Saturday, December 23, 2006

Peas on Earth, Goodwill to All

This is the first Christmas that I really felt like I had things under control. Presents bought. And wrapped. Cookies made in a flurry of Jim and I in the tiny kitchen, cocoa and flour flying. It's so great! I thought the first Christmas with a baby would be chaotic, but we did it. Now we're off to my parents and can't do anything else to prepare. Jim's looking over my shoulder and said I'm jinxing myself now.

Last night we were out to eat. It was a break from all of the running around, and was relaxing and nice to chat with my husband. Jim was feeding Willa her green beans and playing. I was singing the bill slip and felt really really happy. I added his last name onto my existing name and the 3 names take a long time, but last night I felt like... I was signing into this wonderful, goofy, figuring it out family.

Monday, December 18, 2006

just waiting for Christmas...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Well, hello there!

Waving has become a big thing in our house. Willa waves at the dogs to get their attention, waves at the green beans in hopes that the spoon will reach her mouth quicker, waves at the snowmen on our pillow cases. She waves at the charming baby in the mirror who is enthusiastically waving at her. She waves at mom and dad and the ficus tree. Last night I was trying to get her to bed, she waved at me, at her wall hanging, at the lights the mobile threw on the wall, and the blanket as I was putting it over her. So much to acknowledge when you're becoming more aware of the world.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

2 icons in 4 days!

Willa, Santa.

Santa, Willa.

It was a good meeting at the museum. She sat on his lap without any problems, but this is a better photo.

Again, I'm concerned about our daughter's future political leanings, she was more interested in a stone bust of former president Gerald Ford's head than Santa. Then again, Santa didn't let her pick his nose...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Happy sigh.

The past two nights have been blissful. Willa's only woken us up crying once each night. I credit 2 things for this. One: "The No Cry Sleep Solution" a book we've been reading and making changes because of. Two: Fisher Price's Rainforest Crib toy/soother. I hit the button when she was crying in the middle of the night and she quieted down and went right back to sleep. It's like a hypnotist with a waterfall, light show, and a swaying monkey!

Tonight Willa goes to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time. Cousin Matt's 4th birthday!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Life in the Superlative

After the past 3 entries, this is not a post that contains grossness.

Willa is eight months old. I feel that eight months ago someone hit some switch that sped up life. Everything moves faster now - I do, Jim does, the dogs zip away when they've had enough of Willa trying to pull herself to a standing position using their fur, their backs their ears... fast. She's growing up sooo fast.

That's okay, because since her birth everything has been intensified, for good and bad. Cold feels colder when worrying about little hands outside. Hard is harder when you hear a baby's head hit the floor after another failed attempt to climb whatever is not the floor. Poop (okay, a little grossness here), teeth, and laughter are all more important and exciting. When Willa turns and smiles at me, I feel like the sun shines for me, and choirs and orchestras play the Hallelujah Chorus for me, for us. A baby is good for the ego - when baby is content. Worry is more, and happy is more, peace is more, and gratitude and tired is way, way, way more. Christmas is more. Appreciation for my own parents and family are more. Partnership and team are more (Jim and husband and dad are more, more). Stress is more. Most importantly, joy. Joy is coming out of me like lava out of a volcano. Not the streaming lazy way - but the explosive, straight up in the air with power and substance and roar kind of joy.

We're all working on something. I think I need to let the bad mores fade behind the joy lava rush and good mores.

I wrote the above on the 5th, and am getting back to post it today, the 6th. Jim and I went to a fundraiser for the childrens' hospital in town last night. It was moving, and sad and joyful, and reminded me over and over that we are very fortunate to have a child who is healthy and happy. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself for sleepless nights. We hope to never visit the hospital. Leaving the event, I couldn't wait to pick Willa up at her grandma and grandpa's and hug her tight and smell her hair.

I think that I am more because of her. Thank you, Willa bird.

Unholy night

Lessons learned last night:
Anemone bulbs are toxic to dogs.
Hydrogen Peroxide forced down their throats makes dogs throw up.
A lot. Everything. Maybe even parts of their eyeballs.
Jim and I are a good team in a crisis.
Dogs are okay.
Willa watched the whole thing while laughing and dancing in her doorway jumpy seat and turning a solid teething cookie into plasma.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"I've decided that I don't want to work anymore," I told him as I pulled the blankets over my shoulder.
"Uh-huh, and I've decided that I don't want you to work anymore either."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Freakin' December

Greta killed a rabbit this morning.
The first day this winter when the weather was threatening enough that the news had 2 forecasters on at once, and all schools are closed.
The morning that Jim is out of town, and so I'm running the circus solo.
I was standing over Greta and the dead rabbit, no coat, shoes slipped on blinking the frozen rain out of my eyes. Willa was in the house in the playpen for a minute.
Tonight I'll have to dig the rabbit out of the snow and give it a proper burial. Because it deserves it, and because the dog will continue to visit.
Not a great morning.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm pretty tough in the gross-out category. I can take the spit-up and the poopiest of diapers, but Willa's picked up a new habit that turns my stomach.

