Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The most creative thing I might do all day

I took a gingerbread mix, added pears and vanilla and made cupcakes. Cream cheese, cool-whip and more vanilla for frosting. I will then take them to a baby shower tonight and accept all the compliments on my baking savvy.

I worked last night on the OB unit at the hospital- I work up there every once in a while and it is a nice change from the craziness of the ICU/cardiac unit. I met a lovely couple who just had a beautiful little girl and watched their faces as they held her and began introducing themselves to her. I watched Dad struggle through putting on a long sleeve onesie, which as anyone who has ever tried to do that knows, it is like threading spaghetti through a garden hose. I left work remembering that life is beautiful and I am a blessed woman.

Today it is gray and rainy and I am feeling lazy and like drinking too much coffee would be a great idea. Instead I made 30 cupcakes, 3 stockings, washed 14 cloth diapers and am starting to feel like Pursy's counting book.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Many Thanks

My husband, who loves me despite my tendency to be snarky when angry, sarcastic when confronted and emotionally distant when tired and hungry. He has been my best friend for over seven years and tells me every day that I am pretty. I certainly do not deserve such loyalty but I am so thankful for it.

My daughter, who gave me the gift of being a mother which is one of the greatest. She reminds me to slow down when I am anxious and stressed out and her smile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I am so thankful for her stubborn personality and fantastic belly laugh.

My profession as a nurse has supported us to live comfortably, allowed Grant to be in Graduate school, and encourages my strengths as a human being every day. I am so thankful for the ability to care for the sick and to be allowed into other people's lives. It is a gift.

The people who share my daily life. I am so grateful for the open couches, refrigerators, and bookshelves of my friends. May I never take advantage of coffee dates, dinner parties or craft days where you love me just a little bit more.

My french press. It seems petty, but every morning I can make one delicious cup of coffee and enjoy the little brown foam that means it is fresh and just a little thick. Happiness.

My home. I hate cleaning the hardwood floors that seem to go on for days when they are dirty but there is nothing more lovely then evenings spent listening to records, drinking wine and snuggling with Grant in OUR home.

Things I am trying to be thankful for: the little belly that just won't go away, how much my dog loves me and wants to be everywhere exactly where I am, and my insatiable desire for potato chips.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mommy Wars

A blog I follow called "Cloth Diapers... by Cotton Babies" posted a blog yesterday that I found to be very interesting.

http://clothdiapers.blogspot.com/2010/11/real-mom-talk-is-motherhood-prison.html

I found it interesting because it was a response to an article I read in the Wall Street Journal last week called "Mommy Madness":

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704462704575590603553674296.html.

Let me break down the gist of both articles. The WSJ article was written by Erica Jong, who is an outspoken feminist. She grew up in the 50's and raised her daughter in the 70's. She speaks about her mother's style of parenting and then her own style- then she goes after attachment parenting. For those of you who are unaware, attachment parenting is a parental style that involves 5 primary principles. Breastfeeding, baby-wearing (slings and carriers vs. strollers), co-sleeping, more paternal involvement especially with infants, and immediate response to infant cries (rather then the Ferber "cry it out" method). Ms Jong talks about the growing number of mothers practicing attachment parenting and the "prison" it creates for mothers. She speaks about the high expectations this culture is creating for women and the negative feelings about not making your own baby food, wearing disposable diapers rather then cloth, and having outside child care. She talks about how working mothers are being villianized for having to work, and how "helicopter hovering" over your children will produce insecure adults.

The Cotton Babies (aka Jenn Labit) response was interesting. Rather then listing why she practices attachment parenting (actually, she doesn't even state if she DOES) she addresses the problem with the WSJ running an article that produces the same feelings in mothers that Ms Jong was arguing shouldn't happen. Whatever "style" of mothering you use, women should realize that being a parent is hard. And it is hard enough without feeling like there is some standard you need to meet in order to be a "good" mom. Ms Labit simply brings up the point that the problem isn't the method, or lack of method. The problem is the judgment passed by both sides. She says that "could she (Jong) just be saying, "Shut up world! I am ME and YOU don't get to decide if I was a good mom"?

My thoughts on the whole bruhaha. After reading almost every book on raising an infant that the library and B&N had, Grant made me take them all back because I was going crazy. Purslane was her own person and didn't care whether I was trying to "baby whisper" her or "Dr Sears" her. So Grant and I came up with our own method that worked for our life, her personality and our overall feelings about parenting. We cloth diaper her because I am passionate about it and Grant loves me. I make her baby food because I have the time and Grant likes saving the money. She sleeps in her own crib at night because Grant and I like having our own bed and like having sex whenever we want to. I carry her in sundry slings and carriers because I like the freedom and I like being able to kiss her little face whenever I want. Grant stays home with her two evenings a week because his schedule is flexible and we need my income. We also like that he can take care of her just as well as I can because he was comfortable being alone with her early on. I breastfeed her because I think it is the best food for a baby and my body cooperated with it. My labor was drug-free and all natural because she came in 3 hours and I didn't have time to renig on my plans for a Bradley birth. In short- we have been very blessed that the things we wanted to do as parents we have the resources, physical ability and information available to be able to do.

And when Baby #2 comes along the well laid plans of mice and men might have to be remade because every baby is different.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goodbye Facebook

I deactivated my Facebook account today. It was actually a decision made completely impulsively after a "facebook discussion" had on the wall of one of my friends. In a moment of impulsive clarity, I realized that we have begun using facebook as a sort of bathroom wall to say all the things we won't say to each others faces. We use words we wouldn't normally use because we have the impersonality of the computer screen and the luxury of lots of time to come up with a perfect answer. We forget that tone doesn't come through in Times New Roman font- nor does sarcasm, irony or wit.

