Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday Catch-Up

Here's a glimpse inside the spaghetti-bowl-jumble that passes for my brain...


I think that I might be even more pheromone-driven than most people. I truly love to just sit quietly with my husband and/or my daughter and breathe them in. In fact, when I'm mad or freaked out, if I can just put my head on Don's shoulder and breathe in his scent - right at his neck - it calms me down instantly. If I'm sitting or lying next to Lily Ruth, I am almost physically compelled to draw her in closer and bury my nose in her hair.

I completely understand if I've just lost you.


A friend asked me what Lily Ruth's verbal skills were like right around her first birthday, so I pulled up my blog to find out. Am I the only one who reads their own blog? Anyway - in reading my older posts, I began to feel as though I've lost my voice. The woman who wrote here a year ago was much funnier. My posts feel like lead weights to me these days. They used to feel like balloons.

At any rate, if you see my voice around, let it know that I'm looking for it.


In a concerted effort to actively celebrate more things in our life, I created a table for my Mama's birthday. It felt really good to not just say 'I love you' and cook her a meal, but to put effort into our surroundings for the meal.

In case you can't tell, my Mama likes bright colors :-P Lily Ruth and I had a ball picking out decorations at a local store that specializes in Mexican imports including folk art, traditional decorations pottery and party supplies. Big fun! 

I must have said it several times in an effort to keep her focused during our shopping trip, because after we left, Lily Ruth kept telling me 'I just need a couple more things.'


Lily Ruth had her first truly awful nightmare. She woke up screaming around 4 am on Tuesday. She said that there was a man. We brought her in with us. She calmed down quickly, and went back to sleep.

She has repeated the tale of the man under her pillow who is going to get her to every adult that she has had contact with since then. She's really worried about it. We've talked it through more times than I can count. Daddy & I have both told her that there is no man. That it was a dream - a picture in her head - and not real. We've told her that she is safe. Mama and Daddy and Keely and Bing all keep her safe. No one is going to get her. We've shown her that there is no man under her pillow, under her bed (it's on the floor) or anywhere near her bed, but she remains unconvinced.

Yesterday, she napped next to her bed because she didn't want to sleep on her pillow :-(

Last night was miserable. She threw an epic screaming fit when Don tried to put her to bed. A few hours later (!!!!!), I was able to talk her into returning to her room and getting into bed, but it was almost midnight before she fell asleep.

Today, she still wanted to talk about it almost constantly, and I am out of ways to comfort her. I feel like a broken record, but I just keep telling her that she's safe and loved.

I soooooooooooooo wish that I knew how to fix this!


Continuing the celebratory theme, it's Don's birthday, and I bought him a present. While this might not sound like a big deal to you, it is to us. We had fallen out of the habit of celebrating. Other than (wonderful) family dinners, we had allowed birthdays to go unremarked. No gifts to each other. No decorations. No parties. 

Explaining how this came about is a long and painful story. I may write it out, but not here. As part of our healing process, we are returning to real, joyful celebration as the norm, not the exception. Toward that end, I purchased a nice gift for the man that I love, and I'm throwing him a party. It feels wildly extravagant, and I'm going to be working my butt off between now and the party in order to make it all happen, but you only turn 40 once. It really does need to be celebrated.


What's going on in YOUR brain these days?

Sunday, August 28, 2011


As you probably already know, Lily Ruth is NOT a good sleeper. Our battles over bedtime are already epic, and she's barely two.

She has had another verbal breakthrough. After spending two short days in the 'big kid room' at Parent's Day Out, my Darling One now insists on full sentences, and is working very hard on the 'F' sound... which is much more innocuous than it sounds.. really...

But these leaps in cognition come with a price. Her tiny system goes into overload, and instead of crashing, she fights sleep with every cell of her exhausted, past-it's-limit body. This week has seen more than it's fair share of screaming during sleep time. We finally had to put a king-size pillow across the bottom of her door to block the (almost 2 full inches) gap. She would lay (lie? Which one is right?) on the floor and gaze under the door for HOURS after we put her to bed crying piteously and reaching her fingers through every time we had to pass.

