Category Archives: parenting

note to self, during the most-needed nap

Don’t go on vacation with a toddler and forget a stroller. Will be buying a cheap one tonight.

Don’t take a baby for a hot sunny walk in the sand for a half-mile or so and forget drinking water.

Don’t take aforementioned tired, hot, dehydrated toddler out and neglect to bring the diaper bag.

**********

So, after I scooped out the dried-out baby cement poo and got her to chug some milk, she passed out cold and stayed. I’ll pay for this long, late nap later, but hey. It’s vacation, so I’m not being OCD mama. The only rule is there are no rules. Except the ones above re: stroller, drinks, poop:) 

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beach bird

It’s been such an intense day. I’m sitting here now, watching the shore darken from our hotel window. It’s got a wall to wall ocean view. Bu and the baby are walking out on the beach. She can’t get enough of it. She and I just returned from her second visit. Bu has adorable photos from the window of our room.

We drove in today about 2:00 pm, and immediately she wanted to walk to the edge of the lot to see the “osh.” She was giddy- more than I’d expected. She’s so little I didn’t know how much she’d grok ocean-being.

After we settled, we suited up and walked down to the beach to play in the high tide and video her reaction. We got a little snippet on our Fuji snapshot camera that takes short videos.

She was blissed way out. She loved sitting in the sand and waiting for the surf to wash over us and splash. When a big wave soaked us and she choked for a moment, she shook it off like a pro.

I sat there, butt in sand and hairy soft legs covered in salt, holding her around the waist as she squealed and splashed and giggled. I thought, “This is the best moment of my life.” I’m tearing now recalling it. The ocean gets me like that- I’ve only been to the Atlantic four (no- five. Maine, chilly on the Summer Solstice, always gets forgotten) times before this trip, but I feel a deep peace and belonging at the beach. Is that a human thing or just me? I dream of living on an island. Mom loved the beach like this too. She lived on Nag’s Head a while. We took her ashes to Cape Hatteras.

Sharing the ocean with my tiny girl, her honey curls with salty drops damp against my cheek, my chest shaking with her wild laughter- it was perfect in a soul-quieting, beautifully poetic way.

Bu was at our side with the camera, but the moment was like my very own. It’s a gift he gave me to let me hold her like that and be washed together in the tide. Tides… I love being here where I can see them and feel the rhythm of them surround me ankle deep while I walk along, drinking in the sound of it.

Molly has taken to asking to hold the moon. She points and yells “Moon: Hold?” and cups her hands. It turns me inside out. She does that with TV and books, too, (begging to hold the kitten or baby or Curious George) but the moon? She’s amazing.

I don’t know when I can actually post. The WiFi server’s down in the hotel. We are sharing a room now with the bridal couple. How shitty is that for them? If I’d have had to bunk with us pre-wedding, I’d probably have cancelled and scheduled a tubal ligation for the next morning:)

Bu and I are rocking the skillz, though. We’re discussing parenting more, being a better team. It’s a really difficult time for the three of us, but it’s punctuated with amazing faery like bursts of sweet toddler energy that balance the equation.

this is my mantra for today

I am not the most obsessive-compulsive, it’s-never-good-enough person on this little spinney planet: I am not too picky to ever be happy.

I just have difficulty conceiving of details and small steps. However much I think I’m not, I am a primo, typical Aries in this way. I am teachable and mutable and still am growing. My faults are not inherent flaws; they are challenges and obstacles. There are many small worries, not One Giant Horrible Thing I’ve Fucked Up. Many of them simply need quiet and gentle attention and to be gifted with little bits of time.

Ganesha help me to rise to the challenges I create for myself, to learn from each perceived problem.

There is a need to remind myself stuff like:

  • there may be no perfect template on wordpressdotcom that fits my style exactly. It is OK to slowly learn the coding and it can be just pretty cool in the mean time. Aesthetic crap is not important enough to raise my blood pressure.
  • being cranky and resentful means I am a tired and utterly normal mommy, and does not mean I should file for freaking divorce.
  • whether or not to shave my legs for the beach trip is not a life changing decision. I am not on some Is She Feminist Enough? reality show where women with Ph.D.’s and hemp menstrual pads will vote me off the island if I decide to shave my legs. Likewise, it’s highly unlikely that a sorority of tanned blonde bikini people will gang up on me and kick sand at me if I show up in my normal mammal state at Daytona Beach. I won’t ruin the wedding because the bride’s mom will be so busy tsk tsk ing at the photographer’s wife’s hairy pale legs that she’ll miss the kiss. Won’t happen.
  • if I want to be a work at home mom, I have to WORK AT HOME. It is not a sin to use a babysitter (‘specially loving family babysitter) if I’m not at the day job. Two year olds zOMG need to be attached to mommies, and this makes for me not working. Someday working on my creative stuff will seriously pay off, but I have to invest intention, attention, time, and effort now. This is not neglect of my baby. This. IS. NOT. Neglect. Of. My. Baby.

