Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why the battle?

I've come to realize in the last year that the mother's circle is a competitive one.

Somehow, having a little one, has thrown me in a mash pit of crazy haired, nail biting, teeth gnashing competitors.

I wonder, is there a white flag that I can wave to let people know that I'm not feelin' it? Shall I tattoo it on my forehead to stave off the moms who don't know that I'm not comparing my little one to theirs, my sleep issues to theirs, my love of motherhood to theirs, my philosophy to theirs?

Friday, February 5, 2010

The One Stats

Madison is One!

* 1617 pictures in her picture album

* 17 baby signs

* about 100 trips up and down the stairs

* 2 parents completely head over heals

* 9 pairs of shoes (hand me down) for when she turns 2 sitting in a bag. 0 pairs of shoes that fit a 1 year old. How did that happen?

* 1 95 pound dog that she loves to stand up on

* 8 teeth in - 4 coming through

* About 2000 kisses blown

* Much, much more fun to be had.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Psychoanalyze This!

I often remember bits and pieces of my dreams - but this time, it was the whole thing. I'm mostly writing this to see if it's possible for me to make it make sense to anyone else out there. So, 6 blog followers, feel free to share a little love if you were able to navigate through this.

A few things to know going in:
1. Sebastian, my pups, has epilepsy. He's been pretty bad the last few days, and the vet had him stay on a 24 hour watch the night I had this dream. He's been cluster seizing, and the valium injections we give him weren't controlling them. I was really worried about him.

2. I have never seen anyone beat Super Mario Bros., but I dream of the day that I will. I think people who can beat it are superheroes. Thus far, I think of the princess as being whiney and useless, but I hear she pulls it together for the big finish.

3. I miss teaching middle school.

Okay, big sigh, here goes...

1. I looked like Nicole Head, but really I was Mario from Super Mario Brothers. I still had a bad hair cut, but I did have the awesome blue overalls with yellow buttons and the red train hat.

2. I was responsible for getting a little boy (about 8(ish) with red hair and freckles) to his mom - who was the princess from Super Mario Brothers.

3. The little boy was sick - he had really bad asthma.

4. My task was to get him past 8 challenges in order to get to his mom. Each challenge was designed to be both our destruction and our salvation - it was within the challenges that I got enough medicine to keep this little boy (I think his name was James - so I'll go with that) to the next challenge.

5. Our first challenge was within the confines of the ginger bread house with the wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel. The catch was, I knew before James and I went in that she was evil, but I also knew she had asthma medicine. So, we had to get in. (Please don't make fun of me now). In order to get in, I had to swim through a baked bean moat with James on my back. He couldn't swim because of his asthma. Now, let me tell you, baked beans are really hard to swim through... especially with a green knapsack and a little boy. But, we made it in.

6. The witch wanted to fatten us up so that she could eat James (because she likes to eat little children), and then she was going to keep me trapped there for companionship. I suppose I never really thought about how lonely she must be. Anyway...

7. I needed to trick her into giving us extra asthma medicine so that I would have enough to keep James alive while we went to the 2nd challenge.

8. I kept failing and waking up frustrated. Our story kept ending the way video games do. A little picture of James and I spinning around and then disappearing because we had "died". But then, we were back alive and trying again...

9. I finally did it! I figured out that I had to pretend to have asthma as well so that she would give me medicine for both of us, and then I just had to hide mine.

10. We escaped and swam back through the baked bean moat. This time James could swim himself because he had asthma medicine. It was a good thing that he did because an alligator chased us.

11. My dream ended with us walking through the field at the end of The Giver by Louis Lowry. I knew we had to find our next challenge, but I didn't know what it was.

Anyone wanna take a crack at it? Freud, you available?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mama Dictionary

When I took my first linguistics class, I was intrigued at the discovery that there are actual grammar mavens. They sit on some high throne in some mystical place (probably England) and make decisions that become the law of the language land. That particular semester, the grammar mavens determined that it was no longer necessary to use "whom." It wouldn't be considered wrong to whom someone, but the cocktail party know-it-alls had definitely lost some footing.

As had I.

The idea that grammar rules were fluid shook me to the core. I'm not saying I have perfect grammar. I do not. On the contrary, I believe in using grammatical duck tape and creative punctuation when effective. However, I had assumed that there were all-knowing people out there who could chuckle at my mistakes and marvel at how smart they are when they read other people's writing. This meant that there could be people chuckling at the chucklers.

The journey continued...

