) and bye-bye (ah-dah, meaning all done, which she does with a wave goodbye), and "Water" (da-dah). That last one, I'm not so sure about.
Obviously, she has mastered the "dah" sound. Come on, kid. Get with the program. Mamamamamama.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Now that she has started walking with assistance (I almost wrote "assistant",) she grabs one hand, then holds out her other, confidently, knowing that someone will grab it and take her where she wants to go.
The sheer effrontery/confidence/trust of the budding toddler is just precious, really. That and the Animal-style laugh. Heh heh heheheh.
Surprise: I was worried about nothing. It seemed like everyone had a good time.
(Why, upon writing this, do I want to add I think? Self, stop being so paranoid.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Lucy said yes. And they played together for a few hours, until it was time for us to leave.
Lucy keeps talking about it.
And I'm just struck how little any of us change. Because aren't we all just waiting for someone to ask that very question? And longing for the chance to say yes, and be together?
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
for honey nut sticky buns, homemade, even with an oopsie*
for taking first pre-steps, holding hands
for the ongoing sagas of bedtime stories, told out loud, wherein the possoms find a real magic wand, and make everyone fly,
for sleep and naps
for an impromptu family visit
*When making a big batch of bread dough, don't put in the thyme for herbed loafs. Because later, after you forget about the herbs, and you have a craving for sticky buns, you will have the filling made, all buttery honey awesome gooeyness, and even when you remember the thyme then, you will not be able to abandon the plan to make sticky buns, so you will have herbed honey sticky buns. Which are still pretty good, because they are, after all, sticky buns. But still. Better to not add the thyme.
Friday, November 12, 2010
She held it over my midriff. "Oh. Here's the problem. The bone that takes the food from your stomach to your brain is going the wrong way. It's sideways, not up and down."
No wonder I was feeling off yesterday.
Dyami: But which are we more thankful for? Ice cream, or family?
Lucy: Ice cream.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It was nice, for today.
Choosing homeschool this year (and, perhaps, after that) means being less busy. Less scheduled. Believe me, I like a good schedule. I like not being bored. But mostly, I like being quiet. Being peaceful, having time to be a little bored sometimes, and time to enjoy being home. Time to sit at our table and do crafts, or be leisurely with friends. Time to make spontaneous plans.
I like all that. But every once in a while, it's nice to have a break from so much space. If only to remind myself how tired I am at the end of the day when we're not quiet.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I'm not super finicky about floors, but the floor in our kitchen is white tile. And we have a baby with a bad habit of throwing food on the floor. And a preschooler. The floor was filthy.
But now I have a broom. And I have it stashed alongside the fridge, where I can whip it up and sweep up the stray food after meals.
And suddenly, I have stopped finding our baby smiling as she gums three-day-old pieces of chicken.
Friday, November 5, 2010
I spent a year in Argentina,
seasons switched: almost three winters straight.
Every year, I've dreaded lengthening days.
Ten years later I'm finally recovered;
I'm looking forward to seasons' change.
Darker afternoons, hot chocolate, rain, wool,
Roast turkey, candles, peppermint, Christmas parades
Watching TV under a down comforter.
The weather forecast today is 82.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
She tries to take a drink, then inhales most of the half-ounce in the cup, and dumps the rest of it over head. She snuffles, and blinks, and protests.
And then she reaches for the cup again.
Would that I have that much perseverance.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
We handed it to Julia, gave her a circle, and waited to see what happened.
She took the circle, banged it against the trianglular hole a few times, then lifted up the yellow top and put the circle inside. Then she closed the lid and crawled away.
That's what I call thinking outside the box.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Yes, we moved in April. Yes, I am a little behind.
- Halloween acoutrements, just in time for Halloween! (Note to self: Lucky timing)
- A stereo. Does one have too many posessions, when one can have a stereo in a box for nine months, and not notice it missing?
- A butterfly finger puppet.
- Clothes labeled "pre-pregnancy". That could have been labeled "pre-2005". Much of which still does not fit. I decided the post-pregnancy weight wins, and put the stash in the donation bins. I always used to wonder why women hung on to so much old clothing that didn't fit, until I entered the fun rollercoaster of pregnancy. Really, I might still go back to that size in a few more months. Or not. It's anyone's guess!
- Our wedding album. Lucy had never seen it, at least not in her current memory. We sat on our bed and paged through the shiny pages, and saw pictures of "momma and her sisters" (my sister, and two friends, but perhaps Lucy is more accurate). Pictures taken around our church, which Lucy knows well. Pictures of our wedding cake, which interested me not at all (not a cake fan) and Lucy tremendously. Pictures of me and Dadda, and Dadda and me, and lots of other people she knows. Pictures of her oldest cousins when they were younger than she is now.
In other words, treasures.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Me: That looks an awful lot like a manger. "What is it?"
Lucy: It's a manger with the baby Jesus. You wanna hear my song?
Me: (Impressed) "Sure!"
Lucy: "Here is a manger, with the King inside!
Jesus! He is inside a manger, the king!
And there are pirates, out there in the woods,
The spooky woods, there with the Baby Jesus!"
Me: (Even more impressed) Bravo!!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A few weeks and a craig's list ad later, I have my desk. And instead of being ugly, and white, and exposed, it's cool, and black, and can be shut. Today, Lucy was opening and closing the doors, and I said (nicely), "Lucy, this is going to be my private space. Please leave the doors shut."
She looked up at me, nodded, and shut the doors.
Imagine! A private space! It's revolutionary!
I think my writing is going to get a whole lot cooler. Just be prepared.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Then I thought: how can I make this day get better?
So I called a friend and went over to her house. Our kids played, we talked (about my woefulness, some, but also about other stuff). We just talked and talked, and before I knew it, it was time to head home. And funnily enough, by then, it was a good day.
Man, sometimes, the only miracle salve I need is a good friend.
But I like rain. And this has been the rainiest fall here I can remember. I love the peaceful, tea-in-the-cup, rain percussing on roof Monday morning here.
I also appreciate knowing there's no conflagration brewing 40 miles away.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
"Prince of, prince of Peace,
Glory (clap!) I love sha-arks."
Not sure if great whites were in Isaiah's mind when he wrote his prophecies, but hey, artistic license, right?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Dyami's not a huge fan, unfortunately, so I haven't made it too much.
But lately, I got a hankering. So I made some. And on a whim, let Lucy smell it.
"Do you want some?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said. And proceeded to eat it. By the bowlful.