OK. Thank you for holding my hand, tiny therapist priestesses who live in teh web.

commercialism, laziness, and not so much with the weaning

We’ve ordered a Little Mermaid cake. The Bird is obsessed with Her Fishy-taled-ness lately. I’m cranky. There’s a thread on my local mommy board about how many of the mamas shun licensed characters and TV. It brought up some icky feelings. Loving the concept of monitoring all that your kids are exposed to and keeping their childhood as innocent as humanly possible. (Also am very sick of fast-forwarding through the scary bits and feeling guilt for letting her watch videos that are too mature for her. And in less coherent moments of annoyance, raging at Disney for being such a twisted bunch of scary fucks in the first place.)

However: I’m absolutely too exhausted from thinking about every little thing. Also pretty sure that a Disney-inclusive childhood did not ruin me. She has massive mermaid squee and it’s hard to ban anything that makes the munchkin that freaking happy. (The video came in a load of hand-me-downs and she was enchanted from the moment she saw the box. A fishy! A princess! A princess who is fishlike! zOMG!)

Is it just laziness that makes me resent the feeling that doing things in accordance with my parenting intuition is a constant uphill battle against everyone and everything in our environment? It’s not a real big deal to me, this Disney Princess thingy- I suggested the cake theme. It’s just swimming ’round there in my brain, being examined. I’m just sick to death of feeling like I have good ideas but not doing anything about them because it’s easier to flow. Swim with the school. Snerk. I just wonder what it means that I take the easy way so often… I’m pretty sure it means

I am very, very tired
and have to cut myself some slack from the uber-granola ideals I have.

To address that, Bu has suggested that I leave the house a few nights at bedtime to let him take over. Maybe I can sneak back in and she’ll stay in bed with him. The weaning trend has reversed, and I’ve had to nurse her to sleep and through the days too. Then, of course, all through the nights. As tomorrow is the birthday, I think Friday night will be a better time to start the experiment. It also happens that a bunch of girls are going to see Sex and the City and have drinks that night, so the timing is good.

The Ariel thing isn’t all fraught with commercial anxieties, anyway. I read the Hans Christian Anderson story when I was young and I love it, so there’s some sentimentality watching her love the story too. Maybe I’ll get her the real version when she’s older and I’ll feel better. I had thought of making my own illustration and having a non-Disney mermaid cake, but- again- exhausted.

do they have wiccan toddler exorcists?

I’m taking a mental hygiene day, but I don’t feel very clean in the brain. Couldn’t make my nap work, so I’m swilling coffee. The child has been possessed by snot and some kind of malicious entity that has turned my zOMG sweetest natured baybay ever into a hysterical, rabid little mess. Sleep the past nights has been teh bad.

I have (so far) less frustrated burned-out mom feelings and more heartbreaking empathy and that thing where she pulls my heart out with her tiny fingers and opens it right up and it bleeds all over the place. I cannot stand to see her so raw and freaked the fuck out. I think I’m chill enough to project the idea that one of us is in a place of stable normal function. I am not entirely sure, though. She looks like a feral kitten plunged into ice water, and her big blue eyes that look into my soul on good days are full of this mad, fearful spazziness searching me for answers I can’t give.

Her triggers seem to be sleepiness, including the everyday waking in the morning kind, which means that every weekday there is a massive nuclear meltdown on the changing table; bathtime, until I climb in with her and hold her tightly for a long time, and then another one when I take her out; overstimulation, which paired with her cold and naplessness yesterday for the worst freak out to date.

Tactics attempted include:

-desperate boobie offers, rejected out of hand by the child who is now apparently totally weaned during daylight hours but MUST have nummins if she so much as stirs during the night.

The Dr. “Happiest Toddler” Dude caveman approach. Not working. I might not be trying hard enough to match her intensity. I still feel a little nuts doing it. (The speak Toddlerease thing did, however, totally pwn a tantrum thrown by E, the Birdy’s BFF.)

-gentle, hippie mama chanty soothingness

None of this seems to diffuse the worst part; I am unconvinced that anything could. (Or should? Does she need to vent this rage? Is it natural as a hurricane?) After the really bad part passes, I am very good. The aftershock involves a request to “hold” and/or “rock” and songs and stroking and whispered shhh’s and all the newborn stuff I was so good at and crave like comfort food. (I seriously will have to get a lapdog or a new cat if she gets non-touchy as she grows up. I am a big cuddly kissy touchy person, and new babies are the best snuggly thing in the world. I should hire myself out as a babywearing nanny.)

