Monthly Archives: January 2012

Time and experiences

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Today I had the gift of some time and time-free experiences. After a reasonable night’s sleep, girlie woke up at 6:30 to nurse. And went back to sleep! My alarm was set for 6:40 and I felt pretty awake after a couple of longer sleep stretches, so I got up.

Aaah, time to myself in the morning! I showered; dressed; hung up wet diapers; filled bottles for the day; made tea; made oatmeal; filled out an election ballot to mail; made a to-do list for work; prayed; packed up bags; and got some reading done for the paper I’m slowly working on. So delightful to have time to get ready for the day and feel that loose ends are tied up as I leave the home!

Baby woke up at 7:30 and nursed for quite a while. Nursing is turning into the most magical experience in my life right now. This sweet little person reaches out for me and relaxes at my breast. I hold her, smooth her hair, cuddle her, talk with her, love her. It’s our time together, and it’s the best in the world. I wish all mothers the opportunity to nurse, and nurse long – it is truly one of the greatest gifts of motherhood.

Baby fell asleep on the way home from work and I carried her in and put her to bed. I had a lovely dinner that husband prepared (thank you!!), then a fabulous hot bath with a book. So soothing! (reading “welcome to your child’s brain” – a great survey of brain research to date). Then, of course, baby woke up and husband brought her in to me. Once crying baby was in the bath and latched on, she calmed right down. She nursed and nursed on one side, then with a sigh, moved her head over and settled into my chest.

Oh … heaven. Sweetest baby softness resting herself over my heart.

She moved to the other breast then, sucking away for a long time, then back and forth. She was eating and also connecting, calming down, relaxing and having fun at the end of a busy day. She didn’t want to get out of the bath in the end, even after playing for a while, but we insisted as the bathwater was getting cold.

Now she’s awake, I’m exhausted, but very grateful for the time and moments that made up today.

Bad Parenting

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Yesterday night I made a parenting decision that made me wonder about my to make decisions.

In bed, trying to get baby to sleep. Nursing, bottle, napping, and before you know it she’s sitting up, signing “eat!” and making her adorable “I’m hungry!” noise: “umm, mm, mmm.” I thought it made sense to keep her in the bedroom where she could eat and then go right back to bed. So I asked my husband to get her a snack. Rice crackers, please. Oh, and some almond butter.

When it arrived, I knew it was a bad idea. Small plate, big pool of brown. I ignored the risks and pushed on forwards. Surely we could contain the mess?

Surely not. Baby started dip-dipping into the almond butter (bang bang bang with the edge of the rice cracker). She dabbed with her fingers. Then sort of licked that off. The mess was already spreading. Within minutes almond butter had spilled from the tipped plate onto her shirt, into her hair, around her mouth, the palm of her hand (finger painting!). And my arms, chest, shirt. I was able to kick the sheets away so they were unscathed, but the two of us were a big, big mess.

For some reason, this disastrous decision made me laugh. I got us into the bathroom, washed up, changed clothes, and got back into bed. She was asleep soon after. Mess isn’t the end of the world, but initiating it – at bedtime – in bed – wasn’t smart. I know I need to find a way for her to eat more earlier in the evening, preferably with a bib and in front of a table.

Today left me wondering if my decision to work isn’t also a bad parenting choice. Moving from the rushed, not-really-attentive morning, let’s highlight drop-off at my mom’s. Sure, she was asking for her nana on the way there. But when it’s time for mama to leave, no way. I took off my boots twice to go back up the stairs and try nursing, hugging, kissing, etc. Still, she was complaining and upset when I tried to go. Fortunately my mom is great with her and got her interested in watching from the window instead of rattling the child gate on the stairs. Still: leaving my daughter SUCKS.

Work wasn’t a lot better. I haven’t been able to concentrate lately, meaning not a lot of work gets done. No idea what’s up with that, though missing baby is definitely part of it. I think I continue to crave life at home and still am not obsessed with making a career, even if I think about it now and then.

She’s surviving, work is okay, and our situation won’t be changing in the immediate future. I guess I have to let it go for now, accept that I work and make the best of a good situation.

