Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Staycation 2012 Update

It's Day Five of My Great Big Summer Staycation -a week off, with the hubby-hubs having four days off.  It's been awesome.  Before Baby, I usually took staycations (we don't travel very often - we'd like to, we just don't have the money and it's hard for my husband to get time off) and filled them up with errands.  My post-baby staycation has thus-far been a satisfying mix of errands and play.  Just rambling around the house and yard with Hubs and Baby is supremely satisfying.  And cheap!  I love this stage Baby's in - everything is interesting.  A leaf, a flower, a baby monitor, a spoon, a newspaper.  Everything is something to inspect, wave in the air, tear apart, bang against something else.  I do have to wrangle him away from the computer and the dvd player about eight times a day, but so far no major damage has been done.

So what have I done in my four days off?  I have:
- Read Billy Bob Thornton's memoir - freaking hilarious and very insightful.  He's a strange dude, to be sure, but I think we're all strange and he's just not afraid to show his brand of weirdness.  It's a great read, but if you can't handle cursing, then DON'T READ IT.

- Cleaned my dish drainer by the kitchen sink.  It's something I forget about, and the other night I happened to notice that it was growing its own eco-system.  But now it's clean!

- Amended and mailed our tax return.  We forgot to pay something.  Oops!

- Made pesto with the basil we grow.  Didn't have pine nuts or walnuts, so I used pistachios.  Turned out yummy!

- Not looked at Facebook for two days straight.  Kind of nice.

-Ordered Little Man some shoes.  Boy doesn't have shoes!  Now that he's cruising the furniture, he needs them.

- Watched "True Grit" with Hubs - the newer version.  Pretty good.  Hubs had been wanting to see it.

 - Took naps along with Baby.  I am one of those people who would take a nap about 3pm every day if I could.

- Had some pals come over for dinner.  We've not entertained much post-baby, but now he's getting to an age where he can handle lots of people and also stay awake a bit later.  So we're going to have people over more often.

That's just some of the fun here at our house this week!  I needed this time off so very much. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Should Rename This Blog

(in which I am the last person to opine on the breastfeeding magazine cover bandwagon)

I should call it "Not Judging, Not Judging."  Except that I am.  I can't help it.  Why write a blog if you don't give your opinions, right?

I don't care that the mother on the infamous recent cover of TIME magazine breastfeeds her 3.5 year old.  I am definitely pro-breastfeeding, if the mother is able and willing to do so.  If it works for them, go ahead.  But what I DO care about is the fact that this child will forever be "that kid" with his mother's breast in his mouth on the cover of TIME.  Why would you do that to your child?  I can't fathom doing something like that myself.  And if you were determined to go ahead and pose for the cover, why that awful, unnatural pose?  Why not hold your baby (your 3.5 year old baby) the way a nursing mother does? 

Oh well.  In the grand scheme of things I guess the whole thing isn't that bad.  She is caring for her child, and there are way too many children in this world who don't get the benefit of a caring parent.

POST SCRIPT:  I want to amend what I wrote yesterday.  I still think that the mother could have insisted on a picture in a more natural pose, but I have to say that I am really pissed at TIME magazine for inciting this whole ridiculous kerfluffle.  Shame on them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Don't Get It

This lady comes into the library pretty regularly, but the only books she ever checks out are by Mary Higgins Clark.  That's it.  Okay, maybe once in a blue moon she picks one by Danielle Steel.  I just don't get it.  But I'm not judging, not judging.  Much.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Finding Joy

Today was a day of celebration.  My first Mother's Day, my mom's and mother in law's first Mother's Day as grandmas.  It's a gift to see how much Baby J brightens up family gatherings.  Pretty much everything he does is met with delight, laughter, indulgence.  Look, he's playing with the camera cord!  Watch him hold that sippy cup!  Soak it up now, kid.  We should too - the challenging toddler years are not far away.  

My mission is to find happiness every day - to get back to feeling like myself.  Today I found joy in:

1) The ice cream cake my mother brought me for my birthday - I feel rich when I have something so decadent in my freezer!

2) J's TWO HOUR NAP this morning - I was able to lie down and read for quite a while and it was heavenly.  I'm reading Julia Glass's Three Junes - which is fantastic, by the way.  (I also had to really fight with J to get him to nap this afternoon - 30 minutes -  so don't be jealous.)

3) The cuteness of J saying "yocks" for "blocks."  (That $10.00 sorting block set was a great buy!)

4) Spending time with family - I am lucky enough to genuinely like my family - the one I was born into and the one into which I married.

5) My mom gave me a lily of the valley plant that was culled from one she has had for years.  It was originally my great-grandmother's plant.  And it's my birth month flower too.  What a special gift! 