On another whim, I gave some to Julia, expecting her to throw it on the floor, like everything else. Instead, she scraped the salmon off of the cracker, and shoved it in her mouth. After about ten crackers, she was a smoky mess.
Me, I'm pleased. Apparently my smoked-salmon genes have prevailed.
Dyami: not so pleased. Because even I'll admit Julia's new kisses are just the tiniest bit fishy.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
A few years ago, I got a book on Japanese-style stuffed animals called by Aranzi Aronzo. I made a few for Christmas gifts. Then Lucy got hold of the book.
"I want this one, Mama," she said, pointing to a very cute, but (I thought) less than exciting) bear. (There were Cats! and Monkeys! and Bad Guys! and an absolutely adorable Terrier!)
But bear it was.
Bear wasn't too hard to make, and I was pleased to make it for Lucy, and eagerly anticipated the reveal on Christmas.
The big day came. Lucy opened it, looked at Bear, smiled, and then set her down to rip open the next package. Then she didn't touch her again for at least a month.
And during the next few months, the bear languished in the bottom of an overlarge pile of stuffed animals.
A few months ago, Lucy dug her out, and dubbed her "Grace the Bear." Then she started intermittantly requesting animals to sleep with. Sometimes it was Grace the Bear, sometimes other animals. Then it was usually Grace the Bear.
Now it always is.
This past weekend, on a trip away from home, it came time to tuck Lucy in. Lights were off, and I was leaving the room, when Lucy sat up in her bed.
"Where's Grace the Bear?"
My stomach knotted. GTB had not been on my packing list.
I broke the news.
Lucy moaned. "Grace the bear! I miss you!" Her voice had a mournful note in it I've never heard before. It broke my heart.
Thankfully, she's attached, but not too attached. After a few minutes of me substituting for GTB, I left the room, and she slept peacefully (well, mostly).
But I have to say: if giving your child gifts is pleasurable, making them, and then having them treasure them is infinitely more so.
Grace the bear, we love you.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I guess there's some bright side here.
You're so cute, you can do almost anything and still be cute. Pooping, farting, drooling, having a runny nose: all adorable!
So the other night on our trip, when you woke at 2 am in your pack n play, and then wouldn't go back to sleep for a long, long time because you kept seeing your sister asleep (then not so asleep) next to you, and squealing because it was just so exciting to have her right there, that was cute, too.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I love his confidence I see in her, this artistry, this desire to devour the world and figure it out. And also the joy that she rushes up with in the morning, to see her sister, and give her kisses.
Today someone at our church asked if she were in preschool there. "No," I said. "We have her at home right now."
"They have scholarships," she said, kindly. And I know that preschool could be lovely, too, that there she would run and discover as well.
But I love that I'm here to see this all unfolding. Right now, you couldn't pay me to miss all of this.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
It got loose in our house, and since I'd made the mistake, I was the one who had to go find it and put it in a container (I should have recognized that I was dreaming at this point; no one in their right mind would send me to deal competently with a fanged viper. I am afraid of bumblebees, people). Part of the nightmare was figuring out which container. Just as in real life, it is impossible to find Tupperware lids when you need them.
Then I wandered the house, trying to find the cobra without coming across it unexpectedly. At one point, I watched it take down a very large rattlesnake (kind of like East meets West, with the East winning, hands-down). Another fun highlight was when Julia started to come into the quarantined area of the house, pushing open unlatched doors at the wrong moment (always, at the wrong moment, whether I'm swishing out a poopy diaper or capturing a cobra).
Then a baby woke me. And my first thought upon waking: Man, am I tense. My second thought? Well, no wonder. I was trying to capture a %$^ing cobra in a lidless Tupperware container.
That is all.
*When I told Dyami this dream, I said, "I wouldn't be so scared of a boa constrictor". And he pointed out that a boa might still be problematic with a one-year-old around. Still though, no fangs.
Monday, October 11, 2010
He's getting flamed by a lot of people, but even liberal voices have made his point. However, I wanted to weigh in:
Mr. Henderson, you are superrich. I understand how frustrating it must be that your income is not more flexible than it is. I don't doubt that it can be hard to make the choices you do. But that you have choices is itself a luxury. You have the choice to pay back $250k in student loans. You have the choice to search out day care, a cleaning service. You have the choice for both parents to work, to afford cable. You can make the mortgage on your house in an expensive place. I'm guessing you have the choice to get your kids in decent schools, pay health care.
For most of the world, you're wealthy beyond imagination.
My question is: how has our expectation in the US gotten so skewed that being "wealthy" means that you don't have to make choices with your wealth? When has wealthy become being able to afford anything?
Sorry, Mr. Henderson. I'm not unsympathetic. What month do I not look at our budget and think: but only if we had X more dollars here? Limits can suck. And paying taxes sucks. I'm not convinced that $250 k is truly a fair designation for "super-rich", but please don't complain about your lack of discretionary income. So much of our lifestyle is discretionary--it's just an attitude adjustment to see it as such.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
These worlds within worlds inside Lucy:
ballet studio, disney vacation, surprise party
artist's lair, runaway hidey-hole, store,
all meant to be populated continually,
by us, to her exact specifications:
I'd like to be fecund, excited,
participate each time, inhabit those worlds,
but my magic is often fitful.
Why is being childlike so hard?
Come on over to Making Things Up and add in your six words.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
However, some things did not go exactly as planned:
- We didn't tell Lucy ahead of time, to surprise her! And then when she found out we were going, she was excited for all of three minutes before she got very worried about the projects she was leaving behind, the scary big rides, and said that she wanted to go to Legoland instead. She warmed up after we arrived, but it was not exactly the reaction we were hoping for. Note: next time, tell the child ahead of time, so she has time to wrap her head around the experience.
- I booked in early October, to avoid crowds! And we ran smack dab into huge crowds for the annual Halloween festivities.
- I booked in early fall to get nice, sunny, cool weather! And it was raining! Crowds + rain = not ideal.
- I booked us at Disneyland hotel so as to have a place to nap Julia (and sleep, of course). And then realized when we got there that check-in time was 3 pm: well after nap time. And check out time the next day was 10 am. Well before nap time. Hello, walking the fussy, sleepy baby in the stroller until she passes out.
