Friday, October 29, 2010

You - only 2

You, only 2.

Cora - neary 2

This past year of your life has flown by to me.  It seems only yesterday that you were my little bitty babe in arms.  Now you are big and talking, potty trained (at least except for overnight) and doing things that I never even thought you knew how to do!  We celebrated your birthday in the park today with bright orange iced cupcakes that I bought instead of making. Boo.  Homemade things suffer a bit when mama is pregnant!  No one seemed to mind or care, especially you who ate cupcake to your hearts content and ran all over the park with Papa.  You even decided, after nearly a year of boycotting the swing set that you were going to swing.  I was especially shocked since I've been trying to get you to swing ever since you gave it up for no apparent reason about a year ago.  I guess all it took was a trip with Papa to the swings and to see your little friend Suzi do it.  it's been a big hit ever since!

Cora - neary 2

I am, in a sense, mourning the end of our time together, just me and you.  Your brother (at least I hope all the tests were right and he is a brother) is due soon and every moment with you seems precious.  Like I want to capture it in my heart or bottle it up for later.  Later on, you may never remember a time when you did not have a sibling, but I will remember with beautiful clarity the two (and a bit) years we spent as just you and me.  My little shadow, my little helper.  Everything you do right now is either 'like Mama!' or 'like Papa!'  Mostly Mama, since we are together all day long.  We paint our toe nails and finger nails (incentive to get you to not scratch your eczema) and talk about the colors you want to paint them.  Mostly blue or pink. Or green, because you know that is Papa's favorite color. 

Cora - neary 2

You 'help' me in the kitchen, meaning you put on the 'helper apron' I sewed for your birthday and push up your 'helper chair' (one of the tall kitchen chairs) and do your best to grab whatever I am working on, dump ingredients for me (mostly on the counter), play in the dish water and so many other things that make all of my household work take twice as long, but are so much more fun with a little you at my elbow.  We talk about so many things during the day.  We talk about emotions, since you and I seem to have a lot of them lately.  Me, because I'm pregnant, (We say 'Mama sad' a lot right now because everything makes me cry) and you because you are two.  Recently I was helping you into the house, but had to unlock the door first, which took way to long for you and you had a little tantrum right on the steps.  I told you to stop 'freaking out' and go inside.  Later on that week, when I sent you out of the kitchen for throwing another fit when I told you no about something, I heard you say 'I MAD!  I Freaking out!'  I just laughed.  Of course I taught you that, but it seemed so funny coming out of your little self.  You go from quiet and introspective to wild and wiggly.  I look for you when the noise stops and I find you in a sunny spot, looking at a book, all by yourself, content to just be there.  Then you get together with your little friend Liam and you two run around squealing and playing.  Often with you kind of bossing him around and him totally ignoring that and doing what he wants.

I love the way you think about things and then we talk about them later.  Songs, books, things that happen.  You just kind of take it in and then I'll find you singing a song I thought you weren't paying attention to when I sang it.  Or you will say something from a book we happened to read.  The latest was a book called A Beasty story that you found so fun, all about colors and a prank Beast and dark dark brown or blue etc. You say little lines from that all the time and I am so glad that I am the one taking care of you, not someone at a daycare so I know what you are talking about!  I've thought a lot about that lately with so many of your little friends in Mother's Day Out programs.  I'd be missing out on big things if you were in school a couple of days per week.  I know it has to happen eventually, but it's too soon.  You are my little helper!  My little shadow.  You are MY girl. (and Papa's girl, you would remind me)

Cora - neary 2

I am so grateful for this time with you, even thought I don't get done all of the things I'd like to.  It has been such a sweet time.  A joyful time.  A test of who I am as a person, as a mother, as a woman.  You have brought me to life in ways I didn't know were missing.  I hope I can continue to be a light that points toward Jesus for you.  I pray beautiful and wonderful things for you as we cross into the next year.  Our family will grow bigger, you will grow bigger.  Mama and Papa will perhaps grow in wisdom and patience with you and your brother as we sort out what it means to be your Mama and Papa.   Please know that we are learning as you are growing.  All we can do is our best and ask for forgiveness when we mess up.  I love you so much and so does your Papa, even though he doesn't show it in letters to you.  You are a precious gift to us.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The battle for our bed

This began nearly 2 years ago when we brought home this wee little bundle who, after 9 months snuggled against my ribcage, did not want to sleep alone.  Early, tiny and so very dear, I willingly complied and she slept in my arms, literally, every night.  She outgrew it, eventually, and moved from bassinet, to pack-n-play, to her own bed in her own room.  For a long time she slept peacefully through the night in her own bed, but then began to wake up at 4 or so and wanted to be UP.  I put her back in our bed and she slept till an reasonable hour (6:30 or so), but we snuggled the whole time.  All this was working fine until I got pregnant.

