December 20, 2013 § 1 Comment
For some reason, you can’t make me blog until there is snow.
As seen here, here, here and here, for example, if there are flakes falling, I have to hop on here and tell you about it. Or at least write something. Because apparently, my gleeful energy must be channeled somewhere while my boys sleep and I pretend to be enjoying the quiet when really I want to GO OUTSIDE IN MY BATHROBE AND MAKE SNOW ANGELS BEFORE IT ALL MELTS.
But I will refrain. I musn’t panic. It’s awesome our little cub is still asleep and the snow is not all going to melt in the next hour before he has a chance to see it. *slow, deep breaths*
So I will take this chance to update you on a few things.
Saw Santa: He went. He sat. He smiled. He held Santa’s hand. He basically rocked it. No crying baby here. I’m convinced Santa was charmed (and probably a bit relieved since the kids before us LOST IT). When the Man in Red asked our boy what he wanted for Christmas, I answered “a teether.” When Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I answered “I don’t know….” Pause. “A full night’s sleep.” It’s all I could think of.
Peace on Earth: I had every intention of making a few gifts this year. And even got started. Then I completely stressed out as Christmas came nearer and nearer and nothing was getting done, so I abandoned the biggest one and feel much better. Since setting it aside, oh, what a lovely Christmas season this has turned out to be.
Family Ties: My brother and his family are back in town for the holiday. They are pretty much my favorite people (no offense to anyone else in my life, who are also my favorite people. You see how this works.) and to reunite the cousins is the most exciting part. Their littlest is three months younger than our boy and therefore they are meant to be best friends. Geography has just gotten in the way. Now that they are together, the two Happiest Babies Ever just smile and coo and make everything brighter. Stress has no place around these wee ones. It’s the best.
A Grateful Heart: On a serious note, I’m learning every day what it means to be grateful. Never one to look at life from that perspective, it’s a real shift for me. My M.O. was pretty much always pessimism or negativity when the going got rough (or really, when the going got inconvenient or unplanned or in my way). Now, as I’m forced to slow down and live outside of my plans and my timeline, I have seen what it means to enjoy moments, breaths, the little things. It took almost seven months, but I’ve pretty much abandoned my own agenda because it caused too much frustration to live in the tension between my plans and my son’s plans. And oh, the freedom. The joy. I’ve decided that I will never look back on this time and wish I had gotten more done. But I do know that I will look back and regret the time I didn’t take appreciating this life if I let it pass me by. It’s very counter-intuitive to stop and sit on the floor and gaze at the same toy everyday with my boy rather than get things done, but I’ll always remember it. Chores, be damned.
Obamacaresnot: As we go through the ringer with the ACA, I decided to put something up on Facebook about it. It’s unlike me to comment on anything political online, but it was time. People needed to know the ugly underbelly of the law and how it is effecting our family (and in case are not FB friends, I’ll sum it up for you: badly). And I’m glad I did. It hasn’t been easy–confrontation makes my feet go numb, my tummy turn, and altogether presents the physical signs of a heart attack– but it’s been important. And ultimately, no matter what happens with our healthcare, I’ve gotten a renewed sense of one thing: we musn’t worry, we musn’t fear, for Jesus is our portion. HE is the one who is in charge of our care.Not the government. Not the President. And in that, I find rest, not stress.
Unless it snows again, I probably won’t be back on here until Christmas, so MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all and may you have such an incredibly blessed season with the ones you love. Enjoy the heck out of the holidays (and the SNOW), my friends.
November 27, 2013 § 3 Comments
Six months ago, this little boy moved out of my belly and into our house. Six months ago, in a blur of growls and groans and hours and mere minutes, I became a mom.
Six months ago, this little person became my very purpose, my every moment.
To be honest, a lot of it has gone by in a sleep-deprived haze. Like when you fall asleep in the car and wake up in another city, disoriented and slightly unnerved, I don’t always remember much of this ride so far, how we got here. There have been days of pure joy and pure Survival Mode, nights where I feel lucky to be his mom and lucky I’ve kept us both alive.
Somehow, over the course of six months, he’s gone from bundled blob baby to sitting up boy. From mama’s milk to spoons and solids. From aimless gazing to fierce focus. From newborn noises to his own babbling language. And it has happened oh-so-quickly. Scary quick. I know that’s how it goes.