- Julia woke a bit more than we wanted, and woke up her sister in the process, but that wasn't too much a surprise. More a surprise: the two 4 AM cell phone calls, fifteen minutes apart. (Voice mails the next morning: beeps. I hate those beeping calls. What's with them anyway? And why did they beep at us at 4 AM?). I do not usually have my phone in the bedroom with me, but since we were in a hotel, it was conveniently close enough to wake Dyami and I up again! (thankfully, not the girls).
And one mama, grateful to be home.
*Cynic that I am, I think they put some sort of "happy dust" in the air to make everyone cheerful. Opiates, perhaps?
Friday, October 1, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Did Dadda set this up for you?" I asked, since Dyami, working from home, occasionally pops in to entertain her while I get Julia down for naps.
"No, I," she said. In other words, I did.
Should I be proud, or appalled?*
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Once upon a time, these were mostly sorted.
Then we had a baby, and moved, and, well, not so sorted anymore.
It was a bittersweet time. Sweet to look over favorite clothes of Lucy's and anticipate them gracing another little girl. Difficult, because nearly all of the clothes that Julia will wear next seem like "girl" clothes to me, and not "baby" clothes.
Her first year happened pretty quickly, though I don't know if I've thought of it being fast. Except looking at the clothes, I realize it has. Surely it took Lucy years to get big enough to wear that pink dress? Those black shoes? To wear the little skirt I made? Surely she was bigger than one, or two when that happened?
Except no, she wasn't.
Ah, me. These babies. THey persist in getting bigger, ever more quickly.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Perhaps I should drink the caffeine first in the morning.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
I cant decide: Am I being responsible to pay less for things that we use, anyway? Is it better to not spend so much time thinking about buying stuff, because I tend to, well, buy more stuff? Do I concentrate less on material things, but use more of our resources to buy said material things? Or do I pay more attention to our spending, and then get fixated?
Perhaps if I weren't such an extremist when it came to projects I could find a healthier balance.
Incidentally, if you like buying a lot of non-essentials, clipping coupons is truly the way to go. If you want to get nearly-free air fresheners, man, I could really set you up. There are about a million and one coupons out there for Glade. The margarine that we buy every week? Not so much.
I am kind of sick, thinking about it. Even as I say things like, and When the girls are older, we can take the train downtown for the day and Won't it be fun when she and Lucy really play together? And When I'm done nursing so much, I can wear a dress again.
But. Really, I just love her little funny body. The little no-neck. The little rolls, and pudges, and the stubbiness. Her smacking her lips when it's time to nurse. The baby talk, and the headlong crawling, body wagging from side to side.
I know it doesn't happen this way, but I have this vision of her turning one, standing up, getting and insisting she doesn't need to hold my hand when crossing the street.
Perhaps my panic is due to the fact that not long after Lucy started walking, she decided she didn't need cuddles. No voluntary hugs or kisses for months. She is plenty snuggly now, but she's leggy and rangy, and quite her own person, thank you very much. It was kind of abrupt.
My old roommate kept her double mattress when she got married for, as she put it, "enforced cuddling." Maybe I'll keep her in the Ergo until she's three, on the same principle. She'll learn to walk eventually, right?
Oh, Julia. Like Dyami's mom, used to say to Lucy when she was just a wee thing: You're so bigger.
Those days, I should immediately take some echinacea, vitamin C, theraflu and go to bed early. Because the gathering stormclouds indicate that someone (Lucy, definitely, and me, possibly) is about to become very, very ill.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
"Mama, read the signs. This one says:
WANDS, YES, INDEED ALLOWED.
This one says,
NO DOGS ALLOWED."
She pointed out the rest of the (pretend) signs:
NO ICE SKATING PICTURES ALLOWED.
NO DAISIES GROWN HERE.
and, because she wanted me to quit nursing her sister:
NO BABIES ALLOWED.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
However, other than this, dinosaurs are great fun. Perhaps the best time we've had is yesterday, when Lucy decided to draw some dinosaur bones. She drew a picture of a green monster, all knees and elbows, with big pincers (hash marks all over one mystery appendage), and on another sheet, a crooked, purple tooth.
Then she told me about how fearsome the "bronkisaurus" was, how long it's teeth were, how sharp its pincers.
"I'm so scared!" I said, throwing up my hands.
She patted my shoulder. "Don't worry about the bronkisaurus, Mama. It's just pretend."
Thursday, September 16, 2010
carpet squares scattered on the floor,
the children squiggle and squawk until--
Miss Myra picks up the guitar.
Softly, softly, she strums and sings,
And twenty bodies all sit still.
They are singing now, clapping, patting.
They stand, they sit, they whisper.
Is it not magic to listen
to one woman charm small children?
Suddenly speaking briefly? Join us for Six Word Fridays at Making Things Up.
But living so close to all of these businesses also has it's more annoying aspects.
For instance. A few blocks from our house was a gym. I'll call it "Total Gym." Occasionally, we'd see sweaty people emerging, sipping waterbottles, as they walked to their cars.
Then one day, I saw some guys running down the street in military fatigues and white t-shirts.
The next day, I saw the boot-camp guys running down the street carrying really large medicine balls (think boulder-sized).
The day after, they were carrying each other down the street--lugging them like they were very large bottles of water (or medicine balls).
Then, suddenly, the name of the gym was changed from "TotalGym" to "ArmyGym" and everything was all boot-campy, and two lines of big guys holding up traffic on the street, and people using megaphones and whistles, and call-and-response marches. All within blocks of our house. Very audibly.
Now, I can understand the appeal of boot-camp style fitness. Not my personal cup of tea, but certainly a good regimen. But must costumes be involved? And moving an army recruitment depot to our neighborhood, without the heroic service to our country?
*Incidentally, we live in a sort of hub for yoga studios, Italian restaurants, and colon hydrotherapy. Hopefully, there's little cross-over between the three industries. Also, colon hydrotherapy? Should not really be advertised by a little sign on the main drag, pointing to one (of the many) practitioners just off the main drag (as is done down the street from us). At least, I hope they're not getting walk-in traffic.
Actually, the princesses of our series are not the pastel-hued Disney royalty (though Lucy loves them, loves them with a ferverent love) but our own creations: Brazilla and Erma. They lend Dora their old gowns and try to keep their jeweled silverware from being stolen by little girls named Rosie and defend themselves with Bubblegum Blue! Whatever that is! And all is beautiful, and they all love their balls, and dresses and tea parties, and they say so, often.
As a writer, I noted with interest that the first book went fast, and the pages were fille,d but by the third, it was harder to come up with new ideas.
Welcome to my world, Lucy.
