Monday, November 28, 2011

Crazy in love

FaceToFace


We are crazy in love. With our baby that is (well, with each other too but this isn’t that post).

Thumper turned six months today, and already we’re dreading how the days just seem to collide into each other when all we want is for them to slow down so we can savor her cherubic face, her dimpled hands (and feet and butt and cheeks) and those thigh rolls that I can’t stop talking about. At last count, there were six rolls total.

We steal every moment we can to playfully gnaw on her deliciously chewable cheeks. It thrills me to snuggle up next to her when I go to bed at night and occasionally wake up to her sucking on my nose (babies aren’t great with aim, apparently). We are so enamored with this girl.

ParkTimeWithDaddy 

She is a good baby. A chubby baby. A quiet baby. A pleasant baby. The kind of baby who makes me wish for another (except it’s not in our plan), and so it is with this sad longing that I inhale every inch of her every time I look at her.

Even when she’s not sleeping when she should. Or when she’s fussing when a crowd gathers because she’s only used to the familiar faces of our family and anxious with others. As “festively plump” as she is, she also refuses to eat solids.

BabyBear

I thought, as a second-time mom, I would avoid the pitfalls of a noob, like nursing or rocking her to sleep, except I didn’t, which means Thumper depends on one or the other at nap and bedtimes.  And when she stirs at night, she cries out for us so we’d have to drop whatever it is we’re doing (like this blog post, which I had to abandon mid-sentence) and tend to her nocturnal demands.

But none of these matter. As nerve-wracking, exhausting or trying as her quirks can sometimes be, they pale in comparison to how easy she is otherwise. Besides, if I wished these moments away, even if they’re less than stellar, I could never get them back again.

This is my last shot as a parent to an infant so I choose to be blind to the inconveniences. Instead, I focus on the joys like her infectious smile, her newly bathed lavender-scented skin that puts me in a trance as I sing her to sleep, and her easygoing nature that makes her a prime target for her older sister’s amusement.

ThumperAsBathToy

I suppose everything we do with Thumper now doesn’t seem much different from the pattern we had inadvertently established with Little Miss when she was an infant even though we vowed we’d do it differently. But we all have these grandiose ideas for ourselves before our babies are born don’t we?

Then they show up and armed with only dimples, some downy hair and a surprisingly strong personality that seems disproportionate to their size, they dictate our lives. Thumper had us wrapped around her stubby pinky from the moment we heard her wail. So tiny yet so much bigger than us in so many ways.

Her cries scramble our frequencies, and her needs engulf our own. If there’s anything that Little Miss taught us, it’s that from the moment a new baby enters our lives, we lose control over the trajectory of our course. Someday, her ambition will drive ours. 

As second-time parents, we know better than to fight the inevitable. We have learned that the best thing to do is to brace ourselves. And enjoy the ride.


CheekToCheek

Happy half birthday sweet baby!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saying 30 thanks and saving 1 life

Blessings

There was a little meme going around the Internet (or was that only Facebook? I’m not sure) where, instead of celebrating and honoring all the things for which we’re grateful on just one Thanksgiving Day in November, people are expressing their gratitude each of the 30 days of that month. When I found out about it, I was already a week too late. But are we ever late in showing gratitude?

So here are 30 of mine in one post, compiled for your convenience (I’m considerate like that) but if you really don’t have the time for all of them, please, please skip to the very last one:

1. My Guy, without whom there wouldn’t be Our Family

2. Little Miss for all the free stand-up, sit-down, laying-around comedy around the house

3. Thumper for always waking me up with the most beautiful, infectious smile, which is the only way to make those occasional 5am mornings bearable

4. My mom, who fills the gaps and helps in more ways than I can count

5. Coffee, which gets me going even when I don’t want to

6. Alcohol for when the going gets tough

7. Kind and friendly neighbors who make my new community feel more small-town than big-city

9. Our small town big city that never ceases to shrink or grow in size, depending on what we need

10. Friends who, in spite of having a full house, still invite us to spend Thanksgiving with them in their home

11. Not having to prepare and cook the entire Thanksgiving meal by myself (Phew!)

12. Clothing stores that carry clothes in sizes that are smaller than I really am

13. Denial because I want to believe those stores

14. The sound machine that drowns out a certain preschooler while the infant sleeps

15. Louise Erdrich’s memoir, “The Blue Jay’s Dance”, for some of the most breathtakingly and achingly beautiful words and imagery associated with motherhood

