Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sick Mommy Day

I'm sick today. Kurt took the girls out for breakfast and then to his parents' house. Before they left, Kurt tucked me in on the couch with Scouty's Spongebob comforter, a cup of tea and an Iggy dvd on the tv. I laid there for about 2 full minutes, looking around at the toys and piles of laundry and empty milk cuppies and is that a dirty diaper? And then I got up and started cleaning. I decided to empty the dishwasher and take the diapers downstairs to be washed, because... just because I'm sick doesn't mean that I can't still live my life. Oh! And I should just workout because you always read that you should still get some exercise when you're sick.

But then, wait a minute...

This part of my life totally sucks! The doing dishes and washing diapers and picking up toys and folding laundry part.

So I decided to "f that" and lay back down on the couch. Maybe I won't even get out of my pajamas today. (And by pajamas, I mean a pair of yoga pants with an obscene rip in the crotch and Kurt's Golden Girls t-shirt.) Hey, I'm not going to shower and I think I'll even eat something warm and terrible like pancakes or mashed potatoes and drink tea. I've surely been sick several times since my girls were born, but I seriously cannot remember a single day when I've been able to just be still and not mill around doing things, making lists in my head, running to the grocery store, getting things done. You know what, oozing squished blueberry on the kitchen floor? You can stay there until tomorrow.

I think I've been so totally twisted by mommyhood that I've convinced myself that I find doing chores and running errands without the kids to be more relaxing and fun for me than actual relaxing and fun things.

I'm sure that on a broad scale, cleaning and being stocked with supplies and having our possessions in some kind of order DOES allow me to be more relaxed in my every day life. But not today. Today I have a sore throat and a headache and I'm going to do things that I actually find to be fun and relaxing.

Is it sad that I have to think for a minute about what those things might be? And that I'm totally making a list of fun and relaxing things to be sure that I fit them all into my day?

What do you do for fun and/or to relax? I mean, really think about it. What do you like to do?

I sucked at answering this question for a long time because my list of fun activities read like this:

1. Illicit substances and subsequent activities.

And then, about 5 years ago, I had my first baby and my thoughts on fun were more like this:

1. Fun doesn't exist. There is no time or energy for fun because I'm in charge of a new little life and there is so much to worry about. We try to do fun things, like take a walk at the park, but the whole time I'm just fumbling with the diaper bag and pinching my finger in the stroller and then I have to keep track of when my baby last ate, and surely something will go terribly wrong if I don't feed her at exactly 4 hour intervals. Uh oh! And she will be due for a nap pretty soon and I don't know if I want to risk skipping it because then what if the fragile balance of sleep training is upset and we're up all night?


Once I got my bearings and realized that my daughter wasn't going to die if I decided to use the bathroom and let her cry for a few minutes, I understood that I didn't know what it was that mommies did. I was an outlaw and a blight on society, wasn't I? I wasn't a wholesome parent with a glowing little seed of life in my palm, was I? I felt so out of place, in mommy world. I had dreadlocks that reached down my back and my clothes were worn and ridiculous and I went around feeling so out of place and it certainly wasn't very much fun.

I don't know when I fully made the switch. Cutting my hair helped me to feel invisible, I think... which was a good sort of palate for starting over with what my whole deal was. And now I have two kids and own a house and two cars and my husband is an accountant and I love him so easily and honestly. I AM mommy world, now. I bake bread and pack lunches and can run a sweeper while holding a baby. I make up a game about how exciting scrubbing the floor is and my three year old totally buys it. I have become TOTALLY accustomed to the idea that my baby isn't going to perish if I leave her while I use the bathroom. Scouty goes to school and Louisey doesn't have any kind of nap schedule. I am constantly floundering around for control over my life that I'm never going to have, and you know what? I love it all. Maybe it isn't always fun and maybe sometimes I stop in the middle of a pile of toys and clothes and yell, "Everybody silent! No talking, no moving, for 5 minutes! Shh! I mean it!" But, it feels so right, for me, right now.

