Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday Roller coaster

I think for almost everyone, the holidays are an unbelievable roller coaster.

... up... - the baby is so joyful, she's opening her presents, I love life!

...down... - the snow is keeping us from driving to DC, I'm missing cousins and aunts assembled from across the country and they are missing the baby's first Christmas. (And her babyhood, since there is no financial way that I can visit all four states: CA, AZ, MI, and VA for the cost of a drive down to DC. It seems the irony of my life right now - all the time in the world and not the money to take advantage of it). In general, I kind of hate this modern world where friends and family are scattered. The people I love the most, that I want Emmah to see regularly, live in: GA, MA, NY, ME, IL, MI, AZ, CA, MD, VA,and other assorted places. She's already a seasoned traveler because of it, but I just wish they all lived less than an hour or two away. I miss them (alot of you read this blog... I miss you).

...up...- super sleep over and visit with friends, interview next week, and a fun visit to the city!

...down...- trip to the city ending in minor traffic accident, sore body, tired spirit.

So as I head into this new year, I'm going to try to ride along without feeling the push-pull of it all so much. I would like a bit more even keel, regardless of whether I meet my goals or not. I'd like us all to be healthy and happy and sane.

(Sorry for the blurry camera-phone photos, but I think the fun and laughter find their way through.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Joy to the World

Tonight despite the wicked wind, we went to see the lights at the local park. The baby laughed and screamed in delight - at the wind in her face, the lights, the characters and the flags waving wildly at every turn.

It was a better reaction than one could dream of. Pure Joy.

I am so grateful.

Somewhere there is someone that is twisted in knots of anxiety. That is barely making it through. Hold on. Share some of my joy - I'm sending it to you now. Know that you too can have happiness. Take it one tiny tiny step at a time, be patient, work hard, and get here.

And when you do. Let the past go. Enjoy this moment. Drink it up and savor it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Images of life with an 8 month old:

- You like to loll in bed with me. You act like you want to sit up, but when I start to help you, you laugh and throw yourself back down, laughing.

- When you are falling asleep, your fingers float up and hover over my lips - like the softest of butterflies.

- When we are reading bedtimes stories, I start with you facing me so I can see your expressions, but then you start to get sleepy, so I turn you to sit on my lap. You lean back into me and your head fits perfectly in the crook under my chin. Your hair is so downy soft.

- You are trying so hard to talk. You try to mimic the words we say. Sometimes you are successful, sometimes it is all jumbled and guttural. But sometimes it sounds crystal clear. Words you can mimic: book, bye, hi, beakus (don't ask, its a kenyan thing) and you are trying hard to figure out chakula (food) and maziwa (milk) - If I ask you if you want those things, you smile.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Special Day.

March, four years ago.

I was from the gym, he was from work. Neither of us knew why we decided to go to that bookstore on that day.

But today, we took the baby there. To show her where we met. We went to the spot, took a few photos, bought her some books, and went on our way.

That was a special day. Kismet.

Today was a special day. I looked into his eyes as we were leaving and thanked him. Thinking of our life and our little family had me welling with tears. He made fun and I loved him for it. He makes life light. He makes the hardest burdens seem light and I love him for it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three things to never talk about:

There are three things that I would advise any new mom NEVER to discuss in a public forum:

1) Breastfeeding

2) Sleep training/Co-sleeping

3) Returning to work/becoming a stay-at-home mom

I am continually surprised at how quickly things can get very tense when you choose to talk about one of these issues. People can get very dogmatic and/or defensive VERY quickly.

I'm not lying to you. When I called my sister to tell her I was pregnant, she asked me questions about how I was going to deal with two out of three of the above subject matters. (If you're reading this dear sister, I love you, but you totally did!) How was I supposed to answer, I was about 10 minutes pregnant!?!

So, for each of these, I have taken a "let's try one way that seems best and see" approach and then a clear decision about what was ACTUALLY best for that moment became clear - either reinforcing the original idea or in reaction to it.

Notice how I'm not actually saying what I did? How I'm not committing to talking about any of it here - even after 8 months? Well, that's how scared I am of the criticism that I encounter everywhere - mommy blogs, message boards, strangers at events, friends, family, dentists, hairdressers. Everywhere.