Monday, September 13, 2010
We suspect this may have some bearing on our (still very) early mornings.
Anyway, I’m amazed at how my now (gulp) eleven-month-old’s face has changed with the addition of those four upper teeth. That mouth went from being a sweet baby mouth to one that is quite rascally. It makes her look like a six-year-old boy with a slingshot.
In addition, she has changed her vocabulary. Now, instead of saying “Ba! Da! Ma!” she says, “Bum. Dum. Um. Bum.” All quite seriously, with much gesturing and shrieking.
All this is to say: her infanthood is drawing to a close. If she weren’t so darn cute, I’d return her and get a fresh new baby to smell and squeeze.
Of course not! Instead, I am going to find a way to keep her from getting any older. Would tight clothes help?
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I think I'm going to give myself the week off and meet you back here on Monday. Monday, Monday, Monday. Bright and early. Or, actually, hopefully not.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
And now the time has come. She can follow and have the attention for chapters. She asks for the next chapter, and we're reading the book in satisfying gulps.
I keep looking at the titles on our shelf, whole worlds of books to discover, the rest of the Narnia adventures, and Mary of the Secret Garden, and Charlotte's Web, and Heidi, and Stuart Little, and oh, so many books. They may not come tomorrow, but they will be here soon, these worlds, worlds we can explore and savor together.
Friday, September 3, 2010
My friend Melissa is relaxing with her new baby (perhaps "relaxing" is the wrong word?) a few friends are guest-posting at her blog. My turn again! And just in time for Six- Word Fridays! Check out the fun at Making Things Up!
Two monarch caterpillars in a box
perch on the top, awaiting chrysalises.
A new mom friend admires them,
then talks about returning to work.
“It is physically painful,” she says.
Mutual friends told her motherhood is.
Painful, I mean. I add: transformative.
Caterpillars turn to sludge inside cocoons,
solid to liquid, their brains dissolving.
They stay that way for weeks.
Ah, but those gossamer, spangled wings.
Suddenly speaking briefly? Join in at Making Things Up.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
My friend Melissa is relaxing with her new baby (perhaps "relaxing" is the wrong word?) a few friends are guest-posting at her blog. Today is my turn. Check out the fun at Making Things Up!
A week ago, Julia made her way over to the coffee table, placed one hand on the side, and pulled herself up to a standing position.
Now she is attempting open-heart surgery.
Okay, not really. But what is it about these milestones that thrusts babies into a completely different continuum? It’s like each new skill is a rocket launch propelling them forwards. Now I can’t get her to lie flat while changing her diaper, she’s grabbing items off the grocery shelves, shrieking in the car, and working on her dissertation.
Sure, I want her to grow and change and develop, but I always expect this nice even ascent, instead of a blast-off.
We should really put babies on intractable problems, like global warming and texting while driving. Surely that forward drive could be used for something other than ejecting naked bums off of changing pads.
Join us all tomorrow for my turn hosting Six Week Fridays. Tomorrow's topic? TRANSFORM. Changes, metamorphoses, or Decepticons. Get more info (and cool buttons) here.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
What gives with the helicopter noises in the middle of the night? So far I've been woken twice with minutes of chopper-ing, all in the wee hours of the morning. And my baby too. Did I mention that you woke my baby?
What with the coastal train choo-chooing at all hours and the friendly neighborhood bikers, we have enough engine noise for now.
Hmmm. It just occurred to me that the chopper might be Life Flight, as we do live fairly close to a hospital.
You get a pass, fair city. For now.
Monday, August 30, 2010
She was distracted when I gathered our things, but I made sure to grab the pink car. "You know as soon as you forget it that they'll need it and have a meltdown about it," I said to the other people there.
We said our goodbyes, and Lucy happily took my hand as we made our way outside.
A minute or two later, I said, "I got your car,"
She stopped still. Her face crumpled. "No, Mama! That belonged to my friend!" And just like that, she was wailing.
You're kidding me, I thought. A meltdown for remembering the car?
We have to go in and give it baaaack", she said.
We had only minutes left on our meter. I knew it would take longer to navigate back upstairs, give back the car, go back out, and make it to our car. "We can give it to her next time we see her," I said.
"Noooooooooooo!" More melting down.
I was already carrying Julia, so there was no picking up Lucy. There was nothing else to do. I grabbed her hand, as gently as I could, I helped her walk down the pier.
Oh, is there any walk so endless than one with a screaming child? Every so often, I'd bend down and try to get her to calm down, but my one solution--giving the car to the friend later--was met with more screams. The fishermen, swimsuited tourists, the walkers and the restaurant-goers all stared at us as we walked down the boardwalk. We were much more entertaining than the fish.
Finally, we were almost to the end of the pier. Lucy fell to her knees and howled. "Noooo, Mamaaaaa! We have to give her her caaard!!!!!!"
Wait. Excuse me? The card?
I bent over. "Honey, she has your card. The card. I brought your car." I opened my bag, and pulled out the Caddy. "See?"
She looked in the bag, verified that there was, indeed, no birthday card in there, and said in a perfectly normal voice, "That's so silly!" Then she started skipping down the boardwalk as if she didn't have a tear-streaked face.
Ah, misunderstandings. Next time, I hope to have one on land.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
to know how to navigate them,
their twin needs, nurse or nap,
play or discipline, older or younger.
Today, nothing went right, my attitude,
napping, speaking kindly, older biting younger.
At nine AM I was done,
with a full day left over.
I apologized for being cranky, twice.
We went for a walk, found dandelions,
veins in leafs, pine cones, clover.
We bought lemonade from our neighbors.
Not a perfect day, but survivable.
Each day is harder than expected,
but also more lovely, magical, full.
I'm waiting, but also living, now.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Here's when she shrieks: at the drop of a hat. At dinner. Or any meal, really. When she does not want what she has on her plate, and/or is done. Or thirsty. Or maybe just morose. Who knows? She is a baby, and can't tell us.
She seems a little pickier than Lucy at this age, but that just might be because she SCREAMS WHEN I DON'T GIVE HER EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS WHEN SHE WANTS IT.*
I'm not much for running after children with food, but this baby? I will start pressing food against her lips, in the hopes that she will just STOP SCREAMING. Here's what goes through my head:
Eat the ham! *($()$) just eat the ham! Okay--what about apples? Please? Please? Ack! Now you don't like apples? %$#^!
It does not help that we are getting towards the end of the week and our go-to foods are depleted (banana, peach, spicy italian sausage**).
