It was a long night.
My nod to hygiene today was to undo my braid from yesterday and pile my hair on top of my head in case the birds are looking for somewhere to crash.
Sweet Sunshine finally fell asleep for her (much needed) nap about five minutes ago. The dogs and I are in the kitchen looking dazed and afraid to make a sound.
I’m on my third cup of coffee, but already have that feeling that no amount of coffee is going to clear the fog from my brain.
Our kitchen is a wreck (though I did wreck it for the noble cause of two blueberry lemon loaves, one seed bread, and homemade pitas!!!) and my only goal for the day is to clean it up.
The seed bread for sandwiches needs some work. We sort of combined recipes and while the flavor came out perfectly on point, it didn’t rise as much as I’d like it to and has the density of a dying star. The pitas got off to a rough start because whoever wrote the recipe said quarter inch when what they meant was an eighth of an inch, but after the first two, we figured it out and the rest came out perfectly.
Okay, I do have one other goal and that is to write an update or three about Mac n’ Cheese Manor to include: settling in, strange plumbing, and the discovery of mold (not a devastating amount of mold, but mold nonetheless).
Happy Tuesday everyone!
My sweet Sunshine, you are currently rifling through a box full of spices in the kitchen, tasting some containers before dropping them at your feet, while others are tossed over your shoulder without so much as a cursory glance. I’m not certain of your criteria, but you do seem to have a system. I love to watch you explore–touching and tasting absolutely everything–cataloguing your environment with the precision and care of a scientist.
I folded and put away most of your nine month footies today because the necklines are beginning to stretch and your tiny toes are pressing uncomfortably against the feet. It hurts every time–putting away bits of the present that somehow, without my noticing right away, became the past. It is so strange that these moments which are molding and redefining me as a person and a mother, you will not remember.
You will not remember how I shrieked with joy when you took your first, wobbly steps or how I cried in relief and squeezed you tight after fishing that wad of drool-soaked paper out of your mouth. You will not remember crawling around the yard, picking dandelions and trying to eat pebbles under my watchful eye. You will not remember dancing in front of the oven door, giggling at your reflection. You will not remember the way you turn diaper changes into the baby version of a greased pig contest. You will not remember throwing all the spices out of the box. And you will not remember your silly mama, sitting at the kitchen table, crying while she writes you love letters from your babyhood.
And oh how I love you, my baby. Though our time together this way is short, one day, in the not so distant future, we’ll be making memories you can keep. Until then, I will continue writing (and crying) you a path back through the years to the curious, determined, and much-loved baby you are so that while you may not remember, you can at least have a glimpse of your sweet, small self through your mama’s eyes.
Some of us have c-sections
and some of us labor.
Some of us do not have epidurals
and some of us do.
Some of us give birth
and some of us become parents in other ways.
Some of us put together nurseries
and some of us make room for our babies in our beds.
Some of us bottle feed and
some of us breast feed.
Some of us sleep train
and some of us are sleep trained.
Some of us go to work to provide
and some of us stay home to provide.
Some of us use cloth diapers
and some of us use disposables.
Some of us make up our minds
only to have them changed by experience.
And some of us make up our minds
only to have them changed by circumstance.
Some of us do a little bit of all these things.
Others across the world do very few.
Yet, even with the varied paths we take,
we are the same–
Bonded across oceans of difference
by our incomparable love
for our children.
It’s 10:30ish pm, the baby is fast asleep and Carl is outside cutting the lock off the barn because (after only a week in our possession) we lost ALL (there were five of them, but in our defense, they were all on the same zip tie) of the keys. Part of me is begging me to go to sleep after a few rough nights in a row, but another part of me (the part who won, obviously) is saying, “Nah, pour some of that lovely beer from De Garde and write!” : )
We took a break from working on the house today to march for science in Boston and it was awesome! Thousands of people were gathered on the Boston Common. It was peaceful, it was respectful, and it was heartening to see so many people out making a statement about what they value. We bumped into one of Carl’s coworkers which resulted in us joining her crew for beers after the rally, which resulted in Carl and two others making plans for some neat S.T.E.M. projects at a high school where one of them works. My sweet Sunshine was completely tuckered out after her first subway ride and first march, but had zero meltdowns and didn’t fall asleep until we were back in the car heading home. All in all, a great experience. : )
On top of all that goodness, Awkward Girl showed up and made quite an entrance at the restaurant. That’s right friends, she’s back and coming soon to a blog near you!
Now, I’m literally falling asleep at the keys so I’m going to hit the hay and complete this post in the morning!
Aaaaaand, we’re back! Having taken a day off yesterday, we are working overdrive today to try and be just a tiny bit organized for our house guests. Mamatu (my amazing mother-in-law) and our lovely niece are coming this week! Thankfully, they completely understand our current state of indoor camping/fixing up, so they aren’t exactly expecting a Hilton type experience. In fact, we’re planning to put them to work! That said, we do want to have bedrooms clean and ready for everyone and to not be sleeping in our living room anymore by the time they arrive.
To that end, we puttied like mad last week so we could sand and paint the floors this weekend. In the (very) old days, the wood for the floors on every floor of a home had big spaces in between so when you swept, the dust would fall through to the next floor until it was eventually swept into the basement. Nowadays, having such conveniences as the modern vacuum, we no longer need large gaps between each board. In fact, for heating/cooling and cleaning purposes, gaps are bad. Hence the need for wood filler, lots of wood filler:
Thankfully, that part is now done and we are prepping to sand and paint today. Once that’s finished, we have the unenviable task of moving most of our boxes to the upstairs rooms so we can start sleeping in the downstairs bedrooms. Lots on our plate today, wish us luck and have a great Sunday!
