some days are easy

June 20th, 2011

Tonight, I picked up my kiddos from day care. I’d stayed a bit later at work, and we pulled into the drive-thru dry cleaners (love Baryamas!) and as I put the stack of (my) crisply pressed work clothes on the seat beside me, my 4 year old singing in the back, and the baby saying “da DA da da da”, I felt, well, supermomish. Not that I’d done anything special. But it’s easy to go through a day of work, pick up your kids, and begrudgingly pick your dry cleaning up as another ‘sigh, I must do this, too?’ item. I felt, well, like that picking up of my work clothing was another part of the good I’m doing for my family. My income has supported us this last 8 or 9 months now and I feel good about that. We went to our local favorite burger bar for their Monday night special, then to a playground. At home we decided to then go for a walk/bike ride. A soft summer evening, it was a delightful walk with the dog. It’s been a nice day.

I continue to shed more of my stuff – as I decide this pair of uncomfortable shoes that gave me blisters after a two block walk must go, I don’t replace them. As another pair is worn and must go, I don’t replace them. I did buy a new summer yoga outfit – capri leggings and a supportive tank top, but I bought them as incentive to keep up  my good work with yoga right now. I feel great when I do it and that’s worth it. Yes, I could have sewn them. But I didn’t. There are other more important projects to sew right now.

I am donating my baby and maternity gear, which is making me feel good. They will go to another mother and she’ll be so happy to get them. Just like I was to use them twice. I know I see the finality in this, but really, as I did that round trip to day care and back, I really want to just be with the kiddos I have, I don’t want to open that up again, the risk, the difficulties. Life’s good, and I’m loving the stretching and growing and confidence at work that I am getting right now.

Some days are easy. Today was one of those days.

Our boy turns 1

June 16th, 2011

Christian turned one this week! One! Where did this year go? It hardly seems possible that we were just not yesterday snuggling in the big bed in his room (now in his sister’s room, as he sleeps in with us) and nursing for hours in the rocking chair in front of the window. Now, he’s up and crawling, standing confidently, and may walk as soon as he figures out he can learn to do it as fast as crawling.

Where did this year go? The beautiful, fast amazing birth, where we bonded for two hours alone before all the usual weighing and measuring and such.  Coming home to a lovely babymoon where we left the house only once in two weeks. Babywearing. Snuggling. Learning to roll over, sit up, and now, seemingly like a baby and yet a bigger boy.

He is still a big nurser, as expected. He loves to eat and we offer him almost everything we eat and he gobbles it up. He is learning to sign and talk (mama). It’s been a wonderful, crazy, beautiful year. I wouldn’t change our lives for a minute (well a couple things, but not children, they’re wonderful.)

It’s a wonderful life, I’m glad to be living it with my children and husband and dog. I thank God every day for our blessings of talent, love, faithfulness and hope.

doing what your heart feels right

June 1st, 2011

Before the birth of my first child, I had thought long and hard about what motherhood might look like. And then I had the baby. You know the drill. You envision watching her sleep peacefully in her bassinet. And she screams bloody murder if she leaves your arms for one second. Fortunately my Obstetrician’s pack of info told me under no uncertain terms we do NOT recommend Babywise (the book), and we DO recommend The Baby Book. So, too, did my Bradley Childbirth class. And our instructor, who took a whole lesson to tell us about baby slings and the concept of babywearing.

So after I initially used a bassinet, then a (now recalled) sleep positioner for our daughter, while she slept by my side, eventually a hand-built cosleeper which she sorta slept in (it gave us a safe ‘rail’ and a space to scoot her into at least partway, I realized I kind of liked this style of ‘doing what my heart feels right’. I am physically – physically! – incapable of hearing my children cry for any length of time.

Fast forward to my son’s birth, I dispensed with the notion of bassinet altogether, and though I used that positioner (til I found him, on his neck, once, and thank the Good Lord he was OK) for about two weeks, I quickly dispensed with it once we both learned how to nurse lying in bed. He’s cuddled next to me ever since, and it feels right. I can’t even explain but it felt scary to put him in the cosleeper or even that positioner.  I am sure I woke several times instinctively, and probably saved his life.

But he’s the most easygoing, happy baby ever. Yes, children are different, but I can’t help feeling like he is this way because he’s been treated this way. Now, I have a four year old and we are already battling. My past hurts – and they are many – are deeply scarring my psyche, and though infancy did not seem to tap them, preschoolerhood has. I’m working on it. I’m not a good mother sometimes. I am angry a lot, but more important, I have this short fuse which seems to demand compliance. I can’t seem –  no matter how much I read and love the idea – to embrace this sorta go-with-the-flow parenting of a small child. Montessori meets crunchy mama thing. I struggle with ideas for what to do – and  I read a lot of books, believe me.