Suddenly the need for sleep trumped all and she got the boot.  I still gave in occasionally but she has this thing where she can't just sleep beside me, she has to have one of my arms underneath her and one over the top of her and her face smooshed against my face.  For a pregnant mama struggling to keep feeling in her swollen carpal tunnel limbs, this does not work.  I have to sleep with my arms just so or they go dead believe me when I tell ya, 'just so' isn't under a 25lb nearly 2 year old.  I'm just sayin'. 

This morning's episode began at 5am where uncontrollable sobbing from my girl woke me up.  I got her, she said 'Mama's bed' and 'Snuggle you', so off we went where we slept for nearly 45 minutes until I HAD to move my arms.  What followed was a kicking, screaming fit which got poor Matt kicked in the sleeping kidneys and wide awake. (He usually sleeps through this drama.  Oh for that skill!)  He tried to hold her while I snuggled NEXT to her.  Nope.  It's IN mama's arms or nothing.  Screaming and more fits.  Finally after several warnings, she got plunked back in her bed to throw her fit.  9 minutes of raging fit later she fell back asleep.  I, however, did not.  I cried for my sweet snuggle baby and I cried for having to help her learn things this way, which is, in truth, the hard way, but good for her in the end.  I know I started it too!  Her desire to sleep in my arms is from a history of being allowed to.  I don't regret that time, (and would do it again in a heartbeat!) but it's just time for something new.  So the battle isn't over.  This is just a skirmish and one I am sad to win.  There won't be room for a newborn and a 2 year old in the bed and it's for the best, but I will miss snuggling with my girl.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

4am - 6am

I'm at 26 week now.  Just a smidge over 6 months for those of you who have never counted out your life before baby in weeks.  I'm at minus 4 lbs from my starting weight (don't worry, my midwife approves), eat a great diet, drink massive amounts of water, work out several times per week, avoid salt, and keep my blood pressure low and still, the carpal tunnel gets me.  I wake up some time before dawn with a dead hand that tingles and hurts and I have to get up to make it stop.  Something about lying down pinches off a nerve in my back and I feel the tingly pain start creeping back into my thumb and then my fingers and then my hand. 

So I get up, have a cup of chamomile tea, throw a load of laundry in the washer and wait.  If I get on the computer I wake up more, so I usually avoid that.  I wish I could hold a pen so I could write, but no, pens make it worse.   Then maybe a shower with no kid in the bathroom, then maybe a book.  Then fold the laundry.  After awhile I fall back into bed, determined to not feel the tingles.  Sometimes I get another hour to sleep and then I hear a little voice from the next room calling "Mama?"  And so the day begins.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I wanna rock and roll

I wanna rock-n-roll
I wanna give my soul
I'm wanting to believe
I'm not too old (or pregnant)

Save You from Matthew Perryman Jones' 2008 album Swallow the Sea (parenthesis mine)

This is the season where every part of me starts to rebel against being pregnant, where my fitful dreams are filled with longings and bits and scraps of my history.  And some little selfish part of myself starts whispering in my ear that if I give all of myself to loving these children and being in this season of motherhood, I will eventually lose all of the things that made me.  I know it's a lie, but the fears still linger.  Next month, my 34th birthday will roll around and I'll still be growing this little boy inside me.  My 30's seem to be destined to be focused solely on the raising of these children and I honestly don't know how music (at least the agsty chick folk rock that I loved doing before Cora) fits into that.

Not that music is gone from my life.  I find myself playing children's songs for wild gangs of pre-schoolers in the basement of the local library branch and loving every moment of it.  But that little fear whispers that when my children are old enough for me to go back to music as a job, then I will be too old.  Some of that is the reality of the music industry, but most of that is what I tell myself in the dark moments when I am sick of the monotony of washing the same dishes over and over, of planning meals and cooking for my family every. single. day., and waking up in pain because my body does not like being pregnant. 

