Monday, June 30, 2008

A Family Bed

Rusty is home. My bed is full again. I am a happy woman. Norah woke up at midnight Sunday night which is very rare. Rusty and I had just settled in to go to sleep when she began crying. She didn't stop after about ten minutes so I crossed the house and brought her back to bed. I laid her down to feed her and drifted off snuggled up with the two people I love most in this world. I woke up the next morning with Norah's tiny feet dug into my thighs and Rusty's cold feet pressed against mine. I love my family.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hopefully I Will Get to Sleep Tonight

Oh. My. Gosh.
At this time tomorrow Rusty and I will both be at home, him having returned from camp, me having returned from work.
I haven't been this excited since April 6, 2008.

He better bring me a present.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Python Pants: That Would Be Funny

Ok. This whole business with Rusty being at camp and Norah and me being here? Not so fun anymore. It was fun for a few days, I went all crazy with the coffee ice cream and sleeping in and co-sleeping (I know. Scandal of scandals). But it's not fun anymore. I'm lonely now.

But I did get a massage yesterday and went shopping where I found an awesome pair of trouser jeans (On SALE!) that inexplicably fit me even though they are a size six and no other size six on the face of this green earth fit me. Also, I found the pair of red ballet flats that I have been dreaming about, only they are real and I can buy them instead of just dream about them.

Google! Send me my check!

Here are my swanky pants and here are my (soon to be) python shoes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Look Back

When I look at this picture of Norah and me about a week after she was born, I think two things.

First I think, "Holy Liver Function! How did we not know that Norah had jaundice?! She looks like a pumpkin."

Then I think, "Holy Double Chin! That is one pudgy mama. I'm a giant compared to my baby."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nothing Like Retaliation

Rusty is at camp, climbing rocks and blobbing and getting a tan and probably doing the sherpa trek which is like, one of the coolest things I have ever done.
Pshaw. Youth pastors. They suck.

In his absence I would like to confess to something. Something evil and dark and sinister. Something I may regret confessing soon after the initial...confession.

I am letting Norah sleep in my bed while Rusty is not here. *Gasp* I know! Am evil! Am crazy! Will reap the benefits of this when Norah is 27 and still wants to sleep with her mama!

But really? I hate going to bed when Rusty is not here. After nearly two years of sleeping in the same bed, you get used to have that warm body next to you. You get used to waking up with no covers because that warm body has stolen them. You get used to that warm body's freezing feet and the occasional head-butt. And when that warm body is gone, you feel weird going to bed by yourself. Lonely.

So I am sharing my bed with my warm baby so she can kick me and I can hear her breathing and so I can nuzzle her fuzzy little head.

Take that you stinky Youth Pastor! I'm getting a massage tomorrow too and there is nothing you can do about it!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Thousand Different Faces

Norah would like to say hello to all the lovely ladies who outed
themselves as lurkers.

Here she is in her swinging rainforest just before losing all
composure and wailing.

Here she is with her riduculous butt-ruffle shorts.

Norah thinks her daddy is funny.

Smiling baby.

Here is Norah and Ox, her monster doll. Also, a perfect picture
of that hilarious finger sucking.

I made Norah wear this outfit one more time

even though it was too small. I love this outfit!

Tummy time.

Woe and angst.

Seriously, thanks to everyone for saying hello. And please continue to say hello if you would like. Also, I hate the riduculous formatting problems that I have with blogger with the fire of a thousand bottle of Lousiana hot sauce. However, I wouldn't feel like fixing them even if I knew how to fix them. So, we'll just have to deal with them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Five Step Plan

The fact that money does not grow on trees has recently become very frustrating for me.

First, I have a limited number of clothes that fit me as the clothes I wore last summer and fall are all a solid three sizes smaller. Bah, baby-bearing hips. Mama is tired of wearing maternity jeans!

Second, I have been hit with a sudden and insatiable urge to organize and decorate our house. This takes money, money that I do not have, money that DOES NOT GROW ON TREES! Do you have any idea how annoying it is to have glorious plans for making your house a home and then remembering that, Oh yes, I am poor.

