Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I have been chuckling to myself all day... "ha, ha hacker, you cannot steal the identity of someone in an active identity crisis!"

But you can. And they did.

Both of my emails are out of commission. One frozen pending investigation. The other wiped clean. No emails, no contacts. As if I just started it yesterday.

The first email I sent my husband, after that fateful meeting in the bookstore.


The story ideas that I emailed myself.


The latest copy of my resume, the correspondence with important and famous people, the first picture of my nephew that my sister emailed me.

Gone. Gone. Gone.

Remember how in that post a few days ago, I said the only way through this was one baby step at a time... well, now it's really true.

I cannot be deterred. I can only rebuild. One email at a time.

Now, this blog is linked to those emails that are now tainted, defiled, corrupted. The future of us here as we know it is uncertain.

Stay tuned.

And do me a favor, if you really love this blog... leave a message in the comments, or friend me on Facebook. I have no other way to get in touch with you if we have to go to another venue.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Well, today it happened.

I was loaded up with laundry, about to walk out the door while Charles watched the baby.

She looked at me, looked at him, got a bit panicked and said "Mama!"

Charles said later that I looked like I was about to drop everything and go to her. He is right, I almost did. But instead I said, "be right back!"

I must admit that I loaded the laundry at top speed, trying to get back to my little talker. She said it again later, holding on tight to me while we walked down the hallway, patting my chest saying "ma-ma, ma-ma, ma-ma"

Also of note today, she was standing by the bookcase, I told her to pick the bedtime book she wanted to read, she picked up "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" bobbed up and down like she does while we're reading it and said "Bea..."

Who knew that 9-almost-10 month olds understood so much? Remembered so much? Had such complex emotions?

Not this Mama.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Dark Side.

Part of what I now use this blog for is to document the parts of this journey of motherhood that I want to remember. I want to focus on the positive things, I want to tell the funny stories to all of you - my beloveds. I want to have things to go back and read myself when I need reminding of the beauty that is this time in my life.

But I know there are people that read this blog because they appreciate my honesty about this process. So this will be one of those posts.

Recently in the news, starlet upon starlet has come out to say they have suffered from and overcome postpartum depression, but rarely does anyone come out to talk about the dark side of being a new mother. And there is a very dark side, completely autonomous from depression.

It's not about projectile bodily functions - although those are bad. It's not about illness or tantrums - although those are bad too. For me at least, the dark side of motherhood is a combination of emotional factors that are very difficult to transverse.

I am an older mother - they checked the box on my OB form "of advanced maternal age" more times than I care to remember. So I had a well-established life of things that brought me joy and comfort. These things included: long, solitary walks on Saturday afternoons which I termed "wandering the planet", lectures at local universities on diverse and interesting topics - maybe one week city planning and environmentalism, maybe another week creating educational infrastructure in developing countries. Also, going out with my young single friends to do a little booty-shaking and youth-reliving, or enjoying a nice brunch with them after their over-indulgences.

Other wonderful things I did included: working out and working at a very fulfilling job that I loved and that happened to include some wonderful friends.

And that has all evaporated.

It's not that I don't love the baby. It's just that sometimes you feel like you've woken up to someone else's life. And for gosh sakes, someone else's body.

I mean, I didn't really realize it would be so hard to get my body back. That my waist would disappear and that my stretch marks wouldn't.

And there is this crushing responsibility to create the perfect child. To be the perfect parent. To try to be perfect in a pursuit where there is no real measure of success for 20 or 30 years - if ever. If it's even allowable to want to achieve some measure of success.

And - that you have "wanted" this for your whole life. That right now, there are people that want this more than they have ever wanted anything in their whole life - that are undergoing hell to get it. And I want this for them, but I hope they have enough support to get through the dark side, because if not, there is this insidious insecurity that threatens. Like an acid, slowly eating the soft parts. Your confidence wains, your image is altered, your ego is compromised.

This is the part where I usually try to reassure you that there is a positive outcome. Some silver lining. Some reason you should not fret. But this post is about the fret. It is about the times when your insecurities threaten your happiness, when your new identity threatens your vision.

The only place to go from here is along a new path.

One baby step at a time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The more we get together.