The pillow stopped most of that until this weekend. Now, she reaches through and moves the pillow so that she can see again :-/ It was awful. Cries of 'Daddy!? Daaaaaad! Daddy, I need help. Help me open the door, Daddy!' and 'Mama!? I need my Mama!' rang down the hall. What's worse? She's obsessed with learning everyone's first names, so now she's using them. 'Rachel? Rachel! I need help, Rachel! I can't sleep... please open the door, Rachel!' Somehow, that's worse. I had managed to harden my heart to 'Mama, Mommy and Maaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhmmmm!', but hearing the name that my mother lovingly gifted to me being pleadingly called from under a door is just plain pitiful.

The only upside occurred today during (what should have been) nap time. She moved the pillow and spent a good 5 minutes calling for the cat. Seriously. 'Biiiing... Bingy... Bing, come HERE... Bing, I need you... Come in here wif Yih-yee-oof...' Ummmm, he's a cat. He has never in his (or her) life come when called unless roasted chicken was involved. He sat on my bookcase and stared out the window. Her cries didn't even cause him to twitch an ear. We found this hilarious. Daddy Don and I hatched giggly, whispered plans to throw him in there in hope that she'd be appeased and fall asleep. No dice. Bing refused to be tossed, and Lily Ruth refused to nap.

Ah well. This too shall pass. Someday she'll sleep. Someday I'll sleep. Maybe someday, Bing will come when called.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Evening Song

Every household has a rhythm. Our evening rhythm is filled with the noises of people dinner and pet dinner followed by dishes and negotiations that usually slip into gleeful cries of 'Yih-yhee-oof get NUDIE swim POOL!!!' mixed with excited barking. Then comes splashing interspersed with more barking and joyous 'I SWIM MAMA! Daddy, you jump IN!'

Once we're all rinsed off and dried off, we snuggle in for a few bartered minutes of t.v. (usually won in the previously mentioned negotiations) accompanied by whispered requests of 'Yih-yhee-oof play your wet hair?'

Then it's my quiet time. A few stolen moments indulging my love of the interwebs while I listen to the muffled sounds of my daughter and my husband giggle their way through their books and their tuck-in ritual... until he walks out and we're serenaded with 'Daddy COME BACK! OPEN THE DOOR, Daddy!'... 'Mama? I can't find my Mama!'... 'Come help me!'


It's all a part of our song. It's a pretty great song, but I could easily do without the screaming...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Do You Have In There?

I mentioned the paintbrushes that Lily Ruth was carrying in her purse. This is part of a much larger trend. She has taken to carrying the oddest assortment of things around.

Almost every morning, she starts off by choosing a central item for the day. It can be anything - hand sanitizer, Toy Story figurines, a bathing suit. Then she adds auxiliary items until her hands are full. At that point, I usually suggest a bag to carry it all in. We then try to match the items to an appropriately sized bag (you may recall that I've made 3 for her). Wait, I think I may stage some of her recent combos in tableau style so that you can get the full effect - wait here... I'll be right back...

O.k., so this was Tuesday's bag:

a picture of Daddy from Summer 2000, a picture of the Boy Cats wrestling, post-it flags, a random spring and four Toy Story 3 figurines all placed carefully in her tiny purple felt bag. It was a big hit at Story Time. Some kid tried to chew Woody's cowboy hat off, and Lola covered her legs in post-it flags.

Previously, she chose:

A swimsuit, a swim diaper, a metal car, her sunglasses, my LUSH massage bar, a stack of 'D' post-its, 2 bandages and a package of paintbrushes. These were corralled in a paper Juicy Couture bag. Actually, the bag was the central item that day.

She has a collection of pink carrier bags (Victoria's Secret, etc.). I think the bags themselves may have inspired her recent love of carrying things...

Here's another good one:

Lucy, hand sanitizer, her wallet, a bracelet, a penguin, a bead necklace and several Toy Story 3 cutouts all manhandled into her largest tote. That bag is too big for her. I was trying to make a bag that she could carry Lucy and her crew in. I succeeded, but the strap is too wide for her shoulder, so it slides off. Since she refuses to wear it across her chest, she spends a lot of time with her carrying arm straight up in the air in an attempt to keep it on her shoulder.

