Friday, December 26, 2008

Yule Tide Pictures

Merry Christmas (one day late)!
From Sadie and Norah.
We'll be back in 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Man! What's That Funky Smell! --AND Really Terrible Pictures of Books

I was shopping for Norah's Christmas presents today, and bought this book for her.

I'm pretty sure I told this story one year for Story League. I was in Borders and walked by it and BAM! I was shot right back to middle school Story League meetings. I grabbed the mosquito book, and then began looking for some of my other favorites from childhood.

I am slowly beginning to build up Norah's library, very slowly because books are expensive. I'll have to make more of an effort to run down to the used book store. And as I was walking around Borders today, I became more and more excited to read to Norah, to teach her to love to read.

Anyone want to share some of their favorite childhood or adolescent books?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

7 and 8 Months

Dear Norah

You are 8 months old. If you look back through these letters you may notice that there appears not to be a letter for your 7 month birthday. I can totally explain that. You see first, there were the monkeys that took over the computer and deleted my fabulously written 7 month letter. And then there was the flesh eating virus that deleted all your 7 month pictures. And then I developed a painful pinkie cramp and was completely out of commission for like, 3 days.

Ok ok ok, I just made all that up. To be honest, I don't really remember much about November, your 7th month of life. It went by in a blur. You did get to meet your Aunties Lauren and Jenny, and that was lots of fun. Other than that, can't recall a thing.

When I think about it, you have accomplished quite alot in the past 2 months. You can now sit all by yourself, without any problem. Sometimes you will try to reach a toy that is too far behind you and you will fall backwards and bump your head on the floor. The first time you did that it scared me, because I thought you were actually hurt. But as it has happened more and more (because you really love your toys) I have realized that you watch my reactions and you react the same way. So when I look all scared and worried, you cry. But if I clap my hands and say "Yay Norah!" you smile and roll over. Of course, this doesn't work if you are actually hurt, like that one time I bonked your head on the roof of the car when I was putting you in your seat. Sorry about that.

You can also eat just about anything I give you. You still love sweet potatoes and applesauce and cereal, but you also enjoy green beans, eggs, cheese, Cheerios, pears, bananas, avocados, carrots, grapes, rice, noodles, regular potatoes, and...pumpkin pie. You don't really like corn or peas, but you make awesome faces when we try to make you eat them. You weigh 17 pounds and 7 ounces now, which means you have almost tripled your birth weight. I think its all the pumpkin pie.

You have just about weaned yourself from breastfeeding, Norah. This is not what I was planning. I wanted to breastfeed you for a year so that you could go straight from nursing to cow's milk. But for whatever reason, whether you are just more interested in eating real food, or my body just doesn't make enough to fill you up, you seem ready to quit. I have been sick the past 4 days, and have not nursed you at all, and you really don't seem to mind. I'm a little sad about this, because I know that our days of nursing are numbered. You won't fall asleep against my chest anymore, and I won't have that exclusive time with you, but its ok. I just have to remember that I should not feel ashamed for bottle feeding you from now on. I didn't do anything wrong, and you are a wonderful and healthy little girl.

You are on the cusp of getting your two bottom teeth. I know you are. I can see the bumps, I can feel them under your gums, and you will randomly start shrieking only to calmed by Oragel. But this has been going on for at least two weeks, with seemingly no progress and I really wish your gums would just surrender. (Give up Gums! The Teeth are going to win in the end and you are just prolonging the inevitable.) You are also not crawling yet. You're getting close, and I frequently find you on your hands and knees in your crib. Just waiting for you to figure out mobility. Once you do I don't think I will ever get to sit down again.

You like it when I sing to you, but you have some songs that you like more than others. The Itsy Bitsy Spider, for instance, will unfailingly calm you down in the midst of a Diaper Change Cage Match. And the Usher song that comes on TV...Girl what's up! Won't you be my lady? I sing that over and over to you, and you think it is hilarious. And today we were singing together. You were standing in my lap and you would go "AHHHHH! Ahahahahahahahahaha!" and I would do it back. And then you would do it again, and I would do it back. And each time we both got louder. I can't wait until you try that one in church.

