Monday, June 24, 2013

A tiny, little change

Since I'm not working, I thought, "Heck, maybe I should try to write more," and with that I'm moving my blog to WordPress.  The new platform will enable me to do more (well, that's Matt's promise, and I'm not sure what that means, and I'm not at all technical, so....yeah).   It's still a work in progress but if using the URL please point your browser to simply going forward.

As always, it's a marvel and a gift that anyone reads this little blog, and for that I'm very appreciative - thank you.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We are all in this together.

We are all in this together.

That's what I want to shout (beg? sob?) when I see a mom giving me looks as my kid misbehaves.  Today I had a woman - older, probably raised perfect little angels - actually put her hands over her ears, shoot me a "Get your act together, mom" look as Annie shouted-out in the grocery store ( was more of an undignified "You will let me eat this bagel right now you witchy woman!' shriek...but lady, let's abandon the histrionics).

And again today: the children's section of the library has a toddler / young child computer station - lots of little games where you color pictures in with a mouse, or practice matching, numbers, clicking, all of that.  Of course, Annie is smitten with it, and I abhor those colorful keyboards and the monitors that beckon with Elmo and ducks and kittens. The point of the library is to get away from that sort of stuff (due to me, she is now obsessed with Sesame Street and she has forever been in love with our laptops and cellphones).  I want her to read - digest - and not just sit in front of a screen, but I oblige for a bit (if only to avoid a meltdown and for me to grab a few books from the kiddie stacks). So there she was, sitting there on her own while I was about 15 feet away, thinking she's hot stuff and clicking on nothing in particular when she starts yelling, "Daaaad!  Daaaaaad!"  (Of course.)  A mom, regaled in an (organic cotton, I'm sure) Ergo Carrier (it's like a baby Bjorn but even  more expensive, and no, we don't have one) looks at Annie, looks at me, proceeds to roll her eyes and shake her head.  When gathering her toddler, who asked to use the computers, she said, "No, we don't use those honey," very pointedly.  And I know I sound bitter, and defensive, and all of that, but get off your damn high horse lady.  Take your attachment parenting self, your cloth diapers, and your holier-than-thou behavior to the Whole Foods and just quit it.  (Disclaimer: I have nothing against cloth diapers - we used ourselves for several months - and attachment parenting...well, only when it's used for evil.)

We are all just trying our best.  I have an 18-month-old who is (true to form) testing her (and her parents') limits and finding her voice, and yeah, she drives me over the edge at times, but I try to be respectful (we left the library shortly after Annie had a mini-tantrum when I said she had to abandon the computers).  Matt and I want nothing more than to raise a well-behaved child, but there will be outbursts  and absolutely, I will sit her front of the screen to get something done.  And I would never admonish the woman who has a screeching toddler - sympathy and support all around - because these kids are f'in nuts.

I've just been noticing - of course, not from all - but some parents my own little version of the "mommy wars" among the stay-at-home bunch.  These women be cray, yo.  It's like when I flipped open the latest issue of Kiwi magazine (the magazine for "raising kids the healthy and organic way!"...yeah, I know....that was my first mistake) and saw a column about how to make your little one's party more healthy for the planet and a woman wrote in who was absolutely perplexed how she could go green as her kid is asking for a party at the local bowling alley.  (I mean, the horror.)  The response from the columnist was something like, "This is the perfect opportunity to educate the staff at the bowling alley what going green really means...indicate you do not want disposable serving ware, etc etc".  NO JOKE.  Oh, the GULL.  This is what I hate.  Please, yes, let's lecture the employee at the bowling alley (who is probably not making a living wage) on how Atticus' party will be green (their names are always Atticus or something in that vein, too).  

I bring stuff like this up to Matt (who completely agrees) but never neglects to add, "Well, you're a bit self-righteous too you know, just in a different way."

Yeah, Matt, I know: it's called the good way.

