Monday, December 31, 2007
So many people I've talked to say that it's really hard to lose those last 5 to 10 pounds while breastfeeding.... and considering that I've been pregnant or breastfeeding since 2004 (yikes!) I guess I can forgive myself for not immediately returning to my svelte self.
I suppose that ultimately it also means starting to wean BB. I have mixed feelings about that. I definitely plan to night-wean her after her birthday, but otherwise I'm not really in any rush to wean. BJ weaned himself very easily at 14 months -- turned out it was because I was pregnant with BB. And I have absolutely no intention of using that weaning method again! So we'll see how it goes.
My other resolution for the year is to find some way to bring the muse back into my life on a regular basis. (Goes back to that "less/more" thing. Spend less energy longing to write and more just writing, dammit.)
Where the time for this will come from, I have no earthly idea. But I have two manuscripts for children's books in progress, and I want to give more energy to my writing in 2008 even if it is "only" children's writing. I'd love to attend the SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles.... if not this year, then definitely next. Something to aim for, at any rate.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Between her cold and the two molars that are erupting, poor BB has been feeling especially fragile for the past few days. She's been doing lots of crying, and she's added a particularly piercing shriek to her repertoire. "My Way or the Cry Way!" she seems to be insisting. Trouble is, we can't seem to figure out what her way would entail. Not that we haven't tried! But nothing seems to satisfy her at the moment.
It's had us all on edge, even BJ. This morning, he attempted to stop her crying by announcing he was going to do "A Number Show." (This consisted of lining up his numbers on the floor while he told us what was what.) BB was actually entertained, for all of three seconds or so. Anyway, I thought it was very sweet (even as my ears were ringing from her wailing).
Unfortunately, BJ's usual M.O. this week has been more trying than thoughtful. Lots of whining and crying and a few tantrums. Yesterday, he threw a huge fit simply because it was time to get dressed. In between wailing about how he wanted to keep on his pajamas, he sobbed to me, "Mommy don't be so frustrated!!!" Funny to recall in retrospect. But at the time I was about ready to shout back at him, "I wouldn't be frustrated at all if you'd just calm down!"
In happier news, my little niece (B3) seems to be doing much better. She'd been diagnosed with silent reflux, and the poor dear was really having a time of it. Difficulty putting on weight, lots of shattering crying (hey, maybe that's where BB picked it up!.... Nah.) The little one simply refused to be put down, especially for sleep, which meant my sister and her husband were getting very little sleep themselves, and I fear the whole household was nearing crisis. But their treatment plan seems to be making a difference now, much to everybody's relief. I was really worried about them for a while there.
Being sick this week has also really made me miss my family, especially my folks. (I wonder if I'll ever get over wanting my mom when I'm sick.....) Of course we just saw them, less than two weeks ago, but already it feels like ages since we've been together. BJ keeps talking about his Giki and Pop-pop, his cousin and auntie and uncle. It was so neat to see the three cousins together and imagine how they will grow up together.
Right now, the house is blessedly quiet. Both BB and BJ are taking naps -- a rare occurrence these days. He's gone from napping every other day to napping about every four or five days. I'm just enjoying the silence while it lasts.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
A more recent tradition of sorts -- though one that I haven't been able to do for a few years, now -- was my performing the poem I wrote about The Cake. Way back when, before kids , I was a regular performer at a local women's open mic, and one year I also gave this piece a go at the stage for one of the San Jose poetry slams. Since I won't be getting behind a microphone any time soon, I thought I'd share it here, in the spirit of the season. It works better as a spoken piece, but I'm not yet savvy (or brave) enough to get something prepped for YouTube. (Another "maybe next year" -- perhaps!)
Yogananda says, "God is Eternal Laughter"
I believe God is a woman, and She’s a helluva cook.
Her recipe box is full of stained and tattered index cards,
She has a flavor for every faith,
She gets invited to all of the potlucks,
and She never makes the same exact thing twice.
Her Angel Food Cake is divine....
But she doesn’t seem to spend much time in the kitchen these days.
It’s all been boxed up by Betty Crocker and processed
for easy consumption — a Devil’s Food Cake,
supposedly like mother made, but nothing like the real, dark deal.
One thing bothers me, though. If God’s a woman, why is chocolate
the flavor of sin? Is it because God is Love, and there’s that whole
chocolates and Valentines thing, and She gets pissed off
because nobody ever sends her any?
Note to self: next February, give God at least a pound of Godiva.
