The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tutu for you.




Birthday mama's tiny dancer...lil bugger cracked a smile after each photo. And, for the record, she is every bit as edible as she looks!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happily Ever After

"Mama, you're going to live happily ever after," Avery said with a toothy grin.

"I know? But do you know why?" I asked, grinning right back.

She looked at me expectantly and then turned to Sean when he said, "We'll live happily ever after because you are our happy endings."

"Mommy and Daddy fell in love and because of that, we got to have you," I chirped.

"Yep, your mommy is my princess," Sean said.

"And Daddy, you're the queen!"

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rear View Mirror Confessions

After Briar was born I rigged both visors and the rear view mirror so that I could see her. Three different angles, if I could have figured out a fourth I would have done it. When Avery came along, and then Fin, there was even more to watch. The other day, I was driving and as I looked in the rear view mirror I saw something different. There were no little girls in the back seat, no husband sitting next to me. I smiled at my reflection, not out of relief to be alone, rather it was just having the freedom to simply examine my crow's feet.

Everyday I look in that mirror, checking on little faces, watching their long curls get caught in the wind, shades of blonde and brown whipping around dancing blue eyes or making faces of my own, calling to them to look at my face in the mirror.

My face in the mirror. I rarely see it, or maybe it's truer to say, rarely do I stop to look. Nothing is stopping me, I look through it every day, and yet it isn't for me. And therein lies my confession.

I don't do for myself, or I do less. Sean and I have talked about this many times, his worries about what I make myself do without. Despite his intentions being completely fueled by having my best interests at heart, I have always bristled. I cut the conversations short and tersely assert that, "I'm fine" and "I'll take care of it." Of course I never did.

I'm not sure why, but the other night I turned to Sean and said:

"You know what? I won't buy razors. I just won't buy them for myself, too expensive."

The look he gave me was a mixture of shock and "I told you so."

"It's like I think that as the grocery bill stacks up, adding that much just for me is too much. But you know what? I want razors. I'm going to start buying them." He was smiling at me as I gained momentum, "I'm also going to get back to writing, really writing. Not for work, not for the blogs. I'm going to write my book." I said it all in one breath, as if I'd been somehow blocked, unable to speak aloud. I rushed because on some level I feared I'd lose my nerve, talk myself out of it.

"Where is this coming from?" he asked, voice soft and slow, fearful of breaking my revelatory spell.

"I don't know, but it feels true. I'm going to work at this."We smiled at each other.

So, here's a first step, a list of things that I wouldn't allow my daughters to do:

I won't buy things for myself that cost more than $5 at the store.

I won't take the last one - cookie, pop, gum, chair, anything.

I cannot end phone calls or simply let the phone ring, even if I am elbow deep in something.

I never finish getting ready if someone needs something.

I rarely just sit, must fold, research, clean or something.

I don't nap (see the previous confession).

That's enough for today. I think I'll go have the last cup of coffee.

How about you? What don't you do? Or what are you trying to start doing?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Forever 5:34

Captured moments like familiar freckles on my face,
record an afternoon outdoors upon my skin,
sustaining me as the faces of my babies sprint,
wisps to locks and dimples fade to smooth,
left in the wake the sinew of walking legs,
the facial hollows of young women.

A few weeks ago I had one such moment with Briar.
Recalling it now through the triggers in this photo,
I am at once broken and whole.



Embracing in the splintered shadows of a spinning fan,
the scent of scallions from the market hover in the air,
a flash of sunlight through carefully chosen wild flowers,
a variegated leaf, green, then white, then green, "Stripes," you say.

Your sweaty ringlets, still pressed to your drowsy, post-nap face,
carry the smell of summers, yours, ours and those of a little girl.
Slick hardwood meet my feet as we circle the room, decadent circles,
we dance from table to sink, your legs wrapped tight around me,
my heart wholly yours, my arms and self complete.

A day at 5:34, I'll remember forevermore.


***************************************************

Want more mama-sweet? Get yourself over to Blog Nosh for Maggie's beautiful post Permanent Scars.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Journal of a Traveler

Just like her mama, messing up sayings and mixing up white knuckling and nail biter as we embarked on our first flight.


Boarding passengers shrank from the sight of us...suckers, she was more agreeable than any adult flying the unfriendly skies.


Without exception, no less than 1/3 of every airport purchased meals is unworthy of ingestion.


Air travel can suck, fixing stuff at the airport can suck way harder.


I knew San Francisco was going to be cool, but I had no idea the airport bathroom stalls would look like a Studio 54 flashback.


Lost car seats, canceled and missed flights, late bags and general rudeness - Thanks, Southwest.


BART had a narcotic effect on Fin.


The streets of San Francisco (How could I post without getting in some Karl and Michael lovin'?) had me rubbernecking.



