Don’t Leave The House Without…

Nevermind. Just don’t leave the house.

I’m kidding of course. I love leaving the house for a little while every day. It’s good for both Clare and I.

My sweet girl happily drawing by herself.

I’m not gonna lie. Before I had Clare I could stay inside and not worry about what humans outside my small world were doing. I could cuddle up on a snow day and relax.

Now that I have Clare I’m scared to death of staying at home all day. What am I going to do with you ALL DAY?! I’ve never been so intimidated by play my whole life.

Anyway, when I start feeling a little zombie like or maybe just start twitching mildly I leave. It doesn’t matter where. Yesterday we walked through the snow to get a pack of gummy treats. Tomorrow it might be the library.

Well today I went to the fabric store. Big mistake. Don’t ever go to the fabric store during the middle of the day. In fact don’t go to any store in the middle of the day. Don’t leave your house during the middle of the day. This is not the time to quench your insatiable desire for adult human contact.

Why you ask? Because there are the worst behaved screaming children everywhere. SCREAMING. HUNDREDS OF SCREAMING CHILDREN. And Clare being the wonderfully observant child that she is was staring wide eyed and soaking it all in.

I actually thought to myself, “Who brings their child out at lunch/nap time?” then Clare looked up at me and yawned and asked for another cracker.

I tried to tell her that that kid didn’t know that you are just supposed to sing songs or  play games when you get upset or board. Then the kid yelled shut up to her mother! It was like every family in that store needed Super Nanny? Is this what happens? Is my wonderful child going to become a demon in only a few years?

I remember being a kid that age. I actually remember throwing fits on purpose.

There has to be a better way.

Lord help us.

Generosity

Either Clare was being generous with Sugar, her doll, or …

She REALLY hates my banana bread.

This is not posed. I seriously found Sugar drowning in in banana bread with her face covered in butter.

When I asked Clare about it she simply said, “Sugar”.

I don’t know. But I laughed. And I’m still laughing.

hmmm…this could also be and erie Toy Story moment.

Tea Parties, Hats, and lots of PINK

When you find out you’re expecting a girl you overdue it. First thing you do is go to McDonald’s and order a strawberry milkshake (PINK) to celebrate. Then you head home only to stop at a store and buy ten items that are entirely PINK.  You go home and paint the nursery PINK.

Then at your next appointment you find out your PINK should have been BLUE.

Just kidding.

I love the way they play together.

But seriously. I overdid it. I told myself that I wouldn’t buy a whole bunch of pink crap cause my daughter would wear blue and purple and green and red and orange and yellow and black…cause…you know…babies wear black right? Then I went out and bought a million impractical dresses and dolls and stuffed animals that were PINK. I bought ballet slippers. I bought books about redheaded girls and ballerinas and teddy bears.

See what I mean?

Andrew said, “What if she likes Karate?”.

“Fine. That’s fine.” I replied. “But isn’t this tutu cute?”

It’s funny now, Clare loves tutus and dancing and feeding her dolls and having tea parties with her Grannie. She loves hats and jewelry and clips and headbands and flowers and hearts and…everything girl.

I wonder why.

PS Have you overdone it?

 

The Unending War: Naps

Does anyone remember when they were kids?  I know some of you are thinking, “I can’t remember anything before I was 18 and half that time I was drunk or in love or both so really nothing before 25 actually counts as a valid memory.”

Others of you are thinking, “I remember everything. I might even remember my birth. I’m just trying to suppress that one. Shoot! I just remembered! BLEH!”

I’m talking more specifically about naps.

Don’t you remember hating to take them? It was almost as if every day was your last and your mom calling you inside to take a nap while your other friends or siblings frolicked in the grass and sun was a prison sentence or maybe even the death penalty.

I hated naps.

Now…I LOVE naps. Seriously. If naps are a prison sentence, clap some cuffs around my wrists, give me some striped pants and chain me to the wall.

It doesn’t even matter if I’m tired. Give me a nap and I’ll take it.

As a mother, naps are essential for sanity. If you don’t have a break in the day it’s like working a 12 hour shift with no cigarette break.

