Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
You have 5 minutes to drink this
I used to think it was the directive to drink, and actual drinking of, the aggressively sweet carbonated liquid that was the worst. Today I realized it is the requisite 60+ minutes in the waiting room that is the true torture. Ah, yes, t'was the beloved glucose screening today. I conned Sean into joining me for the appointment at noon, which I had only scheduled 90 minutes prior. He dutifully cleared his schedule and said he'd meet me there.
We walked across the first overcrowded waiting room and into the next, a third of the seats already taken. We grabbed two and I set my coat and purse on the other. After Sean took a swig and told me the glucose potion wasn't that bad I told him to take his sip, multiply it by 100 and add to it the indignity of being a walking, cramping mass of boobs, ass and gut and he might be a little closer to reality. That rich exchange was our last as the two teenagers beside us joined our conversation.
I was literally pained by their conversation, so light. They were swapping stories about their parents' responses, tears followed by glee at the genders of the babies gestating in barely post pubescent bellies. At their knees sat a cherub faced boy, a bottle filled with a dark liquid in the tray of his stroller. The girl closest to me, pregnant with her first, was feeding him french fries, the girl next to her, his mother, was searching for the lollipop she'd given him.
"Here, drink your soda til I can find your lollipop," she said as she leaned down, the vertebrae of her back poking through her shirt as she searched.
"You know what you're having?" She asked me as she blew the hair out of her eyes.
"A girl," I smiled. "Me too," she said. "What are you naming yours?"
"I'm not sure yet," I answered honestly.
"If it's a girl - they told me with him it was 70/30 he was a boy," she said pointing at the little 15 month old who was gumming another french fry, "And he came out a boy. This one is 70/30 it's a girl, so if she stays a girl I'm naming her Keilani Meilynn."
"I can't stop eating and I just want to shop," chirped the girl next to me. Her skin was so smooth, so clear beneath her silky top knot. I was overwhelmed by her youth, her resemblance to my own little girls.
"Don't you think that's beautiful? Keilani Meilynn."
"Very," I said.
"I don't have a name yet, but my boyfriend is a Junior so he wants him to be a Third. Yuck. Does he want a mozarella stick?" She asked the other girl, the once crisp, deep fried stick now limp and crumbling wiggled between her fingers. Sean looked over at me and made it clear that I was in no way disguising my horror. I kissed him quickly and begged him to leave as I grabbed a magazine that I had every intention of burying my face in.
"Are you sure? I feel like I shouldn't leave?" He said sincerely.
I shook my head, a silent please go and he did. I watched him leave, wishing I'd set the appointment for another time, an hour later.
"Were you on the pill?" The words hung in the air, a pair of older women in the corner tried to hide their shock. I winced as I realized she was asking me.
"Ah, no." I answered.
"Huh, I was. Yup, but I still got pregnant." The older women were looking pained and desperate to leave.
"So you have two girls?"
"Yes." I nodded.
"Were you bummed it wasn't a boy?'
"No, our girls are great, so another will be that much better."
"I sobbed so hard when I found out it was a girl. I wanted one so bad," she wiped pop from her son's chin.
"I'm having a boy," the angel face said. "But I am so gonna sob when it's time to have him. I'm scared it'll hurt. Do you want some Doritos?" She asked standing up, her bottom half clad in flannel pajamas adorned with images of kittens, her top half engulfed in a Carhartt jacket.
"That's cause you're spleening," her friend said to her. I had no idea what that meant and hoped she wouldn't bring Doritos back to the little boy.
They both looked at me. I smiled. They smiled back. "Spleening. It's whining," the young mother told me sympathetically.
I wondered if they thought I was old, uptight. I imagined what they might think if they knew how the french fry and pop snack was making me want to weep, how a small part of me was hoping that the young girl beside me was confused and that she wasn't really pregnant.
When the nurse called my name I leapt from my seat with relief. I know that my way is not the only way, but sometimes I am just crushed by how little say these babies have in the way that they are raised, the foods they are fed and the experiences they are given.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Of broken banks and dance floors
Our kitchen is beginning to resemble a kitchen again. Granted, the odd slope of the cockeyed counter and the gaping space beneath the sink make it oddly reminiscent of the break room at the Delftree Factory where I toiled as a carpenter for the Williamstown Theatre Festival so many years ago, only now instead of chain smoking I am popping banana peppers like it's my job.
