Friday, September 28, 2012

I Love

 I love.


Not perfectly.

I mess up at least a couple times a day.

I yell when I should whisper, and I whisper when I should yell.

Like when you asked what I liked about you and I whispered that I couldn't remember anymore.

I should have yelled.

Because I can think of about a thousand now. And I want you to hear them.

Like when I bought those brown boots and you didn't ask me to take them back.

Because you knew I needed something to make me feel like myself again.

And when I wear them, I love you.

Not perfectly, but I love.


Or when I told you that you would be happier somewhere else.

With someone else.

And in an instant you weren't mad at me anymore. You let it go. Whatever it was.

And you just held on to me.

I wish I could love.

Like you.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pay Attention... This Doesn't Happen Often

This morning was a disaster for many reasons. Purslane was awake at 430 and in bed with us, Knox started fussing at 515 and joined us in bed to nurse and.. not fall back asleep. After a few minutes of fussing, Grant picked him up and took him down to the couch, where I assume they watched Sports Center until one or both fell asleep. Either way, I didn't hear anything from them until 7.

Pursy, on the other hand, was wide awake and wanted:

Yo Gabba Gabba on your phone (Netflix on my smartphone)
Poop on the potty
General mayhem. Exhibited by flips and jumps that belong in a beginners 4H horse competition at a county fair.

Over and over and over until I was beyond frustrated. I just wanted. to. sleep. By myself. With no one else. I actually think I offered an entire bag of gummy bears at one point if she would lay still for 5 minutes. Fortunately she forgot. Not that she kept her end of the bargain either.

By the time 630 rolled around, I was just mad. Not frustrated or sleepy or a little grumpy. The sort of mad that interprets every action done by the people around you as a personal and very unjustified attack. I was a victim of my husband and children. They hated me and chose this morning to passive aggressively show me just how much. Grant got out of the shower and accidentally used my towel- he hates me.  Knox puked down my shirt right inbetween my boobs- because he hates me. Pursy was already in the doghouse with me but when she jumped off the potty before I could wipe her and got a drop of urine on the seat- hate, hate, hate.

I actually got both children downstairs alive and close to the table to begin dolling out breakfast food. And while I was grabbing a handful of Cheerios for Knox, Pursy found a ballpoint pen and scribbled on one of my brand new placemats.

Stop smiling. Those placemats symbolized something more then a place to eat. They were a sign that I have not given up. I have not yet hosted a dinner party and set out laminated maps of North America because they are easier to clean off then linen. My plates are red stoneware which are gorgeous and impractical. They chip easily and are difficult to match mats and napkins with. So when I found these khaki linens with red birds perched on brown branches, I bought them. In a world full of sippee cups, dustbuster acting as vacuum cleaner and cheese stick as quick appetizer- these table linens symbolized to me that I was still a classy broad who could set a killer table.

So when I saw the placemat turned 2 year old art canvas, I did what any mature, loving mother would do.

I grabbed that mat and the other 5 out of the drawer and smashed them into the garbage can. I then burst into tears and walked out the front door to cry on the front steps like a character from a Woody Allen film.

And here is the beautiful part of marriage. My oftentimes more volatile husband when it comes to issues involving children, sleep deprivation and childish behavior- turned into a calm but firm presence. He took the mats out of the garbage, put Pursy in her high chair with some food substance in front of her, and came to collect his hot mess of a wife. He stood me up, put his arms around me and pulled me close until our noses were almost touching. I thought he was going to kiss me gently and whisper words of empathy and love.

Instead he stared me straight in the face and said "Christy, it is time to pull it together".


So I did. I fed the children, dressed them and myself then put us all in the car for Thursday morning Bible Study. We had a great morning and after lunch, I put both babes down for a nap. Alone in a quiet house with a soft rainstorm outside, I started to think about things. Life in general and this morning in particular. I thought about how it is possible to love two little people so much and still get so angry at them that it justifies an adult temper tantrum. And I looked at the mat covered in pen scribble.

And I was overwhelmed with gratefulness that Pursy had created a piece of art that will not rip, fall behind the fridge or smear paint on the rug. She will never again draw that picture or create that scribble- whatever it is. We have a permanent reminder of what she was like at 2. And that changes so quickly. I look at pictures I took 6 months ago and marvel at how she has changed.