Her top 2 teeth have broken through, and I'm sure it's a strange feeling that she's exploring, but she's grinding the bottom teeth against the newcomers up top. ACK! Just typing that makes me close my eyes and shake my head violently. yuck yuck yuck. Hope this ends soon.

These teeth look big, and there are delicate parts of me that come in contact with her mouth frequently. Those parts are nervous.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

She was sick, then she was teething, then she was sick (again), and here come the top 2 teeth. During this time we started a terrible cycle that has resulted in not a whole lotta sleep. I felt bad for our crying baby sick baby at 2 am, so I'd get her from her crib and nurse her. And then I felt bad for our crying teething baby at 2 and 5 am, so I'd get her from her crib and nurse her. She always was calmed and slept again after. A few months of this, and now I'm feeling sorry for our crying baby who may not be able to fall back to sleep without being held and nursed. I'm also feeling bad for myself and Jim and the dogs - none of us have slept the night through in probably 3 months.
We bought a book to help figure this out in a kind and effective way. I'm too exhausted to read it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our walking mini-Parisian...

Cousin MaKenna hands off the toy that helped her learn to take those first steps exactly 2 years ago.
We will rue the day, but it's fun to watch her wild eyed pride as she finds more and more independence and mobility.

Monday, November 27, 2006

This photo pretty much sums up our Thanksgivingpalooza.
Wonderful visits with a whole lot of family and friends. Good meals. Quick moments of nice connections with Jim (mostly in the car). But too too much. We were all exhausted yesterday. I was ready to crawl into a cave to avoid large groups of people.
After 4 days of being held by grandparents and aunts, uncles, and adoring cousins, Willa's probably having a rough time sharing adults at day care today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

It is Thanksgiving Eve. I am thankful that Willa slept from 9:30pm - 6am.
She has a pink elephant (hoping this doesn't sway her political leanings later in life) that she's started nuzzling at night. Last night when I checked on her she had one hand behind her head and the other on the trunk of her elephant. She startled a bit when I came in, but sighed, smiled, and continued sleeping. A human body can't possibly hold the the size heart that mine felt at that moment. Maybe that's God.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I've heard new moms complain that once they had a baby, they felt invisible. They became secondary, and didn’t like it.

Willa and I left Jim at home for his black tie fundraiser, and went to my parents’ house this weekend for a family wedding (super duper fun family wedding). When we walked through the door, you’d think that her car carrier was magically levitating- that I wasn’t holding it. All eyes and grins were affixed on Willa. And I didn’t mind. She’s the best do-it-yourself (ourselves, this is a team effort) project ever and I’m pretty proud of our work of art.

Observing my family’s adoration for her gave me joy. It’s the best present I could ever give my parents and siblings. MaKenna enjoyed her cousin too; she zealously shared her fruit puffs and hugs. She was not pleased when Willa started to gnaw on her purse.

Dad and I danced to “What a Wonderful World” at my wedding, and again this weekend. Dad was what my brothers like to call a little “over-served,” but his intent was true when he said, “thanks for giving us such a beautiful grandchild.” I could only grin, blink back a few tears, and say “you’re welcome.”

“I hear babies cry, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more, than I’ll never know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

Friday, November 17, 2006

Willa's music education continued last night as Jim put the Beatles in and brought out his guitar. She reacted by scooting (knee foot, knee foot...) all the way to Jim, pulling herself up on his knee and plucking stings on the guitar neck. Given her musical interest, I'm going to suggest we hide the drums for a few years...

From the health desk:
Germboree '06 is nearly at it's end - we hope. Willa and I are almost 100% all better. Jim is now on the same blue antibiotics I took. Hope our family was a little ahead of the winter cold/cough curve and that we're not in for another several months of this.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Willa's to do list for tonight:
Sleep (because you forgot to last night)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another 5th Beatle...
Jim and Willa had a sing-along last night at the highchair during a meal of mixed vegetables (orange variety). Willa's great on the "na na na's" in Hey Jude. I have a message on my cell phone to prove it.
She's started to bop to music now. When it's quiet and she's active, she looks at us and rocks as if to say, "hey, let's hear some tunes."

Willa and dad on a Fall walk

Monday, November 13, 2006

The holidays are starting us down, and I'm starting to get nervous. We tried Christmas shopping this weekend. But after about 20 minutes in the mall, we both were angry with people and Jim admitted to feeling old because he thought all the teenagers were dumb. We both hate the mall, and we both are pretty anxious in crowds, so online shopping seems made for us.

