Monthly Archives: July 2006

and the gratuitous baby beauty…


When we came home from our family outing, Molly was smiling beautifully in her Kick-N-Play, so I took some perfect- Perfect! photos of her smile. Unfortunately, the setting was wrong on the shutter and they were all total shit. So these are the decent ones I took after I fixed the camera. I’m so pissed at the camera. None of these are as pretty as the ones I ruined. Ergh…C’est la vie.

photo outing









We went to the local university by the river to play, and this time I took a camera too. I decided I needed to photograph the photographer- I was amused by the positions I find him in as he frames his shots.

This is what he photographed.

my mama

I was rocking Molly and I heard Joni Mitchell on a movie soundtrack and burst into tears. When I hear her or Bonnie Raitt it takes my breath away. The sound of their voices pulls my memories to the surface instantly and my mom’s absence is right there like a tangible thing. The comfortable bliss I feel being with the baby makes becoming a mother without her guidance a little easier than I thought it would be, but I miss her so much. I never met my mom’s father; he died when she was young, and I loved the stories she told me but I know I never felt I knew him the way she would have wanted me to. Now Molly will have my stories but they won’t mean as much to her as they do to me. It’s like that with Shane too. She was so sick when we started dating that she didn’t want to meet him. It was all too intense for a new relationship, but he was so amazing and comforting and he said the most beautiful thing to me once. I was crying to him about his not knowing her, and he told me “I have the best part of her right here.” It was so much what I needed to hear. I am so much like her- she worried alot, as I do obviously, but was incredibly easy-going and goofy at the same time. So much fun. I still feel such a closeness, and I know I’ll feel she’s with me as I watch Molly grow, and I hope so deeply that we can be as close as my mama and I were.

saturday’s blogher in spirit topic #1

Shannon at PHAT Mommy is hosting “BlogHer in Spirit” roundtable discussions based on workshop topics. I’m stuck here on the east coast all poor and newbie-like, but felt her questions were well worth examining. These themes have been on my mind lately anyway as I’ve embarked on my mission to blog seriously and consistently, not to mention publicly.

Discussion Questions:
How do you decide what aspects of your identity you will reveal in your blog: culture, sexual orientation, political ideology, religion?
How do you feel about using your real name? Your childrens’ names?
If you blog about your race, religion, etc, – or even a personally difficult time of your life – do you feel it opens you (and your family) up to attack and/or do you feel it is a wonderful way to promote acceptance and diversity?

I’ve been journaling online sporadically for 6 or 7 years, and never had more than 2 or 3 readers at any given blog, until I joined LiveJournal and got involved in the parenting communities there. Since Molly was born I’ve felt an overwhelming need to document the feelings I’m flooded with as a new mother. I woke up one morning with the desire to share these experiences and I’m very much enjoying the creative expression as well.

The name for my journal popped unbidden into my head one evening as I was drifting to sleep. I loved it, but was concerned that using Molly’s name was potentially dangerous. I eventually decided that using our real first names but excluding last names was comfortable enough. I’m still second-guessing that decision, but it stands.

The theme here is honesty, and courage maybe. How open are we going to be on our blogs? I’ve decided that openness is pretty much the point, and I’ve taken a fairly naked approach to my writings. I want to focus on my mothering experience, but of course life doesn’t fit neatly into categories, and a thousand different things impact how I experience having a child. My religious beliefs, culture, and sexuality are of course part of that, so they’re being addressed as they come up. I recently wrote an entry introducing my birth defect and am always unsure whether or not it’s relevant and how to bring it up. My feelings now are that I have a unique perspective and that’s always valuable to share and explore.

It’s possible my location somewhat unique in this forum as well- I haven’t looked hard, but I’m so far not finding any blogs written in my region. Appalachians are a peculiarly interesting little subculture in many ways, and that informs some of who I am as well. I do feel an obligation to represent Appalachians well any time I’m dealing with people who weren’t raised here. We are, as a whole, poorly represented. Education is a huge problem here, with poor schools and low rates of higher education, so I’m fiercely proud of my education and intelligence. My experience living here runs from this pride to some frustration- many of the stereotypes are unfortunately true, and some of my interests and beliefs make me a little like an alien to a lot of my neighbors and family. Those sort of details are probably what makes it possible for me to enjoy reading a hundred different blogs about such a universal experience. I’m still amazed and thrilled that I’m part of this incredible group- mothers.

guilty

I am so guilty of this- an article in the Times, via Blogging Baby, describes moms who want help but don’t want to relinquish control.

http://www.bloggingbaby.com/2006/07/28/moms-want-more-but-they-want-it-done-right/

