Month: March 2012

Sixteen

There’s a new mayor in M town.

Or at least she would like to think so.

Little Miss thinks she’s running the ship around here and we are all to be at her beckoned call.

Sorry, hunny, things haven’t been that way since you were…oh… about six weeks old?

Needless to say, we are working on big words like obedience, come, and no.

And while this little training course has sucked some of the fun out of this month, now that we are nearing its’ end we have seen some very positive changes in MG’s behavior. Less tantrums, more compliance.  Less tears of frustrations, more smiles of joy (on both ends).  Less throwing toys across the room, more asking for help.  Cheers all around!

The biggest barrier seems to be communication.  She can’t tell us what she wants, so often conversations dissolve into fits and tears.  We can’t explain to her in toddler language why she can’t go in the street, so we have to tell her to stop and expect her to obey.  Just because we said so.  This is hard stuff, folks.

Plus, we’re at the height of stranger danger.  My friendly, happy-go-lucky baby now only wants Mama to do it and no one else may hold me, thank you very much!  The pediatrician assured me this was normal and said something along the lines of, “They all cry like this at the 15month and 18month well-babies.  It’s just this age.”  Phew.  Then as we were leaving she dropped this ego-buster on me, “Wow, you’ve got a feisty one there.”  Just what every Mama wants to hear after a long day!

Oh my little feisty one.  You certainly have a flair for drama!  You are mimicking everything we do: throwing paper in the trash (even paper that isn’t trash), clapping your hands along with the contestants on Wheel of Fortune, smiling cheesy smiles back at us, recreating noises that you hear Mama and Daddy make, slapping your hands on the ottoman to the beat of a song, attempting to dress yourself, pointing to every.single.object.on.every.single.page.of.every.single.book, blowing on the hot spoon before you put in your mouth, trying to feed Mama your leftover cheese, passing us the clean utensils from the dishwasher to be put away and more.  Each day is a new wonder with you.  And despite all of your feistiness, we’ve seen plenty of sugar and spice and everything nice from you too.

So let’s try and channel that drama a bit next month, shall we?
(Just because we’re your parents doesn’t mean we don’t have some learning to do too.  So go easy on us.) Otherwise, you may end up as an only child.  (this is not a threat)

Love ya bunches and bunches,

Friday

was wet and rainy.
It was one of those rare days where we didn’t have anything planned except to keep the washing machine cycling…and due to that, we couldn’t exactly leave the house.

I sifted through my overstuffed supply cabinet, looking for an activity to suit a 15-going-on-16th month old.

Then it dawned on me, why not do as any good teacher and start with the basics?

I pulled out my trusty Crayolas (no RoseArts in this house!), some art paper, and a roll of masking tape.

MG sat in her high chair and I hastily selected a color: orange it was.  I demonstrated for her quickly, knowing she’s really into cause-and-effect these days; sure enough she too wanted to try to make that tangerine line snake across the paper.

 

She did it!

And then quickly reminded me:

that I’m potentially raising a Southpaw (just like her Granny & Aunt M).  We’ll give it another 6 months before we officially put it on the passport though.

Together we created a little terra cotta, tangerine and teal masterpiece to hang on the fridge:

By then the rain had cleared a bit and we found ourselves outside.

She was fascinated by the newly sprung dandelions (Daddy wanted me to be sure to let you know that they did NOT come from our yard)

And splashing through the shallow puddles with bare feet.

There’s nothing like that unexpected giggle of delight to make you see the world differently.  I have forgotten what it is like to splash through puddles (actually, I usually try to avoid them) and to pick weeds (usually I try to avoid those too).  But those chubby little fingers and toes are experiencing them for the first time.  And that is something to never be avoided, as much as it can be helped.

All in all, our rainy, wet Friday mostly consisted of weed picking, puddle jumping, worm avoiding (can’t quite bring myself up for that experience yet), dog watching, feet washing, giggle inducing, finger pointing, flower sniffing, and hand holding.  With a little bit of art on the side.

On this rainy, wet Friday, we used crayons to create art and the LORD used the rain to create this:

We are thankful for the little ways that God often reminds us that art and nature are so closely tied.

Points

After our little ER incident and illness, we are slowly recovering over here.

Yesterday was touch and go.

Low point:  Waking up at 7:30am after a restless night of sleep and multiple trips to the nursery to comfort our sick girl.
High point:  Getting new clothes for my gal and I at Old Navy.  Spent $60 got $30 back in ONbucks.  Went to CVS to pick up some reinforcements (Infant Advil, popsicles, nail polish).  Won $5 in CVSbucks on my receipt, enabling me to get that other bottle of nail polish I was eyeing.