My arch nemesis (the computers, not the kids).
Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

To Matt

I've been feeling lost - murky - lately as I dig out from this rubble and try to find my self-worth again.  But these blog entries always sort of have a fortunate "but":  I say there is something beautiful in needing to rethink, reshuffle, and recalibrate in all that was lost, and this is true, but it comes down to this: I have a partner who wakes me up to that possibility every single day.

This is my belated thank you to Matt.  We celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary on the 7th, and this is what I wanted to say then, but will say now (a windy, twisty love letter a few days after Father's Day for anyone to see):

First, there was this, circa 2004, posted online:

How could I not love this face? He's so darn sweet and unassuming.  I mean...the HAIR!

And this is me trying to look sexy (or something, oh Kathryn), taking a self-portrait in my London dorm room.  It was probably photo 30 or something.  Sigh.  Silly twenty-year-olds.

Matt and I met in February, 2004 on Match - have I mentioned that?  Yes -  online. I joined on a whim after breaking up with my college boyfriend and searched the zip code closest to my parents home (because, obviously, I had no job lined up and was trucking it back home to Pennsylvania for the summer).  I went to a school where everyone was well-off, good-lucking, smug in their artsiness and just so damn blase about their lucky lot in life.  That whole "We're moving to Williamsburg (Brooklyn) on our parents' dime and starting an artisan (pickle, cheese, whatever) business" before hipsters were in Brooklyn doing the same and it wasn't a tired joke.  I was so exhausted with New York for that reason.  I frequently said, "I just want to meet a lumberjack or a nice, nerdy guy," and then came Matt.  Poof.

In typical collegiate fashion, we talked over IM and then met during our respective spring breaks.  He was funny and smart, self-deprecating and sometimes shy.  But always sweet.  Always earnest.  For example, he is a programmer and tried to teach me how to code, but I remember throwing the notebook across the room.  He drives a manual and tried to teach me how to drive stick, and I remember throwing his air freshener out the window and stomping out of the car.  Probably in tears - I can't recall but that sounds about right. 

That first spring he came up to New York and I visited him at Penn State.  I'll spare you all the gooey details, but it was easy to fall in love with this boy and if you've read this little blog you know Matt is without pretense, wholly kind, and so very good (to me, to his daughter, to everyone).

It's sometimes hard for me to take his kindness and sincerity to heart: for instance, this pregnancy hasn't been as kind on me in terms of fatigue, weight gain, and I've been having difficulty sleeping.  "I find you absolutely beautiful," he'll say as I stick my gut out in the mirror.  And what do I say?  It's always something along the lines of, "Oh please, you just want to get laid," while rolling my eyes, or "Well, you better, as I'm carrying your child!"  I also started laughing when Matt proposed to me and to this day have no idea what he said.  Oh, and the first time he told me he loved me.  (I'm a gem, what can I say?)

I've softened throughout the years - Matt is my daily dose of mellow - but I sometimes still have a way of ruining moments, and (thankfully) he still puts up with me.  I hope - in my sometimes acerbic way - I feed and fuel him the way he does me.

This blog has become a scrapbook and little ode to my family - of course to Annie - but I hope it's clear that it all began with Matt, who has lifted the burden of my health woes as much as he can, held me when I cried about work, and every day tells me to relax, find my passion, and when I do, he'll be there to help me pursue it.

My world begins and ends with that boy and little girl, and the best decision I've ever made was IMing that fluffy-haired stranger one February afternoon over nine years ago.

Matt, happy belated anniversary.   Happy belated Father's Day.  You make our family whole.

All photos were taken Father's Day weekend at Smith Memorial Playground in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.

Friday, June 7, 2013

18 Months

"My precious...."

Me: "What the heck is going on here?!" (upon reviewing the photos I took at the pool that day)
Matt: "She was pulling my chest hairs."

Photos were taken last week at French Creek State Park.  After many years of successfully avoiding the sun, I got a burn so bad it hurt for days to put on a bra or lie down.  Annie - who has developed a fear of baths - took to the water after about ten tentative minutes.  