Later in college, I had a teacher who had previously worked for Webster Dictionary. He had written the definition of words for a living. I couldn't imagine how there was enough for him to do all day. I had figured that someone had written them a long time ago, so the only job left was for the rest of us to memorize them in hopes of winning Scrabble.

And now, my journey has reached a new place. As a mom, the meaning of some words and phrases has completely changed.

So - you up-tight rule followers, it's time to jump in my boat and paddle through the waters - the muddy, muddy waters that I like to call "definitions-and-rules-were-just-made-up-by- someone-so-you-can-change-them." Not a very creative name, but I think it really says it.

Here's a few examples:

1. A Good Nap:
Before Maddie: Planning to sleep for 30 minutes and waking up 3 hours later

After Maddie: Cleaning all the bathrooms, all hard surface floors, prepping dinner, and folding laundry - while Madison sleeps

2. A Good Dinner:
Before Maddie: Putting on my fancy jeans and tennis shoes (that's just me...) and going out for dinner

After Maddie: When my daughter eats from all four food groups in one sitting. Wait, did I forget to eat again?

3. Tired:
Before Maddie: Hey, I could use a nap, 7 hours just didn't quite cut it last night

After Maddie: I haven't slept through the night in 359 days

4. Multi Tasking:
Before Maddie: Grading papers while watching Law and Order

After Maddie: Grocery shopping while holding my Little One in my arms, letting her push the cart, dangling a gold beaded Mardi Gras necklace for her to hold, and finding the perfect cantaloupe.

5. Planning:
Before Maddie: I think I'll go for a run during lunch today, so I should pack my sports bra

After Maddie: Plans? I don't make those. Life is the moment we're having. (by the way - one of the coolest parts of having a baby)

6. Cool:
Before Maddie: A pair of smokin' hot gold strappy sandals

After Maddie: My little sweetheart rocking out to Up All Night, grinning in my arms, dancing around the kitchen. (by the way - another one of the coolest parts of having a daughter)

7. Mom:
Before Maddie: Someone who knows me better than anyone, takes care of me, knows how to make me angrier than Gargumel when a Smurf gets away, and who I am eternally grateful for

After Maddie: Me! I'm Mom. I'll have to work on the Gargumel thing...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

sleep TIRED sleep TIRED. tired SLEEP tired SLEEP.

I am now the owner of an iPhone. I am also the owner of a Mac. I'm not saying that to brag, nor am I saying it to internet flirt with my Mac loving husband. I'm saying it because those two machines operate so well that they have done a futuristic movie version of a mind meld on me. I seem to think I should have at least one of them near me at all times.

And from hence is born my 2010 New Year's Resolution.

I am exhausted today. So exhausted that the 6 year old in me is wishing for alphabet soup - for 2 reasons. 1. It would mean that somebody was spoiling me with comfort foods. 2. It would give me something lovely and warm to fall asleep in - accomplishing 2 goals. 1. I would get a nap. 2. Anyone who was around me would realize that I'm sleepier than Snow White's dwarf today. Perhaps that would encourage them to bring me more comfort foods. This would be a lovely cycle. Comfort food...nap...comfort food...nap.

This is, indeed, leading to a point. It's just going to be a circuitous journey to get to it...

Before my Mac days, my habits when tired were very predictable and lovely. I'd find a fluffy couch (hopefully in a place where I was welcome to crash), pull a book off the shelf, and read until I fell asleep. Within a short 2-5 minutes, I could usually get so lost in my thoughts that I would find myself needing to close my eyes to visualize them. Leading, of course, to a nap.

This morning, I was sitting in front of my Mac thinking about the old, green, corduroy couches Alex used to own. Those were nap havens. We should have kept those - forever. I thought about finding pictures of them to look at and reminisce but stopped myself because that seemed as absurd as showing Sebastian a tennis ball and asking him to look at it for his morning exercise.

I decided I needed a little Thoreau. He spent a lot of time zoning out, so his poetry naturally helps me do that. We may not have the green couches, but a girl can still try.

While reading, I realized that I have lost my ability to sit still and appreciate - well - sitting still. I looked at some pictures of Thoreau's cabin by Walden Pond and caught myself wondering if anyone had installed any outlets in it yet.

And then I judged myself - fairly, I believe. I've turned into the person who I swore in my youth I'd never be in my adulthood. I feel comfortable being constantly busy, always multitasking, and relying on the adult distractions of the world to guide my interests.

And so, I've arrived at my New Year's Resolution.

I will take back my thoughts. I will take back my space. I will unplug.