Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Growing, Growing...

Today was Lily Ruth's 15 month Well Baby visit. She is (as expected) healthy and strong and right on schedule.

Today was also a a vaccination day :-( It resulted in a temper tantrum of epic proportions during an afternoon walk:

Yes, that's the BACK of her stroller. I have my hand on her left side. I wanted to back up for a better picture, but my overwhelming need to protect her won out. It took another 3-4 minutes to get her back into the safety straps. Now she's fighting a nap from her crib. The chant of 'Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama' echos down the hall.

At least I know her lungs are healthy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... or not...

Ya'll remember how the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie started? No? Well near the beginning, Elizabeth passes out due to the combination of heat and wearing her first corset. She falls dooooooooooooooooown into the water and sinks to the bottom. As she hits the bottom, the piece of pirate's gold that she has secretly been wearing around her neck gives off a sonic 'thud' that calls the pirates to come and reclaim it.

That's how I feel almost every night. I feel like the first truly relaxed breath that I take sends out a call that wakes up Lily Ruth. Seriously.

Last night was a masterpiece of insomnia. Lily Ruth went to bed at her normal time despite missing her Daddy. She stayed asleep while I watched a little t.v., checked out the internet, and then talked on the phone. I had just settled into bed with a book that I was almost finished reading when she woke up. I brought her into bed with me to nurse. I was so close to finishing the book that I left my bedside light on and read. I very quickly finished the book and turned off the light.

Lily Ruth sat STRAIGHT up and said 'Mama?' That was it for sleeping. We nursed, we rocked. I cajoled, pleaded, demanded and feigned sleep - all to no avail. She flopped around, whined, climbed, laughed, patted my face, kissed me repeatedly and asked to get up ('Bup?'). At one point, I even turned the t.v. on for her. She watched Oobi and I dozed. Every time that she noticed me sleeping, she would shout 'MAMA!!!!' I would jump. She would smile. That was my least favorite part.

She didn't fall back asleep until after 2:30. I'm not sure how long after 2:30. I refused to lift my head to check the time after then. I think it's catching up with her though...

This is the kind of night that make me question my decision (at 36!!!!) to become a mother. Of course, now it's too late. I'm a mother. She's my baby. This is my life...

Of course, if we delve a little deeper, it becomes evident that my life does NOT suck. Despite the 15+ months of sleep deprivation, I'm actually pretty lucky. I have an amazing, intelligent daughter who pushes me to be a better person every day. I am surrounded by people who love me. Despite my current state of overload, I am entirely certain that I will survive this. I may even come out ahead...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

So Long, Summer!

I am a warm weather lover. If I were not, then living here would be my idea of hell, because it is HOT here most of the year. We don't even have real winter. Just a weird, cold period of time that occasionally requires an additional layer or a highway closure due to ice.

That being said, it has been so hot this year, that I have been miserable. I think that the biggest difference for me has been having a toddler. I have wanted so badly to get her out and about so I can teach her to fling herself into nature. This simply has not happened. Between the heat, the rain and the resulting mosquitos, we've been stuck inside for the majority of the summer. I have been scrambling for things to do that do not involve sitting zombie-like in front of the television watching The Wiggles or Elmo. Sadly, some days have been comprised mainly of just that.

One of the things that I have missed the most are our daily walks. Before the heat set in, I would wake up, nurse the baby, throw on comfy clothes and sneakers, and head out the door. Not only did our little routine get us out into the fresh air, it also gave our doggie much needed exercise, and kept me from packing on even more post-baby weight. All three of us have missed it.

That's why I was so excited to wake up this morning to a (comparatively) mild day! We nursed, dressed, grabbed the dog and bolted for the door. It was great. My legs are tired, and I smell pretty bad, but those are pretty good things right now.

While we were out, someone mentioned that it was the last day of summer. I stopped, felt the breeze on my face and a few raindrops in my hair and thought 'summer is going out like a sucker. Good.'


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Plodding Along

Sometimes, life is just happening. While there are moments of joy in every day, there's just so much other junk in the way. It's been harder to showcase the joyful parts and easier to allow all of it to gather dust instead.

That may be the easy way to go, but it's also the sad way. Time to celebrate some tiny moments :-)

In all of the mental madness surrounding Labor Day weekend, I forgot to tell you how great it was! We had 4 generations all together - a feat in and of itself. We did exactly what we set out to do. We all ate, drank, visited, played games, read, and splintered off when needed for quiet time. Lily Ruth had all four of her grandparents and 2 of her great grandparents. She dazzled every last one of them. I took ZERO pictures, but I think that some were taken by others...