I haven’t tried ignoring her- shocking, no? I am not sure I am capable but it seems rationally to be a good strategy, if coupled with lots of loving attention during non-tantrum times. Bu wants to spank her. I can’t believe we are still discussing that as an option. I can’t write about that without coming across as insanely pissy and maybe elitist or something, and spouting terms I hate to use like “redneck” or “white trash” so I’ll spare you the ordeal and just say that I take issue with aspects of my husband’s upbringing. My opinion is also colored by my brother’s being spanked in anger and arguably emotionally abused. I’m not calling spanking abusive across the board but my momtuition rankles.

So, mamas:

Open call for advice! No flames allowed or expected. Suggestions to lock her in a dungeon or duct tape her mouth shut will be considered delightful black humor and dismissed, but seriously… has anything worked for you? Does she just need a Roary?

sainthood + baby pagan prayers

Did you know I’m eligible for sainthood? Yes. I am. I’m pretty sure that mothering a child for 23 months, 6 days, 4 hours, and eleven minutes without doing any of the following qualifies one for sainthood:

  1. Losing my goddamned mind
  2. Slapping, spanking, biting, or otherwise hurting the child
  3. Killing, castrating, or divorcing her father
  4. Selling her on eBay

She is in a spitting phase, she has a cold, we did not sleep, she will not eat, she will not be anywhere but my arms or [out]”side.”

Speaking of religion… she insisted we say grace tonight before she ate adamantly refused to eat dinner. I did a generic improv thing with generic “Lord and Lady,” which always makes me feel so old skool trad Wiccan. Which I am not. But I was charmed that she likes to say a meal blessing- the grandies have taught her.

Google turned this up:

Mother of Plenty, bless this bread
Father of the Grain, lend your seed
Let it nourish heart and head
Let it nourish thought and deed
Let its breaking be a spell
That hungry mouths be fed as well
And let its eating keep us free
As is our will
So mote it be!

Cute. I like. My searches for bedtime blessings yielded more poetry and made me say “aw…” and leak breastmilk they were so precious. (Argh! Where are they? I saved them… Oh. I’m a dork: My Docs->babybookofshadows.doc) OK. Look how adorable:

Day is done, it’s time for bed
Goddess bless my sleepy head
Earth and Water, Air and Fire
Bring gentle dreams as I retire
When the morning sun does rise
God will bless my open eyes

Now I lay me down to sleep,
Please help me learn my world to keep.
To guard the air and skies of blue,
The oceans, lakes and rivers too.
Save the mighty forest lands,
The plains, the shores, the desert sands.
Protect all creatures, wild and free,
In air, on land, and in the sea.

timing

Bird: *tweaks my nipple* Heheheeee!
Daisymama: No! No pinching.
Bird: Num-a-num! Heheheheheeee!
Daisymama: Wanna nursey?
Bird: *looks at me as if I’ve just stepped out of a spaceship* Hehehee, no…
Daisymama: Hmm. Is Boo suddenly too grown up for nummies?
Bird: *emphatic nod* Uh- HUH! Wah-yee?
Daisymama: Okaaaaay… *hands Bird sippy*

The thing with timing is…

Mid-August 2005, we decided we would start trying to conceive in nine or ten months. September 5? Pregnant. Start musing that I’ll think about starting to maybe try to wean after age two. Age 23 months? Sixth bedtime without nursing, second or, no… third day in a row with only early morning sleep-nursing.

It’s sudden, and I am caught off guard, but I have had the easiest, most fun and playful week with her since she was a quiet nine-hours-of-sleep-at-a-stretch six month old. What makes me sad is I don’t have a breathtaking serious nursing portrait. What I do have captures the reality though, with the quickly snapped, laughing candid photos and the hilarious ones of her trying to tear off my face. It’s a little sad that it’s starting to look like I’ll be half sleeping through our last breastfeedings. (Although it is amazing how adorable a nursing child is at 3:30 a.m. when that’s the only time she wants to nurse.)

I’m just sort of surprised with myself. I feel so happy and at peace with this, assuming it really is a weaning experience. And it makes me feel really confident that I’m going with my gut. Even breaking my own rule by a month maybe! Certainly violating the sacred dogma of the hardest hardcore boob nazis. And I’m OK with it all, even the good-natured ribbing at work from coworkers who zOMG at me about weaning before kindergarten/middle school/college:)

It’s really just… OK. Wow.