OK - so this stay-at-home mom thing?  It isn't so bad.  I'm loving (while simultaneously being exasperated at) this age - 18 months - and taking such delight in your little burgeoning personality.  You are clever, mischievous, still willful as ever, and loving life.  You actually "oooo" at things.  Like, I picked up your father a new bath sponge (the boy uses sea sponges in the shower, what can I do) and when I pulled it out of the bag you literally oooed and awwed over the thing.  I mean, it's a damn loofah.

You get so excited over things: "Do you want to go outside?!" I say, emphasizing "outside" and you perk up and go to the door and start doing your toddler version of the "running man", stepping in place and banging on the door.  You're like a dog, in that way (I mean that really know I love dogs.)

I've been struggling to find meaningful work that makes sense outside of the home, but am finding comfort in caring for you, although I've had a couple breakdowns this past week: your father has always been your fun favorite (I'm more behind the scenes at times - packing your diaper bag, readying lunch, making appointments while he is on the floor with you and your puzzles) and I accept that - and honestly didn't mind it one bit - until "Dat-tee" became the end all, be all.  He would leave the room and you'd break down.  Or you'd rush past me to find your father.  A few weeks ago I thought I had finally crimped his style - you were saying "Mama" much more than Daddy, but after some "Daddy lessons" (I seriously heard your father practicing the word Daddy with you as he put you to bed several days straight) I was back to square one.  It's a give and take - he's very hands-on and honestly, if you're going to chirp away to "Daddy, Daddy!" at least I get to lay on the couch with my Oreos when he corrals you.  And your father assures me you'll soon see how dorky he really is, so of course I find solace (and agreement) in that.

Also, you have discovered the word "No" (it's second only to "Daddy").  Like any toddler, you can be belligerent and stubborn and you are saying "no" to everything.  At the library today I told you to stop taking books off the shelves, and you yelled "NO!" and took five more off and ran off to the train table, where I swear you were trying to look strong and nonchalant but were spying on me and trying to gauge what my reaction was (by the fifth or so "NO!" we packed up and it was time to go, and by the way, my reaction was pissed off).  Another mom, who had a 22-month-old in tow, said from experience your next word will probably be "mine".  I told her you're already on the cusp of that because the other week you took sprinkles from our baking supplies, starting shaking them on the dog, and when asked to give them back, said, "No, no, mine, mine!"  Then you ran into the living room to sprinkle the carpet.  It was one of the longest, most coherent thoughts you've had to date so I let it go.

You never really watched TV before, but I have been using it as a crutch so I don't lose my mind, and you've developed a love for Elmo.  You love Elmo and shout his name and bounce on your little butt when he comes on-screen.  What's with kids and Elmo?

You're finally sitting with us nightly when we read with you and your two current favorites are "Goodnight Moon" and "I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words", although the simple baby touch-and-feel "Farm" you still have a soft spot for.  Whenever you spot a duck you screech, "Duck, duck, duck!" (as in "quack, quack, quack").

And last but not least, I'm going to try to start potty-training you.  Or at least getting you accustomed to the little toilet we bought you so we can have a leg-up when your little brother/sister makes their appearance in October.  Today at the library we picked up some "I love the potty!" books and today I sat you on it and you looked rather amused.  Almost regal sitting high on your throne.  Maybe it was because - I swear - about a minute after you got off (and I was running to get a diaper for you) you pooped on the floor about three feet from the thing.  Then you stepped in it.  Then you started wailing.  Your father thinks this is the sign of a genius (sans the stepping in it part), but unfortunately you've had some stomach issues the last few days so I think it was purely coincidence.  

You are really giving us a run for our money, kid, and we're just trying to keep up (and last until your bedtime).  Right now you're napping beside me (naps have become a battle of wills), and you're stirring, so I'm going to end here and say we love you times infinity. 

And, also, please be easy on us.  