I was given grace. Grace in a husband who had the balls to look me in the teary face and tell me the hard truth. Grace to recognize that I have two gorgeous children who make my world go round. Grace to look at that placemat and not feel anger or frustration about some idea about what my table linens say about my self worth. Grace to put the placemat back in the drawer and smile thinking about the next dinner party where I put those mats on the table and tell the story about the day Pursy drew me that picture.

I think I might be seeing the manifested answer to a prayer I have been sending up since the day Pursy was born. Prayer for patience and wisdom. Not perfect obviously, and a bit delayed but maybe next time this peaceful feeling will come at 630 and I will give Pursy a hug instead of the cold shoulder.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Literalist Problem Solver

This morning while it was still dark and I don't know what time it was because my eyes were trying SO hard to stay closed: Pursy jumped on our bed. This happens every morning and usually she watches an episode or two of Yo Gabba Gabba on my phone while I lay there hoping that today will be the day she agrees with me that it is too early to be awake and put herself back to sleep.

Today she put her face super close to mine and whispered : "I want juice water and I have to go potty".


One thing I can ignore and the other I cannot. So I got out of bed, and tried to find humor in the fact that once again a new day was being heralded in with the sounds of a 2.5 year old pooping. I crawl back into bed after dolling out the 2 gummy bear reward and Pursy is right behind. She gets into bed with me, puts her face close to mine and whispers: "I want juice water".

Of course. But this time, I don't feel guilty about saying, "Purslane, the juice water is downstairs and I am upstairs. You will have to wait until it is time to go down for breakfast".

I did not realize this was interpreted as a gauntlet being thrown down.

She sat there for a minute, then jumped off the bed and padded down the hall. My silly, should have known better self was already back asleep. A few minutes later I hear a sound I have never heard before. A sort of step-clunk-slosh sound repeating itself over and over- and getting closer. A minute later, a plastic jug of condensation-covered green juice rolls into bed and settles next to my warm arm. I shriek and jump a foot in the air, and as my body begins its descent, I hear:

 "Mama- the juice water is upstairs! Now can I have some juice water?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hold On

Oh you got to
Hold on, Hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on
-Mr Waits

Last night Grant and I found ourselves in the very tornado we thought we had just emerged from.  Sleepless nights. Neither of our babes have been great sleepers, and I think we are to blame. I really think that the babes that do best with sleep schedules, a little crying it out, and not so much rocking to sleep are those like ours- stubborn, precocious and determined. These kind of babes respond so well to knowing what is coming- schedules, routines and predictability. Now we love our crazy babies, but from the very beginning we decided that they were joining OUR family- one with established rhythms and habits. We requested they adapt to our life, not our life adapting to theirs. We try to be reasonable and fair, but there are time that schedules just don't happen. Pursy and Knox have a bedtime but if we are going to a dinner party that goes late and bedtime is pushed back, so be it. If we got an invitation to join a play date to the Children's Museum and the time was 1-3p, smack dab in the middle of nap time- there was no nap that day. We used to attend a church that met on Sunday evenings and those nights the babes weren't in bed until 9 or 10. And we have dealt with the fall out of all those things.

We have enviously watched other families take their toddlers up to their beds, kiss them goodnight and then listen to them talk to themselves in their beds until they fall asleep. Our children have been in and out of our bed, Knox slept in a bouncy seat on the floor of our room for a while, Pursy's bed time routine took about 30-45 minutes and included bath, books, rocking, singing and commando crawling out the door so not to make the floorboards creak. We have passed each other bleary eyed in the hallway while one was coming back from one child's room and the other was going into the other child's room to soothe and put back to sleep.

But last week both babes slept through the night - almost 7 nights in a row. We got hopeful. We started staying up a little later and watching ONE MORE episode of Parenthood on Netflix because we discovered that we still felt rested in the morning if we weren't waking up 3-4 times/night. Then Grant made the terrible mistake of verbalizing our reprive.

"Have you noticed both kids are sleeping through the night now?"