Such a thing as sending God a Valentine
wouldn’t seem strange in my family.
After all, every year my mother bakes a birthday cake for Christmas —
that’s right, in red gel icing, it says, "Happy Birthday Jesus,"
just like it would for a three-year-old. It’s a white cake, of course,
with the world’s best lemon filling, as sweetly sour as any sin,
and on Christmas Eve, we sing that silly birthday song
and eat each consecrated crumb, licking Heavenly
Seven Minute frosting from our fingers.
Oh, I admit it — a Happy Birthday Jesus cake
makes it sound a little like we’re a bunch of fundamentalist freaks
who like to wear glittery tee-shirts declaring, "He’s the Reason for the Season!" But that’s not it at all. In my family, we follow a dietary devotion.
You could say we put the pie in piety.
Let me tell you a little story about last year,
the first time my sister’s fiancé joined us for Christmas Eve.
He’d heard about the sacred cake, and he was noticeably nervous
when we gathered round and started singing,
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you..."
It was fine at first. After all, the start of the song is perfectly normal.
It’s that closing address, when you announce to whom you’re singing?
That’s when it gets a little weird. So we all started to sing more slowly,
because he was obviously uncomfortable with all this emphasis
on the divine instead of the delicious —
But God bless my mother, wielder of the sacrosanct wooden spoon,
she decided to put us all at ease. We’d all but stopped singing,
and then she took up the tune, in an unmistakable, breathy
Marilyn Monroe voice: "Happy Birthday, Mister Sav-i-or, Happy Birthday to You."
Yes, I believe God is a woman, and she must have a sense of humor
like my mother’s. Each of us is her own little inside joke,
and every time She laughs it is a blessing.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Not only is BB walking really well now, but she has taken to draping things over her shoulders or on top of her head while she toddles around the house. Playsilks, blankets, scarves.... whatever she comes across, she tries to use it to adorn herself. The first time she did it, she used one of our smaller playsilks, putting it right on top of her head. She immediately brought to mind the old man in MST 3K's short "Hired!", the one who inexplicably places a handkerchief atop his bald pate while holding forth about the intricacies of selling used cars.
The fact that S and I have both made this comparison to "Hired!" in recent days probably accounts, at least in part, for the duration of our marriage -- a decade so far and going strong. (Thank you, Joel et al.) Very few folks in our acquaintance these days would get the joke. Ours is a quirky sense of humor at times, overly reliant on obscure Mystery Science Theater references.... but it feels less lonely now that I know one can google "mst 3k short handkerchief on head" and bring up multiple relevant links. (Whether that's a good thing or not is another thing entirely.)
Anyway, BB was wandering about with her pink sleep sack on her head yesterday and I managed to snap a few pics for posterity. She seems to know she's being funny, which adds to the charm. Silly little girl!
Strange to see nothing but light
on the longest night of the year —
but everywhere I looked, my eyes laughed
dazzled by electric brilliance, sparkling
icicle lights where no icicles will ever freeze
much less melt — an everpresent glow,
the sodium glare, only a few stars visible
and the generous slice of the moon.
Most years, the darkness descends
like my grandmother’s cloak, surrounding
my shoulders and settling there for the season,
a sinister embrace, less like love than like loss,
not quite despair, but something quieter, less
intense and more pervasive. Dolor. Sorrow.
Something that flavors every touch of the tongue
to the teeth, every swallow, every breath,
every blink. Most years, it is tempting
to keep my eyes shut as long as possible
to sleep away the heavy hours of winter.
Hibernation has a wisdom all its own.
Bears know this. Reptiles too. There’s something
to be said for dreaming one’s way through
Instead, this year, I am an intrepid insomniac,
awake at almost any hour, unable to switch off
the unsubtle sussurations inside my skull
unable to settle in by your sleeping body
unable to gather the quilt around my throat
and savor the feline warmth of a cat curled
into my aching back. This year, the baby
wakes me, kicking, stretching, hiccuping
inside me. My hips hurt. My heart burns.
I pace through our small house like a feral cat,
nocturnal, stalking sleep.
Strange how the world winks by in the wee hours
when the sane people are asleep. Time turns on itself
thickens, thins, unpredictably. The art of quiet
consideration becomes an unconscious act,
and it feels like a secret time, separate from
the whirling world, apart from anything real
or rare. I would not seek out these hours
but now that I have them, I honor them
for their whispering moments, their starpoint
secrecy. There does not seem to be enough
of me to fill every second — even though
I am pregnant and twenty five pounds more
than I was six months ago, even though
there is a new consciousness carried within me,
miracle mystery, commonplace magic.
