6.21.2011

perspective.

A little perspective is a great thing, albeit painful if you're the one receiving it. But, today I needed some and therefore got some. It's like when you buy a car and suddenly everyone is driving the exact same banana-yellow Yugo. How is it you didn't notice all these copy-cats before? Certainly they must have just purchased theirs because it's unfathomable that you hadn't noticed all of them out there until just now.

Saturday I was 26 weeks pregnant. The baby's organs are well on their way and those cute little fat rolls are starting to form under his skin. By this point most pregnant women have completed their genetic testing, done their glucose tests and feel like they're headed toward the home stretch: the 3rd trimester. Home free.

With Emily, I had some moderate nausea the first couple of months [thank you, husband, for holding my hair] but after about 10 weeks started to feel like a million bucks. I was that annoying pregnant lady who felt great, looked pretty good and was able to maintain the work slacks hemmed for my plethora of 4" heels clear through to the end. It wasn't until the last half of my 3rd trimester that I felt some serious exhaustion and discomfort.

This pregnancy couldn't be more different than if I were wearing Birkenstocks to fashion week [Sorry Bonnie, they're not cute. Even with socks.]. I had some moderate nausea my first couple of months, then a couple months of feeling great. Now I feel super-stretched out and can't sit in one position for more than 10-15 minutes because my back starts talking back to me. My hormones? What the bleep. Sobbing [no, seriously, not crying...sobbing] to the freaking Pretenders on the way home from the park? Who are you and what have you done with my body?

Today it was 75* by noon and Emily and I had met up with some moms at the fountains in downtown LO. Perfect day, great ladies, fun kiddos, cranberry orange muffins. Bliss. The conversation noodled around, and at one point I re-joined the conversation (after convincing Emily duck poop was not cooler than the fountains). A few months ago, a mom I've come to adore miscarried right about this same time in her pregnancy. She was sharing how she was grateful for the physical abnormalities that followed because it was easier to deal with than the reality of the situation.  She had been far enough along that she had all the typical post-partum symptoms; but no baby to get her through it. Suddenly my aching back just didn't seem like such a big deal.

After the Pretenders incident, we got home and I put Emily down for a nap. She was exhausted and went down early, thank God. I didn't want to have my little meltdown in front of the peanut. As I stood in the kitchen with my hands on my forehead in total disgust with myself, I realized this wasn't the first time I had this kind of a moment. When I was mid-way pregnant with Emily, a friend who was also pregnant (and also several weeks ahead of me) had miscarried. I realize now that I can barely count on two hands the number of close friends who are either unable to get pregnant, stay pregnant or who have experienced a late-term miscarriage. Perspective? I can never find a good thesaurus when I need one...there must be a stronger word.

It's no secret I'm a Christian. Not a bible-beating Christian, but what my husband and I refer to as a beer-drinking Christian. I think we're relatively normal [look, I said relatively], but there's also no doubt in my mind this universe was no accident. And so I believe having had the privilege of knowing these women, often during these painful moments, has meaning. If it's to give me some perspective, fine. If it's to appreciate each day whether or not I feel overwhelmed by hormones, that works. If it's for some unknown reason, I have no doubt God will smack me across the forehead one day and show me what I haven't yet realized.

A. A view or vista. // B. A mental view or outlook: "It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present" (Fabian Linden).

video

6.16.2011

father knows best.

Sunday is Father's Day. When I was a girl, it meant buying those cheesy-poof snacks from the Avon lady in the antique looking metal tin, delicately paired with an obnoxious tie my Dad would be obligated to wear at least once a month. In public.

I can hardly remember my 20s being anything short of a decade that gave solid validity to every grey hair on my parents' heads. But then came this man named David. Suddenly my career-minded singleness was a blip in the rear view mirror. One date and I was hooked. He was perfect. Don't get me wrong, he is flawed. But he's perfect for me. He is kind, loving, compassionate and patient. He has incredible strength and is like a hot mug of cocoa on a snowy day. He calms me. And, lucky for me, he adores me too.

One day 2 years ago he made me a Mommy. He's knocked me up again, naturally, because he's way too great of a father to stop at just one. If you don't think you can love your husband one smidge more than you do...wait until he holds your baby. And kisses her on her wrinkled little forehead. And says, "Hi. I'm your Daddy."