It's that old lie of finding my worth in what others think of me.  I play it on repeat like a cassette tape that automatically flips to the other side and just keeps going. (Remember that?)  I want some reassurance in the future that I will be worth something to people whose opinions, in truth, don't matter.  It's my reality today.  Even if, in the light of day, I can set it aside and say to myself, "that's not what's important". In the dark, between trips to the bathroom, it comes back in the yearnings of my dreams and how does one surrender their secret dreams?  I haven't figured out that yet.  I do my best to not let them bleed into the dawn and turn the sunrise to gray.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

In praise of innocence (ie, the unpolluted mind)

Some books, movies, tv shows, and a few other et ceteras have come across my path lately and I have been questioning why they need to be in my life.  At one point, I was told that it was just me, that I was just 'sensitive' to these things.  At the time, I was a little cowed and shut my trap.  Perhaps I am too sensitive.  But after some thinking, I asked myself, "Why not?"  What's wrong with NOT filling my head and heart and dreams up with the worst of humanity? 

Now, I'm no fool. I am not talking about putting on blinders and pretending that violent, terrifying, and horrific things don't exist so I'm gonna stuff my fingers in my ears and say "la la la la la."  What I'm talking about is using these things as a form of entertainment.  And in time, desensitizing myself to them.  The things that we see on television are full of murder, language, sex, gore, and anything else the writers can dream up to get people on the couch and watching.  Now I admit, I'm a sucker for murder mystery shows like Castle or Lie to Me, but I know that these are not things Cora should watch.  For the most part, I wait until she has gone to bed.  But, really, why should I be watching things that I know my child, with her wide eyed innocence, will be frightened of, or confused by or keep talking about why the 'man' was 'sad' when really he was terrified and being hurt, when a scene came up that I wasn't expecting and she happened to get a glimpse of it before I could turn it off.  It's one thing for me to stand guard at the gate of the world around her and explain things that happen and people's actions that I am not in control of, but it is another to read it to her, or let her see it on the TV because I'm too bored/tired/busy to take her for a walk outside and let her pick up leaves and acorns and talk about the rocks and the sky and I happen to be trying to catch up on Ugly Betty while folding a pile of laundry! 

I am thinking I need a major shift if I have to defend no only my child's innocence, but my own, from my own choices.  I have no idea where to begin, but I just had to say this out loud (so to speak). I'll leave you with this thought from my own faith tradition.

Philippians 4:8 (New International Version) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

In praise of dirt

There is something to be said for getting out in the wider more open spaces and just exploring.  I'm a big fan, personally.  So when a nice little day outing was offered at the infamous 'dirt pile', we packed our lunch, a change of clothes and a towel and hit the road!

Cora visits the dirt pile @ Warner pakr

Cora has never been much of a get dirty kind of gal.  Get wet and swim?  You bet! But stuff on her hands HAS to come off as soon as she can drag me to the bathroom sink.  So I thought we'd check it out and see if she liked it.  If not, we packed a snack and could just hang out.

Cora visits the dirt pile @ Warner pakr

Cora visits the dirt pile @ Warner pakr

I could be wrong here, but I'm thinking it was a hit.  And I'm so glad.  I hope to return there as often as we can and let her explore the world around her in this tactile way.  Mudpies, sandbox, a little log cabin, a spigot for making mud, a spigot for cleaning up.  Benches for mamas in the shade...Oh how I wish it were on our side of town!

Cora visits the dirt pile @ Warner pakr

Technically called the 'Nature Play Area', but lovingly referred to by mamas and kids alike as 'the dirt pile', this fantastic kids space is set on the fringe of huge Edwin Warner and Percy Warner Parks, just behind the Warner Park Nature center.  Directions and details can be found here.  I highly recommend this adventure!

Cora visits the dirt pile @ Warner pakr

 A word of warning to you though, don't let your kids wear anything you care about to the dirt pile!  See that hat?  Yeah.  It used to be white and no amount of soaking in Oxyclean has gotten it white again. Ah well.  Happy adventuring!
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