As wonderful and ordinary as season’s change,
as inexplicable and usual as sunrise,
the body cycling, world turning,
the miracle of leaves,
the mystery of the moon,
the blessing of my belly
heavy in my lap.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
He also informed me that in addition to the critters we could see, the pond contained alligators, crocodiles, and a sunfish. Apparently, in BJ's imagination, they also subsisted on tree droppings.
Every morning, BJ would ask to go down to the pond. It made me pretty anxious to see him darting around right next to a drop off into the water, but I tried not to let my jangled nerves show too much. Just being there brought this delighted grin immediately to his face, so it wasn't like I was going to forbid it entirely.
(In spite of the fall he took down the stairs his first day there. He's still talking about it. I wasn't there when it happened, but apparently he only slipped a little and got a bit of a scrape. Thank heavens -- it could have been a terrible tumble straight towards the water. Guess it was the week for falls that could have been much worse than they actually were.)
While BJ was hanging out at the pond, BB enjoyed the swing set that Grandpa D had built for the grandkids.
The weather was gorgeous -- 70's during the days we were there -- so we spent as much time as we could outdoors. It did my spirit good to be surrounded by so many beautiful trees. Both BJ and I did our share of tree hugging while we were there.
The flights out were actually enjoyable at times. BJ was happily occupied with his new books and felt board (especially his felt alphabet and the props for playing Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3; those letters climbed trees over and over again as we crossed the country.) The occasional lollipop treat worked wonders to keep him content when he tired of books and felt. BB spent much of her time on the boob or asleep -- breastfeeding makes airplane travel so much simpler!
BB was more of a challenge on the way home, since she'd started walking in Georgia and wanted to practice toddling everywhere. (As I'd predicted, the allure of the Christmas tree was exactly the motivation she needed to go from cruising to actual walking.) But really, aside from BJ's protests when he had to take off his shoes for security screening, the only travel hitch occurred yesterday when our connection in Vegas was held on the tarmac for an hour and a half because of maintenance issues.
This would have worked out fine, actually, since both BB and BJ had finally fallen asleep for much needed naps. With them both snoozing, we didn't really mind just sitting there on the airplane. But then the airline folks decided we needed to switch planes after all, so the plane headed back to the gate and we had to wake up both of them to haul all our stuff (and two unhappy kids) through the airport to another terminal. One would think they might be kind enough to return to a gate near the one from which we'd be departing. But no.
I will be forever grateful to a fellow passenger named Margaret, who saw us struggling with all our stuff and trying unsuccessfully to talk a sobbing BJ into walking. He's usually pretty pliable about these things, but he'd simply been pushed too far. With the exception of one afternoon, he hadn't been napping at all during the trip, and we'd had to wake him up at 4:30 a.m. in Delaware to leave for the airport. Cutting short his nap yesterday was just too much. But both S and I were loaded up, and BB was in the Sutemi carrier, so we couldn't carry BJ, the baby, and all our stuff. Margaret, bless her soul forever, offered to take BJ's carseat so that I could lug him through the airport. And once he was in my arms, he calmed immediately.
Between Margaret's timely help and a near-miss at the Atlanta airport, I'm beginning to believe in angels and magic more than I ever have before. (After we arrived in Atlanta, I was carrying BB in the Sutemi and had both carseats when I slipped and fell. On the concrete sidewalk. Straight forward, without any hands free to break my fall. I love babywearing, but I have always had a horrible fear of falling while one of the kids was in the carrier. Time did that warp thing that it does in moments of crisis and I somehow managed to wrench my left leg forward to catch most of the fall, but for a moment I was convinced BB had banged her head against the concrete. Thankfully, she hadn't, and the only damage was my badly bruised knee. But I swear, an invisible, magical hand of protection kept her precious little head from slamming straight against the ground, with all my weight on top of us both. I still shudder to think about it.)
I'd hoped to have time to visit with some friends while we were back east, but there was so much to do with family that I didn't even try. It was all I could do to squeeze in a trip to Main Street with my mom! We're still adjusting to West Coast time -- BB wanted to start the day at 3:30 a.m. (hey, it was 6:30 according to her internal clock, at least a good half-hour later than she usually wakes up!) and her naps have been horrible today. In fact, I think I hear her stirring right now. Alas.
