March 24, 2009

Might be easier just to sell the house

Mr. Spicy had to be at work really early this morning. He let me know before leaving at 5:30am that our older dog, Sativa, had had an accident downstairs and that he wasn't going to have time to clean it up. I groggily took this in and rolled over and went back to sleep.

A few hours later Zane and I rolled out of bed and prepared to begin our day. As I carried him downstairs, the odor of dog poop wafted up and hit me in the face like a brick. As I turned the corner on the staircase I saw pile after pile of diarrhea, some dried and some fresh, laid out on the floor of the living room, across the rug, through the dining room, into the kitchen, and all the way up to the back door. It was as if she had made a trail of crap to remind her where the back door was in case she happened to lose her way. Or in case she suddenly went blind she'd be able to find her way by smell. And she had gone back and left a second trail, just to be sure.

I went to work wiping, spraying, wiping, mopping, and mopping some more. After nearly three hours the floors were clean, the rug was clean, but I felt like I was covered in dog crap and I couldn't get the stench of shit out of my nostrils.

I grabbed Zane and headed for the bathroom. I showered, and scrubbed, and showered. And then just for good measure I bathed him as well. With both of us disinfected and in clean clothes, I sat down to nurse him. Afterward, he immediately spit up all over the both of us. I am not proud to admit that I dabbed us both with a burp cloth and decided we could live with a little spit up for awhile. I grabbed a cereal bar and protein shake (my first meal of the day) and we laid down together for a nap.

Waking up later, feeling refreshed and optimistic, I headed downstairs once more to salvage what was left of our day. I turn the corner on the stairs and....there is shit. again. all over. again. It's like I am living in some crappy (heh heh) version of Groundhog Day.

So, I put the dog out. again. And I repeated the routine from earlier in some sort of twisted deja vu.

Hours later, the house clean again, the husband washing the dog downstairs - I realize I cannot get the smell of this day out of my nose, it is haunting me, along with the recurrent image of all. that. damn. poop. everywhere. - I am huddled in our room, nursing Zane, fearing that if I leave this room that I might find a trail of crap again. Traumatized by my dog's unfortunate condition, I wonder if there is any way to redeem the day?

That's when I remember.

This is exactly what alcohol was made for.

March 21, 2009

The Z files: Month Two

Dear Zane,

Two months already? Wow. It is all going by so fast little one. And you are growing like a weed! You are already making your way into your 3-6 month wardrobe and some days I look at you and you look like a little boy instead of my newborn baby.

This month has been full of exploration. We have been getting out of the house together a lot more and I am finding much to my surprise that you, even at such a young age, are an incredible traveling companion and partner in adventure. I love taking you everywhere with me, seeing you experience things for the first time, watching your personality begin to unfold, being reminded to chill and be in the moment with you. We have taken walks, sat in coffee shops, gone grocery shopping, read books, gone out to eat....all things one might do with a new friend or companion. We are both exploring this big world together. And though I have seen it all before, I have never seen it before - not like this.

This month you have filled our hearts with your laughter. We have been reduced to goofy performing monkeys trying everything we can to squeeze one more laugh out of you. But just when we least expect it - there you go again. Your face lights up, your dimple deepens, and you just let loose. It is the most beautiful sound I have heard in my entire life. Really. Your laugh is both explosive as thunder and as gentle as a feather, all at once. What amazes me is how you will begin laughing in the midst of a deep sleep. I wonder what you could be dreaming of that gets you chuckling all to yourself. Already you have private jokes we could never understand.

This month has been a lot about togetherness. We are really together all the time now. Whether I am wearing you in the Ergo as I grocery shop or do laundry or whether we are reading books together or playing on your exercise mat on the floor. We are together. And already it is a slightly different togetherness than last month. You are more deliberate in your responses to me, we just feel more connected, and this month you began to hold onto me. When I am holding you now, you often reach your arm around behind me and pull yourself closer to me with all your mighty baby strength. And when you do this my heart explodes over and over again. You remind me in so many ways that we are in this together. And I, so determined in the past to forge my own way, so full of my own independence, could not be more thrilled to be a part of this pair that we are becoming.

This month has also been about small tastes of separation. We have had many visitors this month (your Nana, your Aunt DeeDee, and your cousins, various friends...with more to come). I admit it has been hard sharing you with these people who have come to love and adore you. Heck, sometimes it's hard to share you with your dad. But I am learning. And I am finding there is a different joy that comes from watching you delight in and interact with the people I love and who love me. As one friend pointed out, when you are being held by someone else, we literally get to see each other from a new angle. A bit of distance at times can be good. Last night I went out without you for the first time that didn't include a mad rushing around to run errands and get back to you as quickly as I could. I went out for a long dinner with a really dear friend. I resisted it at first. I thought about trying to come up with an excuse to bring you along. But instead, I took a deep breath, I spent the day snuggling with you, nursed you one last time, and then handed you over to your dad with dozens of kisses and promises to be home soon. And while at first it was hard to be out there in the world without you (is there a world without you?), slowly it got a little easier. I knew you were safe and loved with your daddy and I knew I was being filled up in ways that would allow me to return to you with more to give. I looked forward to bringing home more of myself to share. Still, as I walked through the door at the end of the evening - I have never been more excited to be home. And it was all I could do not to actually run to where you were. I wonder if your first ventures into the world without me will be much the same.