I will cop to a bit of vanity in that I am generally loathe to post unflattering shots of myself, but good god, we look like we both had collagen injections on our lips by a back alley plastic surgeon...wtf?!



I am so small town, this picture was taken solely because the shoes were $600. If that's your ass, I am sorry, wasn't trying to shoot it.


We got all dolled up for the last night of BlogHer--see the necklace that less than 24 hours would be stolen from a plastic security bowl. (Deb, I am just devastated, please know I loved it for every second that I had this incredible new-mama gift you gave me!)


It was neither sidekick nor alcohol that made me think as I rode the Macy's escalator, "Is that really how the face of a mannequin meant to represent a young girl should look? Really?"


My missed flight brethren.


Pedi, despite not being girlie, after four solid days of exposed heels and toes, it needs to become a part of my routine, if not necessarily my lexicon.


I shared a wild night I barely remember in Baltimore with...Fin.


As I left the Baltimore airport scant hours after having arrived, I stopped at a non-goddessy espresso bar.

"Could I have a skim iced latte?"

If that's skim milk I'll eat my hat.

Luckily I found the goddess shortly thereafter and got my fix on, despite it being an "airport Starbucks."



I'd be lying if I didn't say that, yes, I really considered it. See 'em? They're tic tacs. I had no toothbrush people, I was sporting chenille on my front teeth.



Made it home. Everything looked this blurry thanks to so many days in contacts.


The girls were so happy to have their lil sis home they insisted on sitting just so with her.


And apperently I aged like ten years in the time I was gone.


Did they bathe at all while I was gone??*


You made it to the bottom of this? Way to hang in there. I was gone for five days. It was good, I met great people that I failed to take pictures of, I cemented friendships, trembled too much to introduce myself to some, yet I spread my wings and really had a magical time. But coming home? There are not words to describe how fiercely I love this little family I have created.


*Sean not only bathed the girls, he took them to the farmer's market,
an aquarium, a 3rd birthday with a bounce house and more. You are an incredible husband and dad, babe. I love you.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

SlogHer

Left the hotel before 9am yesterday. Bolted to SFO for an 11 am flight.

WRONG.

Flight delayed. Rescheduled. Waited with Grandma for 1:30 flight.

Necklace stolen. Car seat reclaimed and cumbersome.

Wait. Wait. Wait.

Flight to Vegas harrowing.

"Worry not, they are holding your planes." YAY!

WRONG.

Plane left. Amanda and Fin not so much.

5:45pm agent finally talks to me.

Off to Baltimore. Thought we were going to die in turbulence over Denver.

Arrived here at 2:45 am. No drinking craptastic Starbucks disk coffee.

Fly out at "10:55am" today.

We shall see. Not holding my breath.

I nominate Fin for "Best baby ever to travel the x-country twice in a week."

Will post pics and better words when i don't feel as though I have macrame back muscles and back alley dumpster teeth.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

If I promise will you let me?

"Mama? Can I come? Will you let me come on the trip with you? " She was watching me pack and she sat, legs crossed daintily on the edge of the bed.

"Oh, sweetheart, I can't. It's for work," I said softly as I looked for socks.

"But mama? I promise I'll stay in my seat and I won't cry. If I do that won't you please take me?" Her eyes were wide and there was the hint of a smile, like she knew that this would do it.

"Honey, I really can't. I don't have a ticket for you," as I said this the smile slipped away and she solemnly folded a blanket.

"Ok, but you are going to need this. I don't want you to be lonely."


Once again, I find myself gripped by the terror of how fleeting it all is. I know she'll be fine, I know I should go, but as I zip up a suitcase and tell my sweet, firstborn that she can't come, I cannot help but feel the excruciating pain of missing. Missing a single moment of Briar.




I love you, sweet Briar. Always my first baby. Always, I promise.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"No spill," my ass.




These would have better been called,
"No Bubbles, No Fun, No Dice, Mama."

Damn $5.99 end-cap teases.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Girl Crush

Daughter crush, really. And father of daughters crush.

For all my fretting and frustration, I have been having a good time - falling in love with these girls and settling into a rhythm. I am sure there will be hiccups, but taking two ours Friday afternoon at the beach in Bolton and then three hours in my own backyard on Saturday, I am refreshed.

Who knew you could just have fun with your kids?! No projects. No hassles. Just together. Loving it.

The sigh that escaped me also threatened to tip me. Tomorrow I am off to get my hair done and then Thursday it is off to BlogHer. I hope to spend many hours in between doing silly things like walks in the rain with one daughter at a time and swatting Sean for stunts like telling me the bug on the chair was a freaking queen ant and that we were under attack.