I had to work hard to go from being a cool slacker with absolutely no merit or future to being the world's best and most awesome mom. I accomplished this mess and this floor cleaning game and this state of chaos that I sometimes feel is going to drive me mad. I did it. I'm here. My kids are beautiful and happy and amazing and everybody loves them. I love them. I love me. I love it all.


Riding my bike
Swimming
Walking in The Strip
Taking long walks
Hiking
Eating outside
Baking
Vegetarian cooking
Reading
Yoga
Going to health food stores
Watching our huge tv


Is that a respectable list of things I like to do for fun?


Today, my sick day list goes like this:

1. Watching our huge tv.
2. Maybe read. We'll see.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daily Happy Post

The happiest parts of today were:

Having a fun and talkative lunch with a friend at Aladdin's while Louisey slept sweetly in my arms.

Baking a bread with Scouty while she told me about her day. An older kid was being bossy with her and her little friend on the trolley at the playground, and he told them that he was older than them so he knew more than them. Scout said, "I told him, 'I'm three years old and I know EVERYTHING!' And then we grinned and ran away."



The worst part of my day, nay life was:

I was using a toothbrush to scrub the mildew and soap scum from between the tiles in the shower and bathtub this morning and I left it on the edge of the tub, planning to come back and finish the job later. When we were running late for school, I told Scouty to head upstairs and start brushing her teeth... that I would be right up to help her finish. I walked into the bathroom to find her brushing her teeth with the brush I'd been using to scrub our filthy tub! She said happily, "I found a new toothbrush!" Oh god. The humanity.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Louisey is not pleased...

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I couldn't find a pacifier and Cheesy was mad at me.
6 months old.
stuffed full of sugar for sure.

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I love having two girls. I feel like I was totally meant for this. It's weird because, when I was pregnant with Louise, I felt worried that I wouldn't be able to handle TWO children at once. But, now that she's here, I know that I am as big as I need to be for them. I'll only grow and grow and grow. I thought that I was completely maxed out on momminess with one child. Like we'd have to find a way to make room for another one, I'd have to stretch myself, somehow. But, the same way I GREEEEW when I had scouty, my love and capabilities grew grew grew for Louisey. (Even if she is a bossy little stinker, sometimes.)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Getting bigger in the trying, instead of the getting...

All right.

I feel like I'm in the middle of this weird personal revolution where I'm all tough and brave and like... want to beat up a grown man or something. haha. Not really, but I am bursting at the seams.

Thankfully, not literally.
I have finally gotten a handle on things and my Christmas/birthday/winter hibernation weight is going back down. I have been busting my ass for it, though, instead of banishing the use of chocolate chips in oatmeal and smoothies. I mean, seriously, oatmeal with chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Or oatmeal with chocolate chips and coconut. Or chocolate chips and almond butter. Or chocolate chips and bananas. Chocolate chips are just part of the family now. I'll up the resistance on the cross trainer and put on the Sex Pistols or something.

Okay, speaking of the Sex Pistols... I am positive that they never intended for their music to be listened to by a 32 year old mom on an elliptical machine in a gym while staring at a muted tv playing Wheel of Fortune and silently mouthing the answer to the before and after puzzle, "Ear Of Corn Syrup!"... but what am I supposed to do? I'm just old, now.

A weird side effect of being old is that I've started to find things like Johnny Rotten, cute. Like, he's just so young and full of energy and zest, and I can remember when those things were inspiring and exciting. And now, they just seem adorable. Young people have stopped being something that I feel the need to look cool in front of (obviously.) And they've started to seem either mildly threatening, (hello entering the Century 3 mall through the food court entrance after 7pm on a weeknight), or more often, just sweet and nostalgia inspiring. Like... I remember when I used to be the thing that people were afraid of. Teenagers are total douches, but they're just being young, aren't they? It's sweet.