My heart has stretched this month and I sense it will only continue to stretch further and wider until perhaps it rips wide open. It is stretching to make space for you, for you in all your sweetness and light, for you in all your bigness, for you when we are together, for thoughts of you when we are apart. There is so much to hold onto but so little I can actually hold. Each day dances past and slips out of reach. Each milestone of development eclipsed by the next. We are finding our way, the two of us, the three of us. Finding our way into this bumpy world as a pair, as a threesome - as a family. And I want you to know that I will always be here for you to hold onto, as long as you need, whenever you need it, no matter what. But I will also try hard to let go when I need to, to let you venture out into the world, into your relationships - without me. And I will try to remember to be filled up in other places too, so that I always have more to bring home to you and to your dad.

Maybe that's what it means to be a family. Each of us holding onto one another and being there for each other to hold onto, but also each of us going out into the world, into our experiences, and bringing home more of the world and more of ourselves to share. Thank you for making us a family. Thank you for inviting us to this dance.


March 09, 2009

Simple pleasures

We had a busy and beautiful day today.

We met a dear friend at the park for a walk around the lake. It was blustery and cold, but the presence of this friend and easy conversation was warming to my heart.

We retreated from the cold and all three of us (four, if you count my friend's beautiful growing "bump") and went to our favorite bookstore for coffee, more conversation, and a feeding for Zane.

After our friend left us, we wandered the bookstore briefly and then headed next door to buy a couple of used CDs. I wore Zane in our new Ergo baby carrier and felt like a cool hipster momma browsing and bouncing my sleepy little package along to the funky beat.

Next we headed to a nearby burrito joint for a burrito bowl and a grapefruit Izze (my favorite) and I made phone calls while I devoured my lunch and cradled my wild-haired little one close to my chest.

And finally - we headed to the chiropractor for our first appt since Zane's birth. Ouch! I needed an adjustment fiercely!! Zane got his very first (ultra gentle) adjustment and slept right through it. He also got to lay across my chest as we both got a ride on the roller table. He laughed and cooed at the ladies there and once again proved his ability to charm is developing quite early. (he takes after his dad)

Just a couple of weeks ago I never would have imagined a day like today, the thought of it would have worn me out. Today I felt like "me" again - but completely different, in a really good way. It was an amazing day full of simple pleasures and small victories and I could not have shared it with a better companion. The world is all new when I am with him, every outing an adventure.

And who wouldn't want to spend a day with this handsome fellow?

March 05, 2009


My guard was down.

Zane peed all over me, for the first time.

But the kicker?

He laughed about it!

His first joke.

I am so proud.

March 04, 2009

Identity Crisis

6 weeks ago today, my son was born and I became a mother. I entered whole new world and I have been trying to map the terrain ever since.

I knew motherhood would present challenges to my identity. I assumed my fierce independence would be confronted. I assumed my reluctance to define myself would become even more murky. I braced myself for a full-on identity crisis like I experienced when I was first married.

And I do feel strange and out of sorts and like a new baby (thanks for the metaphor, Selena) just trying to find out who I am in this new world of mine. But it isn't quite as hard or as scary as I thought it would be. At least not all the time.

In fact, sometimes it feels like a call into becoming. Becoming someone I have not yet met but know I am meant to be.

There are dozens of moments throughout the day when I get a glimpse of her. When Zane looks at me with utter adoration, when I can comfort him with just the scent of my skin, when I feed him with my own body, when I wake in the middle of the night completely exhausted and still find a smile for him, when I am able to make the choice to be there for him to be present with him even when I would rather check out for awhile - these moments and so many more give me a taste of the woman and mother I am becoming. She is loving, she is strong, she is honest, she is wise, and she is hot! Seriously. In those moments I feel like a total rockstar superhero. When my son looks up at me and smiles I imagine I am glowing with beauty and light.

And then? I look in the mirror. And yeah. Not so much.

Most days I look rather less than a glowing image of motherly light. And far short of a superhero. I look in the mirror - my hair needs serious attention, and though I have pretty much lost my pregnancy weight I am still heavier (and flabbier) than I would like to be, and there are dark circles under my eyes to remind me that in six weeks I have yet to sleep more than four hours or so at a time. And often I am still in my pajamas at 11am. Not hot. But real. This is me. Right now.

Right now.

But I believe that other woman is in me too, just waiting to become. Ok. So maybe I won't morph into some super-hot superhero with a halo of light shining all around me - that's a bit much. But I do believe I am on my way to someone pretty cool. And this revelation is completely shocking to me.

Despite my intense longing to become a mom, despite my desire to meet my child - I had (and still have) a lot of the same fears about taking on that role that I did about taking on the role of "wife". I wondered if I would still be me, if my identity, my life thus far, who I am - would be swallowed up by this role, by this other person. I feared my voice, my heart, my mind would become irrelevant. I worried I would have to squeeze myself into some box labeled "Mommy" that society dictated I would now belong in. I feared I would not find my way to my own definition, my own carving out of motherhood, that instead a new identity would be hoisted upon me with all its expectations and rules.

So I expected some inner turmoil - and to be honest, there is some. I have spent the last week challenging my spouse completely unnecessarily, to test him - to be sure he saw and valued my contributions as a Mom staying at home as much as his contributions as a Dad who works outside of the home, to be sure we were still partners in this. Like I said, completely unnecessary - but all about my fear of being forgotten and abandon and dismissed because I am now a "Mom".

Right beside that fear though, and perhaps stronger than it, is the notion that being a mother could actually bring me closer to who I am deep inside and who I am meant to be. This was my hope but I had no idea if it would be met. I still don't. But I do know that when I get those peeks at a future me - a strong, powerful, empowered woman and mother who is filled up and giving from her fullness - that is so enticing and exciting to me.

So, for now, I will give out of my exhaustion and my deep deep love and devotion and I will trust that the road to her will become apparent as I listen to my heart. I believe the greatest gift I can give my son, my husband, and myself is to listen and to follow this road to becoming.

In the meantime, I have two incredible partners in this journey - all of us trying to find our way.