it’s a girl

The Introverted Mama

Every once in a while, the Myers-Briggs test weaves its way back into my life.  The results have followed me around like an old, faithful dog as well; I have never not received the same result: INFJ.

The way my personality has impacted me, however, has changed in different seasons of life.  Being an introverted, stay at home mama has its own set of unique challenges and virtues.

I’ve talked before about how important it is for me to have order and rhythm to my day and to me, it serves dual purposes. Not only does a rhythm help me feel calm and peaceful during the day but it also protects me from the one o’clock meltdown…. And I’m not talking about the girls.

Right around one o’clock each afternoon, I begin to feel myself start to unravel.

The morning itself starts off as a fat, tightly wound ball of yarn, full of promise, that naturally unwinds as the day progresses.  Through out the morning, it is a leisurely but purposeful roll, that rings of the promise of a beautiful creation. By one o’clock, it is unrolling so fast it’s as if someone has held onto the loose end while the fat ball rolls willy nilly, growing skinnier by the second.  (side note: it should come as no surprise that there’s something very unsettling I find about a wayward ball of yarn)

Right around this time I also find myself getting “touched out”.  I go through the routine of lullabies, kisses, and books before nap (for Bea) and quiet time (for MG).  But I don’t really enjoy them, not like I should, anyway.  I try to slow down and read every single word but sometimes I skip a few words, and then sentences, and sometimes even pages.

And then as soon as this duty is done, I curl myself up in a quiet corner and slowly rewind a portion of the ball.  Sometimes, if it is an especially crazy morning, I will purposely save MG’s “screen time” for the beginning of this quiet hour to ensure that I will get at least an hour of solid, uninterrupted time.  (though to her credit, she handles her quiet time very well, even when no movies are involved. and I have a theory that she needs this alone time as much as I  do)

As the minutes melt into an hour, I slowly find myself coming back into my own.  My thoughts are cohesive and I begin to relax.  Unwinding again, very slowly and purposefully.

Towards the end of Bea’s nap time (she is giving me great, 3 hour naps these days-bless!), MG and I have developed a little bit of a routine.  With my permission, she cleans up her room early and then joins me for whatever project I am working on.  She exclaims, “yes!” when she sees me working in the sewing room.  She retrieves my tiny blue embroidery scissors and pulls scraps of fabric from the trashcan.  She cuts these scraps into miniscule pieces and sometimes fashions bandages or headbands for Stella (secured with a straight pin, of course).

She turns off her princess CD’s and turns on Winnie the Pooh for us to listen to (she somehow got the impression that that one was my favorite!).  And she sings and dances for me while she busily cuts with her hands.  Often we both become engrossed in our projects and she quietly tells stories or shares secret dialogue that is only gifted when you don’t think you have an eavesdropper.

Sometimes I am still not recovered from a crazy morning and I ask her not to ask me any questions so I can fully concentrate on my project.  She obediently says, “okay, I understand.” And she tries very hard, but unknowingly and sweetly limits her questions to every fifteen minutes or so.

If I am instead working downstairs on a drawing or painting, she brings down her special notebook and fills it up with colorful notes for daddy.  Sometimes she will ask me how to spell certain words, other times she will just write in her own secret language and read it to me as the following:

“Dear Daddy, I love you and I miss you and I always miss mommy but I never miss her at Grandma’s house. And I hope Lexi {the dog} doesn’t tear my beautiful dress or Stella’s.  And I always forgive you when you lie to Mommy.  Amen.”

(you just gotta laugh at that one)

 

In the sewing room we use the space heater to keep warm on drafty days and she parks herself in front of it.  Downstairs in the kitchen, I make tea to keep us warm with extra almond milk and honey so she finds it very palatable.

Yesterday, she developed a small tear in a notebook page and asked for some tape to repair.  She spent thirty minutes carefully covering the page in masking tape, thrilled with the responsibility of using both real scissors and tape.

I have to admit, I love these late afternoons with my little buddy.  (after I’ve had my own space, of course).  It feels special and set apart and a space in which to grow our own relationship.  Plus there is something that feels very holy about creating with someone.  Of course our creations have very different end results but we both have a deep admiration for the others work.

When they told me I was having a girl, this is exactly what I envisioned.  Quiet afternoons at home, sharing ideas and secrets, materials and songs.  A little blonde friend who I adore, and a pooh bear melody between us.

-smk

MG’s birth story: The Day “It” became She

On any given day prior to June 29, 2010, we were absolutely convinced we were having a boy.

It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted a boy over a girl, it’s just that there were multiple experiences to make me think this babe was coming out blue.  It seemed like (or maybe I was just hearing) everyone was saying, “Boy, boy, boy”.  When Daddy was asked what he wanted, instead of saying the typical, “I don’t care as long as it’s healthy..blah, blah, blah”, he chose a side….boy.  We called her by her boy name.  We prayed for her by her boy name.  And there were several other convincing factors that are more of an “in person type of story” that led us to believe that we would have a son joining our family that November.

I even bought 2 whole bags of boy clothes.  And zero girl clothes.  Yes, I do realize there is always a 50/50 chance.   But the odds didn’t concern me.  I relied on my intuition. I just knew I was having a boy.

We went into the gender ultrasound with lots of nervous excitement.  Would he look okay?  Would they see anything suspicious?  Would they finally relieve the stress and tell us it’s a boy?