Weekends

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Another one come and gone. I do not intend to mourn its passing, however, but to reflect on the pace of life weekends of late have inspired in our home and what that might mean into the future.

This weekend we got a few things done around here – really, our usual weekend routine:

  • Changed sheets on the bed
  • A few loads of laundry
  • Grocery shopping
  • General house clean, not super detailed but neat

This weekend also contained many delightful things (not to imply that the items above were not delightful in execution):

  • Visits with two friends and some family.
  • Baking cookies (yum, more ginger cookies!! Tastier than before, if stranger looking)
  • Pancake breakfast at home
  • Morning magazine-flipping session
  • Out-time with family – part work (returns), part fun (family)
  • Reading! One.5 novels thus far.
  • Lots of baby time.

That last one is the reason I’d call the weekend a success. I didn’t worry about what got done or try to multi-task or ask husband to look after baby so I had some free time. Okay, I did a little. After all, I had some returns to do, needed a good shower, and had a few tasks I did with baby. But mainly, I slowed down and let myself enjoy my daughter. Boy, it was fun:

  • All the new things she’s doing. Suddenly, instead of throwing off the blankets in bed, asking us to lift them up so she (and her stuffies) can squirm underneath
  • Now willing for us to put clothes on her!
  • Boogeying to music, especially her children’s CD. I tried this weekend to play other world music, but she kept on shaking her head vigorously “no!” at every track until I switched back. Her little bum-bum dance is awesome!
  • New words and more talking! From her multi-syllable ones (gupta; mamoo); to active use of familiar ones (nana – points to the door, requesting a visit from her grandma – A’ya – points to herself); to new ones (up – “hap hap!”); to her noisy “yayaya!”, it’s a thrill listening to her
  • A lovely walk outside today, toddling all over
  • Nurse-o-mania: she couldn’t get enough of my boobs this weekend.
  • She fell asleep in my arms for naps each day this weekend. I held her for good lengths each time. Holding that sweet, sweet girl … heaven.

3 days of shifting my focus from productivity to being and loving. Not sure how I’m getting to acceptance of the priority of experience over completion, but I’m finding it at various points.

There still are things that need doing. Need, as in our family well-being depends on them, my writing (journal articles, ha ha!!! and other writing, like the short story I dreamed this weekend that begins “I came home two weeks early for the wedding.”) which my emotional well-being and potentially future career possibilities depend on. Somehow, I’m not judging me or my husband that things didn’t get done or that we’re behind the ball on certain projects. And I can even write that sentence without freaking out about “the list”! The omnipresent, controlling list. I believe in The List, but it doesn’t have to rule my life. Somehow, this weekend I had the kind of quality time with my family, yes, and particularly my daughter, that I’ve been wanting. Cause to celebrate. And reflect.

Facing materialism

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I am nearing the end of my shopping streak, and am somewhat relieved. My wardrobe feels much more workable, so that objective seems to be achieved. I no longer feel pressure to find time on weekends and nights to rush out and scour the racks for essential clothing items. My credit card can take a break, my time will be my own again.

Unfortunately and predictably, the materialistic obsessions that are fed by shopping – particularly in new stores (yes, 2nd hand shopping is still my norm :)) – are strong and hard to subdue.

Today I returned a few items I had purchased (part of my with-child shopping plan: buy and try on at home). The shoes went back without a problem, though I do feel a slight desire for more shoes.

The dress, that was harder. The lovely red sheath dress – something like this one, but much more elegant. Aside, of course, from the not-quite right-fitting top and the pouchy stomach. Oh, it felt great when I zipped up that dress! The layered detailing was feminine but not over the top. It fit comfortably and yet made me look great. I am mourning the loss of that dress and the lifestyle and activities it represents.

I am also salivating ever so slightly over some machine-washable merino wool sweaters marked down 60%. I got a black v-neck sweater, because it looks great and inspired by this clothing essentials list. Of course, seeing them still on sale and realizing that this gorgeous sweater only cost $35, I desperately want another one. In another colour, of course! If they had had a red v-neck in my size today I would have snatched it up. I still am tempted to go back, check the selection and pick up another one. So elegant, simple, long-lasting. Classic.