The girls have loved every stage of the renovations, from watching mom and dad tear the walls down, "Mama, are you 'uh-posed to break da walls?" to being carried through the room to protect their feet from the mercilessly splinter throwing floors. Today we celebrated a milestone of sorts with more fresh hardwood floor being laid than not. The threshold from the living room to the dining room has been done for a few days now, but the girls still make Krameresque entrances to and fro as they struggle to adapt to the sudden change from berber to oak. The sound of their palms slapping explosively against the wide planks has become just another element in the soundtrack of life here.
Last night Briar brought her princess tiles out and created a small line that helped bridge the gap between old floor and new. Tonight, admiring the wide expanse of shiny floor, she reconfigured her line to create a dance floor. A 33" x 44" dance floor. Not exactly roomy, but she and Avery had the time of their lives spinning and collapsing loudly onto the wood floor on either side.
Later, after dinner at the table which we've been without for so long that Briar said, "I love this party," Sean was doing the dishes and I was leaning against the wall clucking about what a lucky woman I am, we heard a horrifying clatter. Behind a cabinet that has served as a makeshift pantry, moving from one part of the kitchen to the next as progress dictated, we saw a sudden rush of coins and porcelain and then a pudgy hand.
Avery had made her now familiar entrance, catching air as she tripped, sailing into the room and landing belly flop style on the floor, only this time her piggy bank proceeded her and made the entrance to end all entrances (literally) upon the hardwood floor. Aside from a little cut and a bruised ego, Avery was fine. The pig though, well, she was unable to be resuscitated (Sorry Deb!).
I suspect the pig will not be the last victim to shatter upon the floor, nor will the dents she left stay lonely for long, but tonight, wounds bandaged and coins stowed away, we are loving the floors and the way the girls continue to find delight in something as simple as wood*.
* I have pledged to Sean that I will stop with the wicked humor...I almost did him in tonight. Briar was dancing in her "humungous princess party dress" when i asked her to get ready for bed. She pulled the dress partway down and was delighted by how it sat perfectly on her hips. "I'm gonna show Daddy."
"Ok, honey. Tell him you're topless."
I listened to her feet smack against the floor as she ran.
Briar: "Daddy, daddy, look, I'm a top ness."
B: "I'm a toppen ness."
S: "What did you say Briar?"
B: "Daddy, look, I'm toppem ness."
B: "Yes! I'm topless!"
S: "Did mommy tell you to say that?"
B: "Yup she did. I'm topless."
This was followed by the rapid patter of her feet again and some of the deepest belly laughing I have done in a while. Once I composed myself I nodded that I'd stop, then I felt the kick of another little girlie foot inside and I started laughing all over again.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Never to be spoken
I think there are a lot of times when we parents, particularly moms, sugar coat reality. We may hold back a few details from first-time moms. There are things that just don't feel right to utter out loud like when you are so fatigued form nursing and cuddling that when they cry out in the night you cringe in the darkness. Or you sit coloring with your child all the while wishing you could just curl up with a Diet Pepsi and page through the Real Simple that has been gathering dust in the corner. These aren't pretty feelings, nor are they the predominant feelings. Most of the time I am unapologetically and indefatigably passionate about being Mom.
I revel in the dependence, the round the clock role of healer and deliverer of joy. I take full advantage of the twist of perspective, of rediscovering simple pleasures. The feel of their skin, the scent of their breath, my girls sustain me in a way that at times makes it feel as if before they arrived I'd been in a suspended state, not truly living.
These past few weeks I've realized something that I have been loathe to share. How could I possibly type the words on this blog? Could I really put out in the universe what has been consuming me? Would it change who I was? What would people think? I struggled with this truth that was at once hideous and beautiful, finally whispering it to Sean, a mixture of wonder and shame in my voice.
"I am obsessed with Avery. I just can't get enough of her." What was implicit in my words, in my mind, was that this somehow meant that I loved Briar less. I have wanted to put Avery to bed, give her baths, cuddle her and be near her. I tended to Briar, but saw those moments as impediments to time with Avery. It was making me sick and yet my desire to be near her continued undulled. He responded, but what was in his voice was not judgement, no disappointment or accusation. He sounded awed and proud.