16. My grey cat, Macavity, who is more dog than my dog

17. Chocolate because I can use it to bribe my daughter

18. Bribery because it’s better than time-outs

19. Time-outs, when all else fails

20. Plastic, Wood and Paper for all the entertainment and storage that seem pivotal in raising kids

21. Recycling, see number 20

22. Saturday and Sunday mornings for obvious reasons

23. A movie like Drive that reminds me that I can still have a schoolgirl crush (on Ryan Gosling) even though I’m way, waaaay past that age

24. Ryan Gosling (like you didn’t see that coming)

25. Family restaurants that don’t require kids to use their inside voices (because really, what’s that?)

26. Breastfeeding because I burn 500 calories without having to lift a finger

27. The Internet for the incredible community that embraces me with their love and generosity - the space may be virtual, but the friends are for real

28. Sleeping babies because how else will I finish writing this post?

29. Readers like you who make me feel a little less crazy for staying up instead of sleeping just to complete this post

(And last but certainly not least)
30. My health*

*I know many of us are thankful for our health. Yet we’re not all equally blessed. While we’re grateful for the life  that we have, let’s remember those who are fighting to keep theirs.

One such person is Ashley Quinones, a.k.a. Kidney Cutie, who needs a kidney transplant. She is the sister of Kelly Quinones, a fellow blogger at The Miller Mix, who is part of my community here in this space. And what do people in a community do? They help each other out.

I know you don’t know them, but in reality, neither do I. Yet, just think, if this was your mother, sister, daughter, aunt or best friend, wouldn’t you want to have your community, real or virtual, rally behind them? And so we do.

In the season of giving, please donate. Spread the word. Save a life.

Ashley’s life.

* * *

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

Tell me, what are you thankful for this season?


image source:
http://www.abundance-and-happiness.com/gratitude.html

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“I don’t eat real fish, I eat food fish!”

ThreeCollage


Little Miss turned three this past weekend. Three! Did you know that three-year-olds jump up in classification? They’re no longer toddlers. They’re preschoolers. Apparently, I’m one of the last people to know this. And I’m also a little sad and sentimental. Where did my newborn turned infant turned toddler go?

The girl who stands before me is lean, long and wiry. Her baby fat melted away with the toddling feet that wouldn’t stay still. When I hold her these days, I feel awkward parts that jut out to poke me in odd places, quite unlike her chubby baby sister who is all rolls and curves with her snowball-round frame.

Little Miss, once a petite newborn at 5 lbs 12oz, is now all lanky limbs and mouth, tailing our every statement with her perpetual whys. Yes, she’s definitely curious.

And she’s funny (although I don’t think she means to be):

FamilyPicAtBirthdayParty

On the morning of her birthday, Little Miss spent some special time with her dad (while I frantically pulled the last-minute party details together) at the Shedd Aquarium where she bee-lined for the sharks, her obsession du jour. My Guy reported to me that she had asked about their dietary preference (not her words) and upon his explanation while pointing at the fish in the tank that sharks eat fish, just like she does, she responded in earnest, “I don’t eat real fish. I eat food fish!”

Right. Hmm…let’s see, how do we gently break the news to her?

* * *

As with most preschoolers, she’s very literal:

Upon passing the neighborhood laundromat, my daughter pointed, “Look mommy! What’s that place called?”

“It’s a laundromat. That’s where people do their laundry. You know how we have a washer and dryer in our house so we can do laundry? It’s the same thing. That’s why it’s called a laun-dro-mat.”

“Laun-dro-mat. But we don’t have a mat…”


* * *

CakePopFace
Mmm…cake pops…

She’s also defiant. And smart. But when you put those two together…

Me: “Get in your bed Little Miss. You shouldn’t be playing at bedtime, you know that.”
Little Miss: “I’m counting money to put in my piggy bank. I’m not playing cuz you said money is not for playing.”