And I fear that the lack of naps for BJ during the trip will mean the end of them entirely for him. Alas alack. He's refused to nap today. I'm thinking it's time to institute an afternoon Quiet Time. Between that and BB starting to walk, there are lots of changes around here. New challenges and joys as our family shifts from parents, baby and a toddler to the paradigmatic mom, dad, and two kids.
Or, as my mom likes to say, "It won't necessarily get easier, but it does get different."
Monday, December 3, 2007
(When we were on our way to the pancake breakfast yesterday, walking in the parking lot, he stopped and pointed to the ground. "K, Mommy," he said. Sure enough, there were two bent twigs on the ground, forming an uppercase "K." It was maybe an inch and a half high.)
A few times now, I've tried to explain how the days will be growing shorter until the Solstice, the longest night of the year. BJ is only just starting to grasp the concept of seasons, so the nuances of the shift from Yule to Midsummer are way beyond him. I think he thinks I'm telling him that he'll have less time to play and will need to go to bed earlier! In his world, daytime is playtime; night is for sleep. Which is why he keeps telling me it's daytime, even though it's starting to get dark outside. He still has hours left to entertain himself, thankyouverymuch.
All the parenting books suggest not overdoing the detail, but I'm a detail-oriented person, so it's a challenge not to leap into such technicalities as the tilt of the Earth's axis or the turning of the wheel of the year. I have to keep reminding myself to simply try to answer the questions as they come. "Name what season it is getting to be," he often asks. He loves hearing me repeat that it's autumn and soon to be winter. "Leaves go kaboom!" he'll say, informing me that the leaves hit the ground just like numbers in Chicka Chicka 123.
This morning, on the way to our friend A's house for a playdate, there was a glorious golden ginkgo tree. Both BJ and I noticed it. Bright yellow leaves carpeted the sidewalk all around. If we hadn't already been running late, I would have stopped the car and hauled us all out to revel in the color. It would have been a nice daytime thing to do.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
He was saying exactly that when the picture was taken. As you can see, he doesn't yet understand how eye contact can help him make a persuasive case. But he was quite sincere. He's been asking for this toy since he played with it at a friend's house back in October. This isn't too surprising, given his love of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and all things alphabetical.
BB was much less enthusiastic about her time with Santa. As soon as S put her down on Santa's lap, she wanted right back up again!
(S said it looks like she's making a free throw; she's really just reaching for her daddy.) At least she didn't go into hysterics. I've seen some kids get really upset by Santa, and I didn't ever want to put my own through that.
Our visit was part of our annual playgroup pancake breakfast -- which we had to miss last year because BJ was sick -- so it was wonderful to avoid the hassle of long lines and mall crowds and the like. Nice and laid back.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
But especially since motherhood blanketed my life like a blizzard, I've been really hard pressed to read anything of import beyond the weekly New Yorker issues. (And parenting books.) In a very real way, they have kept me connected to the adult world. A path I keep digging through the falling snow, if you will.
And every once in a while, my mommy self and the adult self find themselves in powerful synchronicity, face to face in the pages of the magazine. (Like finding two similar snowflakes, if I want to push the metaphor. A rarity, but not as impossible as was once imagined.)
Case in point -- this amazing poem by Louise Gluck.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
This week she also began saying "Mama!" (Or something very, very like.) It's a little hard to tell, because she's constantly issuing interjections that use an "a" vowel sound. In addition to saying "Ba!" (for ball) she loves to exclaim, "Bwa! Vwa! Da!!" Usually while pointing emphatically towards something out of her reach.
It's as though she's going through the day saying, "That! That! OOh, That!"
In other news, still no penny in the diaper..... Sigh.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
It started when BJ refused to take a nap, so S had him do quiet playtime instead. About 20 minutes into quiet playtime, I heard BJ choking and gagging. I ran in and found him with a handful of coins.
"Are you OK? What happened?" I asked in a panic.
BJ, grinning, replied, "You swallowed a coin!"
Somehow, he'd managed to quietly climb up to a high shelf where we've been keeping his "coin jar" (a plastic bouillon container pressed into use as an interim piggy bank). Yes, this is BJ we're talking about, our child who (supposedly) is not a climber. He'd unscrewed the lid and strewn the coins all over his bed. A quarter was clutched in his hand.
Oh shit, ohshit, I'm thinking as I scooped up coins and monitored his breathing. "What color was it?"
"Brown," he informed me, still quite proud of himself.
