Sunday, September 30, 2012

And so I cried.

Oy. So much to talk about.

My baby is sick. It's the WORST. Daycare called me Wednesday when I was at work and said she had a fever, was tugging on her ear, and wouldn't eat. Hannah doesn't skip meals. I made a quick appointment with the pediatrician and sped over to daycare just in time to pick her up and get her to the doctor. She has an ear + sinus infection. Poor girl has so much drainage she sounds like a piglet. She hasn't been sleeping through the night as well as she normally does because she simply can't breathe well. Her cough sounds pretty gross. I can't stand it. My mom and dad took care of her Thursday so she could get some good TLC there instead of going to daycare, and she had a fever and cried pretty much the whole drive home that night. And so I cried.

But then she has her OK moments where she almost seems normal. Like this great moment:
Time stopped
Hannah is now on the move with a serious army crawl, and when Jason started strumming she crawled herself right over to his feet. He picked her up and she was in absolute awe of him as he played the guitar. It was one of the most precious things I've ever seen. And so I cried.

Sometimes when she is on her stomach she gets up on all fours and rocks as if she's going to take off in a real crawl. She has also started making noises that resemble words. I'm thrilled to say that the one thing she repeats over and over again is "Ma ma ma ma ma." She says it a lot when she is sad from being sick and wants me to pick her up or hug her. I melt. And cry.

We've had so much going on lately. Even though I'm part-time at work I had a change in position that made me responsible for a few things that are pretty urgent, so I've been working just under 40 hours a week for the past two weeks. Jason went out of town last week for a big IT rally he and his company put on, naturally leaving right before Hannah got sick. Things always happen when he goes out of town. I don't cry about it because I'm too busy to think about feelings.

I really don't cry all too often, but I have kind of been going through a hormonal spell lately where I am easily triggered. I think the worst thing you can do when you feel like crying is not cry, so I never stop myself. I think my whole thing is that I still can't believe this is my life right now. I have a really beautiful baby girl whose life literally depends on me, and this has forced me to become so acutely aware of so many things. It's like an ever-moving emotional target, and just when I accept the way I'm feeling about one piece of motherhood, something new happens. Like she gets her first real fever and illness, and it's like the fear of her not making it through makes its way into my conscience and beats me up. Or she learns to army crawl like an inchworm on the move, and it's both so cute and terrifying...I'm suddenly hyper-aware of every sharp corner that she could split her head open on, or every live wire she could chew, or every dog toy she could gnaw on, or every dog hair on the ground that's probably getting in her mouth and nose and OH GOD. It doesn't stop. It exhausts me.

Yes, I have to figure out how to live like this. Accept the fact that the world is dangerous - even my living room is dangerous - and my heart is now contained within a 17 lb precious gift whose fate I cannot control. It's hard to realize that the greater the gift the more you feel like you have to lose. I wish I could be grateful and leave it at that. But I can't. So I cry.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm guilty.

Where does your peace reside?

Is it in an approval? An accomplishment?

Is it caught between a single choice you made a long time ago and a regret you still have now?

In a relationship? In your spouse? In your child?

It's your peace. It's nobody else's. Therefore, it's nobody else's responsibility. And, to be honest, it's nobody else's priority. But it should be yours.

I think it's a damn shame that we let our peace hang in the hands of someone else. Or something else.
"I would be happier if..."
"I wouldn't have any worries if..."
"I could sleep better at night if..."

If what? If someone or something would give you peace? If your situation changed? What if it doesn't? And then you stop breathing. And then you finally figure it out...

I could have had peace the WHOLE time.

It's hard to have peace when you live in fear. So figure out the worst that can happen and accept the fact that you'll live through it. Because you will. You're stronger than you give yourself credit for.

It's hard to have peace when you surround yourself with toxicity. So take a good hard look at what people and things are poisoning you and eliminate them. You won't just be able to live without them, you'll flourish.