Third, I have this crazy idea to start a little side business. I cannot share the details of this side business because I am not sure if it is an actual thing I could do or if it is another of those dreams that seem to come out of nowhere and have no substance. Regardless, whether this is a real attainable side business or a half-formed hallucination I need money to start it. Or try it. Or whatever.

Fourth, I need me a trim. A trim baby! And possibly a pedicure.

I have developed several schemes for getting myself some dollars. Here they are.

First: Go back to work. The most obvious and probably easiest. However I cannot bring myself to leave my Norah for extended periods of time, especially since I will probably be going back to school in August and leaving her nearly every day. I will be working one day a week at the shelter, only eight hours. I also have monthly meetings that I have to attend, but can probably bring Norah to those. So....crazy shelter kids with your crazy ideas giving me crazy stories to tell? Here I come!

Second: Write something good and geddit published. Would also be helpful in attaining my goal to be a real-live writer person, however gedding published is easier said than done.

Third: Sell the clothes that do not fit and/or I do not wear and/or are just plain not good for Sadie. I did my own little What Not To Wear today. Stacy and Clinton should be proud. Finally something good came from watching TV.

Fourth: Sell my kidney.

Fifth: The blog. Oh the blog. Why does the pay-per-click take so stinking long to make any money? On that note, I would really appreciate if my lurking readers would make themselves known. If you read semi-regularly would you please leave a comment and tell me who you are, how I know you, how you found the blog, etc. That would be great. I want to know you lurkers!!

*Edit* Um, in no way should this be construed as a ploy to get people to send me money. I just needed to vent my frustration about not being paid simply to be alive. Also, I need a trim, baby. Not a trim baby.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Would You Like to Know What Is Causing Me Grief?

Let me tell you.

1. I spent over $200 at Babies R Us and have no idea how. Thank goodness for that giftcard.
2. Money does not grow on trees.
3. Despite a two day run of sleeping during the day Norah has decided, once again, that it is much more fun to stay awake ALL DAY lest she miss something.
4. My house is dirty again. Stupid house.
5. 2 months later and I'm STILL fighting with my pants.
6. I decided to grow out my hair. So to fight back my hair has decided to look ugly every day of my life.
7. I believe I have developed the black lung. I have no idea how I have developed the black lung seeing as I have not spent even one minute in a coal mine.
8. Stupid summer and its stupid no shows on TV.

Obviously I am very cranky right now. But on the up side, I got to eat delicious crab at lunch today. Mmmmm, crab crab crab.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Naked Arms

Some people, when they don't wear a watch, say that they feel naked without it. Rusty says he feels naked if he doesn't have his keys in his pocket.

I don't wear a watch and I rarely put my keys in my pockets.

On Saturday I took Norah to the mall with my mom. I put Norah in the stroller, put my diaper bag on the handles of the stroller and then let my mom push her. I was thinking I would feel free, exhilarated by the ability to swing my arms however I chose to without the fear of whacking Norah's head on things, or jolting her unexpectedly and making her arms jump out and eyes get big in that really sad way. However, I was struck with this weird empty feeling. I tried putting my hands in my pockets, crossing my arms, putting my hands on top of my head...nothing worked. I just felt empty. And maybe almost naked without my Norah or my stroller or my diaper bag.

In a similar vein, I have no idea what to do with this baby who suddenly takes long naps during the day, having spent the past two months with a baby who prefers to nap thirty minutes every three hours and spend the rest of the day requiring mama to walk in a bouncing fashion all around the house. Not kidding, she's slept like a total of five hours today. I really don't know what to do with myself.

The free time! Is strange and foreign and feels a little like shoes that are beautiful but a size too big.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Big 2

Norah is officially two months old as of Saturday.

Two months! The time has gone by so quickly. At this rate I fully expect to be a grandma by next week.

Two month olds are awesome. Do you know what they do?

Two month olds smile at their mamas. In Norah's mind I am the prettiest, funniest person in the world. And if that doesn't make your heart swell a little then you have a lump of coal where your heart should be. All it takes is a little eyebrow raising, a little smiling, a little carseat song singing, and I've got big toothless grins shooting at me.

Two month olds talk to their mamas. No seriously. She talks all the time.

Two month olds flirt like crazy. She smiles and bats her beautiful lashes at men, mostly old men which is kind of worrisome but also abusrdly endearing.