He was breathing normally at that point, and there was no sign of the coin in his mouth, so I called the Kaiser nurse line. They said to bring him in for an X-ray. Thank heaven S was home from campus and able to stay with BB while I took BJ to the emergency room. It could have been so much worse.
We were "only" at the emergency room for about two hours, all told, and sure enough, there was the tell-tale circle on the X-ray.
It had passed through his stomach already, which was good news. (Apparently it's most worrisome if the penny gets stuck in the esophagus or stomach, and it can be a big problem if it is a penny minted after 1982. Those have a higher zinc content, and if they get stuck in the body they can produce chemicals as toxic and corrosive as car battery acid.)
The doctor said we should find it in his diaper in the next two days, and if we don't then we'll go back in for a followup X-ray.
When I got home and showed S the discharge form, I had to smile at least a little bit. In the instructions to patient, the doctor had actually written, "Don't put coins in mouth."
I'm sure this is the kind of thing we'll laugh about, someday. But right now I'm a frazzled mess. And perhaps the most frustrating thing is that BJ is laughing about it now. While we were at the hospital, on the ride home, and during dinner, he kept giggling about "BJ and the coin! BJ and the coin!"
I've heard this laughter before, when I lose my cool at him. I'm now convinced that this laughter is a nervous response, a release. It isn't meant to push my buttons. Even so, it does. There's just something about being laughed at when you're absolutely furious. Of course I found myself growling at him: "It's NOT FUNNY." Which simply made him laugh all the harder.
When I was growing up, my sister and I had a habit of laughing at my mom when she'd yell at us. If you got her really worked up, the capillaries on my mom's face would become more visible. One in particular, on her left eyelid if I recall correctly, would look uncannily like the number 19.
"Nineteen! Nineteen!" my sister and I would cackle, pointing.
Now all I can say is, Mom, I'm so sorry. So very sorry! At least I only required one childhood visit to the E.R., though, so perhaps today I paid off the karma for that. (I hope so.) They took me in because I insisted I'd been bitten by "a jumping, biting, flying frog." My mom had interpreted this as a toddler's description of a bat and was convinced I needed rabies shots. Apparently, when we got to the hospital, I informed the doctor that I had merely been stung by a bee.
I guess I should be feeling happy that BJ told me the truth. It will be interesting to see if he was absolutely honest -- of course, when we find it, the coin will indeed be "brown." So in one sense, at least, he can't be wrong.
Then I'll just have to decide if I should soak it in bleach and save it for the baby book, along with the X-ray!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Apparently, when S went in to get him this morning, BJ brandished his sippy cup, took a drink, and announced dramatically, "Mmm! Breakfast in Bed!"
Saturday, November 24, 2007
S went to try to calm him, but he was inconsolable and insisted that I come instead. So I popped BB off the boob (of course she'd woken too and started nursing) gave her to S to calm down, and tried to figure out what was going on with BJ. He kept sobbing about flies and bees in his room, wanting me to make them go away.
He's shown some fear of flies (and bees) so we've taught him to shoo them away, but that wasn't working this time. He'd calm down only to get all worked up again, but there were no bees or flies anywhere to be seen. What on earth had he been dreaming about, I wondered.
The fourth or fifth time I got him calmed down again, I heard it: a very slight buzzing noise. BJ heard it too and began to fuss, but my laughter got his attention instead.
"Sweetie, it's fine. It isn't a bee or a fly," I said, shaking my head.
"You want mommy to name what that noise is," he said, still unsure.
I pointed to the cat, curled up by his feet. "Socks is snoring," I explained.
Satisfied, BJ settled back to sleep, and I went back to deal with his sister the all-night nurser. Who knew that a cat's snore sounded so much like a buzzing bee?
Friday, November 23, 2007
Interesting binteresting... I'm in love with being a wife and mama. It's my most favorite thing in the world, and we'd love to have a HUGE family, as many children as God sends us. I love to 'be prepared' and read up on things just for the sake of knowing them, like different methods of teaching kids to read, even though I am not going to really need that knowledge for a few more years. I love to try things just to see if I can do them, in every area, from sewing to cooking to shooting targets! I just like the challenge. Ha, I have a lot of 'love', don't I? I'm thoroughly enjoying life.
At the moment mostly Waldorf-inspired dolls and all-in-one cloth diapers. Other things make their appearance from time to time; as I work on different projects in my own home I share them through my Etsy shop.
Family life. Most things come from our family having a need or a want and not being able to find *quite* the right thing in the store. So I figure out how to make what we need, then enjoy sharing it with everyone else.