The ultrasound tech, the same one I’d had for my first two ultrasounds, is a bit of an ice queen. N tried to warm her up by asking her (before the appointment even started), “So what do you think?  Boy or girl?”  She gave a stilted, and I do mean stilted laugh and said, “No one’s ever asked me that at the beginning before.”  She did a once-over on my belly and pronounced, “Boy.”  Knew it.

I climbed up on the table and the lights were dimmed.  We watched our little baby, who was thankfully, much more baby-like this time, pop up on the screen.  Four limbs were counted hastily.  The heartbeat was confirmed.  Ah, I felt like I can breathe again.

“I believe it’s a girl”.  Said the Queen, with much less conviction than I would hope for when you are handing me my eternal fate.

Was that it?  No build-up.  No, “Are you ready to find out what you’re having?!?“.  No excited trills or proclamations?

N and I both looked at each other.  “I mean, are you sure?”

“Well, the legs are crossed right now.  Let, me just see….”  And she proceeded to mash and prod my belly with the warm laser.  I mentally willed those little legs to move.

“Okay, yep, definitely a girl.  See right here?”  Those little legs were doing the amniotic splits.  There was nothing to see there.

N didn’t say anything.  I said meekly, “I always wanted a little girl.”  But I knew it wasn’t convincing.  He was in shock, I was in shock.  But I wasn’t about to let the Ice Queen think we were disappointed.  So I kept trying to cover for us.

She must have sensed our confusion because she quickly changed the topic to the recent episode of the Bachelorette and how she thought I resembled Ali.  I wasn’t sure if I was relieved for a change of topic, worried that she thought we hated our outcome, or annoyed that we spent more time talking about the B than our baby.

We even have this {now} hilarious video of our “recovery”  in the waiting room.  When asked my first thought upon hearing girl I said, “Now I’ll have to return all those clothes I bought.”  N’s?  “How am I going to pay for a wedding?”  When asked our biggest fears about a pink baby, N: “I hope she looks like you”.  Me: “I hope she…is a girl when she comes out”.  Clearly I hadn’t been converted yet.

While we waited for the doctor to see us, I cornered N.  “Are you disappointed?”

“No, no.  Not disappointed. {and he would have told me}  I just don’t know how to do girls.”  He had that deer-in-headlights look and I totally got it.  He grew up in a boy-dominated house.  His family spent the summer camping.  He dug snakes and crawfish out of the creek in his backyard and kept them as pets.  He had mastered 13 distinct gun noises by the time he was 7.

Little did he know, one of the things I had always said to be true about him long before babies were a thought in our minds: he will be such a good dad of girls.  And he is.  Encouraging, funny, sensitive, compassionate, persistent.  Embarrassing…but in that “protective sort of way”.  He will always pursue our girl and make her feel special and loved.  Just as he did her Mama.

After the appointment, the very first place I went was………Old Navy.  Why?  Well remember those bags of boy clothes?  They were running a special that was ending that day so I wanted to exchange the clothes and hopefully find some good bargains on girl clothes.

   (side note: It was on this day that I purchased one of my very favorite outfits for baby MG, pictured here.  Maybe one of the reasons I loved it so much is because the day I bought it  was the first time I emotionally bonded with her?)      

Girl clothes.  As I perused the aforementioned neglected-by-myself girl section, I felt so lost.  I felt so out of place.  I had to completely re-align my thinking with reality.   My alliance had been to the boys for so long, that I felt guilty and confused buying for a girl.  What are these lace leggings for?  Do I even like lace?  Is it okay to not dress your daughter in head-to-toe pink?  How do I feel about jellies?  Somebody take me to the bows…stat.    

I had an almost uncontrollable urge to run over to every mother-daughter pair and interrogate them.  “What do you think of having a girl?  What should I buy?  Where should I begin?” In fact, one of my reoccurring nightmares was that the doctors had been wrong and this baby would come out a boy.  Silly, I know.  But that thought had been there for so long, that it was incredibly hard to rethink.

When I brought home my new pink and lavender purchases and showed them to Daddy (who, by the way, still hadn’t lost that deer-in-headlights-look), we both had a moment of, “Wow.  This is it.  We are going to be buying pink clothes for the rest of our lives!”  And so be it.

My dear, darling MG,

Ever since we found out you were a little girl, that’s all you’ve ever been to us.  Our little girl. We loved you from the moment we found out you were joining our family.  But this new knowledge made our hearts swell with even more love for you.  Because now you were a person, an identity.  You had a name.  You had a form.  You had a future.  You were changing our family.  And for the better.

In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted a little girl.  Someday.  I never wanted to be the solo female in a male-dominated house.  Thank you for single-handedly getting me out of that!  I’ve never been good at dinosaurs or war games, but I can throw a heck of a tea party!  Plus, I was nervous that I would never have a little girl to pass on my dearly loved baby dolls  and to wear my old gently loved baby clothes that your Granny lovingly saved for you.  I have so many vivid memories of my childhood: of slumber parties, and life-changing books, and  doll-houses, and kittens and ponies, and childhood fantasies.  I absolutely cannot wait to pass these memories and experiences on to you.  Tell me, how would I do that with a little boy?

In fact, finding out you were a girl was a wonderful surprise because I was actually SURPRISED….and for a planner like me, sometimes surprises come in the best forms…just like a little pink you.

I love you, my little girl.

“I’ll love you forever and like you for always.  As long as I’m living, my little girl you’ll always be.”

 

part IV