I made a slip today, talking about one of these issues on Facebook. (I totally forgot that when you respond to a note that everyone on the note can see it.) It wasn't bad, but I will NOT be lured into a false sense of security. I would love to talk about some of this, particularly my breastfeeding story, but I simply cannot take the chance that I will open myself up to more stress than I already have. And these things are so very personal. As personal as my relationship with my child. As intimate as my relationship with my child. And I have yet to encounter anything more personal and intimate than that - or anything that means as much to me, and that I take as seriously.

Period, end of story.

Now, if you are someone that knows about these topics in my life, then chances are I love and adore and very much trust you. If you are considering having a child and would like to know how I handled these issues, I would be happy to share my story with you - over a cup of tea, with a signed confidentiality agreement in hand.

Monday, December 13, 2010

8 months old today

Things I want to remember:
First, what a sweet baby you are. Cuddly. Soft.

You smile easily. You have four hundred different eyebrow expressions.

You are so feisty and opinionated. You screech and scream to get your way. You are so smart. You can say "hi" in almost the exact intonation that I use.

You can point to things in books. You have favorite books, favorite songs, favorite people. And you teach yourself to do something, and then you can do it quickly. For weeks, you were not interested in puffs, preferring crackers. Then you finally got ahold of one, and were able to get it to your mouth. The next day you did it over and over again. Now only a bit more than a week later, I have to watch you don't go for a handful.

Crawling and walking are your next big hurtles. You can scoot about, commando style, turning like the hands of a clock. You can pull yourself up, reach for something with your hands, then take small steps toward it.

And you are SO proud of yourself. And I am proud of you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Sleeping with mouth closed. We may just survive after all.

The Worst of it.

I got my daughter sick. A sick baby is the saddest, scariest thing ever. See little babies are obligate nose breathers, so when they cannot breathe through their noses, they think they cannot breathe.

Also they cannot nurse.

Combine those two things and what you have is a mom that just spent the last two nights trying to get a panicked baby to relax and realize she can still breathe. And that she will not die if she cannot nurse herself to sleep.

I've sucked her nose, squirted her with saline, communed with her in the bathroom with the shower running, held her, cuddled her, sung until I'm hoarse.

And she's not better yet.

She's still screaming. That has been her main way to communicate this intense discomfort - a high pitched, rock your eardrums kind of scream. It's maddening.

I've also realized that at 2 in the morning, when my husband is at work, when I'm spent and tired and cannot do it anymore, when the baby is scared and screaming and cannot sleep because she is so uncomfortable and when I have tried everything that I can think of. Those are the loneliest moments of my life. Lonelier than all my teen years put together, an isolation and a feeling of helplessness that I would not wish on my worst enemy.

And even if there was someone to call - a sick baby only wants its mother. There you go, an interdependence that there is no solution for. A relationship that for better or worse is the definition of closeness. Irreplaceable. And for those that have lost that relationship, it is wounding. Unhealable. I have watched it too many times - that loss.

So as I head into my birthday tomorrow, everything that I'd been hoping for has changed. I don't care about time to myself. I just want a healthy baby. I just want to not see that wild-eyed look again anytime soon.

And I want my mommy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I've been sick this week, and so I have been procrastinating things that I want to do until I'm "better."

But I realized at some point today that I've been procrastinating these same things for months, years, and sometimes decades. Because they are the same things that I always procrastinate: 1) working out, 2) finding time to take care of financial planning stuff, 3) figuring out how to get stuff done without asking anyone for help.

So just for one week, I'm going to try not to procrastinate any of this stuff. Here is my "To Do" list for the week:
- workout every weekday morning (just for 10 minutes, c'mon, I can do that.)
- chain my husband to the table for 20 minutes and get our life insurance scenario figured out and signed up for.
- figure out a babysitter for a few hours next week so I can honor my promise to my old job to help out with two last things. (And then not make any more promises that will cost me money when I am not making any!)
- write another short story.
- do one thing for myself, BY MYSELF, in honor of my birthday. I feel like I am in danger of becoming one of those overweight, miserable women who don't even brush their hair because it seems too much effort in the monotonous chaos of their lives. I know we are saving every cent, but I really want to preserve any shred of confidence and identity I can.

I know this is a bit whiny, but it's the necessary self-kick in the butt that I need. And I need to document it.

Oh, and I totally missed this little blog's birthday - four years old! I really have to decide it's future direction. Any feedback would be great - since I'm not really sure it's as high up on my priorities list as it once was.