Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tearful goodbye

Josephine has never been a baby who cries when I leave her. These meltdowns were always reserved for her dad, making the beginning of his daily commute to the big city difficult for everyone involved. It used to make me sad that she wasn't sad to see me go, but I reassured myself that it was healthy -- and really a wonderful thing-- that she was so comfortable with the caretakers we have for her. In fact, Josephine is just a friendly, open little creature. At our music class last week, as we were all putting on our shoes and jackets to leave, she made eye contact with and ran over to the nanny of one of the boys in the class. She held up her arms smiling and said, "Up!" to this almost-complete stranger. Once up, she rested her head on the sweet woman's shoulder and sighed in delight.

So I was so surprised yesterday when my sixteen-month-old Josephine burst into tears as I got ready to go to the grocery store. She was in the care of her beloved Aunt Li Li, so I would never have expected it. She waits all day for Li Li's arrival, and I am chopped liver as soon as she walks in. But dissolve into tears she did, trying even to walk out the door with me. She looks so particularly tiny when she weeps, and I am always surprised at the size of those tears in relation to the girl. I tried to comfort her as best I could. As I drove off, I thought back on how it used to make me feel when I'd leave and she'd be smiling away. Now I was sad, much sadder indeed, at her momentary despair. As an educator, I know all about that whole object permanence thing, but it doesn't make much difference in a moment like that when it is your own child feeling the anxiety.

Things go in cycles, though, I guess. The last thing I saw as I averted my eyes from Josephine's sad face was Lucy's big grin as she bounced in Li Li's arms and I pulled out of the driveway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tag! Six Things

I’ve been tagged by my dear friend, birth doula and fellow blogger, DoulaMomma! So I’ll step into the blogosphere confessional and reveal six things I haven’t discussed yet on my blog. And watch out, you might get tagged next...

My six things:

1. It’s obvious from this blog that I’m a baseball fanatic, but you may not know that my fanaticism can be stretched into whatever sport is in season. I love it all, I must say, baseball, football, college basketball, golf, tennis – uh, politics. Well, you get the idea. I’m not one to watch much in the way of television dramas or sitcoms, but I do subscribe to all the special sports packages my cable company offers! P.S. The World Series starts tonight: Rays vs. Phillies. Not exactly what I was hoping for. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

2. Even though Josephine isn’t two yet, I let her watch Sesame Street. This has created an Elmo craze – she points to everyone she sees on TV – Cookie Monster, Paula Deen, Wolf Blitzer, ANYone and says in total excitement, “ELMO!” Fortunately, she’s a book hound, so I’m not as yet worried about sacrificing her literacy. I know, I know – bad mommy. But hey – try having babies 13 months apart and see what you resort to!

3. I am a coupon addict. There! I've said it! Shopping is a good way to get the babies out of the house and keep them contained for a spell, so we often make an outing. Since my job is being at home right now and doesn’t seem to generate a paycheck, I try to be valuable to the household on the expense side. Hence, mad coupon clipping! How much can I save while buying stuff we need? Fun game!

4. As you may know, I love yoga. It feels so good to me physically, mentally, and spiritually. But here’s the thing: I suck at it. Seriously. I am no Shiva Rea. More like Roseanne Arnold, I’m sorry to say. I’m very grateful to my friends at Shakti who don’t laugh at me.

5. I have a long list of to-learns: sewing, knitting, Sanskrit. I have to do them on my own, though, since I already have two useless master’s degrees and a post-grad certificate.

6. I find motherhood joyous, but a bit isolating. I’m really grateful to everyone who supports me and keeps in touch: my husband, my awesome family, my sisters-in-law, my friends, and my fellow bloggers. Thank you.

