Sunday, August 29, 2010

Five Years Ago

Five years ago Grant and I were evacuating New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina rolled in. I cannot believe it has been so long ago- and I cannot believe the turns and twists life has taken since. I asked him today what our lives would be like if we had either never left or returned to our "home" before deciding to move to DC. Neither of us could imagine. I would have finished my BSN from Louisiana State University and he would probably have dropped out of the DrPH program at Tulane and working either at an urban clinic or for Oschner Health System.

Would we have had children earlier? Would we even still be married? It really wasn't until the four months of hell after our evacuation that we really became friends and decided that even though we are all wrong for each other, we committed to this and were in it for the long haul.

I will never say that Katrina was a blessing. I am not a good enough Christian to see anything good come from that disaster that could not have happened in a less horrible way. But I will say that in the deepest valley of our life, we found qualities in each other that we might not have found or appreciated otherwise.

Five years ago I loved Grant, but only the idea of him I had in my head. Sitting next to him tonight I know his ugliest bits but could not love him any more. And in the unspoken air between us we both hope for the day we drive back across I-10 into the city we both still call "home" with our bags packed and ready to settle in forever. New Orleans, I miss you every day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Human Nature Hijack

I used to joke during pregnancy whenever I would do or say something incredibly insensitive, random, hurtful or just amazingly bizarre that I was being "hormone hijacked". Now that I no longer have an enormous belly to prove that excuse legit, I am changing my term to "human nature hijack".

Basically what this means is that sometimes I am just a bad person.

I decided last night that it was time to begin taming my sarcastic and thoughtless tongue. Fortunately it was Sunday night, and Monday morning is the perfect time to begin any new habits. I went to bed ready to wake up a whole new woman- full of grace and with a kind word for all I meet.

What happened is predictable. Pursy had a bad night and woke up at 1AM, 3:30 and 6. I did beautifully at the 0100 feeding. I hummed gently in her ear and felt warm fuzzy feelings towards my sleeping husband as I let him slumber. At 0330 I was a little more cranky- particularly when Grant stumbled out of bed and came to us, simply to close the nursery door so he couldn't hear Pursy fussing- and I admit was a little rougher then necessary getting back into bed 90 minutes later when I finally got her back to sleep. At 0600 when Grant tossed her into bed with me and called over his shoulder "I have to get to work early- are you okay?" I was definitely awake enough to holler back "I am so annoyed with you- I know you woke her up slamming around the bedroom". His confused head popped back around the corner and he said again- "are you okay?"

Having already ruined my resolution, I snapped back that she was sound asleep until he started slamming the dresser drawers on his 55 year old dresser that sounds like a dying seal when the drawers are opened due to the significant number of pieces that have broken off and we don't want to replace because it was his fathers. He tried to convince me that she had been squeaking before that, but I was already cross. And now more bummed that my Monday morning was gone and I had to wait until next Monday to resolve to be a decent person again.

That is a human nature hijack, and fortunately we are reformed Presbyterians who believe in total depravity (step one of TULIP) and Grant can never argue with me that it is simply not my fault that my default setting is less then pretty. Fortunately for ME, he also loves me and accepts my apologies- every time.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Nap Training

Day one of nap training has begun and so far Mom and Pursy are both crying. Grant and I have succeeded in doing what we swore we would never do to our child- we spoiled her. And by "we" I mean me. There were countless days in her first three months of life where Grant would call me from work and I would proudly say that I got her down for a nap- to which he would ask (with vain hope in his voice)- "in her crib?". Almost always my response would be some version of "I want to hold her, she is too little for the crib, she was fussy today, we can put her down to nap in her crib when she is older, etc." I loved holding her- and the sweet moments when she was sound asleep in my arms and totally accessible for me to kiss her face were too precious to give up. Thus, I taught my daughter to sleep only in my arms.

Now, let's be honest. It makes me feel fantastic that I am the only one that can easily put her to sleep, calm her down, soothe her. It makes me feel needed and irreplaceable. It also makes my sweet husband's life miserable on the evenings when I am at work. He called me last night because Pursy had been crying for almost two hours and he could not put her down -she was instantly crying the moment he did. I realized then that I had done both my daughter and Grant a huge disservice. He needed to be able to take care of her on his own and even though his loving arms are a close second- they will never be my boobs. Mommies have the secret weapon.

So I went to a friend of mine whose relationship with her children I admire and who I knew wasn't crazy for one method or another of child raising. She told me that it was time for Nap Training. She also said (and this is one of the reasons that I love her) that I needed to ask myself if I minded holding her while she slept. She said that if I was willing to park myself for 3-4 hours a day while Pursy napped then there really was no problem and I could keep up with my current style. I thought about this- as initially it seemed like a perfect solution. I didn't have to change anything, Pursy could get her naps and I was still Mom of the Year.

The problem with this is that I want those few hours during the day to myself. I want to make candles again and I want to work on the scrapbook for 2010 and I want to weed my garden and I want to continue being the person I was before I also became a Mom. I want to offer that to Purslane because I liked who I was. Not that I don't love being a Mom all the time, but there is more to me then that and I want to keep that going. I also want to offer her a stable home and a vibrant,loving relationship to model- so Grant and I will leave her with a babysitter while we go out on dates, we will keep our bedroom to ourselves, and we will always kiss in front of her.

But for today, she is crying in her crib and I am crying in the office. Jan said it would take only a few days to start a new habit and I am desperately clinging to the hope that on Monday afternoon I will put a content baby in her crib and she will take a brilliant nap- while I go work on the scrapbook.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My heart stopped

Tonight the most terrifying thing I can remember ever happening to me- happened. I fell down the steps carrying my daughter.

Obviously because I am now blogging about this experience, Pursy is alright and the only permanent damage is two holes in the attic door where a coat hook used to be. I always grab onto this hook on my way down from the attic just to give me a little stability as I go from stairs to floor, and I must have ripped it right out on my way down.

The list of "fortunately" is long- fortunately I was carrying her upright with both arms wrapping her close to my chest. Fortunately Grant and Daniel were home and sitting in the attic and were at my side in 1.7 seconds. Fortunately I didn't have anything else in my hands, as I have gotten into the very bad habit of carrying Pursy with one arm and a dish, book, blanket, etc. in the other. Fortunately I slid straight down the steps on my ass and missed hitting the doorframe and walls with Pursy's head.

I was instantly hysterical and every horrible possibility went through my head all at once. None of them came to pass, and my daughter is presently sleeping soundly unscathed and unmaimed. It did impress on me in that instant how everything can change and I can never get too comfortable. My heart loves this little person so much and I am so grateful that the Lord watches out for her- while I am busy falling down the steps.