I know there is so much more to say, especially because I haven’t been here in awhile. But right now, my 6-month-old cares not about blogs and reflection and sentiments, but demands my attention as he goes to work in the Jumperoo. He wants me to see his new trick (blowing sloppy, slobbery raspberries) and to laugh when I laugh when he laughs. So I gotta go.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
October 25, 2013 § 1 Comment
Because I’m still ensconced in the same space,
mental and physical, as last week’s post (plus a minor headcold),
I’ll leave it to Catherine Newman today.
“It’s so strange, the way you become a parent on some kind of cellular level.
This is such a profound shift from that first portion of your life when you live for yourself, more or less. During those first couple dozen years, you go to bed at night and you sink righteously into sleep. You don’t feel greedy about it, or even especially lucky: you just wiggle around into your most comfortable position, like a dog, and pull sleep into yourself as if it properly belongs to you. And it does.
Still, nothing can prepare you for the Sleep of the Parents. If sleep is an ocean, then I used to sleep on the floor of it, a sunken thing among the catfish, bubbles blooping from my dreaming mouth towards the surface.
Now I sleep in a little rowboat. In a thunderstorm, during a war, with cannons going off all night long. And also sharks.”
~Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman
An impromptu grab from the library, this book has had me laughing out loud and reading excerpts aloud to Kenny. And she’s SPOT. ON. I don’t think I’ll ever sleep the same again, but apparently that’s normal. She goes on to talk about how even now, whenever she goes to stay with her family, her father cannot help but sleep the Sleep of Parents, as if any minute one of his grown children will cry out from a nightmare or come weeping with a tummy ache. He has his glasses on in a flash if awakened, alarmed, for any reason, having only been hovering on the edge of dreamland anyway.
I believe it. [I think my dad still sleeps this way, glasses at the ready and everything.]
Happy Friday, friends. Especially sleeping in tomorrow. I remember that being pretty awesome. 😉
October 18, 2013 § 9 Comments
I’ve been avoiding you again.
And it’s a shame, too, because so much has happened that I want to tell you about, so much I’ve started to write.
A writer’s conference. Turning 30. Our son getting baptized. Our birth story.
I know, right?
But every time I go to sit down, to dig in, I stop.
Because I’ve looked down and noticed a whole in my shirt and peanut butter on my leg and spit-up on my arm and a new zit on my cheek and I think, “who am I kidding?”
Because I still can’t find a good nursing bra or pants that fit and I see other beautiful bloggers seemingly navigating new motherhood with lovely pictures and perfect similes and cute clothes and nauseating ease and good hair (seriously–“how does she do her hair like that?” as I feel for the unwashed blob on my head) and I know I’m not supposed to compare, but I do.
Because at over four months in, I feel like I should have it all figured out, for goodness sakes, though I don’t know where THAT idea came from. And the very fact that I don’t (oh, I SO don’t) and probably won’t for a long time takes my breath away and makes me feel very small, makes me equal parts grateful and fearful for each day I’m given and what lies ahead if I feel like I’m drowning now. And I don’t know what to say about anything.
Because I’m tired in my bones.
Because I’m always vowing to blog at night once our boy is in bed like other productive people do, but by then I’m proud if I’ve made an edible dinner and done the dishes and all I want to do is curl up with Tillamook Chocolate and Peanut Butter ice cream. To not share it or any part of me for a while, to indulge in something totally mine (and because Kenny is allergic, peanut butter has made this possible) and just watch Call the Midwife or Friday Night Lights in peace.
Because I thought pregnancy brain was bad.
Because most days, all I can think about is the fact that I don’t know why my son isn’t sleeping so I write acrostic poems like this:
Without a doubt, my
Hell on earth. But I implore you–
You must hear me out, my son.
About your sleeping habits:
Rest is good, don’t you see, for
Not just your little growing brain, but
Those around you. Namely, your parents.
Your loving folks will crack
Over time, if they don’t get shut-eye.
Up all night is not an option.
Sound machines, pacifiers, and
Loveys be damned, say you.