Here's to a spectacular year-and-a-half.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Little gifts

We are expecting another baby in the early fall.  This fact is what I remember (literally, feel) when I find myself gazing at job boards and going on fruitless interviews and navigating this whole wretched situation.  Somehow we hit the lottery with Joanna.  Modern medicine, the gods, every four-leaf clover in Ireland, smiled on us a year and a half ago and now we get to do it all over again.

I’ve gone on two interviews, both in the city and both (in my mind) hard-driving positions that don’t lend themselves to any sort of balance .  The second was just yesterday but the first was last week and they wanted to have one last phone screen before moving to offer – and jeez, what a surprising, glorious position to be in – but I just couldn’t do it.  They didn’t know I was pregnant, and the position responsibilities peak in October (oh), and it’s what I’ve been doing for many years and what I desperately want to leave behind.  It was really a non-starter, but I went anyway.  It’s hard to turn down an interview even when you know in your gut it’s not right, or you probably cannot fulfill the job obligations.  So I find myself in the very frustrating situation of being smack dab in the middle of a pregnancy and unemployed.  But also – and here I am, typing this for second time – expecting a baby. 

And that trumps everything.

We found out in late February, when I was trying to calculate if I was going to get my pesky period in Mexico when I realized I couldn’t remember when I had it last.  Maybe Christmas time?  Before then?  After?  I had no clue.  I feel very ignorant typing that.  Like, maybe I should have a handle on my body or something, but you’ve got to remember – things are funky down there! – and a 28-day cycle is a foreign concept.

The telltale sign of pregnancy – I’ve learned – is an uptick in Oreo consumption.  I mean, I remember this clearly – I specifically went into the grocery store to buy Oreos (who does that?) and walked by the pharmacy and bought the cheapest test (store brand, because really, there was just no way).  I even helped myself to a huge cup of coffee that morning, knowing full-well my egg got caught up in my kinky fallopian tubes and I just didn’t ovulate.  I am not the girl who just gets pregnant.  In our early days of infertility – before blood tests confirmed that I was or wasn’t expecting – I had gone through many tears and many bargain two-packs of pregnancy tests.

Matt and I are not ignorant: since having Annie we have scrapped protection because, if for some miraculous reason it happened – that would be a good thing.  A really, really good thing.  And after a year it did.  I am not one to mince words – or do cutesy things when announcing news – so I called him three minutes after I peed on that stick, in a semi-panic, and said, “But it’s too soon!”  Our children will be just under two years apart (22.5 months).  Matt laughed nervously, happily, giddily.  I wanted Annie out of toddlerhood before having another.  I just don’t have the energy, I said.  And I told him work is going so poorly, that everything wasn’t just right yet.  And how funny to be typing that today, now out of work.  Job searching while midway through a pregnancy is almost a fruitless exercise, and in that, coupled with inconvenience, there is some very real solace.  There is solace when Matt ran down our finances, took me by the shoulders, and said, “We will be OK.  We will be fine.  Relax.  Be picky.  Take your time.  Find something you will love.  I know you will probably not go back until well after the baby is born.” 

So here we are.  I am in my 21st week of pregnancy and due in early October.  Unlike with Annie, I have been feeling this baby kick from week 17.  All day.  Unrelenting.  Beautiful.  Like with Annie, we have decided not to find out if this is a boy or a girl.  Matt wants another girl, and as a girl who never really had guy friends – or a brother – I’m curious about a boy.

Instead of plotting out the perfect time, there is now some relief in completing our family earlier than expected.  We are not newborn people – we find infinite delight as Annie grows older and there is more give and take – and I’m glad we’ll be in our early 30’s when completing this portion of babyhood. 

Because boy I am tired. 

Maybe it’s the pregnancy (I haven’t been sleeping well).  Or maybe Crohn’s (I always felt – in general – I was more tired than others, and frequent blood work confirms that yes, I’m deficient in this and that).  I’m happy we’ll be young parents.  When it's all said and done, I'm happy our path took us to here: I’m happy I met Matt when I was 21 and we married at 26 and we will have our children by 31.  In terms of fertility, how very fortunate we have been.  To be younger.  To have that gift of time.  I am reminded of this frequently.

