November 19, 2010
October 05, 2010
September 09, 2010
September 07, 2010
August 26, 2010
August 02, 2010
June 17, 2010
June 07, 2010
... I spent a lot of my life putting myself out there emotionally. My physical adventurousness was nothing compared to my emotional adventurousness, but unlike the physical risks I took, my emotional risks usually didn’t work out very well. I was too open, and I got my heart stomped on. A lot. As a result, I stopped taking risks. I wrapped myself up around my heart and protected myself, and some part of me took a look at that and said, “Hey! If you can get your spirit knocked around so many times, it’s only a matter of time before you do something dumb and end up killing yourself.” I stopped taking risks, with my heart and with my person."
May 17, 2010
The members of The Babywearer are actually very angry over the whole thing, because Infantino has been warned of the risk of suffocation multiple times since 2006, and have done nothing.
March 31, 2010
Not 24 hours after posting my last post I came down with a really nasty cold. I feel like I have been run over and dragged through a swamp. Ugh.
So much for delighting in my alone time. It was nice while it lasted.
Mr. Spicy cannot get home soon enough.
March 30, 2010
I can't remember the last time I could say that.
Mr. Spicy is out of town for work and Zane is sleeping upstairs and I am here, alone.
Of course, I do have a sleeping child upstairs so it's not like I am really all alone. But it is close enough.
As soon as I heard my son mumble off into the silence of sleep, it hit me. I was enveloped in the richness of the moment, completely alone. Like being wrapped in the softest silk. I almost cried at the comfort of the silence and stillness, knowing that there would be no one coming home tonight, there was no end to this imposed by anyone else, there was no one else to consider.
No one but me.
I sat on my bed, the fan blowing, the windows open, letting the last light of the day stream through, listening to the sounds of the neighborhood ending its busy day, and a part of me showed up in that moment, a part of myself I can only connect with when I am all alone.
Oh how I have missed her.
I have missed this.
Before I was married, before I was a mother, I was an expert at being alone. I thrived on it. For years I took week-long camping trips every summer, just me and my dog. I moved across the country twice all by myself. I have taken so many solo road trips that it is actually hard for me to connect with someone else on a road trip, I just so easily slip into my own routine and my own space there. I enjoy my own company and my time alone.
It has been good for me to be forced out of this, it has been a good practice for me to have to be present in almost every single moment with another human being. I can feel myself growing, my patience, compassion, honesty, courage, selflessness, expanding. Being responsible to another person the way I am as a wife, but even more so as a mother has been an incredible experience of sacrifice and heart expanding love that I would not trade for anything.
But oh how I have missed this.
Of course by the time I go to bed tonight, or surely when I wake up in the morning, I know I will long for the familiar feel of my husband lying in bed beside me, his smell, his laugh. I know I will miss sharing the day with him, sharing each other's burdens. I will miss my partner. And lets be honest, I will also miss the help.
But for now, I am spending the night with an old friend who I have neglected for far too long.
Oh how I have missed you.
Won't you stay a while?
March 22, 2010
Zane was up three times before finally deciding at 3 a.m. that he was NOT going to go back to his crib. So I laid on the couch holding him until 7 a.m.
Yawn! I hope this is a one night curse and not a "your child will never sleep again" curse.
When will I learn?
Seriously though....I have no idea what was wrong with him last night. He seems totally fine now.
March 21, 2010
He is so much fun these days. He has been nodding his head "yes" for several months now and just recently started shaking his head "no". He knows what it means to do both and answers our various questions appropriately.
This is opening up so much between us. I can ask him if he is tired, hungry, hurting. I can ask whether he needs his diaper changed. I can inform him about our plans for the day and find out how he feels about it. I can ask him if he's enjoying something or if he needs help. I feel like we are having conversations all day long and he has yet to say an actual word (except for "mama", "dada", "yeah" and his favorite, "Oh!Wow!"
He loves to do whatever we are doing, whether it is talking on the phone, wiping the counters, stirring the pancakes, pushing the vacuum, or using a screwdriver. He is always watching and always eager to try to mirror us.
He loves his books and will often pull all the books off of his shelf and sit in the pile, "reading" one at a time to himself. He turns the pages, points to things, and tells himself the story in his high-pitched baby babble.
He climbs anything that is standing still, or at least he tries to. He is crazy strong and agile and has no fear. A dangerous combination to be sure.