I started sewing back when I was little, my mom would let me make 'quilts' out of fabric scraps. I had a My Little Pony kiddie sewing machine that really worked, and boy did I use it! I graduated to my grandmother's machine sometime in high school and started reading quilting books and clothing patterns and inched my way at becoming proficient at sewing. Now I'm finally to a point (after much trial and error) where I can dream up a project and sew it up with only minimal seam ripping.
My favorite item in my shop right now is actually a set, my Mommy and Me Aprons- They are just fun to make, the fabric is amazing, and I love to imagine the family time that will be had with a special mama-daughter pair while wearing them.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
Happy, crafty, loving
I love that there is such support for hand made items. It's nice to be around others who appreciate handmade things rather than think they are not up to par with store-bought.
Everything in my store is custom tailored to my individual family and our needs.
For people selling, I'd advise them to love what they do. Being passionate about a product that you make really shows. For people buying, I'd encourage communication with the sellers. Most of us *are* passionate about our products, and we love feedback and questions!
My blog, and you can also find me on Hyena Cart.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
So far, it only works if I'm actually touching her, and it's rather difficult to do quality deep breathing while hunched over the portacrib. But it's good to have another possible tool to work with.
We've also stopped using the white noise and have replaced it with lullaby music. It had reached the point where I could hear every repeated, digitized pop, buzz, and pattern in the noise machine's recording, and it was driving me batty. I find it much easier to listen to Bobby McFerrin sing "Common Thread" over and over and over. And it's good music to breathe by.
She wanted nothing to do with it, of course. Instead, BJ has been asking to hang out there. He was there for a good half hour today, reading his dictionary.
Wouldn't you know it, but as soon as he got in, BB crawled over and started pulling up and fussing. I put her in with him, but she'd have none of it; I put her back outside, and she started crying again, pressing her little hands against the mesh. Truth be told, I think BJ got a peverse pleasure out of being able to tick off his sister just by sitting somewhere she couldn't get to him.
BB wouldn't stop until I took her into the other room and entertained her with stacking blocks. Seems as long as she couldn't see him, she was fine. (Yep, still working on object permanence!) And BJ got a little peace, which is rare these days while his sister is awake.
Too bad they don't make one big enough for me to hide in!
Friday, November 16, 2007
I'm not usually an angry person, which makes it even worse. Most of this is exhaustion, I'm absolutely sure of it. I'm just tapped out. The reserves, such as they were, are gone.
When folks ask me how I'm doing these days, my typical answer is, "Things are really good! Except for sleep. Or lack thereof," I'll shrug. "And you know how it is -- sleep affects everything else." It's honest, and more acceptable than screaming, "I'm so tired I'd do almost anything for a full night's sleep!"
BB continues to wake every 2 to 3 hours throughout the night, on a good night, and she rarely naps for more than 40 minutes at a stretch. Her fifth and sixth teeth are coming in together (both on top, which seems to cause more teething issues than the lower gum) and she's on the cusp or walking, so the double whammy of developmental stuff and pain is just making it impossible for her to settle and stay settled. Plus I think she's on a growth spurt. Wouldn't ya know it.
We are still co-sleeping, though BB naps and starts off the night in a portable crib in our room. S does what he can, bless him, but I dread the nighttime. Just thinking about it makes me furious sometimes.
I've been re-reading The No-Cry Sleep Solution, parts of which have brought me to tears. "Even the most connected and loving parent can get pushed to anger by severe sleep deprivation" (p. 208). Yup.
I'm so exhausted I can't even gather up the energy to start implementing her solutions. I know that many of her tips helped with BJ, and I take an enormous amount of comfort from the fact that he is now sleeping through the night. I really don't want to get to the point where CIO sounds like a good idea for BB, but I find it interesting that even The No-Cry Sleep Solution has a section that is essentially a gentler, kinder version of crying it out. I must have skimmed this with BJ, or I just forgot about it.
I have to say, that section seems more and more to be speaking to me: "If you are ready to give up, if you are geared up to toss this book and all my ideas out the window and just let your baby cry it out, then this section is written for you. Dr. Sears calls the place where you are 'the danger zone' and he warns that if your baby's nighttime routine is making you angry, and making you resent your baby, something must change" (pp. 210-211).
Resentment? Well.... not sure I'm ready to slap that label on things just yet.
But angry, definitely.