Two month olds sleep like 8 hours in a row. Makes for happy parents.

Two month olds know exactly what they want and when they want it. Woe to you if you don't deliver within seconds of the first request.

Two month olds are much heavier in their carseat than newborns in their carseat. Ten pounds of baby plus, like 75 pounds of carseat, equals lots of sweating and possibly swearing.

Two months olds don't barf as much.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

8 Weeks

Dear Norah

I woke up at 5 o'clock Sunday morning to hail and one of the loudest stinking claps of thunder I have ever heard in my entire life. Your daddy woke up too and the first thing he said to me was, "Do you want to get Norah?" To which I replied a frantic "YES! But will you come with me?" And then we scampered across the house to your room and I scooped you up and took you back to bed with us. Less than five minutes later the storm was almost gone but I knew that was the day I would have to begin writing your next letter. I don't know how I feel about your penchant for thunderstorms because thunderstorms tend to scare the pants off me.

Anyway, you are 8 weeks old. I don’t want to say you are 2 months old yet because you will not be 2 months old until June 7th which is still a few days away. But 8 weeks ago you were born. Did you know that babies don’t come with directions? They don’t. Your daddy and I got to bring you home from the hospital without a set of directions which is strange considering the sling your Gia bought for me to carry you around in not only came with written directions, but also visual directions on a DVD. But you? You did not come with an owner’s manual.

Now, I thought I was pretty baby savvy having taken care of babies before. But when we brought you home 24 hours after you were born, it occurred to me that I had no idea what to do with you. So it was all good until you started to cry and wouldn’t stop and all I wanted to do was go to sleep. Then I started to break into a million pieces and when your daddy took you to your room to see if he could calm you down I bawled. I cried hard. And then when I was done crying I said to myself, “It will get easier. It won’t always be this hard.”

I was so right.

This month you and I have gotten used to one another and we have developed something of a pattern. Every morning you wake around 6am after sleeping for 6 hours straight. That alone is pretty incredible because I fully expected never to sleep more than 3 hours at a time again. So, you wake up at 6 and I feed you and then you go back to sleep until 9 or sometimes 10. Occasionally you spend about an hour grunting and punching me in the face while you are still sleeping. That is pretty obnoxious but also hilarious. Then around 9 or 10 we get up and spend the next few hours eating and singing and you kick your legs and punch your arms. Morning is my favorite time with you because you are so dang happy and smiley in the mornings. After that that we do various things until your daddy comes home, and then we do various other things until you go to sleep at midnight.

I discovered this month that you need your alone time. One day I couldn’t get you to stop crying no matter what I did. No matter what song I sang, how fast I bounced on the exercise ball, how many circles I walked in, how many times I offered you food or changed your diaper you would not stop crying. So I set you down in the Boppy and left you alone. And waddayaknow, you immediately stopped crying started kicking your legs and smiling. Now you get your daily alone time, which is nice because every once in a while I have to go to the bathroom, or get more coffee, or eat, and it’s nice knowing that you are totally ok with being by yourself.

A few days ago I remembered the Christmas present your Aunt Wendi and Uncle Philip gave you, a jungle gym mat thingy. Considering your love of alone time I thought you might enjoy this toy so I whipped it out. You LOVE it. Your dad is very smart and moved the ring that hangs right over your head low enough that you can reach it. You accidentally punched it once and after hearing the rattling and seeing it move, you stared at it for a good two minutes. I swear you didn’t even blink. I can’t wait until you figure out that you can control your arms and you can punch things on purpose.

I tell you all this to let you know how things have gotten easier. We’ve gotten to know one another, and I don’t doubt myself so much. I was given permission from other people (namely your grandmas) and given permission from myself to trust what I felt was right. Last month was great, and this month has been great too. Just great and easier.

Norah you have such a personality. You laugh and you smile and you flirt with men at Wal-Mart and the Gap (No I am not kidding). You get sad and you get angry and you are stinking hilarious. You are ticklish and you love to bounce. You get a little overwhelmed around lots of loud people (its ok, I do too) and you love music. Also, you are awesome.