And finally:

Lucy, body glitter, mascara, dental floss, a rhinestone dragonfly hair clip and a wind-up dinosaur on a string in her original felt bag. This collection went to the museum with us. It also included her water bottle from the Aquarium  - between the two straps, she got pretty frustrated, but refused all offers of help until it was time to play in the water :-P I have no idea where she gets this stubborn streak...

It really cracks me up to watch her put these together. Her little hands are always so full and she's always so adamant that I may NOT help her. Her tiny brow furrows in concentration as she shifts items. Juggling them from hand to hand, tucking them under her chin and pressing them under her arms. I have to carefully suggest that it might possibly be easier to hold on to it all if there was a bag involved. Some days she turns me down and chooses to use her swimsuits as totes. Those days are hilarious. She throws the straps over her arms and crams things down into the body of the suit. Stuff falls out the leg holes every 10 seconds or so and she scrambles around trying to stuff it back in. Monday, she had a pair of leg warmers in the crotch of the suit, and it held a few of the things in, but my deodorant stick just wouldn't stay put. She was sooooooo ticked!

I wish I could see her thought process! I would love to know how these things all fit together in her head. For now, I'll settle for being an observer and occasional baggage handler.

It was even funnier to snap them for posterity because all I had to do was go find each bag - the stuff was still in there (except Lucy. She was in bed)!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Easing Back Into Life

I'm still here. I'm still healing. Things are slowly returning to normal.

I'm trying to pay more attention. I feel like I have gotten a bit disconnected from my own daily life. I worry that I'm actually a bit depressed (again), and hadn't noticed. It's been hard for me to get anything done. Not just the stuff that I don't want to do (like chores), but also the stuff that I say I'll do and then just flat-out forget and stuff that I want to do, but somehow never make time for.

It's also really, really hot here. We're talking so hot that it's hard to leave the house. I allowed our routine to become a bit Morning Outing Then Lunch Then Nap Then......... nothing. O.k., maybe 'nothing' is a bit harsh - sometimes we make it to the grocery store...

But I'm trying again. I'm paying attention again. I'm getting things done again. I even started a blog post about recipes that I've made recently, but I got bored with it. I'll finish it later. Let's play My Life in Snippets of Talk and Photos instead.

I made my first baby blanket! This was the stuff that I had picked out for the baby I lost. It will instead be for my friend who is having her first baby (a boy!) this November. I love the colors. It has inspired me to make one for Lily Ruth as well. It will have the same backing and edging, but a different (girly-er) flannel:

Lily Ruth and I have been trying to get out of the house every day, but some days are harder than others. Some days, it's 107 degrees in the shade, and you have to eat your Dora the Explorer popsicle FAST before she becomes a puddle:

OR, you repeatedly tell your Mama that you want to stay home all day, but she drags you out of the house anyway, so you're forced to have an epic tantrum in your carseat then pass out so that Mama is stuck sitting in the car for an hour and a half while you nap:

But then, there are good days. Days when Mama drives all over trying to find ice cream at 10:30 am:

And days when you have lunch at the Taco Garage so you can 'eat chips and cheese with my FACE!':

We're also doing more art projects again. We were in kind of a creative slump. No energy. No inspiration. Then Lily Ruth started carrying a package of paintbrushes in her 'purse', so I decided that it was time to get some paints out. Friends gave Lily Ruth a finger paint set for her birthday. They're gel paints, and I have no experience with those. I was a bit hesitant about them, and I'm still not crazy about them, but they're fun and fairly easy to clean up.

In typical Lily Ruth fashion, she started off on the paper, but soon began painting her body 'on the sly' - checking out of the corner of her eye for any possible negative reactions:

Then she gingerly applied some to her nose while pretending to sniff her hands:

Then I grabbed a brush and we giggled while we painted almost all of her tiny body:

(Note the use of Mama's bead necklace as a headband) She loves it when I paint on her :-) These gel paints are gorgeous in the pots, but tend to be a bit washed out once applied to paper or skin unless they are applied in thick globs. Lily Ruth likes for me to glob on the paint in a pattern. She then rubs it around with her hands until it's smooth. Then she demands 'Moe, mama, MOE' (more) or 'draw heart, Mama!'