Norah, you're 8 months old now, and I think that is a perfectly acceptable age to begin learning important life lessons like:

Bye Bye Toy! --You learn this lesson when you drop your things for the million and first time, and on that million and first time, I don't pick it up for you. Then you get mad and me and ball up your fists and yell. I'm not kidding here, girlfriend. The other day at the doctors office, you were leaning off my lap, dropping your toys and watching them hit the ground.

No Norah! --You learn this lesson during Diaper Change Cage Match. You roll around trying your hardest to get away from me when your butt is naked, and often, still poopy. I don't like poop on my floor, so I roll you back over and say "No!", but you don't listen. So this goes on, you trying to get away (which is pretty hard since you can't even crawl yet) and me saying "No!" until finally I get fed up and say "No Norah!" Then you get mad and ball your fists and yell.

Soft Hands --You learn this lesson when you grab the cat with the force of a thousand excited babies. You love the cats and try to grab them at any opportunity, but you often grab their feet or their tails or their ears and cats generally don't like this. Luckily we have some very even tempered cats in these parts, but to train you for future animal encounters, we are working on petting the cats with soft hands. Unsuccessfully. You usually get mad and ball up your fists and yell.

Oh Norah. On Wednesday I taught you how to bonk. Bonking is something your Grandpa Al does with his kids, me and all your aunts and uncles on that side. It is a gentle butting of foreheads, a special sign of love, and I wanted you to learn it. So on Wednesday I began bonking you, and within 30 minutes you had caught on. I was pretty impressed to be honest. And now, if the mood is right and there aren't too many people around, I can lean forward toward you, and you will lean your head toward mine, and give me a bonk.
Little baby, every time I write these letters I try to articulate just how much you mean to me, but I never even come close. But I bet someday you will understand, when you have your own little baby who yells at you and tries to escape diaper changes and gives you bonks. Then you will understand, you will maybe call me and try to explain all the things you feel about that baby, and I'll say "Norah, I know exactly what you mean."
I love you sweet girl.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Motherhood and My Steady Decline in Dignity

Last night, I decided it would be a good time to give Norah some Cheerios so she could practice feeding herself, chewing, and perfecting her pincher grasp. It's so interesting to me that so many things that adults do automatically, are milestones that babies have to practice to master. For instance, the pincher grasp, grasping things with thumb and forefinger, is not something babies are born knowing how to do.

So I poured some Cheerios into one of Norah's bowls, and sat it on the floor in front of her where she was playing with some blocks. I gave her a few from my hand first, so she would know it was something she could eat, and before long she was picking them up with her thumb and forefinger and putting them in her mouth. Of course, she got frustrated quickly and would grab handfuls of Cheerios and then drop them on the floor (another thing Norah is mastering: The art of dropping crap on the floor and then crying that it's gone). I think out of 50 Cheerios, she got maybe 3 into her mouth. But the ones that did make it from her fingers to her trap were met with cheers and clapping from Mama.

So there we were, sitting on the floor amidst some Cheerios, and since I like Cheerios I picked some up off the floor and ate them too. And it was then, when I sat on the carpet eating possibly fuzzy cereal, that I realized how utterly undignified I have become in the past 8 months.

I often wear a pair of pants one day, sleep in them that night, and then wear them again the next day. Sometimes I don't brush my teeth until noon, even if people come to my house. I am not fazed by having another person's snot on my shoulder. I have a vast and intimate knowledge with Norah's poop-in-progress faces and sounds, and when changing her diaper, I regularly check her poop to make sure everything is coming out ok. Last week I saw a chunk of cheese on Norah's cheek when I was putting her down for a nap, and I picked it off her cheek, and without thinking, I popped it in my mouth.

Yeah, that last one is pretty bad.