Sometime in November I noticed that Emmah really became very animated and happy in the presence of other children. She had always enjoyed going to the park and watching them, but this was different, she seemed to crave them.

So I decided that my Christmas gift to her would be more outings - even ones that *gasp* cost money, but gave her the chance to socialize.

Well this week has been a real turning point for both of us. I had quite loathed the whole experience of trying to connect to other mothers and force playdates and such. The ones that seemed crazy always seemed eager and the ones that I felt a connection to always seemed skiddish. So we remained alone.

But this week, we have been to two libraries for story hours. One turned out to be a wonderful music class and the other was a very sweet, good-vibed story and song time with the perfect aged children for Emmah. The youngest were 6 months and the oldest was a year. Ideal! Plus the moms were very friendly. Bonus!

This was the introduction song, a classic, but it really was an important message for me this week:
The more we get together, together, together

The more we get together, the happier we'll be

‘Cause your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends

The more we get together the happier we'll be.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Things I want to remember:

I haven't done one of these posts in awhile, and there is so much to remember:

- You sometimes play peek-a-boo by yourself in the middle of the night.

- After your bath, when you are waiting for your infant massage and diaper, you laugh and - in all your naked baby glory - do what I call "insane kicking explosion!" - and if I ask you when you're lying on your back to do the insane kicking explosion, you totally do.

- You lie in bed and look at all your friends - Uncle Bob - a sticker of Bob Marley on the closet door that was left by some previous inhabitant and your girlfriends - oh how you love them. You laugh at them, you smile at them - your little animated girlfriends on the package of Spanx I keep on my dresser.

- Sometimes you can say words, but then you lose them immediately. After that, they are distilled down to sounds you recognize. Book becomes a hard "K" sound, Truck becomes a hard "K" sound, Chupa (swahili word for bottle) becomes "Pa" - I now see why families sometimes hold onto these mispronunciations, they are very cute.

- We read SO many books. This week we've been to the library 3 times, and have read each of the 45 library books that we checked out at least twice. Fine, some of them are very simple, but by the way, you are only 9 and a half months old. That's alot of books for one week - especially since it doesn't count our normal books and bedtime routine books!

- You love cats. It started at Auntie Em's house, with your love affair with her cat Deuce. Moved onto Auntie Nicole's house and her adorable cat Garlic, and now you make this loud "boop, boop" sound everytime you see one. In books, in stores, anywhere. We went into a pet store today to see if I could find you one. Eeesh, that place is like an awful pet orphanage - you were enthralled, but I was about to cry or buy out the whole place, so we retreated and will NOT be returning.

- You LOVE older children. You like other babies, but you really love looking at older children. You were mesmerized by our 13 year old nephew Donte.

- You can now walk holding onto things. You can make it from the sofa to the coffee table, from the coffee table to the entertainment center and from the entertainment center to the side table. You can also make it from the other chair, along the wall, into the kitchen, past the refrigerator, past me doing dishes, and all the way to the stove. Real walking cannot be far off.

- You are in this strange place between baby and person. Sometimes, I cuddle you under my chin like I always have, and I can forget in that quiet and comfort that you spill over my elbow and lap and around the corner of the rocker. And that 20 minutes earlier, I probably told you to do something and you actually did it.

- Because you understand so much more than we realize. You get very animated at some stories now. We read "We're going on a Bear Hunt" and you bounce and move as if you are on a bear hunt. When the little family gets to the cave where the bear lives, you freak out and are yelling in your little baby language "Don't go in there, dumb-asses, there's a bear in there!"

- You are very attached to me. We are in the throws of separation anxiety. No one else holds a candle to me. I am ashamed to say that I am cherishing that closeness, knowing it will be over soon enough. My sweet, squishy little baby loves me and wants to be near me all the time. What a gift for me.

- But I know that Daddy cannot wait until you realize that I'm just kind of "blah" compared to him - and that you shadow him around, like we know you will. You already go running towards the door when I tell you he's about to walk in. And sometimes you grab my fingers and go running down the hallway to find him. If he is waiting at the end to swoop you up, then you chortle and sometimes squeal. And I melt inside.

- It's almost time for us to transition to a different kind of life. A few more months. While it's so tough to be alone with you so often, I am trying hard to enjoy this time, knowing I will miss it with every fiber of my being when it is over.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Attitude.