And yes, she does want the food. When she gets what she wants, she will eat astonishing quantities, and then sleep through the night. Thus making me a little more into her eating astonishing quantities.
The shrieking is a phase, right? A phase? And if so, it will end soon, right?
Not that soon, you say?
Don't make me start shrieking.
*What's strange about this behavior is she is truly the sweetest, most easy-going baby any other time. Put her in a high chair, though, and beware.
**Yes, she's a quarter Italian. She has also started gesturing expansively when she's baby-talking.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
"Look, Mama," she said. "A prince shooter!"
"A what?" I asked. Our taste in fairy tales here runs to the traditional, end stop. Favorite pretend game? Cinderella. Favorite dress-up outfit? Princess gown. Favorite video? Faerie Tales. You get the picture.
Not in the picture: regicide.
Lucy explained her invention. "See? A prince shooter! Princesses press the red button (indicating orange twisty) and pop! a prince comes out! A boy can press the blue button! Pop! See, the prince is dancing on the table!"
"Look at him go!" I said, admiring the invisible, jigging, foot-high princ. "How convenient to be able to get princes whenever you want!"
Wouldn't Lucy's invention really change the dynamic of all of those old fairy tales? Who needs booby-trapped mattresses, slimy frogs, or a cantankerous beast when you can have the Prince Shooter (TM)?
Batteries not included.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I like a good project to sink my teeth into, challenge myself, improve things around the house.
Except starting them is just a little easier than finishing.
Here's a list of on-going projects. Perhaps listing them might make me more likely to finish?
- Frame Lucy art and display for fun and quick (well, not so quick) home decorating! (3/4 framed, sitting on the floor)
- Refi house to save $$$$. I called our bank and did not get a call back. Smashing.
- Learn how to use coupons to save $. So far, I am doing a lot of thinking about using coupons to save $.
- Make a beach blanket for the summer. Hmm. I have what, fifteen days left?
- Finish making happy birthday banner for Lucy. A looming deadline helps.
- Sundry other sewing projects. Not a good sign when you can't remember what they are.
- Make the doll/hair that I started with Lucy. Why I let her talk me into putting hair onto a "quick" project we started together, I'll never know.
- Probably something else I'm forgetting.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Here's how it went:
We eat some socks!
We eat some bear stuffed animals!
We eat some chef's hats, yes!
Here's my chorus:
We cough up stuffing
and thread and yarn--
Let's wear the hats instead!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
My parents volunteered: watch both girls.
Two hours: I drop off/pickup.
Dropoff. Exchange cars with the carseats.
In their car, I dream big:
Lunch, nap, clean. Relax, read, tea.
Home! Pause. The garage door opener?
In my car. With my purse.
And the cellphone. #$@$. @%%*&. %$#^.
Returning to their house, revising plan:
Get keys. Drive home (again). Lunch.
Look at clock. Get my girls.
What is it they say again?
The best laid plans...ah, well.
Get short with us at Making Things Up and Six Word Fridays!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Gia threw one into the air.
"Gia, don't celebrate in here," said Lucy.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sometimes, I just want a few minutes with no questions/squalling/musical performances etc. I want just a minute to check email in peace, or drink tea, or whatever.
Funnily enough, I do not get that, and the lack of that time bumps up against my desire for it and creates just a tiny bit of friction.
Today, I tried to let it go, just a little bit. To close the computer, put down the book, and just be with my kids without having as much of an agenda.
I don't know if I was successful, but it felt good to recognize the irritation for what it was (my problem, not theirs) and own it. It felt good to reframe.
Not that I don't need me time, or alone time, but when I'm not getting it, it sure doesn't help to be thinking about it all the time.
How about you? Any reframing going on lately?
Monday, August 16, 2010
L: Mama, let's have a surprise for Daddy!
Me: Okay. What?
L: We'll blow up balloons, and when he comes downstairs, we'll yell, "Surprise!"
Me: Sounds great. Which balloons do we use?
(Picking balloons) (Blowing them up) (Wrapping a board book for a "gift")
(Daddy moving around. Showering.)
L: I'm going to go upstairs and tell him we're having a surprise for him.
Me: Don't tell him what kind--otherwise it's not a surprise, right?
(Lucy upstairs, telling him we're having a surprise, and probably what kind. She comes down. Grabs balloons. Dyami coming downstairs.)
All: Surprise! (Throwing balloons)
Dyami: Oh! thank you everyone!
(Julia rolling around on the floor with joy; also crowing)
Friday, August 13, 2010
Ginger: Why you say that to me?
Answer: Because Lucy's mama says that to her periodically. Sometimes without cause, apparently.
PS. Is there anything sweeter than two preschoolers holding hands?
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Customer*: Hello, I want to buy some software for stop motion.
C: Can you help me?
L: Yes. I'm almost four.
C: And you work there? Is that legal?**
C: Can you tell me anything about the software?
L: Well, you can get it from our cabinet. And, it's kind of a CD, with movies in it about stop motion.
C: Movies? Do you have any software?
L: Uh, well, you can go to the stop motion store to get that.
C: Can you tell me anything about the software? Like, can you draw on the screen?
L: Yeah! You should come over here, to our house, and get it.
C: Where do you live?
C: Ah. Do you speak Spanish?
L: Uh-huh. Um, iewogjsdif. See?
C: Okay. Well, I'd better go.
L: Okay. How do you say goodbye in Spanish?
L: Show. Goodbye.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Thanks for being generally nice, in a non-committal way. We wanted to move to a place a little less prissy than the very Suburban place we used to live in, so we're trying to just hang with things, and not be, well, prissy.
The motorcycle? The one that you drive? That is Loud? LOUD? LOOOOOUUUUD?
I'd like to ask you to tone it down, but do I really want to start alienating you? Do I want to be a jerk and complain to our landlord? And yet. You have woken my baby up. You have not woken me up, yet, but I'm waiting for it. Mostly, though, I just am incredulous. It's so offensive. It's so loud. It is much, much louder than it needs to be. It is a gunshot that keeps on giving.
Aren't there laws about noise, and mufflers, and such? Do the police not take them seriously? It's clear that you do not take them seriously.
Really, neighbor, I am at a loss.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I'm not much of a naturalist. I was, a bit, when we lived in the Sonoran desert as a kid--Arizonans take seriously their education about the desert, so I knew all about barrel cactus, and how to tap them for water in case of being lost, and why ocotillos get flowers after a rain. But we studied birds for one unit in fourth grade, and I dutifully took out my bird guide around the house to get some sightings, and I think I saw fewer birds than I did when I wasn't paying attention.