I rolled this around in my head. The idea that I was somehow abandoning Briar had been eating me up inside. My confession and Sean's response led me to a very different truth. This time and this pull toward Avery is part of my process for preparing to welcome another daughter into our family. Briar basked in the glow of our adoration unencumbered by siblings, she was our center. When Avery arrived we shared the journey with Briar, forming a circle in which Briar had two places, as child and as guardian, making it ok for her to go back and forth between first baby and a part of an already established family, having ownership in a family that she was inviting Avery to join.
Now, as I move toward Avery, Sean is stepping in with Briar, etching new hollows in this place we share. They wrap their arms around each other in the night, drifting off to sleep together, they play ball in the kitchen and share giggles in the chair. I am able to move without remorse in this irreplaceable time, submerging myself in Avery as baby. I continue to be amazed by the wisdom that seems to spring forth as we ready for these monumental changes, whether it is the unrelenting desire to have the baby out of your body chasing away the fear of labor or the desire to have no curfew as you prepare to wean.
Things impervious to my orchestration - Sean, life, the girls, my own instinct- are allowing me to cement the bonds I will need to experience this new person without guilt and with complete abandon. It is humbling to find that I am not without prejudice, not without selfish needs, yet it has let me see that my very selfishness is opening the door for more love. It has moved me out of Sean's way with Briar, it has led me closer to Avery and, I hope, has taught me that I can't do it all the best or by myself.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Sitting here on the sofa, a cushion beneath me to defray the inevitable bowing of the cushions and my subsequent obsession with the fleeting nature of newness. The girls are finally asleep, the big girl bed for Avery has been touch and go at best. Sean has gone to the bank to deposit our checks and the animals are both asleep.
I am rapturously without chores, and find myself absolutely at peace. This week has been an arduous journey, one that I'll soon explain, with changes at work and realizations about home and relationships. An awakening? Maybe, but most certainly a a signal from the universe that our pledge to say no and be true to ourselves in 2008 was the right decision.
I am looking forward to a trip to the grocery store - restocking our cupboards (ok, makeshift shelves one hallway and two rooms down from our "kitchen"), preparing meals with fresh vegetables and offering the girls colorful snacks as we hunker in against the cold tomorrow.
It's a slow news day, but man, I think when you have them you ought to pause and take note.
Today, I raise my coffee mug to a slower pace and a family's embrace.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Been mighty quiet in these parts, and of course, by "these parts" I do mean the blog. Our house has been anything but quiet with
I thought I might never return to this beloved online haven of mine, that was until the girls gave me a nugget too rich not to share. Behold the girls* having a rollicking good time sans electronics or Disney and listen as Sean and I are wholly inappropriate and finding ourselves more relaxed than either of us can remember being in a long time.
*WARNING - If you think there are certain things about which you ought never joke, this might be something you should turn away from.
Monday, January 14, 2008
And then we'll ride the horses.
Three years, for three years I've been stumbling my way through this parenting gig. You would think that by now I would know enough to check my facts before making promises to my girls. We spent an intense 24 hours near Lake Placid doing grown-up stuff for Daddy's work. The plan was that we would return home Saturday and rest. Then Sunday we were going to Saratoga for maternity clothes for my ever-expanding middle and horse rides on the carousel for the girls.
There is a sweet carousel in Congress Park in Saratoga, alongside of which there are ponds with ducks, statues and beautiful gardens. We figured even if the grounds were covered in snow and ice, the expanse of lush park viewed atop a shining, fairy tale steed would be a delight. Our hopes were momentarily dashed when we came down the hill to see a very dark carousel in an empty park. No worries, we'd go to the carousel at the mall where I was going to hit up H&M's awesome maternity line.
We drove to the mall, assuring the girls that the horses there would not be sleeping.
~~~You know exactly where this is going, don't you? Why then, were we like the teenagers in the slasher movies, oblivious and trusting?