There's also the whole splitting holiday time with both families evenly issue. And to complicate things, we now have a baby and two families 2.5 hours apart who both want to see her. The pressure of appeasing both sets of parents and siblings (and on my side a cast of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents) made me forget that it might be nice to wake up on Christmas morning in our house - just the 3 of us and our dog pals.

I am determined this year to not let the pressure of the Rockwellesque holiday image in my head ruin our daughter's first Christmas. It's going to be hectic and messy and far from perfect, the cookies might get made, gifts might all be bought and wrapped on time - and they might not, but it's going to be wonderful. I can't wait to see Willa check out our Christmas tree for the first time. Here's to the hope it stays upright all season!

Friday, November 10, 2006

"Hi, just calling to make sure you haven't moved to Canada."

"Why would I? Soon we'll have socialized medicine here - soon we'll have everything! You and your liberals will bring Utopia to Michigan"

"So... you voted against Utopia again, dad?"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Willa is mobile. And Jim and I are both exhausted. She's crawling, but not (of course) in any typical way. She's not on all fours, and she's not army crawling. She uses both hands, a knee, and a foot. It's awkward looking, but it works.

She was trying to stand up one day and got one leg up. And then she moved her knee forward and squealed with delight. "Hey mom, I'm self-propelled now! Look, I'm lightening fast!" The newspaper, our shoes, the dogs tails... are not safe. This weekend will be spent baby proofing.

In other news, antibiotic #2 seems to be gaining ground on the germs having parties in our lungs and sinuses (anyone remember that Cosby episode?). We should be operational in a few days. I'm scared to see how fast zippy can move when she's not sick!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day care has launched a biological warfare on our house and despite the "shock and awe" antibiotic campaign, the germs are still winning.
We're waving the white flag (more like exhaustedly flopping it back and forth), but the germs persist.
All three of us are still sick (Jim, I heard the coughing this morning). And it's not even officially winter yet.
I'm looking forward to when our immune systems have overcome enough challenges to make us superhuman.
And then those germs had just better watch out!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This is Greta. She has her own merits. None of which will be shared here as she ate my favorite cook book last night.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Arlo is dog #1 in terms of:
  • seniority - adopted from the Baltimore SPCA, he's best thing about my tenure there
  • tricks - he's got the low and high 5 down, prairie dog, roll over, sit, stay, lay down, blanket...
  • neurosis - we can walk him in the neighborhood w/out a leash. not because he's particularly well trained (though he is) but because he's codependent.
  • looks - "no, the cute one is the boy, the tough looking one is the girl"

And now we can get him to howl/sing on command!

We're pretty sure he could win us a million dollars on America's Funniest Home videos, but don't want to insult his dignity. Just as we don't insult his dignity by having him as the king of the world a la Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic...

Arlo and MaKenna up north

Friday, October 27, 2006

At some point my boyfriend became my best friend, and then he became my fiance. A year ago my fiance became my husband. One year wedding anniversary on October 29. I think it's going well if I'm still considering him my best friend. And my life long boyfriend.

I've not written much about Jim and feelings. I'm a sucker for accuracy, and it's difficult for me to blend that flaw with something so marrow-deep important and emotional. I've typed and deleted 4 different things here trying to sum up the year and feelings. And I'm good with words and feelings...

When I was sick, Jim came home from the store with 12 different vegetarian soups, and then made it for me. Gestures like this tell me I need to be more generous with the backrubs. We're doing this sickness and health, richer and poorer (day care costs keep us closer to the poorer), good times (have been plenty) and bad (have been few) thing pretty well. We hold each other, and hold each other up, and have great tickle fights. And if we're still doing that in 30 years, then go team.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Yesterday I left my office with Willa on my hip, and her diaper bag and my purse on the other shoulder (later I was angry for myself for accidently leaving my breast pump in the office in my haste to get home). As I walked out of the building, I pictured what I looked like to someone else: a frazzled working mom, trying to keep it together.

It was not bring your daughter to work day. It was, for us, pick your daughter up from daycare because she has a 101.5 fever - but you can't take any more time off of work right now - day. So, I got her and brought her to sit on my office floor while I finished up the day. Yes, I was concerned about the fever and gave her some Tylenol which did the trick (maybe I should sell ad space to them). And it was only 30 minutes until we were out the door, anyhow.

See that guilt? Yup, I've got some of it.

I want to thank the generations of women who came before me and made themselves welcome and valuable in the work force. I have always admired their gumption. I want to thank my parents for subsidizing my education and encouraging me to follow my path. I have always admired their bravery and valued their trust (and financial backing).