Lily Ruth added a new dance move to her repertoire over the long weekend as well! In addition to the bounce, the head shake, the twirl and the wiggle, she now has the 'Don't Fence Me In'. We were sitting outside listening to music, and Bing Crosby came on singing about land lots of land under starry skies above. Lily begins her normal dance routine. The chorus comes along, and the Andrews Sisters chime in, and Lily Ruth begins to sway from foot to foot and wave her right arm in an emphatic 'don't do it' motion - all done TO THE BEAT! It was hilarious. Now every time she hears that song (and you had better believe that we play it ALL of the time now!), she does the same thing. I love it! I've tried to catch it on video, but she is camera-shy these days. Every time that I bring out the camera, she turns away from me and stops what she was doing :-(


It has happened. We have entered the phase known as 'I Can DO IT By Myself'. This is expected to end roughly around... never. While this is occasionally embarrassingly inconvenient in public and sometimes hilarious in private, it is amazing to witness. She is a ball of determination. Wait, scratch that - she is a ball of plastique just waiting for a detonator. Not being an explosives expert, I have no idea what is going to set her off until it is too late. Last week, we had to leave the grocery store empty-handed because Lily Ruth is not tall enough to reach the grocery cart handles while standing on the floor. True story.

Here she is in a 'ready to blow' moment. This was captured because she dug the camera out of my purse and demanded to have it turned on and used. Notice the stubborn set to her jaw and irritated cast of her eyes:

good times :-P


We just keep offering new foods, and Lily Ruth keeps surprising me with her enthusiasm! Recently, she has VERY much enjoyed salmon, shrimp, dove and hot Italian sausage. We still have days where all solid food is eschewed, but when she does deign to eat, the quantities that she consumes are astounding!

Speaking of eating, her grandparents feed her pasta out of their hands :-)

- the wine is not hers :-P


We've been swimming at Miss Diana's again. We just can't stay out of the water! Lily Ruth has progressed even more. She can swim 4-5 feet all on her own. She can 'swim to the wall' then hold on to the side until directed to come back to me. She's learning to float on her back - a tough one since 14 month olds HATE floating on their backs :-)

We were waiting for the baby class to start the other day, and the light was gorgeous in the pool house. We spent some quality nude time with a piece of red string that was scavenged off of the floor:


My sweet baby is learning to rough-house. She and Daddy danced themselves silly to ABBA, then 'wrassled' on the floor. We were all in stitches:


They're there. The little moments. You just have to pay attention.

Things are slowly returning to normal. I'll feel more like posting again soon - I just know it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Silly Lily Ruth

When it rains, it POURS. Am I right, people? I speak not only of the many minor (and major) irritations in my life right now, but also of the tropical storm that whipped through town leaving a very wet city and a record for rainfall in it's wake.

Shall we speak instead of the Amazing Lily Ruth? Yes, please! My darling daughter has upped the ante in several arenas recently. Her verbal skills are racing forward. In addition to mama, da-ad, doggie, ca-T, kitty, go, tikka (for tickle), bup (for up), this, and that, she now also says ICE, cheese, yeah, car, hi, bye, nanny, bub (for grandpa Doug), kiss, juice, pup (for puppy), Kiki & Keely (for the dog) and ball. She is also putting words or sounds together as jokes. She'll say something like 'doggie-daddy' then just crack up. She also wanders around muttering 'bop-PEE, bop-PEE, bop-PEE' - I can't tell if she's just playing, or if she's talking about the Boppy pillow that I use for nursing.

She also waves hello and goodbye, and will blow kisses as we depart. If she's done being wherever we are, she says 'go, go, go' and heads for the door - stopping only to either hand me my sunglasses or try to pick up her diaper bag.

She learned how to walk tiny McGuffin on his leash over the weekend! That poor dog was WORN OUT by the time we pried his leash from her clutches. The only downside to her new skill set is that now she wants to walk her own dog, too. We dealt with one of the biggest tantrums I've seen so far when Lily Ruth attempted to 'walk' her dog, and Keely just sat there. We had just returned from a walk around the block, and a storm was approaching, so Keely was DONE walking. When you only weigh 20 Lbs, and your dog weighs 80 Lbs, it's hard to establish dominance. Dogs also do not respond particularly well to shrieking and hitting. Luckily, Keely's only response was to ignore the baby until we were able to pry her off of the dog and put her in her crib to work through it.

Today saw the invention of 'Walk the Cat' as a game. Bing came home from the vet (you don't want to know), and Lily Ruth proceeded to follow him around the house whilst loosely holding his tail. This was fine while they were walking calmly. Trouble brewed when she tired of his pace and began to try to drag him by his tail. My Bing is 14 years old. The poor guy deserves some dignity and the right to choose his own walking speed. Intervention was required. At least there wasn't a meltdown this time!

Oh, there has been lots of pointing. I had not realized that pointing was actually a milestone that parents watch for. Here I was wishing that she'd forget how to do it since it has been coupled with adamant grunting or pitiful whining instead of her regular communication attempts like words or signs. When she starts pointing and grunting or whining, we start playing twenty questions. I am soooooo tired of the pointing. Time for some new signs!

