Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Arm Bone's Connected to the Wrist Bone

We're in Kansas City for the weekend to see my sister graduate from High School. Ah, sweet alma mater. I may actually enjoy this :)

In the meantime, a brief anecdote to tide you over.

Baby Boy has gotten very good at sitting up with a little bit of support. So much so, that he will contentedly sit in his high chair, with a little bit of prop support, while we eat dinner. This has given me a new lease on life as I can now eat with two hands as opposed to trying to negotiate everything with one hand (every tried to pick up the last few peas from your plate with a spoon and no leverage? Think of it as a Zen activity). This was also made necessary as he had taken to grabbing for my plate, my spoon, my place setting, and my food while sitting on my lap. Not to mention the times that he jerks and whacks his head on the table (he cries, Momma cries, it's just not pretty; ask Roslyn).
Since he also can pretty easily direct things to his mouth to chew on while he is sitting, he plays with toys while he's sitting, too.
So, now at dinner, I have a cadre of baby toys lined up by my place setting. I give him one, he macks on it until its gooey, tosses it over the side, and I hand him another one. Think of it as a visual clock, like an egg timer, that lets me know how much longer I have to eat my dinner.
I never pick the fallen ones up off of the floor. Why, do you ask? Because there is something about sticky baby goo that makes little toys matted and generally disgusting. I mean, I love my children, but I have my boundaries.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Let Us Live to Make Men Free

So, I have issues. Specifically, Mother's Day Issues.

I have always had a hard time with holidays that has morphed into a Hallmark moment (I also have Valentine's Day Issues and welcome to Christmas in November!). This is no less true for the second Sunday in May once I found out the original reason for the day (look here and here if you don't know the activist, Feminist beginning of Mother's Day) and it is no less true now that I have my own children.
However, I have begun to mitigate some of my formidable opinions on this topic as witnessed last Thursday when Roslyn brought home from daycare a picture of flowers that she had painted with a little four-line poem attached to the top (the "flowers" were her hand-prints). That evening after she had gone to bed, Jason asked me if I was going to go in and confront her teachers. You see, I have long stated that if my child's time at school is used to make Mother's Day gifts, I will confront her teachers demanding that they explain the educational value behind such a lesson.
You'll all be proud of my self-restraint in that I demurred from doing so with Roslyn's daycare teachers because, well, it was an art project that utilized small motor skills and hand-eye coordination and because it was labeled as a gift, seemed to be encouraging a healthy self-image and sense of generosity in my 2 1/2 year old. Not bad for any school lesson, let alone one for a little kid, so I'll let it alone.

On Saturday Jason was at the second day of a two-day retreat in Chicago, and since we were just the three of us, the neighbors graciously invited us over for the afternoon and to stay for dinner. These would be the amazing neighbors where he is a meat guru and he pulled a beef tenderloin out of the freezer, cut fillets, and cooked steak on the grill. At dinner, he stated Happy Mother's Day to his wife and myself. I gratefully accepted his generosity as it was intended (they were fillets, and they were delicious), but felt a little disingenuous in doing so. Kind of like all day Sunday when people kept wishing me Happy Mother's Day and asking me if it had been a good Mother's Day. I kept responding, it had been a good Sunday.
It was a good Sunday and all of this leads me up to my issues. You see, I don't need for my children to have a day where they recognize how awesome I am. I am awesome. For the most part, I am a pretty fabulous parent, and I am certainly the best mom either of them are going to get, but I'm okay with the fact that they may never appreciate that. They didn't ask to be born, they didn't ask for me to re-arrange my identity; I did that all on my own. But Mother's Day in this country has seemingly become about expecting gratitude from one's children, one's spouse and partner, and the community as a whole that you were able to create life. If we were in the midst of a population downturn in the world, this might be rational; but we're not, so I don't think it is. Don't get me wrong, in the meantime I will continue to accept little endearing gifts from my children for as long as they feel the need to give them, without any lead from their father, and then when they stop, we'll just stop.