Higher point:  It was 84 degrees here!!!  The sun was out.  We wore shorts.  We took 2 walks.  I can’t remember a March 15 this nice since my Mississippi days. 
Lower point:  MG got her first boo-boo when we she tripped on the sidewalk.  Oh it just hurts me to see that perfect little knee with baby-soft skin so scratched up.

Lowest point:  Catching Atticus vomit with a pair of my shorts from the laundry.  This sickness is welcome to leave our house now.
Highest point:  After her afternoon nap, MG’s fever finally broke.  Praise the LORD, our Comforter and Healer!

Today?  Today it is 80+ degrees out again.  I’ve got a sleeping baby, clean laundry, and a scoured house.  I’m wearing new clothes.  I’ve got the start of my summer tan.  I’ve got a Dove Gray and Coral Reef mani/pedi.

All points considered, we’re looking to be flying pretty HIGH today.

Midnight (-opposite word of-)Mayhem

If you had said the words “emergency room” to me prior to the early morning of March 14, 2012, I would have envisioned the following:

-a waiting room full of people in various states of traumatic pain & at least one victim of a severe bleeding accident; possibly with a severed limb
-doctors and nurses yelling orders to each other in moments of haste “we’re losing this one!”
-screaming babies and children with panicky parents waiting for hours in the middle of the night to be seen
-+something dramatic similar to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  Except, I don’t watch GA because even televised trauma makes me squeamish.

This is most certainly NOT what I envisioned:

My two sweethearts rocking gently in a quiet room.

Here’s how it started:
MG slept restlessly on the night of March 13.  Every time I went in to check on her, she felt a little warm, but I didn’t think anything of it.  You must know by now that she’s been teething so I wrote it off as another night for the tortuous molars.  By 8am, she was unmistakeably  awake and when I went in to retrieve her, noticed that she felt quite warm.  103 degree fever.  Ugh.  I gave her some Tyelenol (that’s been banned, remember? or has it?? I wish they would make up their minds) Advil and felt it was a good sign when she swallowed some applesauce for breakfast and played quietly with her toys.

Poor thing became less and less herself as the day wore on.  I finally phoned the doctor while she took a morning nap.  “Try to keep her comfortable and hydrated”.  She had been drinking fine, so I kept an eye on her.  We continued the meds, but her fever never dropped below 101.

She didn’t want to be put down the rest of the day.  My back was starting to kill me.  When Daddy came home, he scooped her up and rocked her to sleep for an afternoon nap.

The night progressed slowly with our poor, lethargic sicky.  There was another frantic call to the doc when she began to turn blue and started shaking uncontrollably. This was followed by another spike in fever.  We watched her closely and were worried to put her to bed, but the doctor said that was exactly what she needed to fight this: rest.

I was finally ready to crawl into bed around 11pm after checking her like 15579815380 times, but the last time I checked on her, I just had a funny feeling. Call it Mother’s intuition. She was breathing hard and heavy, almost as if she’d been working out.  The doctor received another call and when I held the phone up to MG’s airway, she said, It’s time to take her in.”  In fifteen seconds, she’d inhaled 15 times. 

I woke up my tired sleepers and we piled in the car.  Fortunately, the closest ER is like a second from our house…but to say I was apprehensive was an understatement.

Halfway to the entrance, Daddy says, “Oh, I left something in the car, you go on ahead and take her inside.”  What, and wait in line behind the screaming gunshot victim?  No thanks.

But lo and behold:  inside it was quiet.  And calm.  There were ZERO patients in the waiting room…or lack thereof.   The Ice Queen receptionist DID nearly throw me off my already weak game, but Sugar Daddy-I-can-charm-anyone-into-a-smile melted her cool heart quickly.  The nurses oohed and aahed over our pitiful baby as they weighed her and poked and prodded her with about every instrument imaginable.  She really only cried when they swabbed her throat-via-her-nose for the RSV test.   The rest of the time, she spent taking turns between Mama’s, no Daddy’s, no Mama’s laps.  She just couldn’t get comfortable and she would reach out with both arms to the empty-lapped parent, “will you try it for awhile??”.

Next up was a trip to the torture chamber AKA chest x-ray.  She only hollered a little and Daddy stayed right by her side the whole time.

I, in the meantime, stayed on high-alert for drama.  At some point, there was a crazy nurse commotion in the hallway,
Nurse: “Sir, SIR, you can’t walk around without shoes.”
Shoeless Man: “Uhh…I can’t??”
Nurse: “You cannot be barefoot.”
Shoeless Man: “But I left my shoes at home.”