He loves food with lots of flavor, he eats curry, chili, mexican food, italian food. He prefers to feed himself whenever possible and is beginning to actually use a spoon appropriately, although he still has a long way to go. I am looking forward to eating outside in the summer and being able to just hose him down when he's done!
He stands on his own and cruises all over the house holding onto surfaces, but still no official walking unless you count the two or three unsteady steps he takes between the two of us when we help him "practice".
He has learned how to use crayons and frequently makes his way over to his table several times a day to "color" in his sketchbook.
He is curious about everything around him, always trying to understand how everything works and wanting to get his hands on it, turn it over and ponder it if he can.
He loves dogs but has learned that Zebu is not so excited about him and he generally is really great about respecting Zebu's boundaries. Of course, the one time they are fast friends is meal time!
He is incredibly affectionate, kissing and hugging us all day long. Right before he lays down to go to sleep he will hold my face in his hands and kiss me before pointing to his bed.
He sleeps! And every. single. time. is a frickin miracle to me. He has become a really great sleeper actually and really loves his bed. Sometimes he even asks to be put back in bed for a few minutes when he first wakes up in the morning.
He is still nursing, although we finally compromised down to three times daily recently (from the four times a day he was doing previously). "Num Num" time is by far his favorite time of the day and I joke that if I do not wean him at some point he would probably nurse until he was 16. Right now I think we are both happy with where we are at and I constantly have to pinch myself because I can't believe we have made it this far and done so well. I know how fortunate I am in this area although we did have a few hiccups along the way (such as my milk going "sour" within hours no matter how I tried to store it - meaning I was not able to pump and give him a bottle for roughly a year)
We have noticed lately how much more active we are on the weekends because of Zane. We finally made it to that yummy breakfast place we have been meaning to visit, we went to a parade last week, we went to the zoo today - we get out to see the world more because of him. Part of it is because he is an active toddler who is very happy when there are adventures to be had, part of it is because with his nap schedule we know we have limited time we can be away from the house and we want to make the most of it, but in a big way, our increasingly adventurous and motivated weekends are because we just love sharing the world with Zane and we can't get enough of hearing him say "OH! WOW!"
And inside, we are saying it right back at him:
Oh! Wow! Indeed, Son.
Oh! Wow! Indeed.
March 18, 2010
We are fortunate enough to live within walking distance of our city zoo. Our zoo membership card is one of my most valued possessions. Yesterday was a hot sunny day, with temperatures reaching 70 degrees. The perfect day for a walk.
I pushed Zane in the stroller, our entire adventure punctuated with his gasps and shouts of "Oh Wow!" forcing me to often stop and ask him what had captured his excitement. Sometimes it was a tree, other times a big red truck or a city bus. At the zoo it was the monkeys, a lorikeet, or best of all the big beautiful carousel! Later it was flowers, a dog, a pineapple.
One of the great lessons Zane continues to teach me daily is to cultivate an attitude of awe and wonder. The entire world seems to excite and intrigue him and in his presence I am reminded how amazing it all really is. The world is so much bigger and brighter when I am with him.
I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. I have enough for this life. ~ Pearl S. Buck
March 16, 2010
I struggle with the purpose of this blog, wondering if it should be a place for me to write about myself, motherhood, or my boy - or somehow all three.
I do know that I rarely take the time to capture the days that go by and before I know it they are lost in my memory. I want to be more diligent about writing it down. I don't want to lose these days.
So I am hereby committing to try to write something here at least five days of our week. We'll see how it goes!
It is Tuesday and Zane is napping right now. Tuesdays are a bit of a free day for us. Today the weather is gorgeous so we'll take a walk, maybe have lunch at the park and try to make it to the zoo after his afternoon nap.
This is the part of being a stay-at-home mom that I love, having the time to plan small adventures and daily outings with Zane. I love exploring the world with him, watching awe and delight wash over his face, connecting with him through shared moments and discoveries and play.
Mondays we go to story time at our local library. Wednesdays we visit with friends and sometimes make the trek up to Boulder. Thursdays our friend G. comes to spend 4 hours with Zane while I run errands, or go to appointments, or just generally have "me" time. Fridays right now mean music class.
It's a meager little schedule for our week, interspersed with trips to the grocery store, chores, walks with the dog, stories, tickling, coloring, and dancing.
This is the part I love, the part that gets me out of bed every morning.
The constant cleaning, the awareness of the ever-growing "to do" list that I never get to, the self-imposed standards that I never seem to measure up to, the "witching hour" before my husband walks through the door....those are the parts that wear on me some days.