Now, if they ever forget my birthday, all hell is going to break loose.

At church, it has become more acceptable that Mother's Day Sunday is Gifts of Women Sunday (not everyone is a Mother, and not everyone got to make that "choice" as a choice), to celebrate the contributions of all Women to the enrichment of the lives of our communities. I like that. So, rather than wish you a Happy Mother's Day, I thank you for the time and talents that you spend to enrich your community and ask you to continue to work for Peace. Because God and your Mother did not create you to suffer or to cause suffering.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Four Months Down, 212 More To Go

Shortly after Roslyn was born, we were remarking with friends that after the birth of a child, your conversations as a couple remarkably take a turn toward poo. You start discussing excrement -- how many did the baby have, what color was it, how much, what was the consistency, did you remember to buy OxiClean -- in an amazing array of detail, going places in your conversation that you never thought you would venture when you got married, let alone when you started dating.
This does wane after some while. But with a new baby, we were firmly back into the poo discussions. Roslyn, however, was not to be outdone by her baby brother.
She pooped in the potty for the first time last week at daycare. When they told us when we came to pick her up that day, Jason and I both exclaimed in joy, like we had won the lottery. I couldn't help sitting on my own shoulder watching that moment and thinking to myself, "I can't believe I am rejoicing with two relative strangers about my daughter's defecation accomplishments, and this feels like all is right with the world." Sigh. Life is too, too weird.

This post originally was going to start out at as a diatribe about 3 o'clock. Which one you ask? Well, my response would be, pick one and pick a kid. You see, about 3 pm Roslyn really wants to play and wants all of your attention. At 3 am Sam really wants to nurse, and doesn't want to let go for love or money (not that I've offered it, or anything, I'm just saying ...). But now Sam is having freaky sleep and freaky naps which means a lot more unknowns when he gets that glazed look in his eyes and I have seemingly missed my window to only complain about 3 am as we have thrown the door open on complaining about the entire day. And, for the record, a cranky Sam that needs sleep anytime of the day means difficulties with Roslyn as she has limited patience for the game of, "let's be quiet while I jiggle Sam". I don't think she appreciates how fun this is.

I would be remiss to not mention how much Roslyn's vocabulary has grown in the last couple of months. She has a very earnest way of telling a story that is beyond adorable, it makes her pucker up her lips and she looks out of the corner of her eyes and kind of shakes her head for emphasis, way too cute. Not to mention, she has taken to saying, "I like it" while eating anything with sugar in it.

I've gone back to work, don't you know. This is ok. As with Roslyn, I was thrilled to go back, but ambivalent at the same time about leaving baby at home. Same issues, different child. But being at work means I am an overall saner mommy, and that feels good. It has left for some complicated logistics of how to parent two when you both work and Jason and I have negotiated some good territory. We each have a swim day during the week, so we get out to the Y. We've got a sleep routine down so I get at least 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep a day. And we're eating real food at dinnertime. I am particularly proud of this accomplishment. Except for a couple of days where we fell of the wagon becuase of a funeral, we have had a real dinner every night for about 90% of our meals since the middle of March. We have both stepped up on this one, I have modified my work schedule for a few months to cope with the melty-time for Sam in the evenings and the outcome is that we eat together for dinner 4 to 5 times a week, all of us together. I am so proud of this, that I have been thinking about sharing it with you all every week. So, what we ate last week:
Saturday: Turkey Burger Slammers with Sweet Potato Fries
: Skillet Chicken Pot Pie
Monday: Skillet Penne with Sausage and Tomate
Tuesday: Sesame Noodles with Asian Carrot Slaw
Wednesday: Jamaican Chicken Curry
Thursday: Salmon Burgers with "dry" Indian Potatoes and Creamy Cucumber Salad
Friday: Tomato Soup and Rice
Saturday: Turkey Meatballs in Chipotle Sauce