I have a very bad habit.

When I am tired, which I often am these days, I can only see the negative.

I was very fortunate to have my dear friend join me at church today - not only did she help me baby-wrangle, but she also pointed out all the positive people. She reminded me, in her positivity, that I often choose to let one person with attitude or one thing that rubs me the wrong way to ruin the event.

It's a tough thing, not to take our pet peeves and have them taint everything. But I think that is one of the secrets of staying young - being flexible enough to preserve a bit of naivete, being open enough to allow people to surprise you, and being willing to allow something negative to wash over you so you can focus on and build-on the positive.

I know there is a real danger in being seduced into using the negative things in our lives as fodder for discussion, stories, and attention-getting drama. But we can also do this with the positive things.

I just forget this sometimes.

Thanks, friend.

Friday, January 28, 2011

On and Off

The baby has two games she plays ALL DAY LONG - one is peek-a-boo, the other is On and Off. That's where she puts something on her head and waits for me to say "on" and then takes it off her head, and waits for me to say "off."

I swear it was cute like two weeks ago.

But it's where she is right now. She is "on" from the second she wakes up. Sometimes she even plays peek-a-boo with herself in the middle of the night. And she fights sleep and wants to stay up and wiggle and wiggle and then *poof* she is "off."

I'm a bit scared, knowing she will be walking soon. Knowing that she will get MORE energetic. How do you get more energy as a parent? I feel like I need a B12 shot, a massage, and a jog, EVERY DAY.

Don't get me wrong, she is SO fun. But keeping her occupied and interested and happy is hard work. Especially now that we are in the grips of separation anxiety - if she is even a little tired or hungry, she wants me no more than 5 feet away. So off I go, to do some yoga and then to curl up in a ball and relax before her switch flips back in hyperdrive again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day of Rest

Six thirty: I begged my husband to take her and let me keep sleeping. And they gave me two more blissful hours. During that time he: changed a poopy diaper, did a mountain of dishes, fed the baby and got her down for her first nap.

Three thirty: I went to the store by myself. I talked to my mom without tiny hands reaching for the phone. And without a not-so-tiny voice vying for my attention.

Seven thirty: My husband put the baby to bed.

Today, I'm purely decorative.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And so it begins...

The semester began today. Luckily, because of all the ice and snow that fell, there was a 3-hour delay for his school, so we still got to see the man of the house.

But we will miss his carefree moments, as he bears down to complete this most important task. We love him.

Here are some pictures of "Daddy's Girl" - she is so comfortable in his arms, she can be like this one minute...

And like this the next..

Sunday, January 16, 2011


As we headed off to church tonight, I was all ready to post on Facebook the following status updates:

I'm pretty sure that tonight at church, Emmah's prayer will go: Dear God, four new teeth in one week is too much. Love, Emmah. And mine will be: Dear God, when I buy lettuce and avocados at the store, I'm intending to make a salad with them, so could you help me out with not letting the lettuce spoil before the avocados ripen? Love, Kathryn"

Boy, am I glad that I did not.

Church went just fine, songs were sung. The baby did well. I did not throw up at the parts of the Catholic service that rub me the wrong way. People laughed and cooed at Emmah.

It was great.

But as we were leaving, there was a family outside holding signs that read: Please Help, we have three children and we cannot pay our rent.

As about a hundred people streamed out of the service to go to their warm cars, here was this family, with all three children huddled together behind this sign, looking ashamed. The oldest kid was probably 11 and looked dead inside. The youngest was just a baby in the father's arms.

Right there, my stupid jokes about prayers dissolved, dissolved right into tears. People were giving them money, which was good because the two collections had taken all my cash. And I don't really have any extra to give. But it reminded me that gratitude is so important. I have food. I have a lovely home. I have options. I have so much wonderful support from my family and my friends, it humbles me.

And my heart breaks for that family. Forgive me for taking a break from my commitment to be secular on this blog: May God Bless them with even a fraction of the blessings that I have. May they know security very soon. May those children forget this moment in their lives and go on to be joyous and productive.