It's a little embarrassing, actually, to see a white butterfly with your child and know nothing about what it is. Is it common? Rare? What does its larvae eat? And what the heck do you call it? I mean, I'm all for letting her discover things on her own, but I'd like to be smugly informed while she does it.
But funnily enough, after a few butterfly books, and a few weeks of looking at them, we're both starting to learn. Today we saw a butterfly that I used to think was a moth (until I learned moths fly at night).
"Look, mama, a skipper," Lucy said. And it was. So: my daughter is a genius. And: I have come a long way. Not two years ago, a friend wrote a poem about a skipper in my MFA program, and I thought it was nautically themed, not a treastise about environmental degradation.
About those ever-present white butterflies? Cabbage whites, I think. Common. Destructive. But still, so pretty, with their ivory wings with the greyish green spot in the corner.
It's lovely see more deeply, and to do it with my daughter.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I was beyond bleary-eyed.
Our sweet neighbor volunteered to watch our girls for an hour while I tried to rest. It didn't work. In other words, both girls were fine, but I lay awake in bed, heart racing, trying to talk my anxious body into sleep. After about fifteen minutes, I gave up, more tense than before, and thought about going and retrieving my children.
Instead, I turned on our new Wii and popped in the Mario Cart disk.
I'm not much of a video game fan. I have little patience for the learning curve, and my type-A personality feels guilty wasting time on something so unproductive. But I like some video games, and Mario Cart is pretty fun. You can't die, you don't kill anyone, and a lot of the courses are set in sylvan meadows or maple groves, with funny characters and banana peels trying to get you to crash.
I had laundry to do, a house to pack, and a neighbor I was imposing on. I felt guilty turning on the TV. But I did, and I played for a a good twenty minutes. I maneuvered my go-cart down the course, with my little character, Toad, fist-pumping any time I managed to hit an opponent with a turtle shell. I tried a new course, Rainbow Road, a thin ribbon of track surrounded by an expanse of starry sky. I kept falling off the road, and going down in flames like a comet. At first, I gritted my teeth, then I started laughing at my own incompetence. The game rates your performance at the end of each round, and I got an E, which is polite for "failing." It was a relief to fail at something that didn't matter.
I finished the game, turned off the TV, and walked across the street to retrieve my children. I was still horribly tired, behind in packing, stressed about the move, worried I wasn't going to sleep that night. Mario Cart hadn't solved anything.
And yet I felt better. Somehow, taking time to be purely frivolous, to be irresponsible, helped me feel better. I would have preferred a nap, but since that wasn't possible, I took the Mario Cart cure.
Ah, for a Mario Cart cure everyday, to take myself less seriously, to laugh, and to do something for myself that doesn't absolutely need doing.
We had good luck: a swallowtail butterfly, a heron, about ten lizards. We wanted to see, or hear a frog, though, and a walk past the little cattail choked pond did not produce results.
Julia kept chuckling, a throaty noise, deep down in her throat, like a cat with a hairball.
"Julia's our frog," said Lucy. "She's croaking."
We laughed together, checked off the frog, and went on to hunt a spider web. With our chuckling, ribbeting treasure along for the ride.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
It was the longest nap any of us had had in more than two weeks, and I realized, upon waking, that it was exactly what my body had been crying out for.
Laying in bed, every bone felt heavy; when I opened my eyes, the brightness made me wince.
And then we all got up, and left for a hike in a nearby nature center. we all chirped like birds and found spider webs and lizards and butterflies, and I realized anew that it is a lot easier to parent when one is rested.
The sniffles I have had for the last three days are gone, and so is the blehness. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you sweet Jesus.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
On the bright side, people are actually getting enough sleep for their bodies (stopped waking up at 6:15 and taking 1/2 hour naps) so eventually we should all catch up and stop feeling drained.
Oh! And on the real bright side, I went to the thrift store today and found this juicer:
I know--it looks like a medieval torture device. But wait! It's fabulous--you press the juice out of the fruit, instead of twisting--then pour the juice out of the clever spout in one end. My mother-in-law introduced me to its wonders and I have been longing for one ever since--except it's not something you can get at Crate and Barrel.
We made grapefruit juice. Which helped both the cold and the general disposition of everyone. Hooray, juicer!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Also, did you know that doing home school preschool is allowing me to be even more of nerd than I ever have been?
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Ah, Ikea, Ikea, Ikea. Where do I start?
Okay, those pert little handrails I noticed today, just at the right height for a child? Good one, Ikea. You made me smile. And then you had to post a sign next to said handrail, saying something like "See? We care about our little ones!" Which made me narrow my eyes. What are you trying to sell me, now, Ikea, now that you've become my child's caregiver? Rainbow-pack plastic tableware? Fabric with numbers scrawled on it? Those humongous blue bags for only $0.50? And throw in a new bedroom set, now that we're here? Only $1,099--and real wood!
The first time we met, I was appalled. It was like Vegas, except for furniture. I mean, how was I supposed to leave the place? What time was it anyway? The tiny, cheap votive candles are calling to me, saying, spend! spend! Surely you'll use 100 of us! I turned in circles, found an exit, and skedaddled, hands empty.
I didn't come back for years.
Then I had children.
I started noticing the perfect, child-sized tables, the metal cookware, the bright beads of the abacus, the red-legged easel. Any questions regarding said items brought this mantra in response: I-kee-ahh. I-kee-ah.
I shuddered. I considered. I got in my car.
I bought things.
Now, every time I return, I find more to love, and more to hate. Oh, the crowds of consumers, heaping yet another picture frame on their carts. The siren call of cheap, well-designed goods. The eye for detail, coupled with that seductive price. The outfitting of our new rental for much less than I thought.
Soon you will be asking to return home with me in greater quantities, unless I resist. Do I really need new kitchen towels? Shelves? Fabric printed with primary-colored flowers?
So don't be appealing to my children, Ikea. Not fair. Not fair at all.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
round, plush, so new she's dewy;
skin, and skin; perfect pinked toes.
Today, feverish, falling asleep in-arms,
I'm worried but not panicked, yet.
But sad: how can pain exist
in such a perfect, precious package?