Anyway, I was saying that I've been feeling weirdly in your face or something. I'm sick of keeping things to myself, or pretending like I feel a way that I don't. I'm tired of thinking that the world is just full of perverts and criminals who are just dying for a way in to fuck up my life. The world sucks, mostly... but unless I involve myself with it, it really doesn't matter to me, very much. Not on a practical level. My world isn't a terrible place and I'm not afraid of things.

For example, why are people so afraid of putting a picture of their kids on the internet? Not like... a naked picture or something. Just a picture of a birthday party or something? Why do we walk around as moms all the time pretending like a total sex freak is just waiting on the other end of a computer monitor to snatch up a picture of our child painting a picture or opening a christmas present and then... do what with it? Don't get me wrong. I am on the extreme end of safety and not letting people babysit my daughters because I really almost can't bear to let them out of my sight, let alone trust another capable adult with their lives... but I can't stand the notion that we have to be constantly on guard, watching for predators in the bushes who are just waiting for us to let go of our kids' hands so they can pounce. For fuck's sake, hold your kids hand, always. Keep her safe, but not because you're paralyzed with fear. Do it because it's the right thing to do and you're the mommy. I'm tired of being scared of things. I'm tired of being motivated by fear.

That's what I mean about bursting and wanting to beat somebody up.


Maybe it won't seem like a similar note, but... mommies, do you remember snapping back to life after having each of your babies? After I had scouty, I went through a crappy, empty phase where I just felt lifeless and disinterested. I'm sure most of it was just exhaustion and hormones, but I was just so. Blat.

And then out of nowhere, I just boinged back to life. I wrote 200,000 words about love and death and listened to Elliott Smith and took long bike rides and prepared the ground of my back yard for a garden.

Then, with Cheesy, the same bllllaaaaaaaaah thing happened after she was born, where I just didn't want to get dressed in the morning because what was the point? I was just going to get baby barf in my cleavage as soon as I put on a bra anyway. And forget about finding sex sexy! Oh god, I could barely manage to stay awake through The Biggest Loser, let alone muster up the energy to pretend to care about being romantic.

But then, all of a sudden, I just KAPOW-ED and I bought some new jeans and boots and I play Raw Power first thing in the morning and go for it on the stairmaster and... ahem in other arenas of physical exertion.

Everybody's always trying to tell me what to do. Don't you try, don't you try to tell me what to do.

haha, So wrong, but it's working for me, right now. I want to get out of bed in the morning because I'm going to be the best and coolest and toughest that I can be, which admittedly isn't very much of any of those things, but I'm still doing my best. I just read about how we think we're going to be happy when we finally reach a goal, but studies show that we're actually happy when we've made the decision to go after something. That reaching the goal doesn't actually matter, in the end. It's the attempt to be better at something that actually affects us. So, while I may never be young and dangerous again, I'll just recognize that I'm getting happier in trying.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Death and Life

"Where do we go when we die?" he said.
"I don’t know," the man said. "Where are we now?"

-Cormac McCarthy Cities of the Plain



I feel particularly at peace with existing. I feel like I know what I was meant to do and I'm not afraid to die.






I went through a weird thing when I first became a mom. I had been a suicidal junkie, but then suddenly, I was terrified of own mortality. I obsessed about disease and danger. I would think about the fact that I was going to die someday, that it was certain, and everything else would drop away from me. All I felt and knew was that I was going to die and I would feel sure in those moments that I would never ever be able to stop worrying about it.

And then I didn't die, right then, and life was beautiful and I worked hard and earned the right to believe that I was worthy of marveling in being alive.

I feel as though I have honestly earned my place as a person who is aware of death and the slipping nature of life, but who believes whole heartedly that being alive is worthwhile and that what happens when we die isn't any more or less menacing than what is happening to us, now.





My grandma died a few weeks ago and the funeral was on Christmas Eve. It was a weird thing, to wake up early and drive to Indiana to see her stiff and yellow and feel her curling hand. To say goodbye and feel sorry that her life had been a hard thing mostly, but happy to know that she didn't view it that way. And then, I met Kurt and the girls at the conservatory for the christmas light display. We had fancy petit fours at the cafe and Scout and Louise were so beautiful and pink and it was going to be christmas in the morning.