It's hard to have peace when you feel guilty. So the next time you hear your inner dialogue tell you that you failed someone or something, tell it to shut its ugly mouth. You acknowledged your humanity, now forgive yourself regardless of whether or not someone else forgives you.

I find myself living with guilt sometimes. I push myself to complete a task. Perfectly. I want to lose my baby weight and get back to my pre-pregnancy shape. Now. I want to make people happy. Every time. I don't want to screw my baby up. I don't want to fail.

I am setting myself up for disaster. You know why? Because I won't complete tasks perfectly, I just quit Weight Watchers, people can't be pleased, babies grow up to be adults who have the lifelong job of finding their own peace, and I am definitely going to fail.

So here's my real job:
Be OK with that. Identify guilt, and alleviate it as fast as possible. Forgive myself for being human. Trust in my ability to be responsible for my own peace. Stop tracking Weight Watchers points when I just don't have the energy. Stop tracking how many miles I run in a week. Let people get mad and struggle with their own inability to forgive me. Fail. And pray to God for peace. Because it's my responsibility and nobody else's.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The black thumb and the bright gift

I like giving myself crap for being such a terrible plant caretaker. I've killed bamboo. Plants shrivel in my presence. All of our bushes surrounding our house have bare spots as if brontosauruses have taken bites out of them. It's shameful. This year I didn't even bother buying flowers. Adding the hottest summer on record to my distaste for the plant watering process just didn't seem like a winning combination. But every day I look out on my back patio to the vacant pots and I can't help but feel frustrated with myself.
The perfect place for tumbleweeds

Perhaps with a little more effort and care I could have a beautiful garden. I admire beautiful gardens and the people who tend to them. I can't bring myself to unreel the hose, I'm so plant lazy. But I absolutely love flowers. I see them as a gift from God and a gorgeous example of the miracle of life. I think about the magic that lives within the precise second that a seed begins its journey into planthood. And just recently, God gave me a pretty neat little gift:
The Godflower
I didn't plant that, but it sprouted last week in my flower pot on the patio. I've never planted a perennial like that, so there's no explanation for the fact that this sweet beauty decided to bless me with its presence. I don't have to water it. It just keeps growing. I don't deserve it, but it was given to me. I like that God brings to life what I can't in order to remind me that His design is a gift.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hannah Boo Boo Child

Proud, proud mother here! My mom entered Hannah in the Manchester Homecoming Cute Kid Contest and she WON! Votes were cast by way of donations benefiting the Friends of Kids with Cancer organization. Now we're going to get cocky. We're going to enter her in baby pageants. We're going to be on Toddlers and Tiaras. She's the next Honey Boo Boo!

OK, all of the above is false with the exception of the winning of the contest.

Award-winning Hannah Sophia
In other news, since I'm gettin' all braggy on my daughter, Hannah has now started making forward progress on her tummy, meaning instead of scooting backward she's beginning to army crawl forward. And she's steadily eating one portion of pureed carrots a day. And she's cute. Happy mama, I am.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hannah Land: A chapped ass, a curve ball, and banana for Hannah

Today was a big day in Hannah Land. Three major events took place.

Number one has to do with number two...
Hannah is teething. Teething leads to pooping. Pooping leads to diaper rash. Diaper rash leads to a chapped ass. A chapped ass leads to NO PANTS FRIDAY! Apparently the best thing for diaper rash is good old fashioned air. So, I let Hannah hang out on some towels with her little red fanny free to feel the breeze. I am pretty sure she loved it. Perhaps I just loved it for her. I would have indulged as well but for whatever reason I don't think the neighbors would have found it as charming if anyone were able to see in the windows. I do think the day of butt oxygen helped. Her tush looks less like Freddy Krueger's face now.