Touche.


* * *

And she’s definitely goofy.

SugarHighOne too many cake pops later…The poster child of sugar high


My favorite Little Miss moment happened earlier this summer, when she was two and half.  To get this story, you have to know the words to the nursery rhyme, “Goosey Goosey Gander”, and in case you don’t, here it is:

Goosey goosey gander whither shall I wander,
Upstairs, downstairs and in my lady's chamber
There I met an old man who would not say his prayers,
I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.

Little Miss liked the rhyme and easily learned the song by heart. One day, My Guy was telling us that he had to move his office from the 8th floor to the 3rd floor because of a change in his position at work. As part of his simplified explanation to her, he mentioned, “My boss moved my office downstairs.”

Without skipping a beat, my daughter looked at him, a little worried, “Why daddy? Is it because you didn’t say your prayers?”

It took us a second to put the two together, but when we did, we cracked up. Ah, the innocent, captivating mind of a three-year-old!

* * *

I suppose it’s a trade-off like everything in life. We have exchanged the baby fat and cuddliness for these sometimes funny, sometimes ludicrous moments that only a preschooler could conjure.

I don’t think it’s a bad deal. At least I get some chuckles out of it. Or goosebumps like when she first declared,”Daddy is my best friend.”

Awww… My Guy (or Any Guy for that matter) is not the melting kind so I melted for him. It didn’t surprise me either. As tough and no-nonsense as he is with her at times, he also makes her laugh the most so he would be the natural choice.
 
But that doesn’t bother me. As long as she still lights up when she sees me, I’m a happy mama. And a fiercely proud one at that.

Happy birthday Little Miss Full of Wonder. Three becomes you.

Presents

Monday, November 7, 2011

I’m Published!

HWIHL_bookcover

Well, kinda. Not really.

You see, my blog turned two about a week ago and unfortunately, due to an out-of-town trip, Halloween and prep for Little Miss’ birthday party, the celebration had to take a back seat. Actually, it was more like being stuffed in the trunk. Under the spare.

I just didn’t have the time to write.

But the occasion didn’t go unnoticed. My Guy remembered the anniversary and surprised me with a gift that took my breath away—He gave me a book. Not just any book. It’s my book. This gem of a man compiled all these words that I’d written in the last two years and printed them into a book for me. Or rather, for us, as a family.

HWIHLpages

“In case the Internet breaks,” he joked as I flipped through the pages, seeing the story our lives in print through tears that threatened to spill on its pristine surface.


HWIHLinscription_blur

On the outside, I was mostly speechless with gratitude. He did it again -- he gave me something I didn’t even know I wanted until it was in my hands. On the inside, I was thinking, He gets me. He really gets me.

That and Shit, how am I going to top this for his birthday?

* * *

A year ago, when I celebrated my first anniversary, I wrote about what this space meant to me. Those words ring true today too except now there is another baby, Thumper, who gives me yet another reason to write. Ironically, her presence also greatly diminishes my time spent on the computer.

But it’s the good kind of absence. The kind that involves chubby baby rolls, dimpled cheeks, and belly laughs, reminding me of how very full my life is. The kind that whispers, so this is what happiness really feels like.

Whisper, because I’m afraid that if it’s uttered out loud, it just might vanish with its echo. Because a year ago, as we were unraveling from unbelievable pressure, I didn’t dare to dream that we could ever get here. And so I tremulously hold on to these sweet, delicious days, sleep deprivation and toddler tantrums notwithstanding, because I know, having come out of the unbearable darkness, just how fragile and precious this light is.  

These past two years have been momentous in many ways. As Dickens says, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” and this space has been my sounding board, my refuge, and my sanctuary.  While it’s cathartic to write, it’s the conversations that happen here that fuel my need to continue on this path. The friendships, the solidarity, and the community of the blogosphere are so rich that my real life is envious of my virtual life.

I guess now would be the perfect time for me to say thank you to those of you who supported me, inspired me, encouraged me, helped me, guided me, understood me, loved me at my best, and loved me at my worst. To my girls for always giving me new material.

And especially to My Guy, who has done, and continues to do, all of the above and more.

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