Thursday, April 28, 2011

Everything Looks Different

Last night none of us got much sleep. A thunderstorm had been looming all day, but we pressed on with walks into downtown, bike rides to works and hanging out in the yard because for the first time in 3 weeks it wasn't pouring down rain. Pursy ate grass, pulled petals off wild violets and seemed to enjoy watching Elliott roll around in the yard. I simply enjoyed fresh air and bare feet.

We put Pursy to bed around 7:30, and Grant had the brilliant idea to sit on the front porch with ice cream (for me) and a beer (for him) and watch the storm come in. No rain yet, but I love the minutes right before a storm- the wind is blowing hard, the sky is that eerie orange-green, and you can almost smell the air changing. We enjoyed each others company and caught up on each others life. Amazing how little time there is any more for simple conversation.

At 2 in the morning ,we woke up to a screaming babe. Pursy was standing at the side of her crib sobbing while the thunder and lighting rolled outside. I picked her up and tried to soothe her in the rocking chair, but every time the thunder crashed outside, her tears would start again. I finally wrapped her up in a blanket and we went out to the front porch. The storm was incredible- lighting flashing over and over, rain pouring down in sheets- and she was instantly calm.

Little babes are amazing. I don't know if she was calmed because she could see what was going on or if it was my holding her, but she was fascinated. Her little eyes were wide and taking it all in, her fingers clenching my tank top strap and over and over her little finger pointing towards the sky and she would say "Da! Da!" which is her new expression when she wants to know what something is. We sat outside for a good 15 minutes watching the storm. I love a good thunderstorm, and it was so much cooler watching it with my daughter.

Back inside, she was still not interested in going to sleep. I sat up as long as I could before bringing her into our bed, where she was instantly ready to play with her Dad. Grant tolerated being poked and climbed over for about a minute before taking her back to her room to try and put her back to sleep himself. Two hours later, he crawled back to bed. She was not interested in being alone during the storm, so he laid down on the floor beside her crib. Every few minutes she would wake up, see him beside her, and lay back down.

Now that is a good man.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pieces... pieces.. so many pieces

Pursy's birthday party on Saturday was fantastic- 7 of her little friends showed up (i.e. Mommy and Daddy's friends who happen to have children) and chaos reigned. The kids ran around the house, spilled grape juice on their clothes and played in the inflatable pool Pursy got from her grandparents. It was great.

As birthday parties are wont to do, our toy collection was tripled by the end of the gift opening bonanza. I didn't notice it at the time, because everything sparkly and new comes wrapped in cellophane and held together with tape. It really looked like we only got a dozen or so toys.

Then this morning, I am walking through the kitchen to start my very unfulfilling cup of morning decaf coffee and I notice that everywhere I look there are PIECES. Puzzle pieces, magnet pieces, small stuffed animal pieces.. Overnight every toy crumbled into a thousand small parts and my house now looks like a Lilliputian toy land.

I don't want to sound ungrateful- our friends are wicked cool and bought her the best interactive, stimulating and learning-oriented toys ever. Maybe because she is too little or maybe because they knew I would have a stroke, but she didn't get any dolls with lots of clothing changes or princess themed makeup/tiara combos. The theme seemed to be more farm animals and cool stuff to use outside. The toys are great. But why do they all need to fall apart into so many little pieces?? And why does the small space between the bottom of the fridge and the kitchen floor need to be just the right size for all the pieces to fit under??

Friday, April 15, 2011

Not Sure if that was Correct...

I had a first experience in the ribbon aisle at Michael's yesterday, and am not sure if I handled it correctly. Please read and evaluate. In our community group, we have been discussing what it means to understand our words and actions through the filter of our heart motivations. Not sure what this interaction said about my heart...

I am shopping at Michael's for a craft for Pursy's first birthday party on Saturday. I had a fantastic scavenger hunt prepared for the kiddos, but as central Pennsylvania often does, my plans are doomed by the 90% chance of rain forecasted. So my new resourceful side packed up Pursy and took her to the craft store to find a stimulating and original craft idea for 11 children to do inside. I am wandering the aisles trying to choose whether I would be the "cool mom" if I let 4 year olds use paints and brushes or if I should take the safe stickers and washable markers route.

Pursy tolerated my indecision for roughly 27 seconds before deciding to test out her voice box volume control. She wants everything I am looking at and after picking up numerous dropped and/or flung items- I firmly tell her that she will either be content to HOLD the box of googly eyes or she must deal to simply sit in the front of the cart and find her contentment in Jesus.

My dearest, darling daughter grabs the front of my shirt with both hands and screams in my face at a very impressive decibel. At that moment, a woman walks around the aisle and comes over to us. She puts her hand on Pursy's head (yuk) and says to me "Honey, I think she needs something".