Clare is just like I remember being as a kid. She wants to stay awake so badly. She will fight to the end to stay awake and really…why wouldn’t she think it was imprisonment? She sleeps in a padded cage with bars…

Now I’m not going to complain about my kids sleep schedule. I really don’t have anything to complain about but I’m just struck by the ongoing war between parents and children over sleep.

Why does this happen? WHY GOD?! WHY?!?! I keep trying to tell her that one day she will wish she could take two naps a day.

She doesn’t agree.

The other day she fought and fought against her nap and then fell asleep in her stroller. Yeah Clare. That’s got to be comfortable. I’m so glad you held out for that one Clare…

For Cloth

Before I had Clare I was squeamish. I was squeamish about being naked or my personal bubble being squeezed. I was squeamish about doctors visits. I was squeamish about moldy food and residue from bodily functions.

But I’m also a big hippie. Mooning people is not something I’m timid about. (sorry Mom and Dad)  Talking about the state of my bowels in public is something I do often as this blog can attest to. Blood does not phase me in the least. I wanted a natural childbirth more than anything.

Conundrum.

Andrew and I like doing everything ourselves. We like to cook our own food. We like to GROW our own food. We like to sew our own curtains. We like to doing our own renovations.

We’re also poor.

So when it came down to buying diapers our mouths dropped to the floor. The first week we had Clare I would say we threw out about 30 pounds of diaper waste! I’m not exaggerating though most of you know I am prone to do so. Seriously. 30 POUNDS! And those were the tiny diapers. Those don’t decompose for a long time folks.

This was Clare's reaction when I told her how much we used to spend on diapers.

So we switched to cloth.

I’ll be the first to say that as we approached the arrival of our new cloth diapers the only thought in my mind was, “What am I going to do with the poop?!” I know that many of your are thinking the same thing as your rub your belly or pat your toddlers head and think about being covered in baby poop up to your elbows.

I was afraid of getting peed on.

Well, I’m here to say that I made it. I have never been covered in poop and now after 6 months of using cloth I can safely say that I LOVE THEM! Andrew and I miss using clothe while we’re out or away from home.

Here are some pros for using cloth diapers:

  • No trash – I get no greater satisfaction than taking out one small bag of trash a week.
  • Money saver – we’ve saved about 200 or more dollars from using cloth
  • Earth saver – We did not feel that using the argument of our convenience was a good enough excuse to fill up Clare’s future home planet with trash.
  • No poopy smelly wafting from the trash in the nursery – you just plop and flush the poop. Clare loves watching her poop going “bye. bye.”
  • I know what I’m putting on my diapers to clean them. Most of the time we have no idea what diaper companies put on baby products.
  • Comfort – imagine wearing your own underwear or depends … come on.
  • Coolness – Cloth diapers are cool now, not like the ones when we were kids with the safety pins and the crinkly plastic cover. They are water proof and come in all kinds of colors.
  • Better for the beach. We used clothe diapers while at the beach with Clare. No saggy beach butt.
  • It takes 10 minutes of your time a day. THAT’S IT!
  • Less blow outs – Clare pooped like a million times a day and she would blow out every time in a disposable.
  • We were already cleaning poop and puke out of her clothes.

Look, you have to follow your convictions as a person and a parent. I’m not saying cloth is for everyone. But I am saying that if you are on the fence you should try them – borrow them from a friend or just order a couple.

Here are some links:

Bum Genius

G Diapers

Fuzzibunz

I feel strange even having these in our house.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Ghandi

No Traditions

I had never been very close with my mom’s mother. By the time I came I think her love had just been spent. After the death of my grandfather and age 39 it was hard for my grandmother to express love in the same way she had before he passed away.

Not only was her love stopped, but her creativity too. She was a fashion designer, an artist, a gardener, canned her own food, a lover of music. She and I never shared any of those things despite our common interests and the fact that we looked nearly identical. We had no traditions.

I contented myself with sharing creativity and love with my own mother but the dream always existed for more, for a deep and heartfelt relationship with my mother’s mother. I’m not saying this out of bitterness. I understood why my grandmother struggled with this. But I hoped and still in a way do hope though she is long gone.

As I approached the birth of my own daughter I pondered what it would be like to share things that I loved with her. I thought about singing to her and playing music. I thought about dancing and silliness. I thought about food and cookies and coffee. I thought about sewing and crocheting and making little things together for her dolls. I thought about flowers and gardening and saying sweet words to the new seedlings to help them along.

