30 April 2010

Well I love you so dearly, I love you so clearly, wake you up in the mornin' so early just to tell you...

Last night I put on the Weeds soundtrack and made an amazing dinner of couscous and artichoke chicken, pausing to dance around the living room with Zoe and her apple buddy. BJ came home right in time. Do not underestimate the enthusiasm in which I declare this: It was blissful!

Oh, just what I needed. This girl does not permit brooding. Even when she flings her hysterics around and I want to bang my head against the wall, she looks at me and flashes those silly little toofers through the giggling smile that scrunches up her nose and it is impossible not to crack a giggling smile back. Believe me, I tried.

29 April 2010

Turn and face the strain.

Zoe Scarlett, 14 Months.

This girl is breaking my heart.  Squeezing it into a pulpy, sticky mess -- just like that orange slice. /lame melodramatic comparison.

I’ve noticed it’s fairly common of parents -- mothers in particular -- to sniffle about their children getting older. While I’ve commiserated, I lacked the facility to grant them justice in my thoughts -- “let the kid grow up – what did you expect?  Unfortunately this isn't The Simpsons” was usually the overriding sentiment in my mind. But right now, I feel as though I have a new viewpoint, a novel understanding of the bittersweet inevitable growth.   An understanding that could only come through experience.

I’m losing my baby.

To begin, this week has been unreasonable. Why  must things suck all at once?  School finals, tumultuous emotions over family stuff, drama at work, BJ’s work schedule hours continue to be harshly hacked which equals my debit card declining while buying groceries (the shopping cart was full.  I was mortified), broad-spectrum stress over what the hell I’m doing with my life with possible girly hormones and dreary weather peppered in.  My stomach has knotted itself into something I'd doubt a boyscout could even figure out.  I’ve been feeling BAD, and feeling bad can be so much worse than feeling sad. Crying is productive – it provides an outlet. Feeling discontent, confused, scared – BAD, does not. I've been pushed out of my comfort zone.  So perhaps it has just magnified my emotions about Zoe. 

Let me assure you that I am overjoyed when Zoe picks up on something new about the world.
  • In Target last week, she rubbed her hands together as I hurriedly pushed her in the shopping cart past the hand soap isle.
  • She pulls her diaper wipes out of their container and rubs them across the table surfaces the way I do when I’m cleaning.
  • Ask her to say cat, she says cat. Doggy, doggy.
  • Tell her not to put the crayons in her mouth, she’ll  comply.
However, I have determined that she is becoming too sharp which converts to too independent. Now that she has walking down, her cognitive hub seems to be exploding. Every single day she figures things out and makes connections that I had not readily realized she was capable of yet. Since she’s a baby, and stuff.  She is my baby, damnit.  Not yet!  I'm not ready.

How do you prepare to have your daughter’s all-encompassing expansion intervene in the sacred mommy and baby dynamic? As exciting as it is, devastation slices me every time she pushes herself out of my arms, wiggles in discomfort as I rock her to sleep in my arms because she’s just getting too big to wedge in there like she used to, refuse to eat anything she can’t feed to herself, infinite etcetera.

It’s somewhat alienating.  It's hard letting go, and it will be harder I’m sure. I’m reminded of an experience when Zoe was about four months old: Two women pushed a baby in a stroller past my house on a summer evening while Zoe and I snuggled on the porch steps indulging the pretty evening. We briefly greeted each other and swapped baby stats and I said, “She’s already getting so big, I can’t believe it!” and one mother sighed and said, “I have five kids. Just you wait. Your heart is about to get broken.  You don't even know, grrrl” That ominous warning has manifested itself!

Of course I never want to stifle her and I love watching her grow. I guess I suddenly understand why my mom used to insist on cutting my meat until I was a teenager (when I stopped eating it). Change, growth in every capacity of life is truly miraculous, but this post is about it also being painful.

20 April 2010


Spring Goals:

1. Strictly limit television viewing to after Zoe’s bed time. Cancel Comcast Cable in order to free up an extra $100 each month. Put that money away to save for new big computer that can be used dually as television and family computer so we can get the mammoth big screen out of the living room. [SIMPLIFY!]

2. No alcohol during the week days.

3. Play outside with Zoe after work every day the weather permits.

4. Drink 2-3 massive water bottles a day (re-using the same massive water bottle).

5. Make an effort to be closer to BJ. Show more affection; openly explain my thoughts and details of my day that may inspire him to do the same and inspire closer considerations of one another. I find that, when I have one experience where I catch him tuning me out, I almost completely cut off and stop trying to tell him things, and it eventually causes catastrophic domino effect in our relationship.

6. Limit meat consumption to a couple meals a week.

7. Buy nothing unless it’s an emergency [or nutritious food].

8. Pick up the house little by little to avoid hours of cleaning on the weekend.

9. Take time to talk to my co-workers and nurture camaraderie. Take pride in my employer, my work, and myself…even when it feels futile.

10. Respond to text messages and make more phone calls just to talk. I used to be a text machine, but now texting aggravates me. I blame the touch screen on the iPhone. I still haven’t quite gotten it down.