We pulled into the mall and the girls were nearly biting their way out of their car seats to get to the horses. Crossing the parking lot, we passed a gentleman that appeared to be having a scholarly discussion with a man in a passing car, something about the merits of driving at lower rates of speed. Despite the exposure to exceptionally colorful vocabulary and unofficial American sign language, we felt pretty incredible to be making good on our promise and taking the girls for a child-centric activity.
We passed through the requisite plumes of second-hand smoke just outside the mall doors and walked into a billowy mixture of movie theatre popcorn and perfume.
"Here we go!" Sean and I bleeted as we swang the girls.
"Horsies. HORSIES!" They squealed in unison.
I swear I gasped and time stopped as we entered the food court and saw an enormous empty space where once had sat a garishly embellished carousel. We looked at one another and stopped short of rubbing our eyes to see if perhaps they were playing tricks on us.
"Are we going tot he horsies now?" Briar asked, blue eyes wide and trusting.
"Uh-horses. Uh-horses, now. Yay, Dank yoo, dank yoo mommy-daddy," a song of thanks from Avery.
Once again, we looked at each other helplessly. Clutching a fistful of singles we walked over to a cluster of amusement park rejects and tried to paint a picture of Disneyworld come-to-life. I am always able to find a silver lining and turn a bust into a blast, but even I found the rides lackluster and the atmosphere anything but magical.
Our shoulders slumped and spirits broken, we perched helplessly on the periphery of the odd, amusement parklette. As they are wont to do, the girls demonstrated an uncanny and humbling ability to derive satisfaction*, delight even, under less than adequate circumstances. So while the absence of horses and subsequent non-existence of ANY maternity clothes at the mall, we made our way home feeling as if somehow we had actually succeeded.
*Wondering now if perhaps their synchronized waking and refusal to sleep from 2-7am this morning might in fact have been payback for defaulting on the equine promise...
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The Case of the Growing Underwear
About the other night and the whole, "They keep getting bigger and bigger." It did suck, but you guys, it was also pretty hysterical. I'll be the first to admit that the underclothes, on top and bottom, are getting bigger. I've been culling my underwear drawer every couple of weeks removing the "Oh-those-are-so-cute-I'm-wearing-those-today" underwear that end up making me feel bad because they pinch at my waist or ride up on my cheeks. The stack of pale blues and whites was indeed a mixed lot, a few being of the boy short variety that are extra elastic, but look small until their stretching capabilities are exposed.
Sitting in the living room, the girls both asleep, so many loads of laundry completed, and having Sean helping me fold was delicious. There was teasing going in both directions, with me dishing out some serious ribbing on the tattered boxers from his Structure days, as well as his fastidious and dare I say, gay Gap clerk stereotype approach to folding t-shirts. Watching his amusement grow in direction proportion to the size of my underwear was, in fact, quite hilarious.
And, to you sweet friends, asking whether I swatted, snapped or lashed out at him, no, I did not. I simply told him in very specific terms that I would no longer be needing his assistance with folding. Neither of us made it through that quasi-huffy statement without smirking.
Later, as I washed up, the comment was all but forgotten. I padded softly to our bedroom and was just about to fall into bed when I realized something was different. The bed was made, but not only was it made, the blankets and sheets were drawn on my side, a fluffy flannel invitation. And the flannel! It was the new set of sheets I'd bought. Creamy layers of flannel adorned with navy swirls, the pillows stacked and puffy.
The only thing that could have made it better was if I'd just come from the shower, all clean and rosy. Though I'd not been bruised in ego or spirit by the underwear observation, Sean had carried it with him and suffered long after I'd forgotten about it. Later, as I melted into a cocoon of flannel, he rubbed my shoulders and massaged my hips, and as I drifted off to sleep he whispered in my ear, "Pregnant and still the sexiest woman in the world."
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Can you pass me those?
We were sitting in the living room watching tv the other night. I had three hampers full of clean clothes and was determined to get them folded before morning. Halfway through the first hamper Sean absentmindedly started picking items out and folding them. I dared not breath, so grateful for the help. We sat folding in companionable silence, the stacks on the ottoman growing satisfyingly taller.
After a few minutes Sean began to smile. I paused, watching him. His while face lit up and his eyes danced. I found myself smiling back. Finally I said, "What is it? Why are you laughing?" excited to get in on the fun.