While I couldn’t ask for more help- Shane is awesome (!) and has Molly while I work- I am unfortunately the poster child for a controlling mother. I am trying to force this loose in my brain, but it is really hard to let go. I am making an honest effort to be more relaxed and let Shane do things his way, because I have apparently been a real bitch about it. It’s very difficult for me to leave her all day and not know where she is & what she’s doing every single minute. I also am convcinced that I’m the only person in the world who knows anything about babies, having read with rapt interest every book and website I could find on nursing and newborn care. Shane promises me he’s doing fine with his intuitive, on-the-job-training approach. A conversation with a co-worker today confirms that I “know too much.” I’m hoping as I get more used to working (and it is getting much easier) and being a mother in general, that I’ll give the psychic umbilical cord a little more slack. I see my future self as a laid-back fun silly mama of a young child, but so far as the parent of an infant I am a freak.

blogging on blogging, and a strange body

My blogroll is growing exponentially each day. The bad news, I suppose, is that this is starting to qualify as an addiction. The flipside is it’s replacing an even worse one- the evil, evil TV. My two favorite new discoveries are Left Coast Mama and TranceJen. Left Cost Mama is the grooviest because she assures me that I’m not a bad mom for using baby crack, and her name is Gwen- one of my favorite names. Jen is just fabulous, and is referencing her seizure problems with an honesty and matter-of-fact wry humor that touches me. I kept planning on introducing my birth defect in a similar no big deal way, and finding that it rarely comes up.

It’s incredible how little this strange, strange body affects my life. My right arm is the length of my other elbow, and has a pincher-like weirdness at the end. It’s quite functional and is pretty much a cosmetic issue. The pain in my ass right now is positioning Molly on my left breast for nursing. I found out after I got pregnant that it was most likely caused by Amniotic Band Syndrome, where a little strip of the amniotic sac breaks away and wraps around a limb. This is, of course, both extremely rare and not genetic.

I didn’t know that when we conceived, though, and got pregnant before having the genetic tests done that I’d wanted. I was awake nights terrified that the baby would inherit this and having the most intense conflict about that worry. Did wanting desperately for her to be “normal” undermine my own sense of self? It brought up all the childhood memories of alienation that were buried and laid it all out for me to re-examine. When a friend’s baby was born with this same condition and I looked into it, I realized ABS is the most likely explanation. Shortly after that, I had my first ultrasounsd with a nurse friend. She said “one hand’s by her face, here, and the other is down her by her side.” I cried when she said “other hand” and had her show me. At only 12 weeks or so, I could count ten fuzzy little suggestions of fingers if I looked very close- which, of course, I did- over and over. Interestingly enough, I was much more intent on looking and re-looking at the It’s-A-Girl ultrasounds- I just couldn’t believe I was having the girl I wanted, and was sure it was a mistake- not that a boy would’ve been a bad thing, just not my preference.

Well. On a much lighter note, I have invented wearing the baby ON a sling rather than in it. Her newborn Snugli is an evil cage to Molly, but if I sit her on top of it looking out, I can have a typing hand free:) Don’t worry- paranoid me has the funky hand wrapped securely around the precious bundle. She’s a happy Mollybird and is on the verge of finding her thumb. That means I’m on the verge of having a talk with the grandparents about how we feel this is a natural and preferable soother to a pacifier.

recycled posts | "blogging on blogging & a strange body"

My blogroll is growing exponentially each day. The bad news, I suppose, is that this is starting to qualify as an addiction. The flipside is it’s replacing an even worse one- the evil, evil TV. My two favorite new discoveries are Left Coast Mama and TranceJen. Left Cost Mama is the grooviest because she assures me that I’m not a bad mom for using baby crack, and her name is Gwen- one of my favorite names. Jen is just fabulous, and is referencing her seizure problems with an honesty and matter-of-fact wry humor that touches me.

I kept planning on introducing my birth defect in a similar no big deal way, and finding that it rarely comes up.It’s incredible how little this strange, strange body affects my life. My right arm is the length of my other elbow, and has a pincher-like weirdness at the end. It’s quite functional and is pretty much a cosmetic issue. The pain in my ass right now is positioning Molly on my left breast for nursing. I found out after I got pregnant that it was most likely caused by Amniotic Band Syndrome, where a little strip of the amniotic sac breaks away and wraps around a limb. This is, of course, both extremely rare and not genetic.

