Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's just an oogie...

Thanks to my overflowing supply of hormones (no, they don't disappear into the night the moment the babe is born... they linger like the smell of a baked potato that was cooked in a microwave for 20 minutes.. what, I didn't tell you that story?- remind me later, it's a good one) I spent a good hour of my life last night sobbing into dirty laundry with a ziploc bag crumpled in my hand.

Here's how it went down. Purslane for whatever reason she does anything had decided to call frogs "oogies", and the noise they made "ooggie googie". It was incredibly cute and I refused to allow Grant to correct her. It is amazing how many books frogs show up in and I LOVED hearing her take on it. Then last night, we were reading her favorite book "Brown Bear" and we got to the frog page. I smiled in anticipation... and disaster struck. Clear as day, Pursy said "froggie". Stunned, I asked her to repeat it.


I looked at Grant who was looking at me with the same stunned expression. It was over. Oogies were now a thing of the past and this froggie creature had taken its place. Grant had to take over the reading of the book because I was crying too hard to finish. Pursy kept looking at me with a perplexed look and I attempted the brave Mommy smile. After book time was over, he carried her off to bed- and I collapsed into a chair and grabbed the first thing I could to muffle my sobs- a dirty dress out of the laundry I had worn the day before. I had just gotten myself under control about the oogie thing and was starting to pick up our bedroom, sniffling, when I came across a ziploc baggie containing the little hat they had put on Knox right after he was born.


I literally shook with gut-wrenching sobs for a good 30 more minutes until Grant realized from the living room that I hadn't emerged from the bedroom in quite a while. He came in to find a snotty ball of hormones wrapped helplessly around a handful of dirty laundry. He tried his best to understand, and then finally just told me he loved me and rubbed my back.

You never know when you will hear something for the last time, or watch some new skill change overnight from a clumsy attempt to a smooth action. These babes of mine constantly amaze me. And I have managed not to do it yet, but you better believe the video I took of Pursy a few weeks ago going over her animal sounds will be watched today. And tomorrow. And I need to remind myself that it is probably wrong to correct her and try to get her to call it an oogie forever... right?

 Check out that pouty lip potential...
 What do you get when you cross naptime with curly hair?...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

If One is Good...

I listened to lots of advice from other parents about the moment when you see your first child after having a baby. They said Purslane would look so grown up, little girl-ish and in general much older then she did before we left for the hospital to birth Knox. I pretended to know what they meant. I nodded, smiled- and then congratulated myself on the fact that I knew she would still be my 18 month old baby girl running around in feety pajamas and loving her evening "bap" (bath) time with Dada. I instead focused on how I would manage two babies- both in diapers, both in car seats, both needing to be rocked to sleep.

I didn't plan on how intense she would all of a sudden seem to me. Her need to run and yell and jump off the bed a million times a minute has me completely stressed out. Trying to figure out where to put Knox so he is safe while I go chase after her because I told her not to do something and she didn't just ignore me- she did it with both hands TWICE in rapid succession (while looking directly at me) then ran away screaming with laughter while I tried to disentangle myself from the blankets while trying not to stress my recently very stressed lady parts. When did she become so complex? What used to take just a look now takes at least two rounds of stern voice followed by some kind of follow-up. Even reading books with her is intense. She has her favorites and wants them read 'gain and 'gain.

I am tired and frustrated. Overwhelmed with the importance of the job before me- TWO children to keep safe, teach kindness and grace and make sure are clothed and fed. They need to be stimulated, exercised, challenged, taught, loved, disciplined, encouraged, played with- and I still only have two arms. And Grant's Mom for another few days and then my Mom for a week. After that, it's just Grant and I- man to man defense.

I don't say all this to get sympathy. My life is full of kisses and snuggling and baby breath and laughing and crazy fun. But it is different now- Pursy and I will both have to get used to the reality that I have to split my attention now between her and Knox. And last night when I stood outside her door and cried while she cried in her crib because she wanted to be rocked a little longer and I needed to go feed crying Knox, I realized that having two children is going to be much harder then I ever thought. And probably more fun and more colorful then even I can imagine.

Pursy's first look at Baby Knox...
 Knox gets his first lesson on trucks... Pursy thought it was important to start early.
 She loved being at the hospital- so many things to explore...
 I love this picture- she looks like such a little imp.
 And all's right with the world.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Letter to YOU, Grant Martsolf

It is a little after 5AM. Less then 24 hours ago, we met our son Knox Thomas Steele Martsolf for the first time. He entered the world at 0725 and I will write the whole birth story up very soon. Right now though, when I should be stocking up on sleep and taking advantage of the fabulous nurses who staff the nursery, I want to say some words to the only person in the universe brave enough to go through two natural births with me.