11. Teach myself how to do more DIY crafts and be more earth-friendly around the house. I want to learn how to knit. I want pretty stationary to write my friends letters on, and I also want to start home-making pure natural cleaning agents and bath products.

12. Catch up on Zoe’s baby book.

13. Be more mindful of my assets. Don’t take them for granted, because when I do I lose them.

14. Focus and DO instead of sit and THINK so I can utilize my time as cleverly as possible. (I think this will be the hardest)

15. Plan (dinner) meals down to the recipe from week to week so I only have to go shopping once. I find we waste much less food and money this way because I try to include the same fresh ingredients in each diverse meal, so less rots away in the fridge half-used.

Wish me luck!

19 April 2010

Learning to fly, but I aint got wings.

[Me and my sneezin bebeh on a sunny sunday.]
This weekend was gorgeous weather. Those cheerless naked tree limbs are suddenly stuffed with blossoms; the miniature petals glide on the gusts of wind and catch in Zoe’s angel hair. Every window in the house is open and every fan is whirling fervidly. The waft of fresh cut grass floods the living room, I take it in and appreciate it because I know I should be enchanted, but I’m not…I don’t know why. This weekend was wearisome for me.  I kind of just wanted to shut the door and find a way out of my gloomy mind.  BUT.  I don't get to do that anymore ever since I decided to make another human being.  So... I am breathing and sending for more grace, patience, acceptance, goals, and the self-discipline that meeting goals demand.

Actually, the issue of discipline has been on my mind a lot lately. Zoe is approaching the age where she is prodding it out of me, and I find that I am lost on it. I truly have no idea how to go about disciplining a child “the right way”…the right way for her, for the world, to ensure she turns out a quality person respectable of boundaries.  I'm so terrified of wounding her.  Little girls are sensitive.  At least I was. Whenever a situation transpires with two basic choices to make -- I have two battles going on inside of me: to be the nice mom or the mean mom? To comfort her when she's being naughty or let her cry about it and deal herself.  I fear both.  I realize in the adult realm it's not that black and white, but in the baby world it is perceived that way. In certain facets, I would consider myself the more laid back mother when it comes to rearing Zoe. I let her do and play with pretty much anything that won’t kill her or give her disease as long as it keeps her high spirits. We have a lot of broken and missing things in our home as a result. I want her to have structure, to mold her to a particular healthy degree, but I always second guess myself. I never want to be the stifling, mean mom that doesn't let her explore, as that is how she learns. I also don’t want her to run amuck or throw tantrums to get what she wants after I take it away.  I remember someone saying once that disciplining your child is the greatest act of love…and I believe it in theory, but it’s much more complicated in practice. Do we just have to have faith and wait to see how it pays off ultimately when they develop into adults?

I always sort of told myself I'd do things a certain way when I had my own kids.  I wasn't sure what that certain way would be, but it would be the best, when the time would come.  Well, the time has come and I'm still not sure how to do it up to my ideals.  How do you really prepare to be a parent?  Only the anti-child seem to have that answer.  I think I had the answer when I was 17, but I must have misplaced it.

Patience. I need to get that tattooed somewhere so I am prompted by it every day. Since becoming a mother, it is the ultimate lesson I wake up to be schooled in every single day. The virtue of it has taken on an entirely new significance in my life. She has been sick with a tummy bug since Wednesday night. Yesterday she bounced back and forth from a blissful giggling girl to the saddest bug in the world. She wouldn’t eat or drink and I feared her becoming dehydrated. After numerous hours passed and several desperate, fruitless attempts were made to feed her everything…anything in my house; I basically tried forcing her bottle down her throat while she batted it away and bawled in obstinate resistance. I was ashamed of myself. No one talks about it, and I don’t feel proud to admit that being a parent can be MADDENING and FRUSTRATING and HARD. I realize that I especially feel this way when I’m trying to control a situation. Which leads me back to my conundrum about disciplining. I’m really looking for that balance, and I’m practicing finding it every day.  I’m trying to be the best mom. I love this little cricket and do everything for her out of love and with love…but I’m also a pretty damn flawed human being.  Hard to believe, I know...I know. ;)

12 April 2010

Saturday is a special day...

Oh, another fine weekend it was. Saturday the choir of backyard birds woke me up around 8AM. I mustered the ambition to get up alone and instigate housework and a long shower while everything was still quiet and I was free to do what I wanna. When BJ woke up we split a Red Bull and drank it out of glass tumblers, it felt very funny yet charming. Zoe eventually joined the living world just in time to dress and leave to meet one of our favorite couples, Mimi and John, and their entourage for a spree at Wheeler Farm. Zoe appeared to LOVE it, and we loved watching her bright-eyed head attempt to process all of it. Geese squawking like prehistoric creatures, pig snouts sending ripples through their drinking water, a drowsy hay ride without the hay through a forest of trees still barren from winter. The experience gave me a new appreciation for the place. Being a parent is incredible in the way it alters your entire perspective on..well, everything. I love re-experiencing the world I thought I knew through my baby’s eyes. It’s a fascinating place.

[Family Portrait in the parking lot]

[Pointing to the ducks, geese, and swans.]
[Sheep bootay]
[Daddies and Daughters.  Aw if it isn't the cutest.]
[I found this awesome.]