This christmas was so satisfying, in experience and in presents, that I didn't feel sad, for the first time in my life, to see it go. I felt happy and full and like everything had gone exactly as it should have, which might have been weird since so much of it dealt with a death. But, it was a long coming death, and felt timely and peaceful. Christmas meant something more, because my grandma was a secret in my heart. Scouty told me that she wanted to visit her and give back a necklace GG had lent her. I told Scouty that GG had gotten very old and her body was worn out and that she had died, and Scouty said, "Okay, well, I have her necklace for her when she's not died anymore."

First baby blues.

I'm reading a really interesting book about the period of time after a woman has a baby, particularly her first baby, called Life After Birth by Kate Figes. In a section about how, since we're so adamant about not considering pregnancy to be a state of illness, and to perceive and portray pregnancy as a natural, healthful thing, we deny the seriousness of the condition... deny that woman have been suffering, becoming crippled or sick, and dying as a result of childbirth since the beginning of time. It's all about how, in many cultures, new mothers are kept from returning to society fully for a month or longer. They are pampered and waited upon and treated medically with massage, special diet and bed rest. I just read:

"Say there are billions of tiny lights glowing inside of each one of us, and it can feel as if the effort it takes to produce each child is so great that it extinguishes a few of those lights forever. We can live perfectly well without them, but that does not mean that we do not need time to mourn their loss."


It really spoke to me about how much older having a baby makes you feel. How your body (and your life in general) feels and works so differently all of a sudden. How you can remember the life you had before becoming a mother, but you can never go back to anything resembling that life. All of that coupled with a pressure we feel to get up and get going after birthing... to return to normal life as soon as we're able to get out of bed, it's a wildly traumatic time for most, if not all women. We never acknowledge that, though. We do this AMAZING physical and physiological thing that rearranges and changes us, (growing, carrying and birthing a baby,) the process even enlarging some of our organs and making some of them less efficient, and then we're supposed to just get back to work and life as though nothing even happened.

New mothers should be cherished and treated carefully as though they've been through the life changing thing they've been through. They should be looked after and supported. They should feel as though they are allowed to acknowledge how hard and huge and overwhelming the process of changing into a mother is. I feel like my heart is as big as the sun when I think about people I love going through all of this, and how confused and scared and hurt and overwhelmed we all were, and how much it might have helped to not have to feel as though this herculean task we just completed was simply something natural and healthful, that by giving birth we were just participating in being healthy and natural.

Pretty amazing, right?

I'll amend this by saying that that I've been a mom for a little while. Now that my children are growing and I've had a few years to practice being this new thing, and to let go of myself and my own will, I absolutely believe the introduction of my children into my life to be the most healthful and perfect thing that ever could have happened to me. Now that I know what I'm doing, I absolutely DO bask in the joy of mothering them. I absolutely DO consider our challenging daily schedule to be full of love and happiness. I one hundred percent feel as though motherhood is something that I was made to do. That change didn't happen over night, though.

Catch up

It's been so long, I don't even know where to start!

Louisey was born on July 8, 2010. She was 8lbs, 2oz. Much smaller than Scouty! I think it's because I didn't gain as much weight the second time around, but who knows? Maybe they're just different.

My c-section was... i don't know. Hard. I went crazy again a few days after Lulu's birth and paged my doctor at 5 in the morning freaking out and crying... all trembley and sweating and couldn't sleep or eat. He gave me zoloft and within a few days I felt totally normal and awesome. But, it was just blat. Hard and scary.

BUT!! Louisey as a newborn? Woah baby. She. Was. Amazing. She seriously slept for 21 hours a day. She was so sleepy and cute and adorable and EASY. For the first 3 weeks of her life, it was almost like I still only had one kid. She was just a little warm dumpling nestled up against me. She was sleeping so much, I actually called the doctor to make sure she was okay. haha. She was seriously a DREAM baby.