Number two has nothing to do with poop...
You wouldn't believe it but my little 5-month old lady has quite the right arm on her. She can fling the ball swiftly and accurately. Don't believe me? Watch this video of her playing ball with her daddy. She worked her curve ball and sinker and caught Jason looking with her famous high and inside pitch. Or something.

Number three looks like a number two only it doesn't smell like one...(excuse me for being so fecal today - I'm double-O-C out-of-control with these poop references)
You may recall that we struck out majorly when we tried the rice cereal. That experience intimidated us into not trying any sort of non-formula meals for awhile. But, today seemed like the right day since she was dominating every other aspect of life. It went incredibly well. She was scared of the presentation of the food at first and wasn't sure what to do with the spoon, but she seemed to love the taste. She gobbled up an entire little container of banana after her meal of formula. I think we're going to never feed her rice cereal again and stick with the stuff that doesn't taste like puffed air.

Hannah eats banana!


Saturday, September 8, 2012


Sweet holy mother of SLEEP! Now that is what I needed. I have been so tired all week but last night I went to bed at 8 p.m. and I slept until 7 a.m. I'm like a new woman. I haven't slept like that in about a year.

This week was exhausting. I honestly haven't been feeling that great. By no means have I had a full-fledged relapse back into my terrible postpartum low, but I have been feeling about a notch or two outside of myself. Fortunately, I feel like I have a lot of the tools I need to push through. I will do everything I can to not let myself get that low again. I'm done with it.

Adding to the exhaustion was the fact that Jason was in Chicago for work all week and I was flying solo with Hannah. I've never felt so discombobulated. I have so much respect for single moms. Good-intentioned single moms. Not perfect, of course. No mom is perfect. But I think parenting is one of the most complex, challenging, emotional jobs I've ever had. I've had plenty of complicated jobs in my day, but I've never been so emotionally invested in any of them. I sell prepaid cards as a day job. I'm not emotionally tied to prepaid cards.

In Greek and the Bible there are different variations of love, each representing a different type of love. Agape love, eros love, philia love, storge love. I wish this same logic applied in the English language. We only have one word for love, but feelings of love can be so different depending on what or who you love. The love I have for Hannah is a new kind of love. People say, "Don't you just love your baby?" And I do, but it's a new emotion. It's a feeling that I've never had for anything or anybody else. It's hard to describe, but all of my new mom friends agree. It's scary, exhausting love. It's deep, intuitive love. It's a love you get in your stomach first and then it fills your whole body like a warm inner hug. It's a love you'd sacrifice your whole life for.

The love I feel for my baby is

It's DENIPOSA love.
a love like no other

Monday, September 3, 2012

I sure get a lot done for a sleepy person (a.k.a. "Piano Man" deconstructed)

I spent five of the last 24 hours driving across Illinois with nothing but some good tunes and my thinking cap, which can be refreshing and mildly dangerous.

I took a page out of my sister's book and played a little iPod roulette, meaning I let my iPod do its shuffle and I refused to let myself change any songs. This got pretty interesting when I learned that I left my entire 85 song holiday playlist on the thing. At first I felt festive. Then I kind of wanted to die. Rules are rules, though.

Anyway, somewhere around the millionth mile of corn Billy Joel's Piano Man came on and I cranked it and gave the passing cars a better scene than someone knuckle-deep in their nostrils. I had my Dasani bottle microphone going and played the steering wheel piano like it was my God-given right. That song is one that I've listened to several thousand times, but it wasn't until today that I actually paid attention to the lyrics. Do you ever hear the lyrics to a song and say to yourself, I know exactly what they mean? That was my story today.

I can't tell you how many times I'll say something to Jason and he'll respond with "Where did that come from?" We were caravaning back home from our destination and decided to stop in Litchfield for a swallow of some grade E meat. He asked me how my drive was going and I replied, "I realized I'm tired of being lazy."