I'm a solid sleeper. And if I wake at night, I can't get back to sleep. This comes in handy with a newborn that doesn't sleep a lot, but not so much with a 1 or 2 year-old that's just having a rough night. Stay-at-home mom's can't exactly grab an extra shot in their Starbucks and take it easy at the office the next day. So David, a feat of nature, gets up when she does. He sweeps her up and sings Twinkles until she is safely back to sleep in his arms. Sometimes he stays for extra cuddles, just to be sure. He never complains. If anything, he relishes the time between just the two of them.

At no time in my 20s did it ever occur to me that the sexiest thing about a man would be to see him hold my child. Not once back then did I think hearing my husband tell me I was beautiful as I was desperately seeking a comfortable sleeping position would make me forget about my aching pregnant body.

At 30 I became pregnant with Emily. At 31 she was born. At 32 I became pregnant with Ethan. And at 33 he will complete our little family. And just a few days ago, I decided to stop taking my Dad for granted.

Monday my Dad came for a visit from Bend. Bend is a wonderful place. It's like a breath of fresh air. And so is my Dad. Watching him with Emily reminds me how much fun I had as a kid...and why. My mom is an amazing woman, but my Dad was always the fun machine. He made funny noises, funny faces, and could drive his car without it's key. [Awesome!] Some things never change. During one visit last year I looked over at the cackling to find he had put a sock on each of his ears and was making elephant noises. My daughter never fails to laugh her hardest when he is here to visit. He doesn't take himself too seriously. He can take a completely ordinary action and turn it into knock-down fun.

Tuesday we went to meet our playgroup at a park in Tualatin. He followed Emily around the whole time, playing with her and making sure the bigger kids didn't run her over. She can, of course, hold her own, but who would take that protective-Grandpa-duty away? At one point one of the moms said to me how she'd never allow either of her daughter's grandparents to babysit. They didn't get the toddler thing. They weren't fun. Another noticed how my Dad was helping her son with a toy but doing it in such a way that it made the boy think he was doing it all by himself. The moms were in awe. Suddenly, I realized: my cool Dad was now a cool Grandpa. My daughter was going to benefit from all the awesomeness I grew up with. How cool was that.

It's amazing what some time and perspective will do. Thanks to you both. And may you enjoy a very happy Father's Day.

6.10.2011

houston, we have a problem.

6:30a . I awaken to my handsome husband kissing my forehead to say goodbye as he leaves for work.

[Let's just say it went downhill from there.]

7:24a . I shoot out of bed to the realization that I must have fallen back asleep.

*profanity*

7:25a . My beloved routine of having a little 'mommy time' before the kiddo gets up crumbles before me like a stale rice cake.

7:30a . The sunshine of my life greets me with a 'hallooo mommeee!'

7:31a  . The sun quickly sets as she races past her bathroom in defiance, screaming NOOOOO! diaper OOOOOON todaaaayyyy!'

7:32a . Time Out. A. Really. Long. Time. Out.

Awesome.

7:49a . A glass of milk is prepared to ensure some peace and quiet while breakfast is prepared.

8:05a . Breakfast. Not mine, hers. Because to avoid even the slightest chance of an aftershock, I give in when she asks to trade. Seriously, yogurt and cheerios is fine. Yum.

9:15a . We head to the gym and figure the morning is behind us.

Silly me.

11:20a . I walk in to the playschool to pick her up. She bolts out the opposite door into the lobby. I turn the corner just in time to see her pick up the water pitcher at the coffee counter and pour it all over herself and the floor. But mostly herself.

Double-Awesome.

11:21a . We head home for a change of clothes.

11:34a . We head back home because I forgot the list of things I need at the store, taking a quick look around for my mind. Nope.

11:47a . As we're driving to the grocery store (on the highway at 40mph), a silver sedan bolts out from the right right in front of me, turning left. Apparently I had a sign on the top of my car saying, Don't worry about it - I have great brakes. Even the cars next to me honked at him out of sheer outrage. I gasp and try not to freak out.

*massive profanity, albeit silently in my head*

11:48a . We pull in to the nearest parking lot because Emily is frightened and curled up in her carseat.

11:50a . We collectively decide on the only logical course of action: shoe shopping.

12: 05a . Bridgeport Village. I consider kissing the sidewalk.

1:30p . This year's jellies in-hand, we head home for naptime and a hormonal melt.

2p . I drop my head onto the Betty Crocker cookbook as I realize even a chocolate chip cookie recipe isn't going to help.