Join us on a six-word adventure at Making Things Up!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Ugh. Tomorrow must be better. it must.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
It's a great feeling, because I can say, "She's teething!" and know that she's actually teething. Not just being a baby: mysteriously fussy and prone to being unpredictable.
Now, don't get me wrong. I feel sorry for Little Bean (as I call her sometimes*). She was just sad today, and cranky, and you could tell she was hurting.
But it's just annoying to say, "Maybe it's teething" every few weeks. Or have people tell me, "She's teething! Definitely!" I mean, at some point, saying that has no meaning, you know?
These teeth, they are like Godot.
*I'm a lot more indiscriminate with my terms of endearment with Julia. Besides Little Bean and Baby Monster, there's Little Goon and Little Boober. I don't even know what a boober is, but Julia is one, apparently.
Monday, July 26, 2010
But last week? I should have listened to my Type-A self.
Beach + mobile baby + very cute wool hand-washable* pants = one nasty clean up job. I was trying to be spontaneous, to not think about the consequences. I let Julia crawl around without removing said pants. Because she loved being in the sand! And after all, it's just dirt, right?
Very sticky dirt. Very sticky and small dirt. That saturated the pants so that ten rinses later, there is still grit on my hands when I touch the stupid pants.
Oddly enough, the beach is not a good place to be laid-back.
*I know, I know, what the heck am I doing, putting hand-washable pants on my baby? It's for cloth diapering, okay? And don't worry--I only wash them once in a while--since wool is anti-microbial--I just let them dry out! ANd they're fine! Well, at least for my slip-shod standards.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
- Arrival: What acceptance we get from family!
- Hope: Our kids will always love each other! Our families exist in perfect tandem! We will get decent sleep while we're here!
- Reconstruction: Okay, not great sleep. Actually, extremely crappy. But with a nap, I'll be ready to leave and drive the three hours home.
- Bargaining: Okay, so napped a little later than we meant to. And it's Friday. And we have to drive through LA. But it'll be okay as long as we keep moving.
- Shock and denial: Ack! Bumper-to-bumper on the 101 to 405. Surely it can't be like this the whole time? Maybe if we stop for lunch, it will get better!
- Pain and guilt: Okay, honey, yes. You should have woken me up. Point taken.
- Depression (along with rage, pain, guilt, etc). We are trapped on a long corridor with no exits with one misbehaving child, and one screaming infant who keeps getting woken from a fitful nap. We are never leaving our house again.
Hats off to my friend Abi, who actually attempts real trips with her children. Check out her insight here!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Ah, to be three-almost-four and run in a pack...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"Oh, yes!" she said.
"Good! I have been thinking of some things you might want to know about, and I thought you might choose. You could learn about butterflies, or--"
"Butterflies! and dragonflies!" By now, she was jumping up and down. "How do we learn about butterflies, Mama?"
And at this point, I didn't quite know what to do, because I had no Plan. I had decided just to try asking the question, and was half-expecting a tepid answer. I had no resources, no books, nothing in mind.
But in the end, perhaps that was better. I asked Lucy what kinds of questions she had about butterflies, and where she thought we could go to find answers about them. We found out about a butterfly vivarium close to here, and went to the library, and made butterfly drawings, and wrote down questions.
"Don't I ask good questions, Mama?" she kept asking me.
You do, dear child. It's fun to give you a chance to ask them.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Even fuller disclosure: It was my fault.
When decorating, I've discovered, it's good to put the disassembled picture frames (with glass!!! glass, Heather!!! Glass! Think!!!) well out of the way of the very mobile infant. Because she will go over and slice her finger on the glass, and then gamely move away without even a whimper. And proceed to look through a board book*.
One hopes this is because it didn't hurt too much, and not because the glass was so sharp that she didn't feel it.
When Dyami went to pick her up, he was at first confused by the spots of red all over book, hand, face, neck, and then increasingly alarmed. He took her to me, and we quickly became hysterical (sort of a calm parental hysterics), trying to find the seeping wound, decide where it had come from (wince) and whether it was life-threatening. We talked in Loud Voices and Grabbed her hand, and I'm sure upset her Far More than the actual slicing.
Lucy, thoroughly confused by our panic, asked, "Mama, Dada, why are you afraid of Julia?"
Five minutes and a few douses of pure goldenseal later (thanks, Cord Care), we had decided that it was a surface cut, that no harm was done, and that the picture frames should perhaps move well out of reach of all children.
Ack. What if she had tried to suck on the dumb thing? Oh, Lord, thank you that she wasn't hurt. (Shudder).
*The board book is kind of disturbing: smears of blood on nearly every page. I think it might go into the trash, because the combination of blood and bright illustrations is kind of awful.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
We got home, and I bathed her, and still there were specks of sand on her. Then she slept, and woke, and gosh darn it, if there weren't still specks.
Except the sand was gone. The specks were moles--two of them on her face. It's sort of a fantastic moment, these little stars coming out on her; I wrote about it when Lucy got them.
For those of you who have never seen me, I have a lot of moles. Many are large (say about the diameter of a chocolate chip) and rather irregularly shaped, and kind spongy in an unnatractive way. They're fine--certainly I don't hate them, but they're sort of a pain, since dermatologists look at them, shake their heads, and say, you should really get those checked regularly.
I guess of all the features of my body, they wouldn't be on the top of my list were I to put myself together. (Though I think I would be sad were I to have to get all of them removed).
Something about having children, though, makes the little blemishes of one's own body lovely, poignant, and precious. Lucy's moles I know--a few on her face, one on her arm--and they are as dear to me as her eyelashes, her funny triangular toenails, and the way her hair frizzes in the back. Julia's moles, too, are dear. They are little marks that say I belong to this woman. They are little bits of me that got sprinkled on her. Like the chips in chocolate chip cookies.
They are especially dear now, when they are appearing: like stars coming out. They are like little promises of the toddler, preschooler, girl, and woman she will be, these marks that will be with her always, part of her face, as unique as her fingerprints.
I wrote a story once where a girl saw constellations in her moles--Orion's belt scattered across her belly, the Pleaides on her leg. It wasn't that great. How much better to see these stories unfolding in front of me, the stars coming out in my very own family.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
"Come further up and further in."
In up to my elbows here:
Children, challenge, partnership, beauty, friends, words.
Bean sprouts unfurl on our table
each leaf seeking and finding light.
I can see their roots sprawl.
Thank you Lord. I'm rooted, too.
Join the brevity over at Making Things Up!