I realized also that I had spent a good part of the day stewing internally about this particular discussion- and also externally processing with Pursy who is not a great listener. She is however, non-judgmental and therefore a perfect sounding board. The crazy thing about this particular discussion is that is was exactly the sort of conversations we have had a million times over beers on the back porch or coffee in a cafe. An opinion about a car commercial (the Toyota Sienna and Highlander commercials) evolved into a discussion about post modern angst and the true motivation behind decision making in consumerism. Just when I thought things were getting really interesting, a friend of a friend jumped into the discussion like a cannonball in a swimming pool party and said that our comments made him more angry then the commercials and called all of us "self-conscious" and "crybabies". HUH?? So rather then simply overlooking his comment as if it came from the grumpy man sitting next to us at a restaurant who has been eavesdropping, I let it fester and bother me all day. Why would he do that? What in the hell does he care what other people talk about on facebook? Did he not have anything intelligent to say and thus needed to try and rain sarcasm on our conversation parade?

I came to the conclusion that A. I like good conversation B. I miss handwriting letters C. I don't know some of the 300+ friends I have collected and certainly would not expect them to want to look at my vacation pictures D. Not all modern conveniences are good for me E. People are less inhibited when you can't see their face and maybe they should be a little more.

So that is my non-judgmental (i.e. I don't think everyone should inactivate their FB) non-self righteous (I don't think I am better then you because you are going to check your FB page after you read this) and very happy goodbye to Facebook.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Urban Living

This weekend we took Pursy on her first visit to Philadelphia- we put her in the Baby Hawk (my new favorite baby carrier) and explored Eulogy for lunch and Belgian beer, Old City Tattoos for ideas, South Street for consignment stores and tater tots, Liberti for church, and Sophia's for pumpkin pancakes with Chuck. Grant and I come alive in urban places. We love parking the car and not thinking about it again until it is time to head back to State College. We love divey restaurants and basement records shops. In the city coffee alone for breakfast is acceptable and I walk out confidently into crosswalks knowing that no car will hit me (unlike being on PSU campus where crosswalks are merely pavement decoration and oblivious student listening to IPod while driving could very likely run me down). In the city Tightsaspants and Ugg boots is not the uniform and creativity is king. I saw a pair of boots I want so badly I might learn how to raise cattle in order to make them.

I also discovered that I like being a Mom in the city. I loved having Pursy on my back walking the streets of Center City and listening to her babble as we passed parks, fire engines, construction sites. She was taking in everything. Sunday morning we met up with Grant's college roommate for breakfast and the waitress brought me a sliced banana in a gravy boat to mash up for Pursy. Life didn't revolve around her and it was certainly less comfortable but she fit in seamlessly. A woman at the next table chatted with me about baby bibs and the day care her son attended. There was no explanation as to why he was in day care- of course he was, because she worked. She was confident and happy to be out for breakfast with her husband and son. It made me realize how many ways there are to be a Mother- there are no rules and should carry no judgment. If we lived in the same neighborhood I would have offered to bring Pursy over for a play date because her son LOVED playing with her. We would have become best friends and walked down the street with our babies on our backs and drinking our breakfast coffee.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lessons from an Unlikely Place

This morning as I was walking through my bathroom I noticed a little bug in the doorway. My first thought was that I was very happy there was only ONE of them, as we had an infestation of this particular species of bug a few weeks ago- they were everywhere outside our kitchen window and a few hardy, determined ones managed to get inside. They weren't bad bugs- they look like little beetles with black bodies and a red design on their thorax. They didn't fly at my face, attack my feet or sting my hands. They were easy to scoop up with a magazine and throw out the door. So we lived in symbiotic harmony until the first frost when I found a graveyard of dead beetles on the ground.

So today, I was impressed by this little survivor on my bathroom floor. I stepped over him and figured that if he was stubborn enough to survive the genocide of coldness that took out the rest of his buddies that he could hang out. When I walked through the bathroom an hour later, he was climbing up the curtain on the other side of the bathroom. This would be akin to me traversing the Grand Canyon in 60 minutes. Again- I was impressed.

And also chagrined by the fact that he had spent his hour determinedly crossing the bathroom to get to the window, and I had spent my hour baking a cake, drinking two cups of coffee and looking for homeopathic remedies for ringworm on the internet. He used Pursy's nap time a little more wisely.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Not as Good as It Seemed

Over the last 6 months, Elliott has gone from viewing Pursy with: disinterest, novelty, curiosity, and with the introduction of solid food- supreme fascination. He has discovered that very yummy things fall from the high chair and her fingers always have something sticky and delicious on them. Now before any of you throw up in your mouths a little bit, Mom is always close by with a wet wipe AFTER Elliott has finished off the pureed sweet potato from her hands and BEFORE she puts them back in her mouth.

This seems like a great deal for a dog- tiny hands, new toys, a playmate on the floor. But it is not as good as it seems. In order to get to the food on her hands, he has to come in range of her feet, which are quite good at catching him right in the throat. He also has to deal with the OTHER hand, which often at lightning speed can grab his eyeballs, muzzle, ears, etc. and hold on. This is why three years ago Grant and I spent so much time researching dog breeds- we knew our two children would play together. Elliott is a textbook Boxer.

He loves to run, play, and basically do anything where he can see us. He is co-dependent, obedient and as docile as they come. When Pursy has hold of his muzzle and is pulling as hard as her short arm can- he looks up at Grant and I with a "please help me" face but nothing in his nature would make him react to her. Boxers are playful and gentle dogs- perfect for babies.

I thought that after a few "baby attacks" he would leave her alone- it is a high price to pay for a few morsels of banana or avocado. But he keeps coming back- and lays his head on her blanket while she plays on the floor. I can't wait to watch them running around the yard together- he will protect her and she will continue to repay him with better and better food.