Thank you for following this blog, and our story.  I know I haven’t written about Crohn’s in quite some time, and this little space on the internet has become a patchwork of our family life, for better or worse, and in sickness and in health. 

Here’s to health.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Green Goddess Dressing

Since I have more time on my hands (not as much as I would have thought - corralling that child is a full-time job in and of itself) I started trying a few new recipes (all very easy, no fuss).  The first is Barefoot Contessa's Green Goddess dressing.  Now, this dressing is essentially some herbs with sour cream and mayo, so...yeah.  It's fatty goodness.  It's a dressing but would work just as well as a dip: even our picky kid dipped some asparagus in it and ate it (must be a one-time thing as I have doused veggies in cheese in the past and she wasn't having it).  We served it with some chicken and asparagus from the grill.  It's bright and summery with a slight tang from the lemon juice and anchovy paste (I had this on hand - go figure - but read in some reader comments it can be made without), and the perfect pick-me-up on a dreary day.  Don't shy away from the salt content (I paused a bit): it's needed to cut through the creaminess and unmuddle the flavors.  You'll get big basil, onion and lemon notes. Enjoy!

Green Goddess Dressing
Courtesy of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

1 cup good mayonnaise
1 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (6 to 7 scallions)
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream

Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended. (If not using immediately, refrigerate the dressing until ready to serve.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rainy Sunday

Since I'm finding myself thrown into stay-at-home momhood head-first, I've been scouring Craigslist - and this Saturday a few yard sales - for cheapy toys for Little Miss "Let's go outside!  Let's do this!  I'm bored, I'm bored!"  She is always on the move, seeing, doing, taking apart, and putting together.  Today it rained all day but here she is, out with Matt with in the mist, droplets of drizzle on her face, riding her new toy giraffe.  That's $3 well spent.

If you  notice the remnants of a bloody nose, the poor girl fell - face first - into the ground earlier in the day, leaving a bloodied mouth and nose and some tears.  She was fine in five minutes (forever our trooper), not so much. ;-) 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Job loss

I lost my job last week; it was unexpected and incredibly abrupt.  Matt asked what we should tell people if asked, and I said, "I did nothing wrong! I'm not ashamed," so there it is.  It wouldn't be prudent to get into the specifics, but I will say I've felt they were looking to push me (and perhaps, others) out for a while under new management and restructuring and they cited a bogus reason for termination.  It was done with spite and honest-to-god malice and I was out of the building within five minutes.  I was the girl bamboozled, walking down the sidewalk with picture frames and a fake plant in my bag, and other nicknacks I hastily grabbed from my cube.  I called my friend - who had left like a bat outta hell a few months before - and now works at her new gig (that she loves, adores, feels valued at) a block away.  "I'm meeting you downstairs in one minute!" she said, and we talked for thirty minutes on Market Street about how absolutely shitty that place is, the situation is, how, "Can you believe this?!" the thing is/was. She reminded me how toxic that place was, how I was deeply unhappy, how this is the push I need.  Sure, sure.  But I was just fired!, I said.  That sting (no matter how ridiculous or obtuse the reason).  That venom.

The thing with getting fired?  It's not as much the tactical concerns (although they are incredibly stressful - finding another job, financial worries, and so on).  The thing that kills me is this: it's the stripping away of any sense of self-worth.  I hate that they took that from me.  Work - even though I never loved it - made me feel more whole.  I feel devalued, dejected...all of that.'s been a whole week now, and I've experienced more positive feedback and reinforcement from family and friends in this week than I have for the last two years at my former employer.  And for that I am so very, very thankful.  It's things like that that make me tear up now (I haven't cried about the job itself in days).  Like this email from Matt, which I re-read often:
Wanted to make sure you know how valued you are.  If [former employer and former manager] can't see it, it is entirely because of their own shortcomings.  You are lovable  smart, kind, charismatic, friendly, funny, loyal, and gorgeous.  You are a great wife and mother.  Annie and I will be happy to have you more to ourselves, and not wasting your presence on people who can't appreciate you.  We're going to be perfectly ok.  I can run some numbers if that will ease your mind a little.  I'm so sorry you had to go through this rejection, and my thoughts are with you as you figure out how to reconcile yourself with it.
(So he's not like that all the time, but I totally had to post that.)