I can barely stand to be away from Zane for the few hours a week I am, and yet sometimes I just crave the solitude I am missing.
It is a strange math in my heart that means I never get enough of my son and at the same time never get quite enough for myself. It is a limbo I am learning to live in daily.
I feel like so much of this year, this season, is about me finding myself as a mother, but also remembering the self I am outside of my family. Sometimes that latter self feels very small.
I am wondering for you moms and dads out there....what parts of parenting do you love and live for? what parts do you struggle with?
March 02, 2010
He can point to different animals in his books when asked, "Where's the....?".
He can bring us all to tears with laughter as he makes loud farting noises with his mouth against my belly.
He can identify his body parts: nose, ears, eyes, mouth, teeth, hair, toes, fingers, and yes, his penis.
He can climb up and down from the couch, our bed, the stairs.
He can clearly communicate when he wants something, what he wants and when he has had enough.
He can melt my heart and bring me to moments of awe daily.
He is all boy.
I am all his.
February 20, 2010
Well, it seems that Zane's first tooth has cut through his gum and is finally making its long awaited appearance.
I say "seems" because I don't trust this tooth, it is a sneaky little shit. Zane has had no less than 6 episodes of full on teething symptoms since the age of four months. I am not talking a little drool, a little fussiness. I am talking red swollen gums, a bump where we are sure a tooth is just about to cut through, sleepless nights, the fountain of drool, the whole enchilada. But alas, a few days would pass, the bump receded, the redness faded, and the tooth had gone back into hiding. Like a sadistic little groundhog.
Thursday morning we noticed the smallest sliver of tooth, actual tooth, cutting through his gum and I thought to myself, "That wasn't so bad. Maybe we went through all those terrible teething episodes before to make this part easier." When will I learn?
Thursday and Friday night were punctuated by much screaming, crying, bloody gums, and a poor little Zane who was so frustrated and confused and in pain that he began smacking himself in the head and face in an apparent attempt to rid himself of the demon who had taken over in there. I could not blame him. I have a few fantasies of what I would like to do to this tooth if it weren't attached to his head.
I have begun to view the tooth as a domestic terrorist, come to torture us all into submission. For what I am unsure, because if I knew? I would totally negotiate.
But it seems this time the tooth is here to stay and I am anticipating a few others in short succession, so we are all just buckling down and holding on for the ride because - hey! The boy has teeth! Well, a tooth, just one for now. That's all we can really handle.
His toothless baby smile is about to disappear, forever. Sigh. He's becoming such a boy.
A boy with teeth even! Watch out world!!!
February 18, 2010
It was a time of longing and lament.
This morning is so different. I wake at 6am, nurse my one year old as we snuggle in bed together, and head downstairs. We turn on rich peaceful music and I make Zane a little bowl of waffle pieces, strawberries, yogurt, and bananas. He steals a few big gulps of my orange juice and I pour boiling water into the french press and smell the smoky coffee aroma fill the kitchen. I pour coffee for Mr. Spicy and myself, adding our requisite sugar and cream. I make his high protein, high fat breakfast and my own more healthy fare.
After breakfast Zane and I play his instruments to music playing over the stereo and we surprise Daddy in the office with Zane's newfound ability to open doors on his own! I look into Zane's mouth as he laughs and realize that his first tooth is finally finally finally breaking through his gum!!!! We play some more and I tidy up his room while he points at things out the window. Then I sweep him up into my arms, read him a couple of stories, sing him a lullaby, and he drifts off to sleep while gnawing on my knuckle.
It hits me. I am content. I am happy. I am here, fully present in this moment, which can be such a struggle for me. I realize that I am full, that I fit here in this space, that I love my life, and that I am so very very very lucky and blessed and whatever you call it when your life suddenly makes sense and you are fortunate enough to have everything you could ever want or need right in that moment.
And every little piece matters. From the electricity that flows through our stereo to the fresh strawberries in the refrigerator....from the toaster waffles to the coffee beans.....from the toy instruments to the blanket that I wrap around Zane as I rock him. Every piece matters. The mundane becomes holy.
There are no candles lit, no incense wafting, no kneeling, no wooden pew. There is a new ritual, new prayers, there are bananas and juice instead of bread and wine, there are soulful songs on the stereo instead of hymns, and there is joy. There is so much joy here. And it is holy.
Everything is holy.