I was feeling horribly guilty about that anger -- getting more and more angry, because I was angry. Talk about a feedback loop. I couldn't seem to stop it. I'd either push down what I was feeling, which meant it would pop back up later when I was least able to deal with it, or I'd allow myself to be pissed but feel wretched for doing so.
Then I started reading the title for my playgroup's next book discussion: Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles. She points out, "It's important to know that anger is often a second emotion. Before it, you've usually experienced a "first feeling," such as frustration, disappointment, fear or sadness." (p. 46)
Seems I'm full of "first feelings" these days. And I'm too tired to think about them clearly, much less deal with them adequately, so they just build up. She also explains the physiological basis of anger, which I found oddly comforting:
"Wrestling with our own anger means taking on Mother Nature. Anger isn't just about free-floating emotions. It's physiological. Our bodies are actually finely tuned 'reaction machines.' When confronted with threatening or frustrating situations, stress hormones surge through our body, triggering the brain to be ready for 'fight or flight.'
If you pay close attention, you can actually feel the stress hormones collecting in your body. The reaction is cumulative. Wake up in the morning thinking about all the things you have to do, and the stress hormones start to flow. Your teeth and hands clench. Neck muscles squeeze your spine. Shoulders tighten. Arms ache. Your body is on alert. The gates are open.... You can feel the tension rising [when] you urge [your child] to hurry. It's when she asks you to help her find her notebook that you lose it. Suddenly, seemingly without warning, her simple request turns you into a shrieking shrew. The stress hormones have built to volcanic proportions. You blow.
....You've been emotionally hijacked. Your stress hormones have created what's called 'neural static.' You can't think straight, much less see this situation as an opportunity to connect with your child and teach her how to work with you. Instead you react instinctively and reflexively." (pp. 37-38)
So "neural static" has become a mantra of sorts this week. When I'm about to lose it, I try to pause and retune the mental radio station. It doesn't always work, and sometimes when it does the static is replaced with blaring, furious, dissonant bass. I've not yet managed to find the station that plays calming New Age elevator music. But it's a start.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
BB said her first word today. "Ball!" Actually, it's more like "Baa!" but the intention is quite clear, and she repeated it several times throughout the day, just in case we missed it the first time. Balls have been a toy of choice for quite some time now, particularly the juggling balls, so this isn't too surprising. She especially likes crawling around with one of the juggling balls in her mouth, and now she's taking to trying to stand up with one clenched in her teeth.
Technically, "Hi" was probably her first word, which she's been approximating for many weeks now, but that one crept in so gradually (and really is more of just an excited exclamation when she sees us) that we didn't really count it. So ball it is.
Given how active she is, I wouldn't be surprised if we have a future athelete on our hands!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
With great glee, he then ran off to where we keep the alphabet puzzles, came back with a fistful of letters, and started lining them up on the gate in the kitchen doorway. At first, he'd spelled out "DOT," but he knew that wasn't quite right.
He calls out, "BJ wants Mommy to know how to spell Don't."
I tell him. He runs off to get the N, and I go get the camera.
He also came back with the F and wanted to spell out the rest of the phrase, which led to a bit of trouble -- not enough room on the gate, and not enough letters to go around. So the game was abandoned, but not before the rooster made several more declarations. (Said rooster is also perched on the gate, naturally.)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
She's also been "dancing" a lot lately. If she notices music playing, or sometimes even if you just talk about dancing with her in an enthusiastic voice, she'll clasp her hands and rock or sway. (Sometimes it's a remarkable resemblance to Stevie Wonder, without the dark glasses.) A friend of mine saw her doing her dancing and remarked that she'll probably grow up to be a ballerina. But with this new game she seems to enjoy so much, I'm wondering if headbanging isn't more likely....
In other exciting news, she's now signing "mama"! She does it as a cheek pat, and it just melts me to see her grinning at me and making the sign. (Which is, it occurs to me, actually more headbanging. It's a good thing she's not one of those kids who bashes her head on the side of the crib, or I'd be worried!) Other new signs she's attempting this week: "light," "fish," and "cat." We also think she may be saying "cat," which would be funny since "kee-ka" (kitty cat) was BJ's first word.
Friday, November 9, 2007
What do you sell in your Etsy shop? Baby and toddler apparel but lately I've narrowed my market to baby leg warmers
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? creative, fun, petite
What do you like about Etsy? What don't I? I love the fact that everything is handmade. It just showcases creativity!