And my I find a way to give back to those that I love, that love me, and some to those that need more than I do. Because there are so many, that need so much more than I do.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Advice to parents of 9 month olds:

Best not be too smug about getting baby in crib at 7:30pm. Judge the night after it is over, lest you jinx yourself and end up with a very unhappy baby from 10:30pm to 1:30am.

Be you not as stupid as I.

Friday, January 14, 2011


The baby is asleep, in her crib, and I did not nurse her to sleep.

Even if it doesn't last all night, I feel like I earned the cupcake I just ate.

(Although I kind of just ruined the moment by doing this post. I found the above picture at Starbucks.com, on the nutritional informational page, and let's just say I'll wait an hour and then do an hour of yoga to try to reduce it's impact.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Annual Family Fun Day

What can I say, it lived up to its name. And anything that ends in the baby blissfully asleep with no drama is a success in my book!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

40 Step DNA rehabilitation program begins...

How much of our likes and dislikes are determined by our DNA? Or perhaps our environment at birth? Can that be changed? How long does it take?

These are the questions that I am considering today.

Because the baby does not like the snow.

I was born in Canada in December. My birthday parties growing up were most often sledding parties. To this day, the feeling of my childhood revisits me after I've been outside and upon return to the warm house, I can still feel the chill on my skin, but I "feel" warm again. That feeling is as close as I can come to the happiness of my childhood, and I relish it this time of year.

Today was the second day that I took the baby out in the snow. She began by reacting the same way as the last time - just looking at it. This time, I unflapped her hand and she put her hand in it, mostly accidentally. Then she began to cry.

I reflapped her, tried to help her understand it by playing a bit and fluffing it around. No go.

My baby is broken. I blame the 50% of her that is Kenyan. I ordered a snow-lover. Too late to return this model, so we have now begun the 40 step DNA rehabilitation program.

Step 1: let her eat it.

She loved the texture, and I think the cold felt good to her poor teeth poking through, but she was shocked at how fast it melted.

One step closer to a snow-baby. Stay tuned for the rest of the program.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our little world.

The baby and I play this game. I float a towel or light blanket up over her head and then at the last minute duck my head underneath so we are both under. She laughs and laughs to be so close to me and because we are covered, in our own little world.

I love it. She laughs, but stays still and wants me to do it over and over again. And under that blanket, I can see her eyes glisten. I can see her sweet smile. I can hear her laugh up close.

That game, where we are a breath away from each other feels much like a metaphor for our life during the semester- so close, so interdependant, just the two of us.

I'm bracing for the last semester of my husband's undergraduate career to begin, and for it to be her and I again. Just a breath away from one another, interdependent, just the two of us.

Friday, January 7, 2011


What do you call it when a vigil is over? When people have been crouched outside for weeks, candles in hands, trying to bring light to that which is most important - how do they decide it's time to go home? When do they give up? Does the last person have to pick up the empty votive canisters?

I think they leave feeling with greater satisfaction, but wistful. Maybe they are mourning a bit that their role may soon change. Maybe they are wishing just a little bit that all that sense of purpose they had during the vigil could continue, because they felt needed. They felt important.

How do I know? Well, my vigil is over.

The baby has teeth.

Her tooth buds have been visible since birth and the doctors just told us to watch them and they would make decisions about whether they were natal teeth or tooth "pearls" when they emerged.

We waited.

Around 4 months she started to drool.

Around 6 months she seemed to have some discomfort from them.

Around 8 months I started to wonder if I should save some extra money for dentures.

Now, just one week from her 9 month birthday, here they are, not one but TWO teeth in a week. The first came through on Thursday and the second today.


She's been a little nudgy, evidenced by this photo from our snowy walk today:

Here's a picture of her looking the tiniest bit more peppy. She really does love to go outside for walks, but I do think she is still getting used to being in the back and not up front.

I'm proud of her for finding ways to smile and be joyful with two teeth making their way through. What a good baby.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tiny Dancer

Sweet baby girl can dance!

Somewhere in the last few days, she's started bobbing up and down at her musical table. Her great aunt got her a funny ball popper toy and it also plays kind of loud music - she loves it, grabs a ball and goes bouncing along herself to the music.

It's just one of the many things she tries out on a daily basis. Words, movements, facial expressions. They are all changing and evolving so quickly. I'm so proud of her.

So, hold me closer tiny dancer, you're growing up too fast.