Monthly Archives: September 2006

blogging on blogging

I never visit MySpace, because it’s the most constipated website I’ve ever tried to load. I find the layout annoying and cluttered, and I want to dig my eardrums out of my head when I find a user page that has music embedded on it. But, many of my art school friends have pages, and from time to time I think of someone I’m curious to track down and I look them up. I found a couple I met through my ex who I was very fond of (both the ex and the couple.) They have a 10 month old baby, so I giddily added them both as friends and eagerly awaited a reply, hoping the fact that I was friends through the ex wasn’t awkward for them. In the meantime I read their pages more carefully, and I found out they’ve lost a child who would have been a little over a year and a half old now. This shocked me and broke my heart. I’m not sure what happened to their son, but I’m amazed by their resilience. The father has a very sweet mention of the baby on his page, and I read a little about the mother’s healing process. She did reply to my blog entry there and hopefully we’ll have a playdate in the near future. Hearing things like that is 1,000 times more painful now that I’m a mother. I want to hold this friend close to me and tell her I love her because I really do. She’s a precious, beautiful woman.

*****

A LiveJournal friend updated recently and was venting about her really high-needs baby. She wrote about how sick it makes her to read glowing mothers’ tales of adorable, easy babies. It made me feel something like guilt for being that Mom- my cousin’s troubles make me feel that way too, as if I won the easy baby lottery at their expense.

However:

The past couple of weeks, Molly has graduated from adorable, easy-going newborn baby to clingy attention-starved infant. She must be held (but Oh , No- not in a sling!) and entertained at all times, eat every hour and a half, and sleep right on top of mommy. She has to cry from 6:30-8:00 and then crash. We’ve had some stretches finally this week of long sleep in the night, aided by the admittedly excessive use of the baby swing. I’m not complaining- when I’d think I was approaching really cranky strung-out mommyness, she’d give me a little break. I just wanted to let the blogosphere know I’m not that mommy anymore with the unfairly easy life. Molly is, in fact, human. (Although I have on several occasions lately wondered if she was replaced recently with a screaming goblin changeling.)

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two years yesterday


Happy Anniversary, Bu.
(& thanks for all the fish.)

I think I’m going to go cry now for the 20+ inches of hair I’ve cut off in 2 years.

mabon

I celebrated Mabon, the autumnal equinox, by returning to Earthways, the little group of pagans within my UU congregation. I called on the element of water, which was wonderful for me. I feel watery after literally carrying so much of it around in my body and then releasing it with my baby. Now, nursing is like I’m a fountain of liquid mooniness. It’s so cool to make sweet milk in my own body that nourishes the baby. I can’t get over the magic of that.

We had what would have been a quiet, contemplative meditation on balance, BUT… Molly decided to balance the reflective mood with loud pouty screaming until she fell into an immediate and deep sleep after we were all finished. I did manage to feel open enough to grok a couple of vague impressions. Something said “listen” and then I had the vision that we were bees, because we were humming spontaneously. (I think the listen suggestion meant listen to Molly, to trust the intuition that comes from both her and me. I had focused on the question of balancing my crazy fears with the “good” fear that makes me a good parent.)

I love the equinoxes- the scent of huge changes in the air and feeling how quickly the seasons change, and then settle in. Summer is long and lazy and easily taken for granted, and winter is just this seemingly unending nap. I have to force myself to love winter, and I fail.

But autumn- it is quick and powerful and the moment you try to revel in its beautiful colors, they fall away leaving stillness and a kind of sadness. The smell is my favorite. All these mixes of scents- the earthy, sexy smell of smoke and drying leaves set against the crisp cleansing breezes. Beautiful contrasts- like the brilliant oranges in the hills against a bright blue sky. (West Virginia is amazing in the fall.) It’s no wonder I returned to my circle in the autumn. I wrote before how this time draws out my witchiness. October- I just float through October. My old friends and I declared October first an unofficial holiday- the day of wearing all black to work, and maybe a subtle pentacle if we felt brave. The whole month is like a festival to me, ending with Samhain (Halloween) which is the best day ever. The fact that I hate winter so much adds to the drama of the season- it’s like the last wild party before buckling down for the slow, cold darkness.

tragedies and anxieties

A little girl whose family lives down the road from here was killed in a terrible accident this week. Her mother hit her with the car backing out of their driveway. She lived nearly 24 hours but died on Tuesday. She was two years old. I didn’t know the family except from noticing them as we would drive past their house. They have a big yard full of plastic toddler toys and there are always several kids running around and several cars visiting. The family seems chaotic and wild and I’ve made bitchy comments daily about the kids playing too close to the road.