Every nurse reading this blog post just shook their head. He pretty much damned us to 3 Code Blues, 5 Admissions and a doctor who refuses to write a PRN for Ativan. He pointed out that things were nice and quiet.

Sure enough, last night we took turns holding Knox who cried for almost 3 hours. We gave Tylenol, homeopathic teething tabs, took off all his clothes and checked his skin, palpated his belly, changed his diaper, looked at his tonsils with my penlight and pulled on his ears to check for infection. He would fall asleep in our arms and the moment we thought about putting him down, was instantly awake and crying again. He woke up Pursy, who then spent the remainder of the night traveling back and forth between her bed and ours until we spoke the dreaded consequence of closing her door if we saw her again before it was light outside.

Because it was unexpected, both Grant and I were intolerant and grumpy. And that is the worst- when your best friend isn't on your team anymore and causing just as much grief as the other guys. We snapped at each other, tossed around reminders of who did more around here, threw off the covers while getting out of bed just so the other person knew that sacrifices were being made- in other words, we did not endure this hardship with laughter and teamwork.

So this morning when day had come and I had some coffee, we apologized and reminded each other that this is only a season. We just have to get through the sleepless nights with our marriage intact. Just keep talking, laughing when we can and when there is nothing kind to say, just reach out and hold hands.

Oh you got to
Hold on, Hold on
You got to hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here
You gotta hold on

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm Sure of It

This morning is a Johnny Cash morning... you know those, right? The babes are grumpy, I am still hung over from a night shift on Monday and not enough sleep yesterday, and my coffee is a-runnin' low.

So we boot up Spotify and find an album I had never heard of- The Greatest: Duets. Johnny and Bob, June, Willie, Lynn and Ray. Every song gold. How does his train whistle voice blend so well with so many others whose sound is so varied? The World Socialist Web Site called his sound a "flexible blend of country, rock ‘n’ roll and folk". I guess when you are that good at your craft you can hang with anyone.

Within minutes the three of us are dancin' around the kitchen to the funky groove of "I've been everywhere" and "I wish I was crazy again". The sun comes out and the coffee is miraculously multiplied.

There is one song that he sings with Willie Nelson called "You Can't Beat Jesus Christ". It isn't particularly reverent but it is unabashedly Christian and gives God a lyrical high five for bein' awesome. He is "scuse my slanguage, a compound country kinda guy". From two of the princes of country music, that is high praise. "When my soul was held for ransom, He's the one who paid the price" is solid theology that somehow doesn't get lost in the fact that it is a lyric in... really good music.

I'm still hashing out my reformed theology but I'm pretty sure that music falls under the category of earthly treasures that are one day going to be perfected and reflect the pure intentions of God. In other words, in the new Jerusalem, all music is going to sound like Bon Iver (or enter whatever musician to you exemplifies musical perfection).

I'm sure of it. Johnny Cash figured out that being a Christian musician meant that he was supposed to make really good music. Write good songs with solid lyrics that make people feel music in their bones. It means that you can sing things like "I'm going to Jackson to teach the women what you don't know how..." and not have 1950's mothers everywhere rush to turn the radio station. I would rather hear Pursy sing Johnny Cash lyrics then dance around to Will Smith's daughters music video. (sorry, I was trying really hard not to name names as examples of bad music but who let this cute little girl put out something that she will spend the rest of her life regretting? Even kids can recognize good music..)

So this morning we are learning that "you don't go writin' hot checks, down in Mississippi" and turning the day around. Thanks Johnny.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good to Know

Pursy: Mama!
Me: What, P?
Pursy: I like acorns but I don't like onions.

Runs off...

Good thing those guys don't hang out together alot.

Pursy giving a press conference in the Pirates media room

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cutest Nightmare Ever

Grant and I were awoken last night by Pursy screaming in the hallway. Usually when she wakes up in the middle of the night we get a 2.5 year old dive bomb into our bed, after she tosses up whatever stuffed animal or blanket she drug with her down the hall. But last night she was just standing outside her room screaming "Mama! Mama!" in that voice that makes parents run.

I grabbed her and said "Pursy, are you okay?". To which she answered, clinging to me like a spider monkey, "The pineapple get me!!"