At about 3 weeks old, though, she snapped to life and became a little crabs. :) Actually, she's always been a good baby, even during her fussy stages. At about 7 weeks old, she started sleeping for 11-12 hours over night and being awake pretty much all day, and that's the way she's continued. She's bright and smart and talkative and absolutely the cutest and most amazing thing in the universe.

I was so worried that having another baby would take away some of the love I have for Scouty, or like it would be hard to split that love or something. But, loving Louisey is easy. Loving her has made me understand that love isn't a quantifiable thing that you have to divvy up. Having another person to love this much has enabled me to love everything better. As much as I loved Scouty already, which was more than what is actually possible... seeing her being a beautiful big sister and how much she loves her baby sister... this whole thing has only made me love her in bigger and more inspiring ways. My love for everything has just GROWN.

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Scouty is the most amazing big sister on the planet. Seriously. She has never ever ever ever ever not even for a second shown even a tiny hint of jealousy. She's so careful and soft and attentive to Louisey. She wants to help all day long and she's just so big and patient and she blows my mind. I feel so proud of her that I could just go crazy. She is the best person I've ever met and she teaches me so much about how to view the world and treat people.

She's also doing awesome at school. She's made so many new little friends and they come over for lunch and to play with their mommies and we go to their houses for dinner and it's all wonderful. I even have 2 new amazing mommy friends because Scouty has such good taste in people.


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Kurt has been so involved and patient and perfect, too... in case you were wondering.



- I'm 32, now. That's weird.
- We have a new giant tv and I got a ninja blender for my bday, so I have pretty much all I need out of life.
- I still get Sundays to myself which are like... the most blast me out of the water awesome thing of the century. Although, all I do is cook and bake and clean all day. And pretend I'm young and sing Iggy Pop at the top of my lungs. And workout.
- I lost all of my baby weight in no time. It was awesome.
- And then I gained 5 lbs over christmas. Thanks, Audra, for the 2 GIANT plates of cookies. You're so dead.
- Who wants to go on a diet with me? I'm serious.

- Today, I'm making Miso Dressing, Cinnamon Wheat Berry Salad with Sweet potato and Cranberry raisin Muffins.

Miso Dressing:
1/4 c Miso paste
1/2 c Rice or Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 lb extra firm tofu
1/4 yellow onion
1/2 c fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

Blend everything until smooth. Add water to your taste. Keeps 5 days.



Wheat Berry Salad:
1.5c dry wheat berries
3 c water
2t cinnamon
2-3 T c cane sugar
1/4 c raisins
juice of 1 orange
1 large sweet potato

Soak wheat berries overnight.
Drain and rinse them. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer about 50 mins, until some of the berries start to pop open.

Cube sweet potato and roast at 400 degrees about 30 mins, until soft.

In sauce pan, cook sugar, orange juice and raisins until it forms a syrup.

Mix all ingredients.



Muffins:
2c whole wheat pastry flour
1 c whole oats
4t baking powder
1/2 c brown sugar (packed)
2t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
3T melted butter
1c water (or milk)
2 eggs

Preheat to 400.
Mix dry ingredients, add wet.
Bake for 20-30 mins depending on size of muffins.
Add a drop of jam or apple butter to the center when filling cups with batter to make them extra yummy!


I've been really into lunch and dinner parties lately, which might seem crazy with a 3 year old and a 6 month old baby... but I just love having people in our house and I LOVE cooking for everybody. There were even some moderately cold days in November where we built a fire in the fireplace thing we got as a wedding present and moved our table and chairs outside to eat. I don't know. Having people over... new people and our friends, it's really helping me to combat the feeling of craziness that happens in winter where I'm just trapped inside with restless children and it's dark and cold and the dream of being outside again seems SO FAR AWAY. I like it that our house feels open to people, this year. That I'm not just a lonely mom waiting for spring.