 I know from the day you married me you have been worried that I would have a slow,steady descent into craziness. My love for all things herbal, natural and experimental- including humans- used to make you very uncomfortable. And so over the past 8 years, we have compromised on a daily basis. We have both become comfortable enough in our own skin to change when it fits our relationship,and cling to the bits of ourselves cultivated in college and beyond that made us individuals.

 In a sense, we grew up together. I will never forget sitting in Jeffrey Lancaster's basement hearing about the concept of community for perhaps the first time, and thinking that was the way to go. Our passionate agreement about the life we wanted has made us into the family we are. We love people well. Our home has always been open to whomever wanted to wander in and our life has been made so colorful by the people we never would have met if we weren't constantly seeking community. We let people in- even when the house is a disaster and we have been fighting all day. No pretends with us-and that makes me proud.

And now, we are passing this along to the next generation. Purslane is an amazing person who is so used to having different people around that she totally just skipped over the developmental step of separation anxiety. Do you know how lucky we are just to be able to leave the house when we go out of dates without needing to give a babysitter a long list of ways to distract her so we can slip out? She asks whomever is sitting on our couch to read her books, because she has learned to open her heart too. And now we get the chance to teach our little man about loving humankind. We are lucky, Grant.

And now back to these babes and particularly their entry into the world. You knew that I wanted natural home births from the day we started talking about children. I wanted the full experience of birthing a baby and even though you thought I was crazy, I will never forget the day you called and told me you had done all the leg work of finding a Bradley instructor and had already signed us up. Here was another compromise. Your nervous risk-averse self could not accept an unassisted birth, so you found a way to make the experience work for both of us. You went with me to every class, practiced every technique and learned everything you could about helping me through childbirth naturally. Your running joke about an elective C-section wasn't lost on me- I know if you could eliminate every element of surprise or possible adverse outcome you would have done that. But you let me do this my way.

And so, this morning we have another babe who entered the world in a dramatic parade of natural childbirth. We were lucky again to have babes who just want to start their lives and don't waste much time being born. I'm sure your back would hurt less, your ears wouldn't be ringing with the feral sounds that come out of me during labor, and you would enjoy the experience more knowing everything was under control- but you let me birth our babies how I wanted. I have no regrets. And I will always be thankful for your grace and strength in the most intense of circumstances- you and I did this together and every time I look at our gorgeous children I will remember that they came into the world with both of their parents so ready to be right there to meet them. Thank you for giving this to me.

I love you, Grant.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Notes From a Dragon Mom

Not sure if today was the best day to read this NY Times article or not. It was posted on one of my favorite blogs, Dear Baby, and I usually can't stop myself from reading anything she recommends. She even warned ahead of time that it was hard to read.

Notes from a Dragon Mom was written by a woman whose 18 month old son has Tay-Sachs disease. This is a genetic disorder that will gradually paralyze him until he passes away. The article is her words about what it is like to parent a child you know might not see their 3rd birthday. She speaks about what elements of parenting have taken a front seat and which are completely unimportant. She speaks about the importance of making sure her son knows he is loved, comfortable, pain-free and basic needs are met. She also mentions how unimportant it is to read books about setting limits, researching elementary schools or choosing organic baby foods. Regardless of what she does, her son will die.

So here I sit- 40.5 weeks pregnant with an 18 month old of my own, reading about a pain every parent prays to God they never know. My heart hurts when Pursy runs to me wanting to be comforted because she ran into the door frame while tearing through the house. I would run into a thousand door frames to save her the tears. And yet part of parenting is letting your kids get hurt, learn tough lessons and deal with the unfairness of life. I pray every night that I would remember that God loves my daughter more then I do and that I would accept whatever His will is for her. But I can't deny how many nights I whisper- "but please don't ask it of me to lose her".

So the dance is this- to remember that as parents even though we spend thousands and thousands of hours creating the world our children grow up in, we ultimately have very little that we actually control. We protect our babes as much as we possibly can, but at some point they still walk out the door- as they need to. For most of us, we think about this in future tense. WHEN my kids get on the bus, WHEN they go to college, WHEN they move across the country. For the Mama who wrote this article, there is no future. She spends every day with her son watching for signs that he is slowly slipping away. And it gives her love a simple immediacy that was beautiful to read about.

And so even though I read this article with tears streaming down my face, it is a reminder that my daughter is in God's hands and every day I have with her is a gift- not my right. It is a reminder that when my son enters the world, he also comes to me as a visitor that I am being entrusted to take care of. And when I get hot and bothered about organic food or dye-free detergent or charter schools, it is a luxury of having the resources to have those choices. If they went away, I would still have beautiful children that I am blessed every day to have the gift of loving.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Little Distraction...