This month I had to learn a hard lesson. I went back to work and leaving your for an 8 hour stretch was scary and hard. I was sure that you were going to cry for all 8 hours and that your daddy was going to get really frustrated with you and by the time I got home the whole house would have exploded from the crying and the frustration and the woe. I cried three times before leaving for work and when I was driving I had an awful sick feeling in my stomach. But as I got further down the road I took a deep breath and I said to myself “You have to let go”. You see Norah, I know your dad can take perfectly good care of you. I knew there was no reason why you would cry for 8 hours straight, you had plenty of food and you take a bottle well and you love your daddy. But I was still afraid, and I don’t know that I can really explain why. I suppose leaving you meant that I couldn’t control what happened to you and that was really scary for me. I suppose I think that I can take better care of you than anyone else because I suppose I think I love you more than anyone else. I suppose I want to keep you all to myself and never share you with anyone.

But I had to let go a little bit. Since that day I have prayed regularly that God would remind me of a few things. I pray that he will help me keep my priorities straight, help me remember that he has got to come first in my heart and that your daddy has to come second in my heart. You, my baby, are a close third. I pray that God will give me wisdom in how to care for and raise you. I pray that you will grow up knowing how much you are loved. And I pray that I will not forget that you have been God’s baby much longer than you have been my baby and that I will never be able to love you the way he does.

Letting go is hard for me, but I know that a little letting go will make me a better mama in the end.

So, this month I have felt a little less crazy, a little more comfortable and less overwhelmed. You still amaze me everyday and sometimes I am caught off guard with how beautiful you are and how big my love for you is.

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Motherhood: How to Freak Yourself Out in Three Easy Steps!

I decided early in my pregnancy that I was not going to read too much about being pregnant. I quickly discovered that it was way too easy for me to sit around reading books and articles about a 'normal' pregnancy and then to go berserk because my pregnancy wasn't 'normal' and surely my baby was going to be born with two heads and webbed fingers. I wasn't going to subject myself to that because the more I read, the more I began to think that the world was a dangerous place for a pregnant woman, a world full of alcohol and shellfish and deli meat and caffeine and contraction inducing herbs.

Sure, if I had a question I would look it up in a book or online. Of course I have a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting and of course I've read through it and of course I think the chapter about when things go wrong should be removed and burned. But as a general rule, I didn't sit around reading about being pregnant because I really didn't feel like driving myself crazy.

Oh if I had only remembered that wisdom when Norah was born.

We received two books when Norah was born. They are both good books, but give COMPLETELY opposite advice on how to parent your baby. So for the first two weeks or so I was sitting around reading these books for fun and suddenly, after being drenched in parenting advice from two COMPLETELY different perspectives I went a little crazy. I was stuck in some awful limbo. On the one hand I thought if I wasn't constantly holding Norah that I was losing her trust and she was failing to thrive. On the other hand I felt like I couldn't pick her up when she was crying unless I checked the book first, unless I went through a checklist of ok reasons to hold my baby. I was terrified that she wasn't eating enough, that she was eating too often, that she was never going to learn to latch on correctly since I was still using a nipple shield. I was afraid that her throwing up was a sign of a serious problem. I was afraid that I was going to raise an overly dependent child because she was still sleeping in my bed.

In short, I was driving myself nuts reading those books.

And then something beautiful happened. Norah started to figure out life in this world. She started eating about every three hours. She started sleeping between 5 and 7 hours a night. I started to be able to decipher what different sounding cries meant. She began nursing well whether I use the shield or not. I realized that it's ok to let her cry sometimes, and that she may cry a little when she goes to sleep (though I will not let her lay in her crib and scream until she falls asleep).

One day I got out of the shower and told myself to stop reading those stupid books. Yeah, I'll read them when looking for something specific, but I won't allow myself to sit around reading them for fun. Those books really came in handy when Norah's eye started gooping up (her tear duct is blocked, no big deal) and when I needed to know about how much she should be eating at 8 weeks. But I won't let a book parent my baby. And I will not allow some stuffy pediatrician who has never met me or Norah, some silly words on a page, make me feel like I am failing as a mother. Giving myself permission to trust myself was incredibly empowering.

So if I was going to give advice to new mamas (you know, since I am a wise old veteran of 8 weeks) it would be to trust yourself more. We mamas have instincts for a reason, and it is ok to listen to them, even if those instincts go against something published in a book.