Those not familiar with P's insane fear of pineapples, let me explain. There is a Sesame Street clip where Joel McHale defines the word "prickly" using a cactus, pineapple and porcupine. At the end of the clip, all the puppets give Joel a hug making him grimace in pain. Our best guess is that this is where her fear of pineapples came from, because she certainly didn't have any problem with them prior to seeing this clip. The other day we were settled into the couch watching Sesame Street, and the pineapple puppet was part of the story. Pursy jumped out of her skin and crawled over the couch to get away from the TV.

Back to last night. I brought her into our bed and started to calm her down. She wrenched herself out of my arms and sat straight up. "PINEAPPLE IN MY ROOM CHEW POOH BLANKET TOM AND KATHLEEN!!!!" (Tom and Kathleen are her sock monkeys) "GET THEM FOR ME!!!".

At this point, even I started to get nervous about the pineapple. He was a carnivore?

Pursy crawled over Grant and said "Daddy, get them for me, please Daddy get them for me, Daddy please can you get Pooh Blanket Tom and Kathleen before the pineapple get them?". Grant looked at me with that face that said "really?" and I nodded. The animals needed to be rescued. So sweet Daddy went into her room and brought back all her friends.

It was a cozy night in our bed, but at least the pineapple stayed away.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

End of Summer Shenanigans

I am pretty sure I have reference Creepy Baby in previous blog posts... this is a baby doll given to Pursy by her Ba and cousin Aly, I think, and has never been high on my list of favorite toys. Creepy Baby is an androgynous fat little cherub doll who came to us dressed in a yellow loin cloth diaper and a stuffed duck. Loin cloth and duck are long since lost and now CB just hangs out, as Pursy says- nudity.
One more reason not to like CB... head goes all the way around.

Pursy for whatever reason, really likes Creepy Baby and up until yesterday had a habit of "nursing" the baby, upping it's creep factor seeing it positioned under her pajama shirt mirroring Knox and I on the other couch. However, yesterday CB was introduced to solid foods and we learned- eats whole potatoes.

Last weekend I did the Run For Your Life 5K with my sister, boyfriend (hers, not mine) and one of my dearest friends, Shelley. Shelley and I have known each other since we were 13 years old... next year we will be celebrating 20 years. (Shit, Shelley- we are old!) But despite our advanced age, we ran from zombies, crawled through mud tunnels, electrocuted ourselves and slid down water slides ending in pools of mud water- and did it in style. I did it in style anyway.. check out the $5 pink running shorts Shelley scored for me.

As Grant pointed out while I was slowly coaxing my aching body out of bed the next morning, I was in no shape to have done this obstacle run. I am just recently getting my post partum body back into place and part of my routine thus far has not included most of the things we did on Saturday. But as I was looking at my backside in the mirror, admiring the fist-sized purple and black bruise on my left cheek, I felt nothing but pride. And pain... but mostly pride.
Pre-race coffee
And pre-race Pursy who got me pumped with silly dancing to Peanut Butter Jelly Time on YouTube

We were invited to take a private tour of PNC park by a very sweet recent Penn State grad who just got a job as a tickets sales rep for the Pirates. We were her prime target... a lifetime Pirates fan who was like a little kid when we were in the dugout and his wife who loves seeing that twinkle in his eye. Of course Pursy ran straight onto the field... those security guards appear just like on television. They did not tackle her, maybe because she wasn't streaking, but we did get THE LOOK. We were so chagrined by our daughter's behavior that we HAD to buy a 20 game package for next season, just to make amends.

Hehe....Andrew McCutchen was here last night...

Grumpy Octopus does NOT like the rain
Pursy played outside during her first daytime rainstorm. It was warm and not a lightning bolt in sight, so she played for a good hour. I have great memories of playing outside in the rain when I was little- something about blatantly doing something you usually run from...

And then there was more fun stuff we did...

Knox Man and Mama

Crawling Around

Cutest Doorman Ever

We have teeth!!!

Bowl/Herb/Glass/Carafe Train
Cheap Babysitter so Dada can watch the Pirates

Bilateral Cup Drinkers
"Of course, you can always accessorize"

Pursy taught Knox how to clap