Here's a taste of what has had me so happy:





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Friday, July 11, 2008

The Dark Side of Mermaids

You know, it hasn't always been singing and swimming for Ariel.
It took years for those fiery locks to grow past her clam shells.
She suffered great injustices before finding Erik.
Just look at the Play Dough atrocity of her youth.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

CSI Barbie




It's a tough life being a Barbie at our house.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Lusty Update

Get your minds out of the gutter. If you aren't a regular reader you have no way of knowing that I don't write about lust, the boudoir is the one thing that is off limits here at The Wink. You might catch me cussing, I may on occasion bitch, and every once in a great while I will say something that I will live to regret, but after sharing everything from naked belly shots and mortifying maternity underwear stories to raw admissions of failure, I feel pretty ok keeping my-still-lusty-marriage private.

Wow, so off track. Back to the update on lust, more specifically our summer of lust, the object of lust being...a swing-set cum play structure thing. Our plan had been to buy a kit or something that someone would erect in our yard. After much scoping and contemplating, we decided that with three daughters, the likelihood was that we would have up to six kids wanting to play on it at a time. We needed something bigger.

Being the capable people that we are (notice how I refrain from using "insane" which might be slightly closer to the truth), we decided that we could create something better suited to us for less if we did it ourselves. Let me tell you, there have been more than a few times since then when I have said in no uncertain terms that we made a colossal mistake. However, the day I saw this:











I knew all of this:





was absolutely worth it.

So there you have it, our lust has been sated.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Remember the person who...

Do you remember a person, maybe it was a neighbor, maybe a teacher, who did something that forever changed your life? I remember Mrs. Ingman crossing the street and holding me, I was maybe 7 years old, as I vomited again and again on the sidewalk below or hilltop home. It didn't form who I've become, but it has stayed with me, a reminder that we all want to be held, we all fear things and that in those moments of fear, a little comfort can go a long way.

Today over on Blog Nosh there is a post I picked out by a great writer named Jack. The post is about courage and conviction. I really found it, and subsequent posts by Jack, to be incredibly great reads. Pop over and check it out.

And stay tuned, I'm working on another post about remembering. It is an already treasured memory of lifting a still drowsy from a nap Briar in my arms, my face buried in her damp tendrils, and dancing in the waning afternoon sunlight. It's the kind of memory I know will sustain me.

Sigh, lucky mama.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Bunny Beware

Have I ever mentioned that I am unusually good at Wii Bowling?

I haven't?

Well I really ought to have told you, you see, it's very important as I regale you with this morning's trip to the park. Let's see, where shall I begin? Oh, yes, last night after the block party...if you followed me on Twitter you would already know so much about the party, specifically "Botox McImplants." We came home a bit early, Sean had started feeling a bit green in the gills and before we knew it was running a temp of well over 100, 102 point something I think. Wanting to prevent getting the girls sick he opted for the downstairs couch to lay his sizzling head.

I took the girls up for a bath and stories. A full day of tromping up and down the street, swinging and going "back to the bush" on their scooters (yes, Avery can ride a scooter and much more with her broken leg) had left them refreshingly compliant in the march to sleep. After they were both drifting off I washed up and then retrieved Fin from her trusty swing. She kicked and gurgled beside me as I hungrily paged through a Koontz book, despite my head lolling back about every third paragraph, it felt like a huge treat. Once Fin fell asleep I checked on Sean and then went back upstairs to go to sleep.

Rather than bore you with the excruciating details (nightmares, startling sleep jerks, uncovered arms, dropped stuffed animals, wishy-washy feedings and more) I'll just say that my sleep, if you can call it that, was interrupted approximately every 23 minutes, give or take a minute. This morning as Fin began a series of ,"I want you to offer me a breast, but I don't want to nurse, I am too fussy to sleep but I don't want to be awake," shenanigans I closed my eyes with what I can only imagine was a seriously pained look and did some quick mama math. It was very clear that the only thing to do, despite every fiber of my being not wanting to do it, was to get up thus preempting the more painful manner of rising at the hands, feet and screams of toddlers. This decision was made ever so slightly easier as I recalled that, in a moment of uncharacteristic forethought, I had preset the coffee maker, meaning all I would have to do was press a button and be 8 minutes to heaven.

Fin and I crept down the stairs, being ready for and desiring the waking of little ones are two very different things. She generously sat somewhat quietly in her swing as I had a religious moment courtesy of Starbucks. Briar and Ave came down about 15 minutes later, what followed was an excerpt from the life of a short order cook and personal assistant. After 3 hours of that mama needed a break.

"But what about the bunny in the title?" you ask. I'm getting there, bear with me, it would appear the lack of sleep has adversely impacted my storytelling <---note the crafty avoidance of the effect vs affect dilemma? Hmm-mm, I use a similar tactic in verb conjugation when speaking in my now-rusty Spanish.