Shoeless Man: “Do you have some slippers I can borrow?”

Suffice it say, I was glad we missed the entrance with whomever cause Shoeless Man to walk out of his house, drive (illegally), span the asphalt, and pace the tiled hallways sans footwear.  Must have been pretty traumatic.

Finally, after about an hour’s wait, a dozing Daddy, and an exhausted little family, they confirmed she had strep + an upper respiratory infection.  One  Rx for amoxicillan later and we were being discharged.

I have to say, my first experience at the ER was quite the learning experience.  Calm and drama-free (minus Shoeless Man, of course)?  Quick and easy?  It almost makes me think I could do this again someday.  Almost.  Maybe even by myself…if I had to.

The only thing I’ll do differently next time is just remember to throw an extra pair of slippers in my bag.  Afterall, you just never know what you’re going to see there.

MG’s Birth Story: The Day She Entered our World

March 11, 2010:  A day I’ll never forget. It was the first day we lived knowing that MG was coming into our life….And yet….we still had so much learning to do.

Once again, this pregnancy started like the last one.  I had symptoms nearly immediately, but wouldn’t let myself believe I was pregnant until I had proof.  I woke up early that morning after a restless night of sleep.  The very first thing on my mind was that I had a doctor’s appointment that day.  Since I suspected pregnancy, I wanted to have something firm to tell him so that he could give me advice.  I decided just to take the test, even though I knew it was early.  At least if it was negative, he might be able to give me hope.

After waiting the required five minutes, I stared at the test.  I tilted and turned it looking at it from every angle. Two lines stared back at me.  One dark, bold one next to a ghostly faint one.  Was this it?

N agreed to examine it with me.

He wasn’t convinced. Neither was I.  Deep down, I ached for it to be true.  But everything was different now.  There would be no tears of joy, no joyful celebrations until we heard with our own ears that tiny, beating heart.  The miscarriage had tainted everything.

I found I was even nervous to bring it up to the doctor that day.  I was too scared to admit it might be true.  He wasn’t scared for me.  He clapped my back and shook my hand and said, “Let’s check your blood work!”

We waited and waited for that phone call.

I’ll always remember where I was when I saw his number on my cell phone.  It was during the school day, but mercifully, I didn’t have any students at the time.  And he spoke those wonderful words, “You’re pregnant!  But just barely.  Come back in on Monday and we’ll test again to make sure your levels have raised.”

I couldn’t wait to tell N.  We celebrated, cautiously. On Monday, my levels had in fact risen and we scheduled an ultrasound.

We prayed and prayed over this new life that was forming in me.  Time c r a w l e d until that first ultrasound and every time I had to use the bathroom, my stomach knotted up wondering what I would find.  Each time there wasn’t blood, my heart did a little victory dance.

We were so “young” then.  We knew what we wanted, but we didn’t really know.  We knew that we loved this baby forming in my body, but we didn’t really know how much more we would grow to love her.  We knew we were ready to be Mama and Daddy, but we didn’t really know how much of us those roles would require.

Thankfully, God gave us MG anyway.

 “To know that I was known by a new living being, who had not existed until she was made in my body by my desire and brought forth into the world by my pain and strength – that changed me….I would feel milk and love flowing from me to her as once it had flowed to me. It emptied me. As the baby fed, I seemed slowly to grow empty of myself, as if in the presence of that long flow of love even grief could not stand.”   Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter

 

part III

Resolute (part 1)

I’ve heard all the bad press.  I’ve seen all of the weightloss and anti-smoking commercials that begin December 1.  I’ve observed all of the newcomers to the gym between the weeks of January 1-14.  But I don’t really care what the media says about New Year’s Resolutions.  Because I myself tend to be an avid maker and keeper of such resolutions.  

It’s important to know that I don’t fault others for their lack of participation. But they just work for me.  I put a lot of thought into making them. And I kinda look forward to our (N & I both make them) annual family tradition of carefully thinking through them, choosing one or two, and then sharing them with each other in order to be accountable.

Last year, I resolved myself to be more honest.  I know, I know, that one seems less resolution and more intention.  But specifically, I meant more honest in the social media world.   Prior to 2011, I was working everyday and spent about 30 minutes/day on Facebook.  This would leave me little time to leave comments for others or to even stay abreast of everything.  That, and the fact that I sort of enjoyed my Internet anonymity.  I liked that I could enjoy pictures from afar from people who I would barely converse with in “real life”. 