My favorite thing about her ability to crawl and stand up is watching her choose where she would like to go and what she would like to do when she gets there. She used to be limited to where we put her or what toys we presented her with, and now another layer of her personality is coming through.
My least favorite thing about her ability to crawl and stand up is that there are now roughly 10,762 new and exciting ways for her to accidentally maim/injure/kill herself. I have nicknamed her “suicidal octopus” because I swear she has eight, lightning-fast arms and they’re all reaching for something dangerous!
We are getting closer to the end of nursing and I’m both excited and sad. On one hand, I will be SO happy to be able to wear whatever I want without thinking about how hard/easy it will be to nurse in. On the other hand, because my wild child is always on the go, nursing time has been our snuggle time and I wonder if/how she will snuggle when there’s no need to stop and snack in my arms.
I think about my parents all the time. Having a child of my own puts an entirely different spin on so many of my memories. Like when I was twelve and I was riding my horse bareback, with a bridle I made out of baling twine and jumping the irrigation canal/all the irrigation pipe in the field. If I remember right, my dad was supposed to be watching me, but he had to go handle a work emergency so mom came to pick me up. She was terrified of horses and I remember seeing her white knuckles on the fence as we thundered up the way. I have always thought that story was hilarious. Now I can actually imagine the worry and fear she must have felt that I would be hurt. To my mother’s credit, she did not punish me; she signed me up for jumping lessons. : )
Another hilarious thinking of my mom moment came when I was exiting the restroom and passed a woman and her young son going in together. It struck me for the very first time that my mother actually taught me to use the bathroom!!!! Thanks, mom. : )
I am so happy to finally be in a permanent living space. Every situation we’ve been in since she was born has been temporary. She’s been shuttled across the country multiple times, spent countless hours in the car while we looked for vehicles, then apartments, then houses. She seems pretty happy wherever we are, but I think she’ll feel the difference as we get settled.
A lovely friend sent me a lovely book (The Magic of Motherhood) and though it’s hard to find time to read, my favorite line from the early chapters is, “Your body will be a home to your children.” How very true. My body doesn’t look or feel quite the way it did before my Sunshine came along but there is no place where she feels as safe and comfortable as my arms. No other body will do, it’s only mine that gives her such peace and security–how beautiful is that?
She is swinging in the living room, fast asleep while I sip coffee and write. Occasionally, I look up and her face swings into view. If I had known before getting pregnant just how much I would feel as a mother, I might have chosen another path. It’s frightening sometimes, the depth and breadth of it. What I know now that she’s here is that I’d feel it all a thousand times for just one of her sunny smiles.
I am in the shower taking my time, shaving my legs, washing my hair . . . glad to be rediscovering some semblance of the vanity I knew before months of sporadic bathing and routinely forgetting to brush my teeth–before motherhood, that is. Out in the kitchen, my husband is dancing to Mambo Italiano with our 8 month old daughter. When the song ends, the sound of their mingled voices gets closer. I hear him say, “A is for Astronaut or Aerospace” and in my head, I think “or appaloosa . . .” She babbles back and they move on to “B.” This time the word is one I don’t know, likely something to do with space and/or engineering.
Today is swim class day: one of my favorite days of the week. The pool is always fun and even though the class is short, it wears out my sweet Sunshine for the rest of the day. Taking a sip of my coffee (another rare treat, shower coffee, usually these days my showers are too short to enjoy a cup of joe), I think about my life a year ago. I was tired, very pregnant, worried about the future, and so sad to be leaving a life I loved so much for a complete unknown on the other side of the country. I didn’t enjoy being pregnant and while part of me wanted so badly for her to be born so I didn’t have to be pregnant anymore, another part of me desperately wanted to just stay pregnant forever so nothing would have to change.
In the kitchen, I can hear they’ve moved on to “E,” which is apparently for “Electromagnetism.” In my head, I think, “or eventing.” I take another sip of coffee and realize it’s getting late, I should hop out so Carl can head in to work and Sunshine can start her nap. But before shutting off the water, I stand there just one more minute listening to my new life. It isn’t perfect. I still miss my Idahome so much I ache sometimes, and Lord knows I’m going to have to make a friend or two here before I completely forget how to socialize like a normal, adult human. But the beauty of this new life takes my breath away sometimes.
I knew I was going to love watching Carl be a father, but the reality of it is beyond anything I imagined. I hoped we would find a house in the country, but our little farm is straight out of a Robert Frost poem. And I was sure I would love my baby, but what I feel when I hear her little voice babble along with her father’s in the next room makes me wish we had more words for love. I realize I’ve been standing in the shower crying for several minutes now. My coffee is cold, but my heart is warm. Drying off my tears along with the rest of the water, I step out into the chilly bathroom. Carl comes in to remind me he’s late, the baby reaches her sticky hands out for me with a big, drooly, two-tooth grin, and . . .
She wears purple and ocean colors–my favorites. She goes on long walks with me and we visit the alpacas at the end of the lane, the coyotes and elk in the field, and the neighborhood horses. She loves milk and staring at ceiling fans but intensely dislikes being swaddled and chirps like a little bird when she’s first waking up. Beyond these things . . . well, I know very little.
She is our tiny stranger–depending upon us for her every need while at the same time confidently demanding food, snuggles, and entertainment. I soak in her baby smiles and sleepy chirps knowing she will continue to change at a pace I’d heard about, but only came to understand in the two months, four pounds, and four inches since her sunny, Sunday arrival in July.