Or when my friend (the lovely Danita) sent this, like, Visio-esque crazy chart mapping out available steps entitled "Mojo Rising: Operation You've Got Options, aka The Mojo Reclamation Project" (the girl has a way with words and a thing with titles, what can I say? you Danita!).  Or how friends are reaching out almost daily asking how I'm doing, saying let's go out for lunch, and sending me job postings.  Thank you, thank you.

One of the things I've cried over many times was taking Annie out of daycare.  Obviously, there is no reason for her to be in full-time care - and we can't afford keeping her there on a full or part-time basis - but she loves her friends there.  She wobbles with such joy to her seat at the table every morning, with breakfast in hand.  She and her friends giggle and screech and when we pick her up it's like, "Yeah, I see you, but as you can also see, I'm finishing something up here."  I love that she had that.  This week Matt and I visited a few in-home daycares in our area that allow two days a week (for my sanity, job searching, what have you) and that we can manage financially.  I also want her to continue to have that experience: to learn and cope with others, grow independently, discover things on her own away from us.  We're so proud of that girl, and I know she'll be fine, but it makes me hate this situation so much more.  Here are some photos of today at her last pick-up:

Two of her teachers, Mr. Eddie and Miss Holly.  Miss Holly knew her since she was a wee newborn at 11 weeks old.
So I'm not sure where this is going, or what my next step is, but there is beauty in all this ugliness.  Yesterday Annie and I had our first full day together and went to toddler time at the library and made a craft, then took a long nap together (she wasn't napping alone and I'm a bit under the weather).  Sweetness wrapped in a duvet.  Tomorrow we're going to our first local mom playgroup (I'm sure there will be more on that later).  And today I had an interview.  So...things - life - are moving along.  And in it's own way, it's still quite lovely.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

17 Months

These last two weeks have been hard, for reasons both very big and small (big: legislation not passing, the Boston marathon bombings, small: work, always work). Which brings us to this past weekend, which was lovely. Sometimes I feel those two blissful days off are the only thing keeping me together, and I guess most people feel this way, right?  So many of us have these corporate gigs we so desperately need but I’m at the point where I’m daydreaming daily about just walking out.  Which isn’t healthy.  But then the weekend comes and I exhale and just say, “It is what it is,” and go on my merry way.  In my long-winded way, I’m saying this to you, Annie - as your mom I wish you this: I hope you find something that you love and loves you back.  

I feel you’ll get there: you are spunky.  And stubborn and demanding.  And charming.  Mischievous.  Loving.  I am too Germanic in my emotions but you light me up.  You have this sparkle - this zest - and make each weekend with you a neatly wrapped gift with a bow on top.  You also drive us mad and looking at each other, like, "What is wrong with this kid?!".  Take last night.  You hollered and cried and swung your arms to and fro, and no, I don’t want this, or that, and you just get me that, no, I mean this, waaaa!  Sigh.  You are a toddler.  You trip and it’s epic.  You drop your scrambled eggs and it’s epic.  We take away the raisins you were munching on and it’s like you simply. cannot.  survive.  And we try to emphasize, looking at each other and the pitiful raisins, but we just don’t get your toddler brain.

This week we went to the zoo.  We thought you’d like it, and did.  Your father said that’s it’s so exciting you can actually experience things now, which is true.  The day before we were at PetSmart picking out fish (whom you love to feed) and you were fixated on the cats up for adoption.  “Hiiiiiii!” you said and waved.  You screeched and gesticulated wildly.  You were beside yourself and didn’t want to leave; you loved peering into their enclose glass room trying to figure out what they were up to.  When one woke and looked at you, you were elated and took it as a personal victory.  So, the zoo was fabulous: you stared wide-eyed at a baby orangutan swaying in front of you, and loved as the otters swam past.  You fixated on the orangey-pink flamingos and enjoyed feeding a duck your lunch.  