And I suppose I could get all worked up about these bad habits. I suppose I could make an effort to get up early every morning and brush my teeth and make my bed and...change my pants. But I really think this is just part of motherhood, and for now, I am content to sit on the floor and eat fuzzy Cheerios with my daughter, clapping and cheering as she perfects her pincher grasp.

Monday, December 8, 2008

5 Notes of No Real Importance

1. Norah has been sick the past few days. She has been crying and coughing and had a bad case of The Crankies. The only good thing that has come from this is that she has been sleeping with me again. (!)

2. I had to take my sick baby to the doctor with me this morning. Ear-rr-rr-ly this morning. Not for her, though she probably needed the appointment more than me. We had to go get my fat blood checked out again.

3. Even though I had not yet gotten the results from the lab, I left the dr's office and headed straight to McDonald's where I devoured an egg, bacon, cheese bagel and a cup of coffee. Fat blood tastes so good.

4. Then we went back to the dr's office and were finally seen by the dr himself at 9:30 even though my appointment was at 8:45. Alot of good that waiting did me, since the lab still hadn't finished my bloodwork.

5. Teeth! Quit torturing us! Please!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Because I Could Not Explain It Before

Two weeks ago I wrote about my trip to women's group and how I was nervous and freaked out and fidgety.

I went that night, and vowed to say at least two words. Two words would be twice as many words as I said the previous week! Progress! So I got all gussied up and was feeling good about myself and my confidence in my trendy boots.

And then I proceeded to unceremoniously bawl in front of a room full of people I have known for approximately 15 days.

I didn't tear up. My eyes weren't misty with emotion. There wasn't a few cute tears tracing lines down my cheeks. All of that is too romantic. I bawled. Make up smearing, nose running, chin trembling, can't talk, gasping for breath BAWLED. It was terrible.

You see, the topic of the night was fear and as soon as I started reading through the handout I said a silent curse-word to myself because I knew right then that I was going to have to talk about Wendi and I was going to cry.

As I tried to explain that night, but was choked off by my waterworks, Wendi's death scared me terribly. Her death was a real punch in the face to me, a woman still under the adolescent impression that I Am Invincible. I have a long life ahead of me. I am a cautious person, not prone to high speed chases or pistol duels. But Wendi died, in her youth and with no warning. She wasn't old or sick. Obviously there is no guaranteed safety in life. And oh, I am indeed vulnerable to death's sting.

But even more scary, if Wendi could die, then that means Norah could die as well. And oh dear God, I can barely even say those words out loud.

Wendi died a week after Norah was born, a cruel blow to our absolute euphoria when we were all pleasantly exposed. And I have reacted by holding as tightly to my baby as I possibly can. I think if I hold onto her tight enough that I will be able to protect her, to keep her safe. Yes, I know that is illogical and false. But knowing that does not change anything. Logic has no power in the face of such love and fear.

I have absolutely crazy bouts of anxiety in regards to Norah. Sometimes I lay in bed, awake, terrified that someone has gotten into our house and is going to steal my baby and I will not know and the only way I can get any rest is if I sleep in her room where I can protect her. Sometimes I will be driving and will be hit with a vision of us flying off the road and crashing into the trees. Don't even get me started on SIDS. I suppose my anxiety may not be any more crazy than other mamas', but I cannot fully explain the gut wrenching feelings I get about her.

I was telling Rusty about this one night, and he asked me if I thought it might be a result of me not trusting God with Norah. I think that is certainly a likely cause, because I don't trust Him with her. I don't care how futile that might be. If God allowed Carol to lose her baby, then who is say that He won't allow me to lose my baby? And how can a truly good God allow that? A question as old as sin, but suddenly, the trite responses aren't answering it well enough for me.

And that brings me to an embarrassingly un-graceful outburst at women's group. I am afraid of the question of God's goodness. I am afraid of trusting God to take care of Norah. I am afraid of losing my baby, of having a gigantic irreparable hole ripped into me. And I suppose my crying that night, and my writing this now, are ways I am trying to deal with those fears.


People, we have entered The Land of Teething.

Teething sucks.

At least we only have to go through this...32 times. Bleh.