So to take my mind off the fact that my due date has come and gone, I spent an hour tonite playing with my new toy... Grant gave me my push present early- a Canon Rebel T2i. This is the camera I have been salivating over for months now- and lament not having every time I take a picture with my crappy point and click digital camera that never takes the picture I saw in the creative part of my brain that tells me every picture I take will be awesome.

Let's just clarify one thing. I realize the fact that there are push presents in my world means I have crossed over into full on yuppiness. I am okay with this. Although it will probably get me points on Stuff White People Like.

So Grant and his parents pooled their sneaky resources and have known they would give me this for a while now... and listened to me whine over and over about how I absolutely NEED a nice camera in order to be a good mom and MAYBE Purslane would forgive her baby pictures being mediocre but Knox certainly would hate me one day. Fortunately for our budget and my eternal soul, Grant is very wise in discerning when my needs and wants are ridiculously at odds. He did his research and found me the camera I wanted refurbished on Ebay and even though it was still extravagant, we will be able to put food on the table and keep our children in size-appropriate clothing.

My new sweetheart Emily came over tonite to show me all the features of a nice camera- plus brought cookies, which I thought was wicked cool and totally above and beyond. I am now armed with everything I need to take pictures of my sweet babes and hopefully find an artistic medium I can be good at. I am more of an art appreciator rather then creator, so photography fits me like my Seven jeans used to...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I like Food

Because food is Oh-so-important to me right now, I thought a food journal just of my day yesterday would be entertaining. A little embarrassing, particularly for those who have only known me as a farmers market, locally grown, close to the earth kind of eater- but all bets are off during pregnancy, as evidenced by the fact that the only food "substances" I could keep down during my first trimester were plates of chinese buffet steamed rice with jarred gravy and Doritos. Thankfully, not together. When you are choosing between Doritos and vomit-induced, electrolyte imbalanced starvation, you just eat Doritos and ignore the opinions of the outside world who all want to tell you how important it is to eat 3 servings of dark green vegetables a day during the first few months of pregnancy for babe's development. If Knox is born with scurvy and ends up at community college, we all know who to blame.

So yesterday. Started out pretty normal. Two bowls of Raisin Bran. Cup of coffee and half of Pursy's banana. She starts fussing in her crib- Grant goes in to change her horrific morning poop diaper while I start making her breakfast. It is lonely eating alone, so I make myself Second Breakfast, which is scrambled eggs and a yogurt. Finally full, we leave the house for some play time at the library. Halfway home, I stop at the bakery. SO proud of myself- I did not have a bavarian cream donut. I had two bavarian cream donuts. Home to put Pursy down for a nap. Another bowl of Raisin Bran. And a pear. After her nap, I feed her lunch and am surprisingly not hungry. Drink water and feel alright. At 530 the family eats together- very important to us. Homemade shells and cheese, peas and a beer for Grant. I try to pretend my glass of grape/peach juice is a wine spritzer and then we wash,dry and read books to the babe. Bedtime. While Grant puts Pursy to sleep, I eat half a package of gingersnaps and make red raspberry tea to try and bring on labor. No dice on the labor, but do create wicked heartburn for which I take 4 Tums and drink some milk. End of eating day.

"Mama- eat your vegetables!"
 Has anyone else discovered the pasta made out of veggies that Wegmans sells???This pasta is made of tomatoes and carrots. Pursy loves it.
 P's fish face.
 Since we are talking about food, how much do I love a husband who does manly things like smoke whole chickens and feeds them to me with BBQ sauce and cheese grits?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall in Love...

Unashamed at my kitchy play on words for the title of this blog post...

I love autumn, fall- whatever you call this time of year- I LOVE it. Going through it with a 17 month old is even better. There have actually been moments when I forgot to step on every leaf on the sidewalk...Purslane reminds me this is not acceptable. Walks take twice as long when you are trying to find the perfect leaf to take home as a souvenir and the line is longer at Starbucks when the fall drinks come to town. You can't rush through Autumn. I love mums on the front porch and funky gourds and squash as decoration on my table. Now that I have babes I love Halloween and trick or treat night. Pursy is going to be a doctor (complete with tiny scrubs that have Dr Pursy embroidered on the pocket) and little freeloader is going to be a pea in the pod- my life dream since the day I considered every having children. He needs to hurry up and be born however or this costume is going to be ridiculously huge.

The air smells like firewood and happiness. The sun is still shining daily and I can acceptably wear sandals and a fleece. 65 degrees is the temperature of the new Jerusalem, I am sure of it. And it will be Autumn every day. And Reeses PB cups will always be in the shape of pumpkins.

Friday, October 7, 2011

God help us if this girl ever gets ahold of a cigarette...