I am so tired of the "you just want a spa-treatment" attitude towards women who want a "natural" birth. Perhaps some women choose to eschew epidurals to get little gold stars in someone's playbook, but my concerns were far more primal: I wanted to avoid a c-section, major surgery, uterine scars, and an increased risk of death. I wanted to protect my uterus against possibly fatal adhesions for future pregnancies, problems with fertility, increased risk of ectopic pregnancies, and increased risk to future children during birth.
A friend of mine recently gave birth to her third baby. Her first was severely premature; her second induced. Both labors were far from "ideal"--the second, especially, was horrific. Her third, however, was just what she wanted: she went into labor naturally, got to the hospital on time, and labored for a while without drugs. Then she asked for an epidural and got one--but it wore off in time for her to push. She felt supported by hospital staff. Throughout, a good friend of hers stood by her side, encouraged her, coached her, and told her she could do it (this friend, by the way, had one home birth under her belt, and is a personal trainer; a pretty good combination for an impromptu doula).
I am so happy for her. I couldn't care less about her getting an epidural or not--it wouldn't have been my choice, but it worked well for her. What makes me so happy for her was she had support in her labor, and she had choices. She felt comfortable with them, and comfortable with her caregivers.
Contrast this story with another friend, who birthed at the same hospital. She had done extensive preparation--classes, reading, etc--but when the big day came, she didn't know the midwife on call, and didn't feel comfortable with her. When her labor stalled, and an OB came in, she felt waves of condescencion rolling towards her. She ended with a c-section. What breaks my heart about this birth is not just a c-section that wasn't "ideal", but how alone she felt during a raw, exposed experience. Why is it even possible that a first-time mother (and father) can be meeting their birth attendant for the first time? For her not to have someone there with her throughout her labor? (Sure, her husband was a partner, but it was his first time experiencing labor, too) This is most women's reality, and it's absolutely appalling to me.
"Ideal" is hardly the point. I just want women to have a voice, to be able to trust their caregivers, and to be treated as equal partners, not as blips on a monitor watched by someone in another room.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
You know I love you, right? What with the smiling/laughing/creativity/soft skin/little fingers?
Now that we have that clear, I just want to ask:
WILL EVERYONE JUST PLEASE CALM DOWN?
The shrieking/scream at the drop of the hat, when you're done eating, or I won't let you have something that's not for babies, or when you're getting your diaper changed in a VERY SMALL ENCLOSED SPACE that amplifies the shriek until it's ear-splitting? Could you stop that, please? Or at least work up to it, so I have SOME WARNING? (Sorry I keep YELLING! I think perhaps my hearing is damaged FOR SOME REASON!)
And the four meltdowns because on a CD of ten songs, you like three, and have listened to all of them, and want to listen to your FAVORITE again, except it's not any of the three you like, nor is it the other seven you don't like, and I keep starting tracks only to have another meltdown half-way through the chorus because IT'S NOT THE RIGHT ONE, could we tone that down a bit, too? Maybe you could just listen to one of the three again, and clap in your adorable way, and then we could all go to bed?
ahem. I mean, Thank you.
and I love you. Very much,
Monday, July 12, 2010
The book is called, officially, "The Berenstain Bears' New Baby". Small Bear outgrows his small bed, and heads out into the woods with his dad to build a new one. He hasn't noticed that his mom's tummy is much bigger--but his mom pauses a minute to celebrate that "You've outgrown that snug little bed just in time!"
While Small Bear and his dad sharpen the axe, and chop down wood, the little bear keeps asking what will happen to his bed.
Imagine his surprise when his dad tells him he's going to have a new sibling!
And imagine my surprise when they come home to his sibling--already tucked into the old bed, and even dressed in white with a bow in her hair!
It's amazing: while they were in the woods, Mama Bear went into labor, gave birth unassisted, birthed the placenta, cleaned the baby and herself, cut the cord, cleaned the mess, dressed the baby, moved the old bed into the other bedroom, and got back into her classic spotted blue dress, her belly back to (admittedly round) normal size.
I mean, they didn't even mention the hospital! Or even a midwife!
I've always thought women who do unassisted birth were pretty self-sufficient, but Mama Bear really takes the cake.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
So how come I'm still trying how to figure out how to like it here?
Here's the first problem: I loved our old house. I wasn't ecstatic about its location (think Anywhere USA suburbia, and you'll have a good picture), but I loved the house. It was small in a snug way, we had painted its walls nice colors, refinished the kitchen and bathroom, and after eight years there, it was ours. I moved a lot as a child; I'd lived in this house longer than any other house in my life--by a good three years.
This house, with its fantastic location and gorgeous light, is a rental. It is decorated in boring whites and beiges, and no matter how I arrange furniture and pictures, it still doesn't look pretty to me. Or more to the point: it doesn't look homey yet.
But. This last weekend I pulled out my copy of Handmade Home, and started thinking strategically. For me, nothing makes home homier than stuff I make. I'm thinking a collection of art I make with Lucy, a few craft projects, framed in some thrift store frames. Maybe, if we decide to stay here long enough, we'll paint a few walls.
I think this house (or, at least, this town) is a good place for us. It is hard for me to let go of my old house--my old home. But maybe making some memories here by decorating it and making it home will help.
Anyone have any fabulous ideas for on-the-cheap rental decorations?
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Julia woke up screaming last night--
an hour after bedtime--very unusual.
I picked her up, rocked, patted.
She relaxed, head on my neck
Crooking, trembling, snorting, breathing magic.
She is almost nine months old.
I am all done having babies
I am all done having babies
I am all done having babies
I am all done having babies
I am all done having babies
I am all done having babies
Join Melissa at Making Things Up for some good, old-fashioned six-word Fridays!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I always have a hard time reading books about brutality, and this one was no exception. Truly, the things done to women--sexual slavery, domestic violence, neglect during childbirth leading to death or disfigurement, and rape used as a weapon of war--are even too terrible for me to think about. And yet how do we do something about these horrors unless we all think about them a little more?
At the end of the book, a call to arms: do something about these atrocities. Do something about the millions of girls missing because of selective abortions or neglect during infancy.
And here I am, lost. Sure, I can give money. In fact, some organizations I know of (Women to Women, Partners in Health, World Vision) that I've supported in the past, were mentioned as bright lights for women. But--what else do I do? I wanted to start by posting, and seeing if anyone else has any bright ideas. How do you support women around the globe who are struggling with vicious persecution? How do we focus our unimaginable resources to help fight these unimaginable horrors?