My apologies for my absence. I am dealing with some private family issues, juggling a busy work schedule, and entertaining a blossoming baby, so finding time to write has hit the back burner. Life is always filled with these funny challenges sprinkled with lessons to be learned only in a future date. I love the challenge of being busy at work, especially with the projects I have been diving into. My creative mind is very much stimulated there. No one loves a family drama but they are inevitable and where some of life's greatest lessons can arise. It will pass they always do, thankfully.
Everyday I am thankful that I have such a beautiful nuclear family. Robert and I are in love with this wiggly scooting babbling clapping chewing monster of giggles and fun. We have created a little fish who LOVES swim class, music, and always laughs when she sees her daddy laugh. As I was hand washing dishes today (our dishwasher has quit) I meditated with soapy hands about how different my life is now that I am a mother. How different my passions, my fears, my strengths, my weaknesses are now. I have described motherhood as the most mentally challenging experience I have had, but what came to me through the bubbles today was how as a mother my mind has grown significantly stronger, yet my heart has gotten so much weaker. I have always worn my heart relatively on my sleeve. I have always felt compassion for others. I have always wept during a really good episode of Parenthood, but it is different now. I feel great pain when I hear of injustices done to children, an aching heart wrenching pain that makes me near sick. I question my ability and authority to be eating things such as veal and lamb (I am making a lamb stew for St. Patty's day and it is kind of haunting me). I sob during Parenthood now, I also sob through songs, the news, simple conversations, and books, both happy and sad tears. I am more sensitive about little things and find it is harder to shrug off certain shared words. I am more afraid than I ever was before. Constantly locking the door, my heart flutters when I pass a stranger in a remote location, and I often wake from nightmares. I find myself avoiding activities like hiking alone, that I used to do all the time. My mother says it is because now I have something to lose, and she is right I do.
I wonder if this is some sort of natural instinct? Do Mothers need a strong mind and a weak heart to be there for their children? Is my heart really weaker or am I just more in tuned with my emotions than before? Better yet am I just sleep deprived and all of this is a delusion? Have any of you had this same experience? Please share them with me.
As I proof read this I realized how unfair I am about assuming that the heart has become "weaker", as if sensitivity is a sure sign of weakness. My heart has grown softer, but my levels of compassion have grown stronger, my emotions are stronger, my ability to love is stronger. Therefore I should say that as a result of becoming a mother my heart has grown stronger, not weaker. Thank you beautiful daughter for sharing these gifts with me.
February 8, 2014
It. Has. Been. Too. Long. Did you think that I fell off the side of the earth, or that motherhood opened its wide mouth and swallowed me whole? It didn't but life happened and it happened a little hard on me the last few months. So hard that I was beginning to think I was falling apart, losing my marbles, and even losing myself. What was it exactly? I am not sure. It started at Thanksgiving, which we hosted (I do NOT recommend this for first time mothers) and rolled into two pipes bursting in our ceiling flooding 1/3 of our house. This turned into floors being ripped up, a bathroom torn to studs and my office thrown into boxes which cluttered our living room and swallowed our Christmas tree. We were drowning in our things, surrounded by 11 industrial fans and two huge dehumidifiers 24/7 for TWO weeks - this might have been my breaking point. It was during this time that I realized how much my happiness is dependent my home. After this was the holidays and I gravely disappointed myself by not writing down my new year’s goals (never resolutions always goals) which I am normally religious about and I didn't even attempt the whole house clean for New Years Eve tradition that I have. Sadly I can't even remember New Years Eve, but I assure you there was no ball dropping and it is not because I had too much champagne. :)
If I could have written posts from the rocking chair while nursing or at the wheel during one of our amazing country drives you would have had a post every day, sometimes twice a day. Posts about the role of mothers, the challenges of women, how your own childhood becomes palpable, and many more insightful things. I do my best thinking in the rocking chair and the car. I was deeply struggling with something within myself, was it my hormones trying to get into balance, (is that an oxymoron?) was I pregnant again (no!), did I have postpartum depression (no!)? Was I HANGRY? Hangry for those who aren't familiar is when you are so hungry you get angry, nursing mothers know this all too well. I wouldn't be surprised if this is where the word came from. I eat more now than I ever did when I was pregnant and that is no joke. Hanger could have been the cause of my winter blues, it very much could have been. I think there was one point when I told Robert that I hadn’t felt full since I had Marilyn. He mentioned that that sounded a little like an eating disorder ;) Hangar may have been it but it was more likely to be the house in disarray that fogged up my brain.