It's been more than 6 months now that I've been a mom. Like many others in my generation, I feel pulled in many directions. Though I need to work and contribute to family finances, I feel the most challenged and rewarded when I am being a mom. I feel like I'm the person I'm supposed to be ("calling" wise) when I'm on the floor playing with, reading to, and just observing our daughter.

I do not think that daycare is hurting her (well, short term she's getting sick more than she would at home). She already has a favorite pal that she has a different smile for, and the women who work there respect the kids and have a great deal of affection for them.

I know it's been whined about, and legitimately discussed and researched by many many many people, but I'd like to be a stay at home mom. At least until she's in school. We all do what's best for our kids, and at this time, Jim and I are doing just that. She is happy and healthy(ish) and learning new things every day. We're paying the bills, and enjoying each other and her.

I wish my peers and I had the choice to work or not. In this modern economy, it doesn't seem to be an option for most.

It occurs to me that this all comes with the territory of growing up and parenthood and blending needs and wants, deams and realities.

In the meantime, I look forward to evenings and weekends and mornings. I wasn't much of a morning person. Now I have 2 different wonderful smiles to wake up to. Though, Jim doesn't smile as much as grunt until he's really awake...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Family folklore goes that when I was born, Maureen the hospital nurse would rock me and listen to the Detroit Tigers on the radio. Ernie Harwell and the sounds of wooden bats slamming leather balls, the crowd cheers and whistles, and the occasional call of "hot dogs!" would calm me.

I remember my head resting against the window of our family's full size metallic orange Ford van, watching the moon follow us home (I might be five or nine or twelve - this happened a lot). Feeling drowsy from the days adventures and the long ride, but excited as Ernie called yet another double play by Tram and Sweet Lou.

I was nine during the magical '84 season. When they won, dad drove us in the van downtown and when we got there opened the sliding door to exchange the exhilarated energy with others cruising in a celebration parade.

Willa was born in early April this year. They were undefeated when she was born, and continued to have a terrific season. She went to a game in September, and I'm glad she won't remember how hot she was or that they lost. She'll see photos of that day with her grandparents celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary with their whole family (except cousin MaKenna - hard to keep a 2 year old occupied at a baseball game - though there's talk of Photoshopping MaKenna into the day).

Tonight Jim, and I will watch game 3 of the World Series while Willa plays on the floor, sometimes paying attention when the announcer raises his voice or the crowd gets into it.

It's another magical season. The city has rallied together around this team, this hope, this unlikely possibility of greatness out of some very grey years of baseball. I love this game, I love the Tigers, I love these Tigers.

Monday, October 23, 2006

In one weekend we joined the celebration of a couple making their wedding vows, and a smaller celebration of our friends welcoming their beautiful baby girl into the world a few hours prior.

The bride was Jim's friend's sister, and even though I don't know the couple well, I was touched by the ceremony. Jim and I held hands tightly as the minister guided them through vows similar to the ones we made nearly a year ago.

I am so happy for our friends. The new mom was worn out and looking proud - another mom warrior. New dad was glowing. As our little family left the hospital last night, I was remembering the joy and exhaustion that Jim and I experienced hours after our daughter, Willa was born. Willa's friend is here!

Willa's mouth has figured out how to make the sound DA. So, now we live in a world with a DADADADADADADA soundtrack.

Breath taking how lives change so drastically every day.

Friday, October 20, 2006

i was crumpled on the couch, half listening to jim tell my mom that we all had a cold. when he was done, i asked to talk with her.
"mom, it is not just a cold. i have a sinus infection. and bronchitis. and pink eye. i feel yucky."
for some reason, being sick doesn't 100% count until mom knows what's up, and gives the "plenty of fluids and lots of rest" speech.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

while driving home from the pharmacy yesterday we were listening to a new cd with fun, silly songs that i grew up on. i started to tear up thinking about teaching our daughter "the cannon" of kids songs, and everything else that a child needs to learn before moving on to adolescence.

she and i were both home instead of at daycare and work, thanks to conjunctivitis. is giving eyedrops to a 6 month old fun? nope. but that necessity paired with spending the day with her on the floor playing and really watching her explore and laugh and reach out to be picked up was great. when jim got home from his all day meeting, i told him "i really felt like a mom today. it was a good day.

polly wally doodle.

Friday, October 13, 2006

2 teeth and 4 shots in one week.
our daughter is a warrior.
...starting right smack in the middle of everything. I'm going to resist the ceremonial first post backround info, and will leave it at this: I have a husband and we have a 6 month old, 2 dogs, some fish, and too many houseplants. We have jobs and ideas and a pretty modest garden. We're on the west coast (yeah, I'm trying to get that to catch on) of Michigan.
So, here we go...