So I am going to have to do this change consciously. I checked out the Happiness Project from the library, and the Discipline book (Sears) and together I’m going to deal with the mama rage, and I am also going to learn how to be the fun mom – not the mom who is a pushover, or the mom who looks for any second of personal time in my busy life of work-and-motherhood, but a really happy, integrated with my kids, sharing my love for the things I do mom.I think in my attempt to not be an angry mom, I look to be a retreating mom. I don’t want that, and my daughter is (literally) screaming for my attention.

Here’s how I’ll do it:

Draft a four week plan to control mama rage including one evening a week (evening being after the 4yo is in bed, and the baby is being cared for by his daddy) that is just for me to recharge. In that time, I can read, journal, knit, sew, sketch, scrapbook. I should stay off the computer, unless doing research for the aforementioned items. I can take whatever other personal time (after the kids are in bed) that I get.

A daily walk with the kids that does not involve me saying “pedal, pedal, pedal, hurry up!”

A two-day-per-week preschool plan for our mornings together, the baby will just go along for the  ride

A de-clutter plan with some serious tossing, selling and donating. This will free a lot of emotional energy to move around our house.

A safe place to get mad – our playroom couch – stocked with pillows, a journal, a drawing book, music.

And a camera, to document this special time in our life. This means I need new batteries for mine.

Week 1: The calendar – set up the daily calendar for tues/thurs and MWF evening, sunday morning activities. Include at least three free floating ideas to do so we’re not bored and stuck in a rut of “go find something to play with”. Could be cooking, beading, sewing, drawing, play doh, park, go for walk, garden, have a picnic.

Week 2: Bookshelf/playroom clean up – organize the ‘small flotsam’ , the preschooling items, books and toys. Set up the Happy Corner.

Week 3: Daily exercise/walk plan & routine.

Week 4: put it all together in one week – a master plan

selling my maternity wear…

May 22nd, 2011

While I had some fun putting all my maternity wear on my ‘pregnant’ dress form downstairs, I can honestly say it’s not with the same emotion that I look at those things. I’m ready for them to go to another mother-to-be. I didn’t know how I’d feel about not getting pregnant again, except I’m 4 months from 42 and that, I think, is too darn old.

Of course now that I got the whole lot out, and photographed, I realized what fun it was to dress the bump, and what a nice wardrobe I actually had! Some things I didn’t wear in the first one, I wore in the second, and vice versa. It was nice to see them again, but I don’t need them. There’s a whole new life out there for a wardrobe, and it doesn’t need to involve morning sickness, heparin injections, gestational diabetes. If I want fun new clothes, I can sew or buy.

Of course that wasn’t all the fun of it, it was the baby in the bump. And that’s what I will miss the most  – the feel of a baby in your belly, kicking. Moving, rolling, pushing their little hands and feet out at you. That warm, love feeling, the happiness. That is definitely what I’ll miss most. That I had a cute way to dress the bump was just the icing on the cake.

The things I didn’t sew or buy that I regret – the wrapped top. Shoulda woulda coulda – I had the pattern, too!  the Cowl neck sweater in cream. Somehow I didn’t find my cream turtleneck this second pregnancy, though I needed it. I found it later.

And there are a few things I wore that are not maternity that I still have – namely a pink gauze tube-top tunic that I love. I love it prepregnancy, I loved it when I was big and heavy and it was hot out.

Once upon a summer

May 6th, 2011

On my (new giant 32″) monitor at work, my desktop photo looms large. It’s a photo of me with my then-5-month-old daughter on my lap, sitting on the deck at the Lake house with my dog at my side. I’m in a blue strapless top, white trousers and barefoot, looking as happy and peaceful as I can remember. She is in a lavendar seersucker dress (which I sold this past weekend) with a big grin on her face. This past year has been somewhat like that. I’m happy, so happy, but I’m stressed. Work is especially crazy (in a good way) with more to do than I can handle,and at the same time feeling good about the prospects.

I’m going to take a moment and channel that summer. Sit on the deck, warm sunon my face and shoulders. Baby (now, 11 month old son), daughter (now 4) and dog at my side, in that strapless top, and white linen trousers. A little older, a little more tired, but still, happy. The surf crashing behind me, the wind whispering through the seagrass. I’m looking forward to THIS summer, at the lake house, sunshine, sand, castles, kid pools. Linen pants, sundresses, strapless tops and sandals. Mojitos on the beach, chaise lounge chairs with a good book.

