Friday, October 31, 2014

9 Months In, 9 Months Out

Yep, my baby's nine months old. (And I still haven't lost all the weight from pregnancy, but that's another post. And it's OK. I'm not that concerned.)

My blogging time (when Lana goes to sleep at night) has been dramatically cut short by the dreaded T-word.

She's teething. It's bad.

I'd been afraid of this phase because of horror stories my older sister told me about her daughter's teething, and rightly so. My baby who was such a wonderful sleeper, easygoing, great eater (both nursing and solid foods, basically anything you'd want to feed her), now screams through bedtimes, extending the ritual to three hours or more. She screams when I try to feed her and asserts her independence by grabbing the spoon and flinging pureed pot roast everywhere.

This is when I'm grateful to have dogs. They lick things clean--they get a little treat, I get a clean booster seat. We're all happy.

Except for my baby. We're going to try orajel soon, I think. I gave her baby Tylenol last night to help with the pain, and blissfully she did sleep from about 10 pm to 5:30 this morning. I may not get to blog as much, but at least I'm sleeping.

Oh. And she said "Mama" yesterday. I'MSOEXCITEDICOULDDIE.

And stairs. It's all happening so fast.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What Keeps Me Zen: Washing Dishes

When I was a kid, a really little one, I wanted so badly to be tall enough to reach over the faux butcher-block laminate counter and into the kitchen sink (see? really little) just so that I could do the dishes and, therefore, be a mommy. That was the dream. The very early dream.

Though it would've been lovely to bypass the labor and delivery thing, by number of dishes done alone I'm sure I could be initiated into the mommy club. My dishes are on parade, like in Beauty and the Beast, except they're not getting washed. Just marching, dirty one by nasty one, into the sink, where they pile up and wait for me.
And I wait. I procrastinate, usually, when it comes to dishes, but an article about the zen in doing the dishes has encouraged me to embrace the chore. There IS something zen about the white noise of running water, the scent of the favorite dish soap I picked out as a little treat to myself (sad, but true, that this amounts to a treat in motherhood). Something zen about the fact that the phone absolutely cannot be near me, that I'm accomplishing something, that I'm getting the kitchen back to a clean state, in which I can cook anything.

Even if I don't cook everything.

Even if I'm scrubbing a 13x9 charred with the remains of failed French fries. (I totally sliced up a potato, popped it in the oven and called it a French fry. I even *almost* photographed it before it went in the oven, thinking, "oh yeah, this is going to be delicious." Nope.)

I scrub and stare at the yellowing leaves on the almost-ancient maple outside my kitchen window.

Even if I'm washing all of the clean pots and pans that have been sitting idle in the cupboard, on the chance that they were pooped on by the little mouse who took residence, and ultimately met his end, in the kitchen this week.

I know I'm not the only one who does her best thinking over a sink full of suds—the challenge is getting started. Finding the motivation to begin the task. Ultimately, though, I can't tell you how many blog posts could start with, "So I was washing the dishes, and thinking…"

I wish I could tell really-little me to slow down, that motherhood will come eventually, to enjoy the days of not being able to see over the sink. But I'll settle for telling my daughter.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What I Learned About Kindness (a.k.a. getting knocked down a peg)

I'm working the last two weeks of my time as an editor at the food magazine I've worked for the last two years.

The word is spreading that I'm leaving. Someone from another team, who hasn't been here long, sent me a question about some work that I'm actually not supposed to be helping her with. It's probably the fourth time she's come to me instead of the other editor who is supposed to help her. I've corrected her each time.

So I responded, simply, with the answer she was looking for and a new reminder—that I actually won't be here in a week's time and she'll HAVE to go to the other editor then. End of email.

I nitpicked everything about her messages and wondered why they couldn't have filled her position with someone smarter.

And then, the Universe handed me a beautiful lesson. She responded to my short email saying how happy she was for me and how she'd miss me when I'm gone. And it was genuine. I know she meant it.

And there I was, bitchface cursing her ineptitude when she's a truly nice person who's got a lot of different (and complex) responsibilities.

A couple months ago, I overheard someone at a restaurant refer to their server as a moron. Angry, I'd told my husband, "I'd rather be a moron than a bitch."

Today, I was both.

I'm OK with having re-learned that lesson in kindness. I suppose I needed it. I need to fill my last two weeks here with kindness in order to leave the kind of legacy I should.

Thank you, co-worker, for being kind. Thank you, everyone, for making hundreds of choices each day to be, above all, kind.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On Blogging (and New Friends)

As a clumsy, thoughtful and stubborn child with a home haircut that featured stunning blond bangs, I would run up to other children and get straight to the point: "Hi, I'm Liz. Do you want to be my friend?"

To anyone. Any age. Any gender. Anyone. Sometimes I wish I were more like myself as a child.


Today at my desk (at work), I threw my hands in the air and bounced up and down a couple times on the chair. I'd read that my post "won" the SHINE Blog Hop—it had gotten the most views out of 140 posts on the page.

Maybe this is just a small success, but I'm beginning to understand that even a small success at something you really put yourself into feels better than the huge success of something you're not personally invested in. I mean, really personally invested.

For a long, long (as in years) time, I debated whether to start blogging; I still question everything I post—every photo of my baby that I think someone could exploit or judge or overshare, every personal detail. But my urge to share and be a part of the online mommy-blogging community wins over.

And the reward—the sense of connection, the friends you make as a result of allowing yourself to be vulnerable—is so very worth any risk, real or imagined. I hope you, whether you blog or not, can allow yourself to be just vulnerable and open enough that love and friendship find their way in.


A new visitor (the wonderful DIZMOMMY) to the blog posted a wonderful comment just now, saying I'm her new friend. And I didn't even have to ask. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wave Goodbye to Baby Days

For the first time, my baby is sleeping on her lowered crib mattress.

Did you hear me? Lowered.

As in, she's standing up in her crib now. By herself.

I also moved the entire crib because I discovered that, once lowered, there was an electrical outlet Lana could now reach from the crib. I don't want to take my chances.

I was worried Lana wouldn't sleep as well, with the mattress lowered and the crib moved 90 degrees.

She's fine. Of course she's fine.

I, on the other hand, am sad and nostalgic and I just want her to wake up crying, needing me. My breasts ache. They're ready for her to need me.

This change, though. I can't handle this change. She hardly fits in my arms when I cradle her to breastfeed. And she doesn't spend as much time attached to me.

And every now and then, she waves. It's usually "hi" when I come into the room.

She babbles, she laughs, she coos, she's a king at eye contact. She's starting to use her pincer grasp, picking up pieces of cereal puffs and feeding them to herself for dessert. We're on to 3 solid-food meals a day now. I think that's helping her to sleep. I feel like she's getting what she needs. And, thanks to Target's reasonable prices and creepy targeted (get it) coupons, she gets organic stuff. Sometimes.

She sits up on her own. She practically did a sit-up from laying down on her back in my bed tonight. She's got a lovely personality; her own sense of humor. She still finds it hilarious to put her hands in my mouth. She also thinks it's really funny when I yell at the dogs (which is too often these days).

I love it all. This is why you have kids, really, to have this additional, wonderful family member who completes your unit. Who adds so much dimension and meaning to your shallow life. I love the developments but I'm sad that she's barely my baby anymore. She's my daughter now. And she waves.

I don't know if I'll ever be OK with the waves goodbye.