So enough about me and let’s talk about something way more interesting.....Marilyn is now just about 8 months! WOW!! She is blossoming every day. The growth and changes that babies make in their first year is incredible. She got her two front teeth for Christmas, no joke, and we have been on a solid food adventure. I wanted desperately to wait until 6 months for her first solid food, but she wouldn't wait. She was grabbing at everything that was going in or near my mouth. I gave her a spoon most days so she could imitate, but that wasn't enough. Our wonderful sleeper went from all night snooze fest to up all the time, even her naps suffered. I couldn't figure it out until I started to read my new book about baby food and it listed some signs that your baby was ready for solids, #2 “Your baby usually sleeps through the night but now wakes frequently to nurse.” Bingo, she was ready. I quickly absorbed as much as I possibly could from that book and started solids 2 days later. We got her first meal on video, she slept great that night!
She had a major struggle with nighttime sleep when the teeth came in (up every two hours) and if her naps get disturbed her night sleep is messed up, but other than that she regularly sleeps through the night. Like an angel! Now if mommy could somehow get the grizzly bear next to her to stop snoring all night she might actually sleep through the night too. One of these days I will, I just know it.
Marilyn has tried many foods, you’ll find a list below. Her favorites include artichoke, squash, lentils, and beets. She strongly dislikes kiwi, apple, and oranges, pretty much most of the fruit she has tried. She gags and she actually spat apple out into my face. Note taken my dear, I’ll lay off the apple. I have found that she will eat most anything if she can feed it to herself. Oranges for instance if I give them she gags, but if I cut them into segments she will gladly take them. Well almost..if its a cara cara, valencia, or blood orange we are in the clear, navels however she still gags on ~ that level of taste sophistication I am taking credit for :)
Kale (dino and lacinato)
Kale (dino and lacinato)
Beets (golden and bulls blood)
Lentils (French and Black)
Rice (Brown and Red)
Sweet Potato (Japanese)
Orange (Cara Cara, Navel, Blood, valencia)
Apple (Gravenstein, fuji, pink lady)
Parsley (we are starting herbs this week!!)
Parsley (we are starting herbs this week!!)
(these are not in order, I have a list in the kitchen that I would be happy to photograph and send if you want to know her exact food progression)
We (okay maybe I) really wanted to make sure that she developed a taste for veggies so we waited until 7 months to introduce any fruit. She is not crazy about any fruit yet but that may change. We joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) and are trying to feed her only seasonal local produce, so spoiled, that is organic. As the seasons change so will her diet! Supposedly the more they try now the more they will like later. We have got many more items in the works and I have been having so much fun with this, so we’ll have to see if the theory pans out. Now that she is eating solid foods it makes me eat real meals too, this could be why I am less hangry :) . During every meal we or I sit with her and eat with her, I eat something a little different usually but eating none the less. Robert and I both want to insure that our daughter can sit at the table at an early age with adults and behave through the WHOLE meal. This action begins at home, even at 7 months, so we practice three times a day.
Marilyn isn’t crawling just yet but she is scooting backwards, twirling around, rolling quickly, using her feet to push off of things and beginning to pull herself up on things. She will finally sit without assistance; did I mention she was a lounger? We think she developed her sitting because she likes to splash in the tub, which is one of her favorite places. Actually patting or splashing is one of her most consistent actions these days, she pats the floor, the table, her books, her parents, the dog, and the water in the tub. We have been going to a music class once a week and I think she picked this up there. Music class is quite silly but she loves it. She loves music and singing, it is the only way we get her to stop crying in the car, so we signed her up. I also think it is motivating her to crawl, she sees all the other babies going around the room grabbing fun things and she wants to do it too. She spends most of the class “jumping” as if she is trying to get to them. Its pretty cute. I would really love it if she could wait until after we are done with the construction (that should start soon), but that is probably just wishful thinking on my part. They estimate it will take them 2-3 months to finish our house, we’ll be lucky if she isn’t walking by then.
Well I shall bid adieu for now, but imagine the cutest smiling two toothed girl haphazardly flopping her right arm at you as we go. Marilyn is waving now and it is so precious, especially when she saves the best waves for the dog as he cleans up her lunch scraps.
|Squash puree, showing me how the piggies eat :)|
|Shopping cart diva, she can sit!|
|On the move, two teeth showing.|
|A cool day at the beach.|
|Pretty after a yummy meal.|
|Happy baby on the swing.|