I can’t imagine what that mother is dealing with right now. It makes me sick to imagine, but I keep imagining- over and over. Since I lost my mom I have this ugly manifestation of my anxiety that makes me obsessively imagine terrible things happenning. When Shane was travelling at his old job, I would have visions of his being killed in a car crash. I had visions of being widowed immediately after the wedding. Dark, frightening things seem to insinuate themselves into my thoughts the moment I feel happy and lightened. It’s like I got programmed to expect a tragedy when things are good. The baby, of course, is working my scary imagination overtime… I have times when I’m filled with dread that I won’t get to keep her, that she’ll have an accident and I’ll lose her, that she’s too good to be true. It’s almost like I think I don’t deserve her. That’s such a sad thing- why would I feel like this? It’s tense writing about this feeling- I feel superstitiously like admitting the worries will call the universe’s attention to them and create them. Do all new moms feel these unfounded terrors?

The accident amplified these worries for me. I couldn’t stop crying when I read in the paper that she had died. I just grieve for the family. In the same edition of the newspaper I saw a reference to a local man who murdered and raped his girlfriend’s son. I think his mother is going to prison too, for some kind of neglect or responsibility for his death. We know the girl’s cousin, and she has been very active in trying to get legislation passed in Logan’s name to ensure longer sentences in such cases. It didn’t pass in the last session of the state legislature, but I’m sure they plan to keep working.

How do we raise children in this world without losing our minds worrying? I want to take her and Shane and run away to a commune somewhere where there is no TV, food additives, pollution… I could go on but no such Utopia exists. I can tell from the first four months as a parent that this is my great challenge: I have to look out for her the best way I know how without letting my fears turn both of us into neurotic, timid crazy people. This is why the Wonderful Taoist Nature of Fate has brought me my husband. He anchors me, he is my counter balance. If we can find a blend of our parenting styles, this will be one well-adjusted happy kid. I’m learning to pick my battles, as it were. Allowing organic meats in the future, for example. But only when Daddy feeds her. I still refuse to prepare meat, and if my vegetarian example influences her eating habits, so be it.

happy moon day

It’s weird. I can’t believe Molly’s already 16 weeks old, but I feel like I’ve been her mother for ages and ages. It amazes me how different I feel compared to before the pregnancy. We went to an art reception at my old school last week, and seeing my old friends was so strange. I felt like I was seeing them after being on another planet for the past year. They acted like I was still me, but I’m not. I’m not mourning for my younger flightier less responsible self. I’m completely in love with motherhood and the mellowing, calming effect I feel in my heart. I wouldn’t trade diapers and night nursings for all the wine and smooth belly skin in the world.

The world of Molly at four lunar months is this: playing with her toes; trying desperately to roll onto her tummy and then, having achieved her goal, wailing like a banshee until Mama rescues her from being mired belly down on the floor; slurping her fingers; teething and chewing her fingers, crying in the evenings from the discomfort; eating barely anything one day and then constantly nursing the next, and long long nursing sessions in the evenings. Frequent long stretches of sleep at night- 9 hours last Friday; playing “big girl,” being held up to standing on Mom’s or Dad’s lap and babbling a blue streak at us; learning the splashes can happen in a bath, and slowly discovering her toys. Doing sit-ups on our bellies and sitting up very well when supported. She hates being cradled or held on our shoulders until she’s sleepy, then she melts onto us and is a warm, quiet little creature who dazzles us.

dreams and "lala land"

The photo op of the day involves a ridiculously feminine outfit and a beautifully girly handmade quilt that was a gift from Granddaddy’s pal Martha. I meant to link to her eBay store, but can’t find her card, so I’ll edit later if I come across it. (*edit: this is her ebay store: http://stores.ebay.com/Handmade-by-Martha )

***

We’ll say my day started at 4:00 a.m. when Molly needed to nurse for the first time since bedtime. I went to cuddle up with her in her nursery and it seemed like we’d nursed solid when Shane’s alarm went off at 6:30 or 7, but I’m sure we fell asleep at some point. I was bleary groggy sleepy and my back was creaky so I told him to take the car to work (he’s landscaping on the weekends for a friend. Yay cash) and Molly and I would skip church.