You surprise us with words.  “Bubbles!” while playing with your father outside with a soapy set.  “Elmo!” this morning as I flipped on the TV getting ready.  When did you watch Sesame Street?  You examine things every so closely - you live for being tactile - for figuring out how this clips to that, or how you can stack that.  You dig into the bucket where we keep Penny’s food, grabbing a handful of kibble while following her around the house saying, “Dog!” more and more urgently.  You love filling her food bowl and at school your teacher said you’ve really turned a corner (from what, I don’t know) and turned into a real helper.  You fetch a dropped cup for a child, or put a blanket on another during nap time.  You clean up.  It’s wonderful hearing your teacher say, “Oh, I wanted to tell you what Annie did today” and it being followed with that (instead of how you stole your classmate’s lunch - true - or bit another classmate - also true).  We’re very proud of the little person you’re becoming.

You also insist on going outside several times a day, and we oblige, because I suppose before you know it you’ll want to stay in, huddled with a computer (sigh).  So we walk around and examine the grass and push you high on your swing.  You give us high-fives with each pass and giggle.  You laugh a lot now, especially with your father.  He scurries around like a rat and hides, you chase him, and he chases you, until he catches you and you laugh laugh with glee in his arms.

You’re such a social baby at daycare and home, so it startles me when we run into a neighbor and you hide behind our legs.  Or when the cashiers at Trader Joe’s try to give you stickers and you stare at them blankly (until I take it for you and give it to you, happy as a clam).  This morning at daycare drop-off you you squealed as you burst into your room with milk and banana in hand.  You have a routine and were irritated as I was taking my time putting your things in your cubby before we could make our way to the drop-off room.  “I have people to see!” you seemed to say.  You’re already becoming your own, independent little person and hardly notice as we say our good-byes in the morning as you sit among your friends.  All toddlers at a tiny table, eating fruit and waffles and milk.

You warm my heart, Annie. You do. You drive me to hide under my covers in the morning, but once I'm up you win me over again and again. Happy 17 months.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Parenting is the long goodbye."

The title of my post - that quotation - was written by a pediatrician commenting on the NYT blog, Motherlode, and it made sit back and swallow.  Even though I was reading it when Annie was napping - and thinking, "Thank god that kid is down for a bit," and even when I groan when we hear her cries in the morning.  This morning - although going to bed late - her soft but escalating cries started at 6:20 am.  "Oh god, " I mumbled.  "Mmmrghf," replied Matt.  "You go get her - you went to bed before me, " I said.  No response.  Poking him, he mumbles.  Getting out of bed and bringing her into our bed, putting a pacifier in her mouth, soothing words - "Good morning, little one.  Let's all go back to sleep," followed by her reaching for my eyes, my nose.  Pulling my nose.  Even with all of that - and even when 7:30 pm (her bedtime) cannot come soon enough, and even when I'm loving, loving, loving every new milestone (she's walking!  she can ask for bananas and her milk and is twaddling behind us, between our legs, loves banding on the door to go outside to her swing, is making friends at daycare and sits in the corner with one of the girls and giggles!), and Matt and I are wholly, truly taking delight in the little girl - charming and mischievous - she's becoming, I cried.

It's all just a big pot of contradictions, but I suppose that's natural.  We love our kids to death, but they drive us crazy.  Matt and I love what daycare does for us - gives us that break, that breathing room - to be better parents when we're home with her.  Making those moments count.  I relish picking her up at the end of the day, but I love putting her down in her crib, too.  That balance makes our world go round.

Take my birthday.  Although it's over a month away, Matt keeps asking what I want.  Other than a Subaru (ha!), I need nothing.  And then it came to me: a clean house, some trashy magazines and some trashy television,  some Oreos for good measure, and a quiet afternoon alone.  Nothing sounds sweeter.