He smiled for another moment, the laughter barely contained, as he folded a pair of my underwear and placed them upon a wobbly stack. He turned and patted the last pair and smiled devilishly, "They just keep getting bigger and bigger."
Saturday, January 5, 2008
The cupboards were bare
Thursday, January 3, 2008
We both stirred as her little voice echoed down the hall,
"D'stairs. D'stairs, up mommy?"
Sean slipped from our bed and tiptoed out of our room and into the thick pre-dawn shadows. I heard the ribbons on their door rustle and could feel her smile as he crept closer to her crib.
"Ah. Daddy. Mama?" Her voice a delicious rasp.
"Sweetie," so much pride and love wrapped up in seven little letters, my heart raced.
I watched their shadow as he carried her to me, laying her beside me, where she quickly buried her face in the hollow between my chin and neck.
"Mmm, cuddle, mama. Me cuddling you," she declared proudly.
I sighed, waves of wholeness rippling through me as the last vestiges of loss slipped away, burrowing in the weave of flannel beneath me, stowed for another time.
I let myself sink deep within the moment, the weight of the sheets and blankets upon my belly solid next to the flutter of layers beside me, her bottom wiggling to and fro. Sean soon slept, his breathing even and reassuring, cradling me. After a time Avery turned her river's edge eyes on me and made a silent plea to move downstairs.
Her body pressed against mine as I gingerly led us down. She nodded as I whispered in her ear that we would cuddle. We sat almost as one beneath the creamy throw, our faces touching, smiles blossoming beneath tousled hair. We sat in the stillness, the only sound the gentle buzz and hum of warm air through the register beside us.
It was still dark when we heard it, Avery's head shot up and the smile on her face held the kind of beauty and delight most people wait a lifetime to see. It came again.
"What's that?" I asked her with a wink.
Her mouth formed a perfect oval and her eyes danced as she looked at me, head cocked toward the second floor. When the sound chimed a third time she kicked her legs, threw back her head and squealed, "Bwy-uh. S'Bwy-uh!"
I laughed and nodded, calling to Briar to join us. As her head, all golden curls and wispy kinks, poked through the door Avery bucked again, "Bwy-uh came!" She clambered up on the sofa and we sat tight against each other, wrapping the blanket round to shield the cold and fortify our union.
It wasn't long before Sean joined us and Briar slipped between his arms, her face beneath his a soft reflection; wide blue eyes and plump lips. I lowered my head and buried my face in Avery's hair, inordinately happy to have my family together in this moment, before the rush of getting ready or the squawk of morning news. Just us.
It was inevitable that the world would wake, the cat began pacing to be let out, the dog making her rounds, bumping hands with her head for a morning scratch, the sound of a not-too distant plow shooshing and clanging over ice. I tried not too wince as I allowed the moment to pass, permitting the routine to usher away the rare.
"Shh!" And then, "Shhhh, wait a minute guys!"
It was Briar, breathless and emphatic.
"What is it, honey?" I asked.
"You guys, look. Listen! It's getting to be morning time!" And in that exclaim, as she saw the dawn come, she renewed my faith that even in the ordinary there can be profound magic.
Labels: Mama Sap
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Dinner. Girls? It's dinner time.
It's been a wild couple of days trying to regain our footing at home. You might remember we went and did this before leaving. Actually more has come down since then and we are set to rip up the floor as soon as this weekend. Little things like grocery shopping and sorting through all the holiday cards we didn't deserve since we have yet to complete thank yous from our wedding or even create a birth announcement for Avery...can you do a combined Welcome to the world and We're expecting missive? Who am I kidding, if it can't be sent via email or online banking it just ain't happening.
Yesterday saw us working at making the pygmy spaces that masquerade as closets for room identification purposes, into functioning locations for our clothes. We've only lived here for four years...how long did you take to do your closets? Wait, don't answer that.
When it came time for dinner I called for the girls, I'd set them in front of The Incredibles about five minutes earlier. It was no surprise when they didn't respond, but when I called a second and third time and was met with silence I rushed to the computer.
It would seem that a couple of somebodies are suffering a serious case of jet lag.
Labels: Mama Sap