And, I have enough sweaters. I really want to retain the minimalism within the “feeling good about myself and my wardrobe” trend. I want, not only to have enough clothes to wear, but to feel good about wearing each item I find in my closet. I want to have just enough clothes so I have variety, but not so many that I forget what I own.

I am reminded of one telling moment in grad school where I brought home yet another pair of comfy attractive black leather shoes from Target and discovered a similar pair, unworn, still in the box, in my closet. That kind of thing has NEVER happened to me, before or since. But still … at that point in my life, minimalism wasn’t what I was going for. Neither was quality. It was shopping cheap, buying what seemed okay, and ending up with a big, big wardrobe (okay, one big would probably be enough :)) but not the right things to wear.

I can live without the red dress. It wasn’t the perfect shade for me, it needed adjustments, and finding a seamstress is not a priority for me now.

And: baby is calling for mam mam ma! I must go.

Priorities

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Today was a good day. Visit with a friend, then baby sleeping in my arms for a good part of her 3-hour nap (like, 2.5 hours of it) while I read (Mango something … too tired to remember the title … Mango Season, that’s it!).

However. It’s 10:15, I’m WIPED OUT and need to sleep. Other potential blog posts for tonight (highs & lows; Minimalism +; time for writing; reframing challenges) must wait until I have the time and energy to think.

Good night!

How to not have fun

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Hello grammarians: infinitive split deliberately. I actively engaged in “not fun having” today!

Step 1: procrastinate at work.

Step 2: beat yourself up about it.

Step 3: leave work late because you are trying to catch up.

Step 4: instead of enjoying a couple of hours of personal time while your husband picks up baby and brings her home, rush around madly doing high-speed urgent shopping, all the while worrying about how daughter is doing and feeling guilty for not being there with her.

Not having a cell phone doesn’t help, I realized, as a cell phone enables me to check in with husband and come home if need be.

Shopping had some okay moments but was not really joyful. That is a real shame, since why not make everything joyful if you have to do it? I think I”m at the end of this mad shopping spree and I’m glad. Necessary items have been purchased and now I can enjoy time and wearing things I like. I could get more, but I have enough and combining things creatively will be more rewarding than accumulating too much. I also have an outfit for the wedding, if I don’t change my mind about it, which is a relief. And a few items to return, but once that is done, it’s done. Aaah … stepping out of the mall again. It will be good.

I”m less sure how I can enjoy time away from baby. Admittedly, I don’t have to if I don’t want to. I”m very comfortable being attached to my baby and wanting to be with her most of the time. And I still do enjoy things I do without her, undobubtedly. It’s just that she’s my sweet, amazing baby girl and I crave being with her and I see no reason to deny this.

It’s Thursday night, end of my work-week, beginning of another full and fun (I will give it my best shot) weekend. Hope you all enjoy.

Looking Insane

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Yesterday at work was busy as usual. I was working on files and printing in the room across the hallway. The printer room, with the temperamental printer, is shared with another busy unit.

I went in to pick up my print job and saw a man standing in front of the shredder holding a few papers. I’ve seen him around (multiple times each day) and he’s always smiling and dapper. At this moment he was looking concerned as he handled the papers drooping towards the shredder.

I went to check for my print job – not there. He smiled and handed me a few of the papers he had in his hand. I looked at them and since they seemed to be headed for the shredder, popped them in and listened to them go. Then noticed that I was shredding blank sheets.

I stood there in silence, looking at them in dismay. Wasted trees! He commented, sounding puzzled and slightly upset, “Those were blank sheets!” I was silent for another moment, tiredly dwelling on the ridiculousness of shredding blank paper.

“Yes, I know,” I eventually answered. “I thought they were for shredding.”

He looked at me, then looked away. And left the room. Wondering, I have no doubt, who this strange woman was who shredding blank paper and didn’t respond to direct conversation.

Yet I am left wondering: Why on earth did he think I needed two sheets of legal-sized blank paper???

Woke up laughing about it this morning. Laughter = peace. I’ve met my blogging goal for the day :).