What makes your shop unique? I like to use stylish prints and fun colors that re-define "baby"
Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations? http://www.petitdebutant.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
"That's the head," I reply, and sure enough he immediately lets me know its name is "Heddie."
But my favorite so far is the sunfish (which we saw at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an enormous, magnificent creature that impressed BJ quite a bit). This morning he asked me for a story about the sunfish and told me its name was "Horny." To be fair, the fins on this thing do look remarkably like horns....
BJ has also developed a new verbal tic. Instead of saying "ummm" or "uhhh" to fill space as he thinks about what to say next, he's saying, "And and and..." I find this incredibly endearing. Sometimes it's just the "d" sound repeated under his breath. I can all but see the wheels whirring in his mind when he does this, processing the abundance of the world and the words that go along with it, trying to get everything arranged so he knows how to tell us what he wants.
And and and.... the really funny thing is, I'm finding myself doing it too.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
This week, he started challenging me about the use of the word "dogie" ... as in the line, "Closing his eyes as the dogies retire." BJ insisted, vociferously and repeatedly, that it was "doggie." As in small dog. "Doggie, mama! Not dogie, DOGGIE!!!"
After singing this song nightly (sometimes more than once a night) for more than two years, I knew there was no way I'd be able to rewrite the memory on the lyrics to suit his toddler whim. So the second night this happened, I stopped singing and explained to him that a dogie is a small calf. The "young cowboy" was watching the young calves, the "dogies," as they went to sleep (retired).
It took a few nights of explaining, but he has now accepted this and murmurs to himself at the appropriate time in the song, telling himself with a smile that the right word is dogies, that it's about the little calf and the cowboy. He loves knowing this. One more brick of knowledge to add to the foundation he's building, I suppose.
Tonight, he tried to correct me on another word in the song. The line, "He works in the saddle and he sleeps in the canyon" should be, according to BJ, "He walks in the saddle..." Before he could get really strident about this, I stopped and explained what a saddle was, how it was the cowboy's job to ride on the horse in the saddle. He couldn't very well walk in a saddle, now could he? Of course not. (Thank goodness the child does not yet know about saddle shoes.)
Satisfied, at least for tonight, BJ let me finish the song with the correct words. But I imagine it's only a matter of time now before he starts asking about "And as the moon rises, he sits by his fire. Thinking about women and glasses of beer...." I can hear it now. "Name what the young cowboy thinking about, mommy!"
I think I can talk my way out of that one. But now I'm worrying about the lyrics to the other lullaby of choice, "Stay Awake."
Heaven help me if he starts to take it literally!
Stay awake, don't rest your head
Don't lie down upon your bed
While the moon drifts in the skies
Stay awake, don't close your eyes.
Though the world is fast asleep
Though your pillow is soft and deep
You're not sleepy as you seem
Stay awake, don't nod and dream.
Stay awake, don't nod and dream.
Friday, November 2, 2007
I've delivered babies that wouldn't wait for the OB doc. Ex-RN after a car crash left me too damaged to return. Homeschooled 2 boys 3rd grade to graduation.
What do you sell in your Etsy shop?
Baby Booties, hats, mitts, diaper shirts, ponchos, young children to older kids apparel and accessories as well as some items for adults.
What inspires your creations?
The yarn. I love working with different fibers and all the wonderful colors available.
Tell me a bit about your creative process and/or how you learned to do what you do.
I learned to crochet when I was 9. My mother taught me the basics after the optometrist said my eyes needed focus exercises.
I started free form crocheting back then and continue creating in this manner. I do like learning new stitches, play around with them and see what it inspires me to make.
What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?
The Autumn Afghan. The color, the season, an item that makes me feel at peace every time I look at it. If it doesn't sell soon, I'll probably be wrapping myself in it as the temps get cooler outdoors.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
sensitive, stubborn, family-oriented
What do you like about Etsy?
The Etsy Dreamers that built the site and all that have come along and are working to keep that dream alive. A diverse community of people selling and helping others to achieve a part of that pie.
What makes your shop unique?
I don't consider my shop unique. Perhaps, like all the other shops it's the unseen faces and stories behind the scenes is where the true uniqueness would be found. For me, the creations are an expression of the people making them.
What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?
~Sellers: Believe in yourself, love what you do, learn as much as you have time to learn, live life away from the pc occasionally, promote everywhere you can. Don't fret if sales are slow. It's hard I know, it seems many of us are in need of a cashflow.
~Buyers: Read profiles, feedback and don't be afraid to contact sellers with requests or questions.
Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations (please include a link)?