I put her in her swing and retreated to the grown-up bedroom for the comfort of the Suz Coccoon, another famous handmade quilt. I drifted, and had a dream within a dream within a dream. I do that pretty often. They’re usually very vivid (the “core” dream) and often seem hallucinatory or something. Sometimes in the next part, where I think I’ve awoken , I actually interpret the previous dream in that dream. Boggles the mind, no? This morning I dreamt I had, or actually did have?, an out-of-body trip, then a nightmarish hallucination-in-a-dream of nearly drowning. It was so super-sensory. Cold, turquiose and indigo waters rising up like a wall on either side of me, and me pinned up against the ceiling. I could examine in detail the crisp white spackled plaster on the ceiling, and I knew it wasn’t real but was panicky. Then I “woke up” and told Shane about it, asking for comfort. He reassured me, and I dreamt some mundane things, then awoke for real feeling super disoriented and hung-over. The astral projectrion deal was simple and weird, vague. The part I remember was walking calmly back into the bedroom and seeing myself there, wondering how to realign the spirit and body, then the bed appeared empty and I just lay down and that was the way back “in.”

The water dream was so powerful and surreal. Frightening but much preferable to the nightmare I had the night before of Molly suffocating. Someone in the dream had given her a plastic bag to play with. Remembering that makes me shudder. I hate my nightmares. I’ve had them continuously since my night terrors as a toddler. I remember begging to sleep with Mom and Dad and not being allowed. I’d camp out on the floor outside their room or when I was older, on the couch within view of their bedroom door. That memory makes me adamant that Molly will never have a door closed to her when she’s frightened in the night.

We spent the day with Molly’s “LaLa,” my Mama Janet. She was my mom’s best friend and I adore her. She’s a round, beautiful, beaming hippy chick. I haven’t gotten to visit her since she was my lay-doula at Molly’s birth. It was a great time, talking about her daughter’s pregnancy- LaLa’s first official grandchild- and my mothering and nursing expoeriences. She made me Chai and I nursed the baby for an hour as she’s been wont to do lately. I’m so at home with Janet, and when I’m with her I can all but hear Mama laughing with us. It was a content, easy day.

sembiosis

I thought the thing that touched me the most about motherhood was her simple but powerful biological need for me. It’s so tender and sweet that this tiny creature sometimes needs nothing in the world but for me to hold her, and she needs it so fiercely it makes her cry.

Last night I realized how much I need her too now. She went to sleep after fussing for a while, but only slept a little while before she was hungry again. after I got her settled again in her crib, I went back to bed with Shane, with the baby monitor’s gentle humming sound to lull me back to sleep. Only I couldn’t stay asleep. I tossed and turned and fidgeted around, then finally got up about 5:00 and realized on Molly’s normal schedule I’d have gotten her up and put her in bed with me in the nursery. But last night, she was sleeping so good by herself that I left her alone. I realized how much comfort she gives me in the night, and how accustomed I am to feeling her small warmth next to me. I told myself to go back to sleep, that she was fine and not to disturb her, but I couldn’t stand it. I went to her room, and she had just started to stir, but hadn’t made a sound yet. She arched her little back toward me and I scooped her snuggly little self and cuddled up in bed with her.

I decided it was OK for me to need her too. It’s amazing the strength of this connection. I am so in love with the fact that I wake right before she does, that our sleep cycles synch up. And part of it’s chemical- I think I’m finally feeling the oxytocin buzz of nursing that I’d read about. It’s the most relaxing thing in the world. We both melt, and it’s sublime.