But I did not understand how special it would be to watch my mother, Clare’s grandmother teach Clare about creativity. I did not understand how it would feel to observe my mother loving my daughter – unhindered, not stifled. How POWERFUL! How redemptive.

My mother and I canned strawberry jam and sour cherry preserves this passed weekend and Clare “worked” right alongside us.

How amazing it was to make food together that we will eat together and remember together. Will never forget the sticky feeling on my hands from all the cherry juice. I will not forget seeing my mom’s hair curl from the steam rising from the all the boiling pots. I will never know how many cookies Clare ate as we labored for the beauty of creativity… together.

Thanks for being there for me, Mom. Thanks for being there for Clare.

What do you say, Mom? Let’s make love our tradition.

All By Herself

I don’t understand how it feels to be an only child. I was born into a well oiled kid machine. My two older brothers were not only smart, capable and creative but also nurturing and loving. I found myself in an environment that was FULL of people. It was hard to get time alone but I didn’t want that. I loved being surrounded by others. And now, as a mother, it just seems weird to only have one baby.

Clare was an “accident” and by “accident” I mean we got really lazy on purpose. Big surprise, Val. What did you think was gonna happen? Bah!

The next time around I wanted to mean it. I didn’t want to just stop trying to not try and have a kid. So after Clare was born we talked about having more children and when. We figured we’re on the wagon might as well hurry up so we can get off before we’re 30. Right? Am I right? Please tell me I’m right…

We never really wanted Clare to be an only child. I don’t think she would like it either – she loves being the boss way to much. She will be a genuine, loving and interested older sister. She will shine in this roll. I know it. Never overbearing. Never overshadowing. Just her sweet self, shining – a quiet inspiration for her younger siblings.

Being a woman is wonderful but it’s a little confusing when it comes to birth control. Even though your brain says, “It would be REALLY stupid/irresponsible to get pregnant right now.” your body and hormones are saying, “But look how handsome he is. Don’t you love him? You should make a baby with him as soon as possible.”

You have this logical plan in your head and as soon as you ovulate your sweaty husband starts smelling like a sweet, heavenly flower or bread fresh out of the oven. Your eyes glaze over and all you can think about is him and babies, lots of babies. You start crying at the thought of weening. You have a complete break down when you see someone else’s newborn. You stop drinking alcohol and caffeine even though there is no chance of you actually being pregnant. You have to keep slapping yourself in the face and saying, “Getting pregnant right now would be really ungood.”

The time Andrew and I had planned to start trying again is fast approaching. Much faster than my logical brain thought it would (much slower than my hormones want). Right now Andrew just smells like himself and I don’t have pictures of dancing newborns in my head. I don’t have visions of myself holding the earth next to my huge motherly bosom and nourishing all of humanity with my great womanliness.

I’m scared of what it would mean to have another person join our family.  What would happen to Clare? How would we have more room, more money, more love? How would we have enough?

Right now Clare will remain all by herself – an only child … that is until I turn into a raging baby machine.

On the flip side: We found Clare eating a dead bug the other day. I thought to myself, “Man, she is taking a long time to eat that Cheerio.” Nope. Not a Cheerio, Val.

6 Months

Clare turned 6 months old yesterday.

It was one of the most beautiful days in my memory. I will never forget the reflection of the sky in her bright blue eyes as we sat on the porch and enjoyed the day, her head turned up to look at the swaying tree branches, both of us laughing.

I’ve known my birth date for many years.  I’ve celebrated every year since I was born with cake and presents and big smiles and a new dress. But giving birth to Clare was like being born again. I feel now as though I’ve been born twice this time to a new and better way of living.

I’ve always known that I would love being a mother.  When was a little girl I used to say with confidence that I wanted, “100 boys, 100 girls and 2 sets of twins.” Minus the twins, that is still true.

But nothing could prepare me for how incredible it would be to be Clare’s mother.

She is most definitely the light of my life.

Her cautious yet determined spirit is one I admire and that challenges me every day. Her independent and happy disposition I am constantly amazed by. And she is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I’VE EVER SEEN!

Clare, happy 6 months.  I love everything about being your momma.