Endless crying or
Eyes open, alert, is just plain better.
Please. Learn to love sleep. Or else
I am going to commence a
Nicotine and drinking problem. So, for the final time, my love–
Good. Freaking. Night.
Because lately I have felt like Lucy and Ethel and the chocolates, like I’ve been choking on posts, too many of them coming too fast and pretty soon, I’m backed up and behind.
So posts remain open in my browser, saved in my drafts, and my pictures are curled up comfy on my camera card always in another room. But because I love it here and I want to write here, all the time, but sometimes I get stuck…
You get this.
Because it’s all I have.
October 9, 2013 § 3 Comments
To brush your teeth.
To be a friend.
To thaw dinner.
The proper dosage.
Your reusable grocery bags.To lock the car.
To bring your keys in the first place.
To hydrate.To smile.
To look both ways.
To put on clean underwear.
To kiss your spouse.
To pay attention.
To listen to NPR.
To not go under.
To not compare.
An extra 6mos. outfit.
An extra blanket.
Extra extra extra.
To have mercy.
To let them in front.
To relax those shoulders.To use your core.
To pay that bill.
To take your vitamins.
To hold their hand.
To slow down.
To put that away.
To take pictures.That registration form.
To read.To call them back.
To mail that application.
To plan for Thursday.
Nap time, lunch time, play time.
To write that down.To be on time.
To ask how they’re doing.
To ask if they need anything.
To be kind.
To take it in.
To do it all again.
September 30, 2013 § 2 Comments
To Texas we went, where we melted, ate, swam, and reconnected with family. The wee one did pretty well until a meltdown on the plane home. But let’s be honest–he was only expressing aloud what we both felt: “Aaaaaand I’m done. And airplanes make me cray-cray.”
Amen, my son.
Let me tell ya’ll, single parenting is THE HARDEST. I don’t know that I have truly been tested like that before. I mean, I rocked it, but still. Over-the-top hard. Those who do it alone deserve awards and lots of chocolate. Or liquor.
Really, kidding aside, I don’t think I’ve been pushed to my limits like besides one other time…
I’ll let an excerpt from an email to my dear Chaco do the rest of the talking. She asked “How was Texas?” and it just flowed.
“This trip to Texas was SO TRYING on SO MANY LEVELS, but we’ll focus on the single parent side. I would do anything for this kid. And it really felt like he was mine and I was more than happy to do the diapering, feeding, wake-ups, etc (for the most part–don’t get me wrong, there two minor meltdowns while we were there and he just.wasn’t.sleeping) because he’s all mine and I get to.
Then we got on the plane home and I wanted to die and jump and cry and there was NOWHERE TO GO and it was airborne purgatory. I remember Dante referred to it. But we did it. I could have crumbled at the sight of Kenny, I don’t think I’ve been that “done.” I really do think that I’ve only hit that point, where I felt so trapped within my circumstances and there was no way out but through, one other time: in labor.
So. You can take that parallel to the bank.
And then I was up this morning and Kenny had to leave for work and I was still in my makeup and teeth and tank top from yesterday and he handed me the crying baby and we both looked at Tucker like “this is not ideal” and he had to go and I cried and felt so much like a mom, it was ridiculous.
But I can do it, ya know? Just when I think I can’t, I have to and I do. So I think it’s a good thing. Nothing has ever stretched me like this.”
And then my brother suggested a road trip of some kind in the future to meet between here and Texas and perhaps fly back home and I was all, “You must have another sister you’re thinking of doing this with” because we’re never leaving the greater Seattle area again.
And this past week, when I started this post and couldn’t hit publish in a timely manner? What happened then, you ask?