Mother's Day can sometimes seem kind of cheesy and trumped up, but today was simply a very good day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Little Big Life

Hi everybody.  I haven't been here for a while.  I haven't felt much like writing.  I've been kind of on autopilot for the past month or so.  It's such an easy state to fall into.  Wake up, shower, nurse the baby, feed him, feed myself, get dressed, go to work, come home, feed the baby, put him to bed, watch TV, go to sleep.  Repeat.  Weeks go by so quickly and another page on the calendar turns over.  There is great happiness in each day with a little one - the speed with which he changes and learns astounds me.  His vocabulary and physical strength seem to grow every day.  I feel so blessed to be his mom.  Yet even with this sweet, active boy in my life, days can seem remarkably the same.

This past week, though,  I've felt jolted out of my comfort zone.  I happened to read an article on Yahoo about 10 days ago about a baby and her "bucket list."  I couldn't help myself, I read the whole article.  And I cried.  And cried.  And went to her blog, which is written by her father in her voice.  And cried some more, but also became profoundly inspired.  Her parents are the embodiment of love, and they wanted to give Avery the fullest, most joyful life they could. 

Four days after that, after I'd cried a bit every day and prayed for her and her family, after I'd donated money to research for her genetic condition, I read that she'd died suddenly the previous day.  It hit me so hard, as if I knew her.  I didn't, of course, but the warmth and bravery of her family and this baby's spirit made me feel like I did.  I didn't know what to do with my sadness.  Sometimes life just ravages your heart, makes you question what the hell is the point of all of this if sweet little babies are taken from their loved ones like that.  Reading too much news will do that to you too, if you let it.

But I began to realize that baby Avery and her parents wouldn't want me to dwell in sadness.  Besides raising awareness about her condition, SMA, which is genetic and which is not routinely tested for, they wanted to celebrate the life that Avery had left, whatever that was, and they wanted others to actually live theirs. 

What would it take for me to be a more joyful, present mom to my son?  A few changes are in order:  more meditation, exercise, prayer.  Some more time with his dad would be nice!  I want to be a happy mom.  I want to feel a zest for life that I can't help but impart to my son.  I want him to grow up knowing that even though life is most definitely not fair, it is still beautiful and good.  I need to put away the "to-do list" and just BE THERE WITH HIM, introduce him to all that is lovely and wondrous about our planet.

There is so much sadness in the world.  Everybody really does hurt, as the REM song goes - no one escapes crap happening to them.  How can we be anything but kind to one another, in the face of all that hardship?  Love your kids.  Be present.  Find something to be happy about every day.  Donate money to causes you believe in, or your time.  Mentor kids, foster kids, read to kids...  we're failing our nation's children, and they deserve so much better.  If you can stand it, I encourage you to read Avery's blog.  You will come away with a fresh appreciation for life, and probably a desire to more fully experience yours.  If you're considering having a child, you might even decide to get tested and see if you're a carrier for SMA.  I know I am forever changed by that little girl and her parents's brave decision to share her story with all of us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I Tell Myself

Almost every day I think, "Maybe you're not patient enough/too selfish/not strong enough to be a parent."  And then I get over it.  You have to.  It helps that I have this staring me in the face.
He is beautiful.  He is funny and loving and busy and willful and smart and curious and I have no idea what the hell I did with myself before we were blessed with him.  Parenthood is not for wimps.  Maybe I am impatient and selfish and weak, but I'm the only mom he's going to get, so I am going to make damn sure I do my best for him. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Only This Moment

When I take my breaks to pump milk for my son at work, I'm reading Momfulness: Mothering with Mindfulness, Compassion and Grace by Denise Roy.  (Any opportunity to read!)  I've just started it and so far I'm not rushing it, unlike my normal breakneck gobbling reading pace.  It's lovely - centering, quiet, wise.  I need a centering voice in my head these days.  I'm all over the place all the time, a million pieces of me scattered here and there.  Parts of me at work, parts of me with my husband, whom I feel like I rarely see, parts of me playing on the floor with my son.  An endless calendar and to-do list in my head, nagging me about my yard full of weeds, my unmopped floor, the cobwebs multiplying on the ceiling, the grocery list, the laundry, the friends I haven't called or seen in weeks.  One of our cars needs major repairs, more than the car is worth, so we're in the hunt for a new one - an exciting prospect but tiring as well.

It never ends.  Life doesn't stop.  Things just keep piling up, and this is how it has always been, but with an eight month old, it feels like a very heavy load.  Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed.

Enter Momfulness.  Today I read a passage on Presence, reminding me to be in the moment.  It contains a short meditation you can do anywhere at any time, short enough to memorize or post on a small card somewhere in sight.  It's a meditation from Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh:

Breathing in, I calm my body.

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment

I know that this is a wonderful moment.

I sat there in the storage room, breast pump whirring away, and closed my eyes.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  This is the only moment.  I am making milk to feed my son.  I am lucky to have a place and time to do this at work.  So many women do not have a supportive pro-breastfeeding workplaces. I am lucky to have a job.  I am lucky to have this good quality pump.  I am lucky to have a son.

Roy says that not every moment is a wonderful moment, but it's the only moment.  You can switch out the words if you need to.  But in this moment of quiet and relative solitude, there is much wonder.