So, there you have it. Nothing earth-shattering. Just everyday good stuff. I'm re-learning how to be more like myself. Lily Ruth is learning how to be her own self.

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a Conspiracy!

Ya'll, I have sooooo much to say! From wanting to go back to work to cooking some great food to Lily Ruth's first 'big' injury (don't worry, she's fine - I'm the one who's losing it!), but it feels like the interwebs and the rest of technology have conspired against me. Stupid technology.

First off, my laptop bit the big one. Apparently, it's hard drive failure. Lame. I had no idea how dependent I was on that dumb thing until it was gone. Not only does it have every photograph of Lily Ruth from the moment of her birth on, but it was portable and light and awesome. It also had bluetooth capability, so I could send pics directly from my phone to my laptop and add them to my blog in seconds. Now I have to e-mail them to myself, boot up the desktop, open my e-mail, download the picture then open my blog and add it. It's like the stone age over here! Who has that kind of time?

Also, we moved the desk and the desktop to another room. We didn't know that you can't just plug your router into any old cable outlet - it has to be a special one. So I moved the damn computer back into the guest room, but the desk remains in it's new home. So for three weeks, I've been using the computer ON THE FLOOR. Not conducive to writing. Not to mention that every time I sat on said floor, my legs went numb. Super lame. I finally called the cable company today. They're sending a technician out to hook me up on Wednesday! I have no idea why I waited so long to call.

As far as recipes go, I've got some good ones. I promise to get busy compiling them.

Since I don't want you to worry about Lily Ruth's catastrophe, I'll go ahead and tell you the whole shameful story. The thing is, I feel A-W-F-U-L. I made a selfish decision, and she got hurt.

We went to a friend's house last night. They have a 5-year-old daughter and a two story house. Lily Ruth and Ava had been up and down those stairs a minimum of 4 times without incident, so I let my guard down, and let them go off alone to play alone. I was tired of being Super Vigilant Mom. I wanted to play with the big kids... until Ava ran in screaming 'LILY'S HURT! LILY'S HURT!'

I raced to the stairs and found her lying on the staircase halfway down, face up, head pointed toward the foot of the stairs, clinging to the railing with one hand. Needless to say, she was screaming bloody murder. She had a huge raised bruise forming on her left cheekbone. I scooped her up and took her downstairs - I know, I know; I should have checked her neck first, but I was freaking out! We checked her over, and couldn't find any other contusions. I wanted to take her to the emergency room in case her cheek was broken. Don kept saying that she was fine, but agreed to take her if I truly wanted to go.

It was then that I almost passed out, started throwing up, and lost the vision in my right eye for about 5 minutes. What the hell?! I had to hand Lily Ruth off while she was still freaking out and begging for me. It was awful. The only good thing about my reaction was that by the time I could hold her again, I could tell that she really was fine. She kept saying 'Mommy, I happy!' because she thought that I was mad at her for crying :-/ I asked her what happened. She just stared at me and twirled my hair. I asked her if she was walking down the stairs and fell. She said 'Yeah - it didn't work!' That's all she'll say about it.

It was worse for Ava. Her mom had told her (unbeknownst to us) that she was babysitting Lily Ruth. She kept saying 'I hurt my first baby that I babysitted!' It took her forever to calm down despite all of our insistence that it was in no way her fault, that Lily Ruth was fine, and that nobody was mad at her. She finally agreed to sit on the couch next to Lily and I, but she couldn't look at her. Ava was playing with an i-pad, and Lily Ruth was watching tv. Without even looking at her, Lily reached over and started rubbing Ava's arm in an  absent-minded fashion. She grinned at me and said 'my friend is right here.' All of the tension left Ava's tiny body with a huge sigh, and she snuggled into Lily to show her how to work the i-pad.

Every time that I see her little bruised face, I want to cry. My stomach has been in knots since last night. What is a mother to do? I refuse to be a Helicopter Parent. I want to give her space. I want her to feel confident and independent. What if something worse had happened?!