I got a head cold and Kenny worked like a madman and I was practically single-parenting again and somewhere in there, our boy turned four months old and I spilled an entire cup of coffee on the carpet and furniture and pajamas that I can’t get to stop smelling and we had a poop DISASTER over the weekend which made me want to burn everything and start over and Kenny got a little cold and I joined MOPS and we’re swimming in health insurance biz-nass and taxes and audits and trying to run a business and blog and sleep and look at each other and get fresh air and eat healthy and pray and…and…
And did I mention that we’re working on our blessed son’s sleep starting last week? He could use some work and guys–this is an area I hold in the highest regard. Sleep. So vital, necessary…for everyone. He’s four months, which is cute. You know what else it is? Okay to get that kid regulated. For all our sake’s. Our childbirth coach is helping us out and using us as practice hours for a certification she’s working on, which is awesome (and free), but still. Sleep logs? Show you just how far you gotta go. He’s doing pretty well, and I know we’ve reached that developmental age where it will probably all go to heck because he’s all “LOOK! I can roll over and grab my toes and screech and and and and–those trees are moving in the wind!–and why do you keep trying to put me to sleep when so many exciting things are keeping my eyes open!?!?“
We’ll get there.
But I’m not complaining. Really, I wouldn’t trade all this for the world. Because even as I have been more exhausted than since I delivered this kiddo into the world, I know in my gut it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.
Consider yourself caught up.
September 12, 2013 § 1 Comment
I was a wreck before we went to Alaska.
To say the least.
First of all, our boy was only five-weeks-old and we barely knew him. His habits and behaviors were still foreign to us and we really still had no idea what we were doing, let alone having to do it in another state.
How would he sleep? How would he fly? Would he ride in the Ergo all day? Does he even really like the Ergo? What the heck are we thinking? We didn’t know any of these answers.
At the time, I had hardly ventured to the grocery store more than once and now we were boarding a plane.
The idea made me nauseous.
Two days before we were set to leave, our boy decided that was the perfect time to show us just how well he could meltdown. It was pretty impressive. We literally didn’t know he had it in him.
We walked him. We rocked him. We fed him (okay–I fed him). Nothing worked. Our neighbors looked at us sympathetically as we strolled, once again, around the block to calm him.
“This is it,” I thought. “I survived labor, but this baby on a plane? I’ll die.”
I. too, melted down. My poor husband, taking care of two babies.
It didn’t help matters that I’m just not a great traveler to begin with. From the minute I have to start packing to the minute I return home, I’m unsettled. I’m stressed, snippy, overwhelmed. A ball of fun, if you will. Especially if I am flying. Geez, I hate to fly. Security makes me nervous and annoyed, staring way too long at my license (which is actually a very nice picture, thankyouverymuch). TSA leaves me doubting my understanding of mL, wondering if I’m accidentally armed, and calming my racing heart as they stop and start the conveyer belt my precious and vulnerable things are at the mercy of. Let’s also forget for a moment that actually sitting on an airplane is comfortable for NO ONE and that airplane air makes my nasal passages feel like they are full of helium. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that you no longer get anything more than a bitty bag of mixed something covered in cheese powder and just the one drink. They’re only pretending to try to make the experience enjoyable and I’m not buying it.
Combine all of these warm and fuzzy travel feelings with having an infant in tow and you have a recipe for me out back with a ciggy.
All of his things. Being a mom outside of my house. The confinement amongst all the people with this little mystery, I mean person, able to make or break our two hours and 12 minutes in the air.
But lo and behold, this story has a happy ending. The day we were set to leave and still needing to pack, our offspring blessed us. He slept at the right times. He cooed us on and barely fussed all day.
This mama’s spirits were buoyed. Maybe we could do this. Yes, he gave us a scare by FREAKING OUT on the way to the airport (causing me to tell Kenny on the way to our gate, “I could turn back right now.”), but he ate and slept on the plane and made us proud. Same thing on the way home.
Phew. Crisis averted. We did it.
And were never doing it again.
And then my brother and SIL decided they’d have a baby after they moved to Texas and that pretty much meant getting on a plane once again with my little boy in order to meet my niece.
But here we are, on the eve of our crack-of-dawn flight and my son has reprised his role of Sleepy Infant While Mom Packs after yesterday’s favorite, Cranky Baby No One Wants To Take To Texas, that gave this mom a scare. He’s been a rockstar today. Just when I was ready to enact my plan to knock us both out (me: wine, him: baby Benadryl) at 50,000 feet, my son reminds me that every day is new and there’s no need to panic. Just maybe we can do this. Again. And just when you think it can’t get worse, it does.
But it always gets better.
Let’s just hope I don’t rue the day I jinxed my luck by posting all this on the blog, ya’ll.
Here we go.