I didn’t know that when we conceived, though, and got pregnant before having the genetic tests done that I’d wanted. I was awake nights terrified that the baby would inherit this and having the most intense conflict about that worry. Did wanting desperately for her to be “normal” undermine my own sense of self? It brought up all the childhood memories of alienation that were buried and laid it all out for me to re-examine. When a friend’s baby was born with this same condition and I looked into it, I realized ABS is the most likely explanation. Shortly after that, I had my first ultrasounsd with a nurse friend. She said “one hand’s by her face, here, and the other is down her by her side.” I cried when she said “other hand” and had her show me. At only 12 weeks or so, I could count ten fuzzy little suggestions of fingers if I looked very close- which, of course, I did- over and over. Interestingly enough, I was much more intent on looking and re-looking at the It’s-A-Girl ultrasounds- I just couldn’t believe I was having the girl I wanted, and was sure it was a mistake- not that a boy would’ve been a bad thing, just not my preference.

Well. On a much lighter note, I have invented wearing the baby ON a sling rather than in it. Her newborn Snugli is an evil cage to Emsy, but if I sit her on top of it looking out, I can have a typing hand free:) Don’t worry- paranoid me has the funky hand wrapped securely around the precious bundle. She’s a happy Birdie and is on the verge of finding her thumb. That means I’m on the verge of having a talk with the grandparents about how we feel this is a natural and preferable soother to a pacifier.

she sleeps, she spews

How to feel a tiny bit attractive, if you are me:
1. Wear prettiest panties- hideous grey nursing bra be damned. Convince myself that I’m wearing them to feel nice, not because every other pair is dirty and going commando in a thin skirt to the office is gross.
2. Decide my hair isn’t too mom-ish after all and put a funky zigzag part in it.

How not to feel attractive:
1. Notice on the way out the door that my nursing pads show through my top.
2. Get thrown up on- high volume- in hair.

In happy sleep news- six solid hours- woohoo!

reflections

I’m really enjoying this creative outlet. It’s relaxing to sit in my dark, cozy basement office and collect my thoughts, process my day, reflect back. The baby monitor’s by my side, and the rhythm of Molly’s swing is calming me as much as it is her right now.

My day started in the most sublime way. I was rocking and nursing Molly, my eyes closed in the dawn light, consciously focusing on the quiet, sweet moment. I opened my eyes lazily, and noticed that we were reflected in the glass on a photograph of my mother on the opposite wall. I’ve never noticed that before, and it filled me with such a strong, fierce love for the woman I hold in my heart and the tiny one I held in my arms. It wasn’t a sadness for mom, it was just a comforting, real knowledge of my place in the world. I realized a few days back that the anniversary of her death had passed and I hadn’t noticed. This is the fifth year since her passing. I think she’d be overjoyed that my day was so full of caring for my new daughter that I didn’t feel any grief that day.

——————————

I took Molly to work with me for a couple of hours this morning and she was sweet as pie. She was a wailing banshee afterwards, apparently, for her dad. He was frazzled when they picked me up. I can’t stand the idea of her being fussy when I can’t be there to comfort her. It makes working that much harder. But, since I spent much of my day on the phone with an extremely rude bill collector, we absolutely cannot afford for me to quit. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, maybe- just leaving her in the mornings. I hope we can get the business rolling along better, and bring in enough money for both of us to work from home soon.

on hotness and machines

Someone posted in Blogging Baby about hot moms. Most of us, per the comments, are thinking we are lukewarm at best. Shane for one is not getting the conjugal attention he’d like, but assures me I am still a sexy chica. Turning thirty and giving birth a month later has made me feel like I aged a decade in the past year. I’d like to think that I have, emotionally. The physical stuff is a mixed bag. I love my silver hairs, all goddessy and mature. The wrinkles, not so much, but they aren’t bad really. What I’m thinking really needs help is my wardrobe. I’ve spent too many hours nursing Molly and watching the Style network and wishing for some trendy new clothes. Then I feel like a superficial shit for daydreaming about a makeover and watching crappy TV. The truth is, though, nursing in the beginning is constant and a little boring. Such a nasty habit, though. Shane and I don’t want Molly watching TV until she is 3 or so. We are still indulging ourselves more than we should. I’ve instated a no-TV-until-8:00pm rule for myself this week.

My current parent-paranoia is about Molly’s gadgets. We don’t have alot of stupid baby equipment, but she has an automatic swing. It’s been nicknamed baby crack. She loves this thing, and will go to sleep faster than rocking in a chair with me. I had imagined working on the house and at the computer with her in a sling, but she hates her sling usually. The swing lets us get things done. Why do I feel guilty about using it? Her other machine is a Kick and Play bouncy chair- and this toy I love. She can activate the lights and music herself already, which makes me think she is a genius. It’s so cool to see her stimulated and aware and staring inquisitively at the colors and blinkies. She can entertain herself for a while in that, and at least it’s not putting her to sleep. I just hate not being in contact with her. I have to go back to work tomorrow after a long weekend, and I want cuddle time. But I have logos and a website to finish, and a cousin’s wedding invitations to design. At least I can stare at her while she’s swinging.