2:05p . I partake in the only junk food in the house not requiring Betty: Wheat Thins, a few slices of cheese and a Diet Coke.

2:08 . I realize the one thing missing in my little pity party is a good gossip mag.

2:10 . Thank God for Days of Our Lives.

3p . And Dr. Phil.

6.02.2011

whoa, nelly.

I know, two blog posts in two days. I could write every minute of the day if it weren't for this cute little blonde obsessed with tea parties.

Today's bedtime routine was the same as every other day: bye-bye toys, a story (read twice), songs, prayers, bed. But this afternoon prayer time was different. Usually I say the prayer, thanking Jesus for the super-fun playdate or picnic with our friends, or whatever else we did that day. But today she interjected some ideas and I couldn't gather myself enough to say another word.

Me: "Dear Jesus, thank you..."

Emily: "...for Daddy. And work. And his friends..."

Every morning Emily asks if Daddy is home, and I say he's at work. The other day she looked a little sad at my response so I tried explaining how Daddy going to work it means Mommy gets to stay home and play with Emily. Also, we make treats for his staff every week and talk about how they're for his 'friends' at work. I figure it's a good lesson in sharing and self-sacrifice, as giving up a plate-full of homemade treats every week is a pretty big deal whether you're 2 or 29(ish).

She continued, "...and Bailey, and Brystol, and helping."

I nearly lost it. Helping? Are you serious? She's 2. Helping.

Then this smile came over her face: "And arms, and leggies, and tummies and doctor. And eyes, and mouth, and hair, and hands."

She had this sincerity in her voice, as though she genuinely realized her eyes, mouth and hair were blessings. When all I could do was smile, she reached out her arms to give me a squeeze. (The best squeeze, where she holds you as tight as she can and says, "squeeeeeeze!")

If there's one thing I want my prego-brain to remember about today, it's that having a child around reminded me that the small things in life are a blessing. (That includes you, peanut.)


video

6.01.2011

scooping up the field mice.

My kid loves to sing. She'll sing to her dolls and hum while playing, but mostly she wants to sing along with an audience. More often than not, Miss Independant wants me to start her off and then (for lack of a better term) shut up and smile. She's so polite about it, first showing me the palm of her hand and then, "mommy, no please."

All my life I've heard grown-ups refer to being a grandparent as "payback". This euphoric look would pass over their faces as they'd rub their hands together at the mere thought of their babies having babies. But I argue that these satisfied grandparents had it backwards, and missed all the fun the first time around: children are an excellent excuse to get back at your parents.

So when Miss Emily wanted the mom-bank to suggest a song to sing during a car-ride the other day (and my mom just happened to be present), I leapt for the opportunity.

Me: "How about...'Little Bunny Foo Foo'?"

Emily: *perplexed stare*

My Mom: "Oh, n...."

Me, cutting her off: "Little bunny Foo Foo, hopping through the forest, scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head..."

It goes on, but it's basically a tale of an insubordinate rabbit that goes through the woods terrorizing these poor field mice. A 'Good Fairy' comes down, gives him 3 tries to shape up, and threatens him with her turning him into a 'goon'. The best part is that once the Fairy returns to wherever it is that she came from, the rabbit goes back to doing exactly what he was doing before: giving the singer the opportunity to repeat the annoying little tune as many times as they see fit. Which, if you're me, looking forward to the pure, unadulterated joy I experience when seeing my mother's painfully squinting face as I sing this little ditty, is a lot. *bwwaahaha*

Unfortunately, after the 7th or 8th round we arrived at home and the song came to an end. (Looking back it was probably a good thing because my husband was also in the car, and this song is only funny if you're the one singing. While nearly worth the marital conflict, it probably wasn't.) As we're exiting, my mom says to me, (in this I'm still your mother tone of voice) "You know that song is a testament to bad parenting, right?" Which wasn't really a question, of course. Drat.

Alas, she's right. I mean, who gives a misbehaving kid 247 chances to "be good", as the song goes? Even 3 chances is 2 too many in our house. Double Drat.

Still, seeing that squinty look on my mom's face as she genuinely tried being irritated while her uber-cute granddaughter discovered a new song was totally worth it. I win.

Step aside, Kate Spade.

First pair of flippies. Thank you Poppy!

The seasoned traveler.

Scooping the ice cream out of Daddy's hair. Oops!