Pursy hasn't shown much interest thus far in movies or TV. We haven't really encouraged it either- we don't have strong feelings for or against letting her watch things like Sesame Street or PBS kids, but for my sanity she will not be allowed to watch Barney or the Wiggles. Not because I think they are bad, just highly annoying. She is such a curious little cat that I wasn't surprised when after 3 minutes of Sleeping Beauty she was crawling off the couch in search of something better to do. Fine with me- I really would prefer her not to get sucked into the world of TV babysitting. Although when/if she does, I think investing in DVD collections of The Smurfs, Fraggle Rock and GI Joe would be way better then letting her watch the new cartoon junk on TV. Some of it creeps ME out a little- no telling what it would do to her pure little mind. I'm sure there is good stuff out there, but Grant and I like old things and it's hard to argue that the cartoons we grew up on were WAY better. (Remember the Snorks??)

The one exception to her lack of interest in television is this silly little video on YouTube called The Duck Story. A girlfriend of mine sent it to me after humming the "waddle waddle" chorus every time I walked by her at the hospital. Purslane happened to be in the room when I opened the video and was immediately hooked. She wanted to watch it on repeat until I wanted to throw the computer out the window. The following have also resulted: when asked what a duck says, she now says "Hey Man". First thing in the morning when either Grant or I walk into her room, instead of "Mama" or "Dada" she now greets us with "Duck! Duck!". If I need a few minutes to make a phone call or fold some laundry, I can put her in her high chair and pull her up to the kitchen counter with the 3 minute video on repeat and know that she will be entertained. She wants to watch it all the time, and her addictive little personality is starting to make me nervous. God help us when/if she discovers things more harmful to her health...

Mamas- let me know if you need a few minutes of quiet or want to watch your active child become a zombie for 3.5 minutes and I will send you the link. This video is baby crack and Pursy is a cute little addict.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Yesterday, Grant kicked me out of the house. This is different from him leaving me or needing a break after a horrible fight. He literally asked me to leave. And I wish I could blame him or make him feel like a jerk for making his 9 1/2 month pregnant wife get out of her comfy yoga pants, take a shower and go to an incredibly stressful and physically exhausting job, but it was self-preservation for him and salvation for me.

I have become my 92 year old grandmother. I love my grandmother and do not think this trait is unique to her- rather, I believe most elderly people when there is nothing on their schedule become this way. They wander around moving things from one place to another, rewashing clean dishes, reorganizing things already in order- I believe the term is putter. When you are so used to filling your time with things that need to be done, it is hard to justify simply sitting still and reading a book, watching a movie, taking a nap, etc. You feel like you should at the very least be in motion. This is me. The nursery is ready, the onesies are washed, Purslane's clothes have been organized by season and size for the next 6 months, my toenails are painted, my legs are shaved, the pantry is stocked with easy to grab food and snacks for whoever will be providing meals for Pursy while Grant and I are in labor, my bag is packed and in the car, the presents from Knox to Pursy are wrapped and ready to give- and thus I putter.

It isn't that there is nothing to do- my kitchen floor is dirty and Grant has asked me multiple times to call the company taking care of my retirement account to ask about transferring funds once I no longer work at the hospital. It is that I could care less about those things. My entire being is focused on the moment when I will go into labor and start the journey of being a family with two kids. I find it hard to care about anything else. I manage to do the obvious things staring me in the face- I pick up Pursy's books and toys so our house looks decent and I make dinner every night. So far as I am aware, Grant has not had to double day his underwear and Pursy has clean diapers. I am still showering daily. I personally think this is my new definition of success.

But yesterday Grant told me I either needed to go into labor or go to work- those were my choices. He made a rude comment about how many days in a row I had worn the same nebulous maroon pants (he calls them pajama pants, I call them "lounging" pants- which makes them legit to leave the house in) and told me I needed to call the hospital and pick up a shift. I made some pitiful comment about hoping I could get through a shift without taxing my body too much and he handed me the phone.

And I went to work. And it was an insanely crazy shift with busy patients and I ended up staying almost two hours overtime. But for a few hours I didn't obsess about how many Braxton-Hicks I was having or whether we were having our kids too close together. I was a productive member of society and made some money to boot. And once again, I had to admit my husband was right and thank him for knowing me better then I know myself. The wait at the end of a very long pregnancy is hard- but puttering doesn't do anyone any good and in my personal experience does nothing to convince this little freeloader to make his appearance. But just in case... if anyone wants their recipe cards re-organized, I'm your girl. Or maybe I will do mine again...

Pursy breaking in Knox's rocking chair...
 Baby kimono wrap outfit from Uncle Daniel...
 Saturday mornings with Dada...
 Rambo Pursy...
 My Kids...
 She kisses on request now-I love it. Although if she is feeling sassy, she responds to a request with "noooo..."