[He smelled like feta]
[This goat looked just like my sister's dog, Bentley!]
[There was a little girl her age to the side of the tractor that she was fixated on]
[Mimi and her sister-in-law Kristin and their baby girls Penelope & Clover.]
[Lunch time chills.]
[Hay ride!  Minus the hay.]
[We bulldozed through some wedding photo moments, oops.]

[I remember on field trips we used to go on a tour through this house and they would give us bread with honey at the end.]

When we left, my car had drunk up sunlight to the point that I was sweating and had to change into a tank top. It was euphoria! We drove to Jessica’s place. She let me buy a lightly-used Britax off of her for $50.00. I am sooo giddy about it! It’s so luxurious and roomy and soft and the pattern is probably exactly what I would have picked myself. I scored so hard. It’s nice to know Zoe is the safest she can be while rolling around with me. This officially makes her a big girl. Walking, talking, and now bucketless.

We went home and Zoe and I took a bath while BJ mowed the lawn. I met Jill, Lindsay, and Lindsay’s sweetest new little boy, Koby, for an early dinner (senior citizen aka Jill Raymond time) at Bonsai. We chatted up the entire time, mostly disregarding the talented Japanese chef as he performed his culinary craftiness for the small table audience. I felt bad, but oh well. We constantly have stuff to discuss and laugh about effortlessly, it’s amazing. I’m so glad that they are in my life.
My mom watched Zoe while we dined because it is practically impossible to tame my little wild thing in a stifling restaurant at this point. We went over there after dinner and let the chillums meet and took some great pictures of the ittle Koby man with Zoe. They are almost exactly a year apart – Koby was born February 18th (a date I forever engrained in my memory as it was Zoe’s due date while I was pregnant. The day I pined away for interminable months.)

The following two pictures are CLASSIC!
[Zoe loves exploring babies faces by backhanding them.]
[Well I oughta!]

After they left, my mom and I sat around with the bot and I painted my nails. My mom saw us off and Zoe was whisked away into dreamland on the drive home and stayed that way when I put her down in her crib. This meant BJ and I got to make smores and rent Where the Wild Things are OnDemand. It was the first time we’ve been able to lay in a cuddled mass and watch a movie together uninterrupted in ages, it was incredible.  The movie was so cute. My heart was swollen with happy.

07 April 2010

I wonder what babies think about. 
I wonder what they dream about...

05 April 2010

[L:R]:  Liam, BJ, Zoe, Kylee, Diana, Winston, Emma, Sarah

Easter 2010!

My thoughts on Easter. Hm. Though I am not a dutiful church-loving folk by any means, I am becoming more and more a family folk, and I take advantage of most any holiday that permits festivity by way of colorful cheap plastic trinkets that amuse my eternally charged one-year-old for two refreshing minutes before she demands the next big thing to take her through the subsequent two minutes of her life. Call me a pawn in the evil retail scheme, whatever, I don’t care anymore. Holidays paint the world and give us all a reprieve from the humdrum if you aren’t a hater, even ones from theology I appreciate but don't completely eat-up that have been consumed by irrelevant marketing symbols. I’ll take any excuse to eat home cooked meals with my family on a lazy Sunday or to further cultivate a closeness to my in-laws and to watch Zoe frolic with her cousins, as that is the superior source of amusement and bonding for us all. Anyway, that is probably enough of my reflections which are boring to most of the internet due to absence of pictures contained in them, so...the following is another set, true to the style of this blog, of a zillion and three pictures of Easter merriment!  It was the most truly enjoyable weekend we have had in awhile.

Saturday Afternoon:  Easter Egg Hunt @ Gma&Gpa Spitzer's House!

Zoe cheated and grabbed an egg she spotted before the hunt started.

Diaper butts in tight pants are the cutest.
Dad helped her find some sweet loot.
How gorgeous are Amy and Joseph's kids?

Saturday Night:  Egg Coloring @ Our Place with Jill, Ian, and Liam

Liam and Zoe doing their dang thing.
Liam is SUCH a ham!  At first sight of the camera he pauses and gazes at you with this idyllic smile.
Carter's egg creations
BJ's egg creation with my Donald Trump egg.
Ya Fired!

What I love about Liam and Zoe together is that Zoe is such a parrot when he is around.  Everything he does she has to keep in step with.  EVERY. THING.  It reminds me what emulating creatures humans are.
Easter Lovins

Sunday morning for brunch we deviled the eggs using this recipe...OHM they were the best deviled eggs I've ever had.
Easter Day @ Gma & Gpa Reed's House!

Her many dresses weren't sitting well with me, so we summoned Snow White.

My family had a basket of Easter treats for Zoe when we arrived.   My mom went all out and made the BEST meal for us.  Stuffed green peppers, potato soup, yummy rolls, funeral potatoes, chocolate dipped strawberries and the best mint brownies of my life!  We sat around the table and Zoe ate with us in her sea creature highchair, it was so nice. :)

About Me

My photo
I guess you're just what I needed.

About Me

My photo
I guess you're just what I needed.