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.