Here's what I meant:

When I was a sophomore in high school I got mono. Now I'm not trying to assign the blame there, but I haven't been the same since. I'm friggin' tired. Like, all the time. I've been to doctors upon doctors and the results have spoken: I don't have diabetes, thyroid issues, allergies, blood disease, nothing like that. Every doctor comes back with a diagnosis related to the fact that when you have mono it never actually goes away. The symptoms are supposed to, but you're always a carrier. That and it can impact your immune system, and I've pointed out recently that my immune system is a pointless collection of malfunctioning organs. The other conclusion doctors have come to is that I probably have chronic fatigue syndrome. I say probably because there is no way to diagnose it concretely, i.e. blood test or otherwise. I pretty much spent a lot of money to have doctors tell me I had a case of sleepiness. No doi.

For the most part I push through my fatigue and nobody would ever know, unless you lived with me in college in which case at some point you probably said to me, "Napping? Again?"

I still work out when I can. I still go to my job and do my best. I still keep up with my hygiene. But I also have a whole host of things that I want to do and I just flat out don't.

What Billy Joel is singing about in Piano Man is a little bit of all of us. There is always something on our list that we don't do because of fear, a confidence shortage, lack of time, sleepiness.

He's quick with a joke or a light of your smoke but there's someplace that he'd rather be.
Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place.

A busy realtor who never had time for a wife. A lifelong member of the Navy. A gang of strangers who find a dark room somewhere to drink and forget about life for awhile.

I passed a lot of corn in my car and thought about all of this. I don't know what it is that prevents all of you from really fulfilling what sits deep inside but I know what my excuses are...

I don't do a LOT of things because I think I'm too tired. This is my excuse for not doing pretty much anything that I am passionate about when I get home from work. And cleaning the house. And exercising. And painting the art that I vowed to hang on my walls (which is why we've been in our home for three years and the upstairs bedroom walls have little to nothing on them).

I wanted to major in art or creative writing but I was afraid to make a career out of either for fear that someone would tell me how do to them and I would lose my fire for them. Instead I do neither as often as I'd like and I definitely don't get paid for them.

I want to cook a natural, healthy dinner for my family every night but I won't go to the grocery store right after work when I'm wearing heels because it's hard to walk on the slippery grocery store floor in them.

I want to practice guitar more often but it hurts my fingers and I hate pushing through the pain.

I want to stop eating my sandwiches when I'm full but I feel bad that they otherwise would not fulfill their sandwich destiny.

I want to join a Bible study at my church but I'm afraid it will take away from all that nothing that I'm doing at night instead.

I want to do so many things but I guess I'd rather give myself the guilts sometimes, and that is a crock.

You know what, though? I'm proud of what I have accomplished. It may not be as much as I'd like but it's pretty good for someone with the ability to come up with some pretty creative excuses. Everybody struggles, and sometimes the best we can do all day is breathe, and that's OK in my book.

I'd like to think we're all sailing slowly in that boat. In fact, I know we are or Billy Joel would have had to change his song. We're all in that bar, sharing a drink they call loneliness. But I'll be damned if it isn't better than drinkin' alone.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hannah's 5 months on this planet

It's been a good minute since I've posted. I have been caught up in some stuff over the past week, including healing from being sick, resting, not blogging, working, sleeping, eating, more not blogging, watching the season finale of Teen Mom, laying down, and generally not blogging. Sometimes I just need to take a break and spend time thinking of pointless things, ya know?

Tomorrow marks Hannah's 5th month in the world, and I can't imagine my life without her. She's my light. Over the past few weeks, she has started blowing raspberries, she tries to get up on all fours but typically only succeeds in jutting her butt up in the air, she has a tiny little incisor tooth pushing its way through her gums, and we attempted cereal and failed. She tries to play peek-a-boo but pretty much just ends up with something covering her face that I have to pull off. She has a great sense of humor and an easy-going personality. I can take her anywhere. We're buds. It's insane how quickly she grows.

We did her 5 month photo shoot today. Here are the grand results:

(Miles: 8/365)