*not a hyper-christiany song...promise. I just love this song.
January 21, 2010
I had planned a beautiful day of discovery and connection for us. I imagined cuddling and telling him stories from his birth and relating to him how long we waited and prayed for him to be with us and how utterly grateful we are that he has come into our lives. I imagined a peaceful, celebratory day.
Instead, much like his birth - it was all of that, but not at all how I planned it.
He woke up at 5am. An hour early. I sat in his room till 6am quietly "shhh"ing and trying to coax him back to sleep. At 6 we "woke" him with a big birthday song and hugs and kisses. Mr. Spicy brought him into our room and I nursed him and promptly passed out in exhaustion. Mr. Spicy was kind enough to let me sleep for an hour, but that meant I missed the "cake for breakfast" festivities I had so been looking forward to. I came downstairs to find a very happy little boy with cake crumbs all over his pj's. Very sweet.
Then, somehow Mr. Spicy and I managed to work ourselves into a stupid, nasty fight before he left for work and I was more than 30 minutes late getting Zane down for his first nap. Nice.
I had decided to take Zane to the National Western Stock Show in town after his nap, to pet all the exciting farm animals. Zane woke up a little extra clingy so we snuggled in bed for awhile which was delightful, but put us way behind schedule. I rushed us to the show, only to struggle to find parking that wasn't $20, and rushed us inside to see all the bunnies and chickens and horses and sheep and goats and pigs and llamas and donkeys.... oh my! Zane enjoyed the "petting farm" and desperately wanted to hold the bunnies, but we were both toast within 30 minutes. He was overdue for lunch and a nap, and I was way overstimulated.
So we rushed home with his favorite CD turned up loudly for distraction and upon arriving at our house, I locked our keys in the car. After calling Mr. Spicy for rescue, and being rescued by a kind neighbor, I finally got us inside, fed Zane quickly and rushed him upstairs to nap.
He woke up only 30 minutes later, hands in his mouth, complaining of teething pain. So, we snuggled in bed again and soon it was time to head out the door to take our dog to the vet for an urgent appointment.
Two hours later, we were finally leaving the vet with not so good news about our beloved pup. Zane was hungry again and I had a splitting headache. As we drove home I called Mr. Spicy.
"I feel like a total failure as a mom! I can't even manage to have a nice sweet day with my son for his birthday. I really needed this day to be special for both of us and instead it just feels rushed and stressful and it's all my fault!"
After some reassurance from my loving (and forgiving) husband, I made it home. And though I had planned to make a special meal and enjoy a family dinner around the table sharing stories and celebrating together, it was not to be. Instead, we sat on either side of his highchair, feeding him yet more cake, and two of his favorite veggies, watching in amazement as he picked up his spoon, dipped it into his cake, and brought it to his mouth as if he had been doing this all his life! We laughed with him. We told him how much we love him, how much joy he brings us. We talked about his birth.
Over peas and sweet potatoes, we celebrated. We toasted him with goat's milk. And we laughed. We laughed and laughed.
We laughed as we played "peek-a-boo", marching up the stairs to bath.
We laughed as he splashed and brushed his own wet hair in the bath.
We laughed as we prepared for bed and read our stories.
And just before he laid down to sleep we said our prayers and thanked God for this little miraculous boy and we told him once more just how very very happy we are that he is here.
Thank you, Zane for coming to make us a family. Thank you for being so thoroughly, entirely, uniquely "you". We love you so.
Happy Happy Birthday little man.
January 19, 2010
Motherhood is a hard thing for me to write about. It is ripe with contradictions and cliches. Everything I have felt, or feel, is unique and at the same time completely mundane. The experience is mine, and not mine. It is my story, and the story of millions of other mothers who have gone before me, walk beside me, or will come after me. There is nothing new under the sun.
I have never before loved like I have loved my child. I have never willingly suffered as I have this past year. I have never been so full, so whole, and so empty and broken at the same time.
As we approach Zane's first birthday I find myself constantly looking back and looking within. It has been my first year as "Mama". I still feel new at this. I still feel like I am in training. Sometimes I still can't believe it.
I look at Zane and I can still see that newborn, still smell him. I can still see the first time he rolled over, can still hear his first laugh. I still feel that first kiss, the weight of him in the sling when he was so much smaller, his soft fuzzy baby chick hair. It is all still there.