Now for my tags: I tag Howard Park, 1 Year Apart, The Fox Factor, sleeping beauty, waking up, Unfinished Dad, and Half As Good As You. You all should make a post referring to this post, reveal your own 6 things & tag 6 others!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Well, isn't that funny

For all of you two-under-two parents out there, you know what our weekends are like. The occasional outing gets mixed with hours of tag-team baby care: feedings, diaperings, book readings, play-in-the-yardings, nappings. It isn't exactly a recipe for getting things done. I always think that I'll get some relief from the weekday frustration I constantly suffer of looking at a room I just picked up or vacuumed and realizing it needs to be done again. And I am not a maniac neat freak -- I just need to be able to walk across the room without tripping or be able to sit without crushing something. But this break never comes. In fact, the mess of the weekend trumps any weekday because we are still foolish enough to attempt to do something.

Yesterday's endeavor was to put together the new crib we had delivered for the little one and rearrange the nursery to accommodate the two cribs -- yes, that's right -- when you have children born 13 months apart, you need 2 cribs! My husband valiantly assembled the crib (which turned out to be HUGE!) and together we rearranged the furniture (with the babies in their cribs) so that everything fit. While the tiny room does look like some kind of clearance furniture depot, it is DONE. There are all kinds of refugee items floating all over the hallway -- toys, storage boxes, wall hangings -- but let me repeat: the task is DONE. The pride was overwhelming -- we couldn't believe ourselves.

As we settled down to sleep last night, we were hysterical. Where were both babies sleeping? In their newly finished room? Of course not. They were in our room with us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Two under two: when one is sick

What do you do? Well, for one thing, get used to the crying. Last night Josephine woke up with a fever in the middle of the night and was just howling. We ended up bringing her to bed with us after giving her some Tylenol, but she would periodically wake up in fits of tears. This, of course, awakened Lucy, who then decided she was hungry. So they sort of alternated cries, and soon it was 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 and so on. There is a reason they make babies cute, you know. It's for times like these, when there is no break in the crying and a parent's sense of humor has run out. Good times!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I love Donna Brazile

Have you seen this clip?  If you're not voting for Obama, I hope it's not because of the color of his skin.

A lesson to learn

Here's a link to a great piece about this year's collapse of the Chicago Cubs.  Rafer Weigel is an old friend now anchoring the sports desk at Headline News; he's making his dad proud. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Some Children Are Left Behind

I had a delightful surprise comment to a post a few days ago, from someone who knows one of my poems.  It was published in a small literary journal written for and by teachers called The Teacher's Voice.  You can find out more about it here.  If you've ever wondered if it really is important to read to your children or speak with them, know that it is.  Model the use and beauty of language whenever and however you can; my experience as a high school English teacher showed me that this can't be underestimated.  One of my happiest moments as a mom (and writer and English teacher) was when my daughter first carried a book to me to read to her.  I almost fainted.  Anyway, here is the poem:

Fill In

The blanks are too numerous
and some can't be filled in.
I don't know if I can teach 
you this language, now, so late.
I don't know if I can teach you
that this is a middle without
a beginning that makes sense.
I can't fill the place of those
who left you here, like this --
I can't tell you everything
you missed while you weren't here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I've been punk'd!

By my two daughters, ages 16 months and almost 3 months!  The little one started sleeping through the night when she was just shy of two months old.  We thought we were clear of the bleary phase of parenting a newborn.  But now?  She's back to being up between three and four a.m.  I awaken to the sound of her sucking her fingers or trying to roll over in her bassinet, and then I'm basically up for the diaper change, the feeding and whatever follows.

And then there is the big one.  She has always been a good nighttime sleeper; she's slept through the night since she was about three months old.  Give the child a bottle and a snuggle, and she was down for the count.  But now?  She's up in the middle of the night too -- some kind of nightmare or separation anxiety or something.  At 3:15 this morning, not even Dada could do the trick, so I finished feeding the little one then moved into trying to soothe the big one.  We were both up from about 3 on with just a few winks of sleep until it was time to arise at 6.

I know they always say this part doesn't last forever, but it sure seems like it will, especially in those slow-crawling early-morning hours.  At least they're not lonely for me; I get to share them with my husband and beautiful girls.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dodgers 3, Cubs 1

Tears. The Cubs are swept 3-0 by the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs.  I guess one hundred years isn't enough to wait.  Now we wait again for next year.