When I left my job to stay at home, I started to spend more time online.  I started to really contemplate my actions and that’s when I was confronted with my deceit.  Was it really fair of me to talk to my husband and/or friends about a cute photo album I’d seen on Facebook but never tell the maker of the album I’d admired it?  Of course this isn’t realistic all the time, but I just felt like there was a glaring hole in my life and I decided to make a change.  First, I cut my friend list down to people who I would actually talk to in real life.  A lot has changed since 2005 when I first activated my Facebook account, including my friends. Second, I starting commenting on pictures that I really had comments on and “liking” things that I really liked.  For an insecure introvert like myself, it was really hard at first to put myself out there.  I mean, will people think I’m obsessed and creepy?  Will they wonder what business I have commenting on their picture?? Will they think I’m on Facebook  like a l l the t i m e??  

But once it started, it began paying back with great rewards.  I felt completely esteemed when others returned the favor.  I mean if I like receiving random comments on my Internet stuff, why wouldn’t others too?? In some ways, being more honest on Facebook actually helped me to deepen my real-life friendships.  I know, crazy, right?

The honesty clause also related to other social media outlets.  When I had an unusually positive or negative experience with a purchase/at a restaurant/on vacation, I left reviews and told people what I honestly thought.  I couldn’t justify complaining in real life if I hadn’t made my thoughts known first to the person/organization/company.  Also, people love encouragement.  It may take me 2 minutes to fill out a form about a positive experience, but that compliment may impact that person’s life indefinitely.  Being genuine felt refreshing and just plain like it was the right thing to do.

There have been many rewards for my new honesty clause.  Some big and some small. It has carried over from my online life into my real life.  And looking back at all of the positive outcomes, I am so glad that I followed through with it.

So, what, you may ask, was my New Year’s Resolution for 2012?  Does it live up to the hype of 2011??

Well, I’m not quite ready to reveal it publicly yet, but I will give you a little clue to peak your interest:

Here’s to keeping  past resolutions strong while engaging in new ones,

Thoughts on 28

Yesterday I woke up on the wrong side of the twenties.

Thirty is so close it’s practically breathing down my neck.  And I realized this is the first decade I’ve lived in that I haven’t been anxious to leave.

And then I cried.

Well, not really.  MG took care of that for me.

Mama birthdays are so different.  March 1 happened to be the only day of the whole year that Daddy had to work until 9:30pm.  Baby’s getting more teeth (either that or I’m going crazy or maybe that is going to make me go crazy-arghagharrgh) and woke up unmistakeably unhappy at 7am.  (But before you start to feel sorry for me, know that Daddy took the day off today!  Which means Mama gets the day off today!!  AND he  brought home breakfast. AND we’re going out to dinner.  Spoiled indeed.)

If you could have asked me at 16 what I thought 28 would look like, I probably would have said “married, SAHM, with one or two kids.”  Check.

But I doubt I would have said that little kid is a little girl named MG

Who loves to get into Mama’s drawers

And who loves to play dress-up with the contents.

Who “reads” everything she can get her hands on

Who looks darling in shoes

And who sleeps in the funniest of positions.

Being a 28-year-old, married SAHM with one child also means that I don’t get to go to either John Mayer concerts this year (let’s just say something miraculous happened after I wrote that).  Or enjoy the harmonious voices of my students singing “Happy Birthday” to me.  Or go out for a night on the town with Daddy without setting up a babysitter, an MG dinner to go, a packed diaper bag, and a cell phone within easy reach.    I’m a full-grown adult now.  There’s no getting around it.

But I think I’m okay with that.

Besides, I found out that 28-year-olds get drop-in visits from friends

(which means that MG also got a drop–in visit from a friend)

And balloons on their mailbox

And enough texts, calls, emails, cards, Facetimes and Facebook notifications to make this Mama feel so very blessed.

So being an adult’s not so bad.  Besides, I never got a Marc Jacobs purse for my 16th birthday.  Or a shirt that I loved so  much that I had (accidentally) pinned it not once, but twice on Pinterest.
(source credit: Pinterest)

Spoiled indeed.  {Love you, babe!}

My life as a 28-year-old is exactly how I envisioned it at 16. I just didn’t know then what I know now:  The true in’s and out’s of being an adult are so much more AND less than I ever imagined.

There is definitely one thing in common between my 16-year-old and my 28-year-old birthday wishes:

Sugar.

And while I didn’t know this at 16, this 28-year-old, married, SAHM knows it now…
That the best kind of sugar in the world looks something more like this:

Here’s to year 28!