I can also still feel the weight of sleep deprivation, the frustration and anger of waking for the fifth time in a night, the pit of darkness that swallowed me in the worst nights of depression. I remember the thoughts that I was failing as a mother, that my husband and child would be better off without me, that I couldn't take it anymore. It is all still there.
Today, Zane is a toddler (or technically a "crawdler", if you will). He is rich with expression and opinion and independence. He is a delight, he is a challenge. He is my greatest joy.
Today, I am a Mama seasoned by my experiences, my small victories and failures, rich with both insight and questions, and filled with humility.
I have struggled with post-partum depression more often and to a greater depth this year than I have had the strength or courage to admit here, or to many people in my life. There were 3-5 months that felt like I was walking through darkness, feeling my way. There would be patches of light, of hope, and beautiful wonderful moments, whole stretches of days when I would breathe fresh air and feel the sunlight and love my life. But then a few rough nights without sleep, travel, illnesses, or various other disruptions would send me back into the cave.
Looking back, I have a lot of regrets. I miss those months, weeks, days, hours, that ppd took from me. I am sad that although I fought hard to be present and whole with my son, I know I didn't fully experience him in the ways I longed to. I know I missed a lot of moments. I regret that I couldn't or wouldn't be more open with people who love me, or even just here for starters. I am sad that sometimes those who did know weren't always able to be there for me in the ways I needed, or just didn't understand. I regret that I wasn't always able to receive the help from those who did know and understand and wanted to be there for me. I wish that such a large portion of my first year as a mother and Zane's first year of life wasn't tainted by my illness. I wish I didn't still feel like I failed somehow.
All that being said, I have a lot I am grateful for and proud of as well. I am thankful that my partner and I (and a dear friend who watched Zane every week) made it possible and a priority that I had time with a kind and experienced therapist every week, which was truly life-saving for me. I am grateful for the night shifts my partner took so that I could get the sleep that was so crucial to my recovery. I am humbled by the prayers and support of an estranged friend who fought her own long battle with ppd. I am proud that even in the depths of the darkest hours, I fought hard and for the most part was able to stay present with my son, to celebrate him, to comfort him, to play with him, to teach him, to be consistent - and that when I felt unable to do so, I stepped away to recompose myself to come back to him more whole. I cherish that my son is so obviously well-adjusted, secure, and filled with joy and adventure, in spite of my depression.
I know there is no guarantee that my ppd won't resurface. I know for a fact that I still have much work to do to fully heal. But, for now, I am grateful to feel this recent freedom from it. I am looking forward to the year to come. And whatever regrets I have about the year that has passed, I look at my son, and I know I have mothered him well, as well as I am able. I know without a doubt there is nothing I would not do to be a good and healthy mother for him. That is by far the biggest accomplishment of my life thus far. I am reminded that there is far more good in me and a greater capacity to love than I have ever given myself credit for.
Motherhood is a long journey. This was just my first chapter. What a way to start.
January 01, 2010
So much to reflect on, so much to celebrate and acknowledge. In many ways the best and hardest year of my life. I hope to explore this more in the days and weeks to come.
But tonight I just want to share a few moments and mini-miracles from our holidays.
Today I caught my 11 month old son carefully unloading the dishwasher, piece by piece, placing each utensil carefully and directly into the garbage can. A year ago he wasn't even here (at least not on the outside). Now I see this toddler standing before me, wide-eyed and full of adventure. This feels miraculous and wonderful. I truly cannot wait for the moments to come.
Today, during bath time, I noticed my son standing in the tub beginning to poop (again). Without a single thought I quickly reached out and caught it in my hand. My husband and I laughed and he chuckled, "Wow, you really are a mom!"
On Christmas Eve, in bleary-eyed sleep exhausted hopefulness, I mentioned to my husband that perhaps we would receive a Christmas miracle and our son would sleep through the night, finally. He slept a record nine and a half hours straight that night to our complete bewilderment and gratitude.
We have embarked on actively shaping Zane's sleep habits with the intent of helping him to sleep through the night and fall asleep on his own (we are using methods mostly from this book). Not only has he given us nights of ten and a half hours of sleep (new record) and seven hours of sleep (literally unheard of in months!) but tonight, after our bedtime ritual and kissing him good night, I sat in our rocking chair and watched my baby quietly and peacefully fall asleep on his own without a single tear. This feels like a miracle and a place I nearly stopped believing we would ever see. I am so proud of him, and of us.
We are all embarking on a new chapter together. A new year. A new decade. I feel hopeful and blessed.
2010....bring it on!