Working mama days are hard

April 15th, 2011

Let me preface this by saying ALL mothers work. It is especially hard for working mothers – those who go to the office every day, and then come home and be mother, housekeeper, and cuddler to their babies when they get home (and my job, as a co-sleeping, breastfeeding mother of two, is 24/7). Sometimes I even think of client projects at night, when I am up nursing. Business never stops either.

So this morning, like mornings all this past week, I dropped off both of my children at our (wonderful, home-based) day care. C took one look at our day care provider and gave me the sad face and started to cry. He knows! He knows I’m leaving him again (only he does not understand why). I think my somber feelings today are partly a result of moderating (or at least being there) at our pregnancy and infant loss support group yesterday. No other parents came, *unusual* so I read some of our materials in our library. Makes me sad that there aren’t other choices for me now – or that I would be happy with different choices at all.

I trudge off to work, bury myself deep in the grindstone and feel better at lunch, but still sad. I’m just worried – our son lost more than 1lb between his 6 and 9 month visits, he won’t take a bottle from anyone, so the milk stacks up and he goes to day care 34 hours a week. 34 hours he’d be taking 20 ounces of milk (at least).  I know the doctor might give me flak, and I  plan to ignore it, but I cannot ignore the problem – he’s fallen off the growth chart, and that is never good.

I have been doing great at not worrying, at facing problems as they come up, at taking it one project at a time. So I move on, and will keep trying to find solutions.

I am surrounded by pregnant people!

March 12th, 2011

I think I’ve made this post before – only in the formerly angry and bitter place of loss and grief, the message was distinctly different. Now, although there is one tiny, wee, almost imperceptable reminder of that space that I still carry – I feel a sense of warmth and loving. Two friends are about due to give birth any minute now. One more in a month or so. Another one a month after that, and still another, later in the summer. I look fondly back on my lovely, absolutely divine babymoon with my son – the time I never got to have with my daughter. The soak-it-up nurse-him-and-cuddle-just-because hours we spent in our nursing chair, or babywearing, or just plain snuggling.

I am learning, every day anew, to be a better parent. To shed the authoritarian style that I grew up with (that we all did) in favor of something different. I am learning to be patient – though I must admit THIS is hardest of all. I’m not a patient person. I get angry. I fly into a rage even. But I am going to learn how to manage that.

But in that space where everyone around me is expecting another baby and I am not going there myself, I am in a happy place. A place of wishing joy, and knowing it has come back to me, tenfold.

Saturday outfits

February 19th, 2011

This morning, my peanut, almost 4, came in fully dressed, while I was still in bed with little guy. She proceeded to pick out a sweater, shirt, socks, tights, and a bracelet. When I overrode the tights for jeans she said no, so we compromised on leggings and a denim skirt for me. It was very funny, a reversal of our usual roles. I haven’t been posting enough of the funny every day things that happen in a busy household of two small children, a dog and a spouse. I will say this, it’s funny in retrospect.

Yesterday she announced she wanted a big girl phone “with real people in it” not her princess phone. When I explained that was only for big girls, she said “I am a big girl!”. Indeed.

my family

February 15th, 2011

I’m so blessed. Mom and dad invited themselves along – and offered to pay – so we are all headed down for a week (!) to Sanibel Island. We got a condo off the beach (there’s a trail to get to the beach) with a pool. It’ll be quiet and relaxing. Running. yoga, swimming with the kids. Shelling. Mom, grandma and granddaughter shopping. Yeah we’ll all have a delightful time! My parents have been there for us for so many things so many times. From car loaners when we moved here, to moving us (my 70 year old dad!) into this house bit by bit for two weeks straight. Driving us to chicago and back enumerable times during my pregnancies.

I am delighted they’re coming along to make memories with our kiddos. That’s just what we like to have. I keep thinking of those photos, those photos of my parents in their motel room on the beach in Florida when my mother was dying, and we were just babies. And then fast forward, to Marco Island, still unspoiled, with nothing else there, on the beach with my youngest brother too.

This time, this trip, these babies, this healthy life. Making memories now, while we’re  healthy and happy.

Blessings and a goal

January 29th, 2011

I set a goal to take my family of four to Florida for a long weekend if I am on target for my sales goals. This means a $10,000 February. And a solid start to March on the prospecting front, too. And then I mention this to my parents and they want to come. And pay for the airline tickets. So we’re all going to Florida in March if I achieve my sales goals. Let’s get going! (truth is, we have been. Writing a lot of proposals. Next week, finally, a week where there won’t be kids (well at least not two) at the office, there won’t be sickness and we can get a full week in. I’m glad about a full week of work! That’s something new this year. And I’m very glad of that.