I was raised to be a smiler. I am brilliant at keeping peace because in most situations I can keep it together, swallow annoyances and save my irritation, criticism and anger for the car ride home. (Ask Grant who gets the short end of that stick) But in this moment, the first thing that came out of my mouth was (actually, with a smile) "Yes, Honey, she does need something. She needs to learn that she does not always get her own way".

The woman took her hand off Pursy's head and walked away without a word. Was I rude? Too blunt? Too honest? I prefer to think that I was simply showcasing what I have learned in almost 12 months of being Purslane's Mama. My daughter is not a wilting flower- she will let you know what she wants. I actually took a little sick pleasure in her hollering the remainder of our time in the store. Her birthday isn't until next week, but Purslane is officially 1.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Tribute

Life happens too fast for you ever to think about it. If you could just persuade people of this, but they insist on amassing information. -Kurt Vonnegut

Today is the anniversary of the death of my favorite author- KV. I discovered Mr Vonnegut through my literary goldmine of a husband who could not believe that I had reached the tender age of 24 without discovering Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse V. To catch up, I read every single one of Vonnegut's books in the Summer of 2004. We were living with Grant's parents, traveling all over the country and basically enjoying the fruits of marriage and college degrees. My joy was stunted only by the mild nagging desire to kill myself and everyone around me.

When I say I love Kurt Vonnegut's writings, it feels hyperbolic. I believe love is the strongest of emotions, lived out by actions and defined by words that only have their context and can be fully understood in the trinitarian figurehead of God. I do not love Pad Thai, argyle knee high socks or my morning coffee- although these things are all very important to me and I would miss them terribly if they went away. However, I do believe in my feeble human way, I love every book I have ever read by Kurt Vonnegut. I cried the day he died, quoted him in my speech at graduation, and when he is referenced in sermons (which is not NEAR often enough) I have the urge to stand up and cheer.

Only those of you who have consumed so much Vonnegut at once can understand why it seemed my only option was to kill myself. His books are so incredible, humanistic, colorful, nihilistic, hilarious, pessimistic- it literally feels like a Mardi Gras parade where the Cru members are throwing acid and jelly donuts going through your head.

So today I will pay a tribute to the man who changed my view of what makes a good book, broadened my vocabulary and made me look suspiciously at any man wearing a custom suit. Kurt Vonnegut, I wish I could have met you.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.- Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, April 8, 2011

Choosing my Battles

Almost overnight, Purslane went from eating (literally) anything she could get her hands on, to being a VERY picky eater. I actually don't even think it is the food she is protesting against, but the fact that she found something that she can control. She has realized that throwing her food on the floor makes Elliott happy and Daddy frustrated. And I don't know how deep her sentience is yet, but I am pretty sure that look on her face means "I don't want avocados and rice- I want peaches".

Unfortunately for her, she has a Mama who cares a great deal about her nutritional status and has the time to sit and wait her out. ALSO unfortunately for her, I have watched her take down a bowl of lentils, chunks of beets, ungodly amounts of rice and beans, garam masala chicken, guacamole, yogurt and granola, and sundry foods that has proven to me that she does not have a problem with food.

So this morning, when I served her a bowl of peach yogurt, granola and bananas I had no idea that I would literally spend the entire morning in a battle of wills. I sat next to her for 2.5 hours while she batted at the spoon, pushed bananas out of her mouth and turned her head away from me. After 30 minutes I wanted to start over with something else, but I had picked my battle. She would eat this bowl of food because not only are they three of her favorite things, but it was what I made for breakfast.

Grant got up, took a shower, left for work- I am still sitting there. The hospital called and asked me to pick up a bonus shift- I am still sitting there. I read three David Sedaris essays, drank a cup of decaf, and ate my own breakfast- still sitting there. Finally I started working around the house- doing dishes, unpacking some boxes, paying bills- Pursy is still sitting there. Every bite she does decide to put in her mouth (and keep in) I respond with ridiculous amounts of praise and excitement. Being a parent really does take all your pride and turn you into a crazy person.

I am beginning to worry that by the time she finishes this bowl of yogurt, I will have to immediately replace it with lunch. I am imagining Grant coming home from work and both of us are still sitting in our pajamas in the kitchen with moldy yogurt on the spoon and Pursy wasting away from stubborn-induced starvation.

But she finished it. I rewarded her with a bath in the kitchen sink and an hour of Mommy/Pursy play time. So I won the battle today... Tomorrow we have a birthday party at 10AM so I might need to set my alarm for 5 so we have time to eat breakfast and get out of the house.