What with all of the madness recently, that's all I have the energy for today... big surprise... hopefully tomorrow I will tell you allllllll about the yummy-ness that's been going on recently. You realize that this is contingent on me getting the kitchen clean and some laundry done, right?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Still Standing

So, I made it. I didn't just survive, I made it out strong. I said what I had to say without freaking out (mostly). I gave him time to think before demanding answers. We finished out our holiday weekend with the family and even had a good time.

We did more talking today. We both had things to say, and all of it was valid. I think we're going to make it out of this o.k. I want us to be o.k., and he does too. We're still a family because we want to be. Sometimes that takes work. Sometimes (hopefully very rarely) that work is more than you ever thought you'd be willing to do. If you both do it anyway, because you both want to, maybe it's a sign that love lives there.

I should have a new, fun Lily Ruth + recipe post soon. Well, soon is very relative. In this case, soon is whenever I get caught up enough on my sleep to process and then type out some fun stuff. Don't hold your breath tomorrow. This may take a while.

For now, rest easy in the assurance that Lily Ruth has added new words, dance moves and motor skills to her repertoire whilst we were away ;-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

oh, that.

I'm having trouble with the past tonight. It's almost as though the troubles of today (and there are multitudes) aren't enough and I had to go a'borrowin'.

As a family, we've left our day-to-day behind, and are trying to relax. I have found a way to not only NOT relax, but to key myself up so badly that I cannot possibly sleep in the foreseeable future.

There is a point in relationships where you have to say 'that happened in the past. It is no longer germane to what we are living now'. Yet at the same time, when you uncover something that continues what was a pattern, it still hurts.

The sucky thing is this - I've had one of my 'feelings', and it was yet again correct. It's just that this time it was in the past. So now what do I do? Do I fess up that I know or do I just offer it up and let it go?

It has been so recent that I've even let myself be close to opening up and letting go of the hurt. I hate that there was more to what happened. It makes me want to ball up and retreat.

Here's what I looked like when this was real:

Can you see why I feel a bit fragile about what was happening then? I had a lot to protect, and a lot to lose. Right now, I feel like part of me lost.

I feel certain that in the light of day, I will choose to offer this burden up to someone who is so much stronger than me. Right now my shoulders hurt, my jaw hurts, and my eyes are hot and full of self-pitying tears.

I can do this, and I WILL. I am stronger than the past. I am the woman who stands (weeps?) here now. Hear me roar. Hear me keen. Hear me speak my truth to the light and learn to let it go. Please. Let it go.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yours, Mine & Ours

I'm having trouble sleeping tonight. My brain is just to busy... as are most of my housemates. We have a packed house. My in-laws in the guest room. Bing (inexplicably) inside the buffet. Lily Ruth in our bed earlier then usual. Frank in the house instead of outside. Keely inches and seconds away from leaping into our bed if the thunder continues.

Keely is in the midst of some allergy-driven misery, so she scratches and chews on herself pretty much non-stop. Bing has gotten himself so bound up that Daddy Don asked if we should put him down - and he wasn't kidding. Frank is being forced to stay inside tonight due to the weather, and he has not stopped letting me know how ticked off he is about it.

Then there is Lily Ruth. She normally sleeps in her own bed until at least midnight, but tonight she seemed to sense the unrest in the house, and came in before 11. I was still reading, so she nursed with an arm thrown over her eyes. Then she sat up to play with Frank. Then she tossed and turned and bleated for more nursing. I grew steadily more resentful with each passing minute. This is my quiet time, and I just wanted to read. I finally gave up and turned out the light with a maximum amount of huffiness. The tossing and turning recommenced.

Lily Ruth could not find a comfortable spot. She finally tried flinging herself across my body, and landed with her cheek across my mouth. I told myself 'she cannot possibly stay this way. She'll move soon'. I was wrong. She was perfectly comfortable. She doesn't seem to see a distinction between her body and mine. If I have something she needs, she takes it. Strength, height, padding, courage, food. If she finds herself lacking in an area, she reaches for me. She knows that I have what she needs, and I will give it to her. I've worried lately that I haven't been firm enough in setting certain boundaries with her. Tonight I realized that there are a few boundaries that I don't mind her crossing. For now, we can continue to share my body as we have done since she was conceived. All too soon she will push me away (as she should) and demand to stand on her own.

Eventually, I gently moved her off me, and Frank rushed up to give her a head-but. Jerk. She pushed him out of the way and flipped to her other side. Her next position of choice had her tiny buns snuggled up against my ribcage just under my boobs with her knees bent and her feet against my tummy. I thought that this was going to be a long-term pose because she could reach an arm out and easily touch her Daddy from there, but no, the unrest continued.

She launched herself off of me, dove over to daddy, shoved an arm under his torso, and threw a leg over his ribs. She looked like a starfish clinging to a rock. She shares Daddy's body too, but in a different way. He doesn't mind either.