I strapped Finley to my chest and settled Briar and Avery in the wagon to head out for a walk. The streets were empty, even the city's earliest risers seemed to be taking a break on this holiday weekend. We giggled at cats lounging in the street, bade hello to singing birds and lamented the trash littered about the streets, a leftover from the masses who parked along the streets for fireworks. Walking in silence, Fin gumming on my thumb, I felt pretty close to perfect, which, after my last post, is a spectacular revelation about the hope hiding around the darkest corners of parenting (Hear that Mrs. Chicken? Don't read too much into the dark, it's still amazing. You are going to love it and be incredible!).

"Mom, can we go to the pawk?" It was Briar who asked and Avery who clapped with glee.

"Sure, let's go to the park." And so we headed off, the girls chortling and chirping about which slides they'd go on and how high they'd swing. I pulled the wagon across uneven cement (yay bumps!) and up sandy hills (yay cardio!) and finally over a grassy bluff to the park. We had the place to ourselves and we played hard until my arms shook and my skin glistened with sweat.

"Ok, home!" There wasn't even a peep of dissent, sweet, sweet sleepy acquiescence. We skirted the ponds and pointed at ducks as we made our way out of the park. Once we were on the street we fell silent, each of us (except a sleeping Fin) content to just watch the trees and feel the air, that is until we spied the bunny. Ok, who am I kidding?

I saw the bunny and I screeched with excitement. The girls searched the trees and bushes ahead of us, nit seeing the bunny, but delighted by my excitement. "Do you see it?" I asked breathlessly. They did the universal head-bob stall tactic, not wanting the moment to end, but having absolutely no idea where the thing that was making me act like a child was.

"It's right there. Right there, do you see it under those branches?" I asked as I gesticulated wildly. Briar did, Avery did not.

"Ok. Ok, watch, mama will make it move." Now, remember the Wii bowling thing? "Watch, mama will roll something over there to get it to run." I searched the ground around me for something to roll. I picked up a couple of pine cones, but they were the dry, flaky light pine cones, not the gnarly heavy ones that would have worked so nicely. There were a few pebbles, but nothing that could travel the root-strewn path ahead. Finally, my eyes landed on a piece of crumbled pavement.

"Ok, watch," I said, and by that time Avery had managed to spot the bunny. They watched, rapt, as I wound up and lobbed the stone forward. It sailed about four feet and then landed on the ground moving forward in an aggressive roll. The bunny sat beneath the limbs, paws and nose still working on leaves. The grey orb picked up speed as it rolled away from us. The girls leaned forward in the wagon.

Watching the chunk of concrete I began to feel ill, the bunny wasn't moving and this thing was on track to not so much make the bunny run as it was to keep the bunny still. "There it goes mama, it's going to the bunny," Briar declared.

"Move bunny, move! I thought in a near panic. When it was about 6 inches away the bunny finally turned. I looked on in horror as the girls watched, it hit a root and hopped up, just as it did the bunny launched itself in the air, the little white puff of tail sailed up as the rock landed hard, like create a cloud of dirt dust hard, in the exact spot the bunny had been. I think I might have let loose a whimper as the girls turned to me and said, "You did it, you made him run, mama."

I nodded and gave silent thanks that they didn't have cause to say, "You got him, mama. You got him with the rock."

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Powerlessness of Three

8 and half weeks, that's how long I have been a mom to three girls. Three beautiful daughters, each with her own magic and each possessing a key, the point of which slips through me, a perfect fit. The teeth grip me with insistence, turning my soul over and inside out.

Watch me.

Rock me.

Feed me.

Hold me.

Me.

You.


The inexorable waves of guilt wash over me, each thicker and heavier than the last. I stroke Fin's brow and rather than feeling the bliss of flawless skin and rosebud lips, my insides quiver, the echoes of what I am not doing run wild. Briar sits alone, her slender arms wrapped around her knees, toenails ragged.

She chews her nails, toes and fingers. I have no idea where this quirk comes from and it shreds my insides to know that at not-yet-four she already has these nervous habits. She apologizes too. That's me. I'm sorry, always I'm sorry. I don't want that for her, I want her to rock every day of her life with an unapologetic spirit, seizing what is hers, what she has earned and what she deserves. The baby wiggling and fussing in my arms calls me back, breaking my reverie and leaving Bri alone, wrapped in her own arms.

Looking back into this third set of blue eyes, barely two months old and already keenly aware of when I am mailing it in. Attempts to type are met with writhing, stolen peeks at books and magazine are responded to with equal consternation.

Mama.

Me.

Hold me.

Watch me.


I want to tell her how much I want to hold her, how I want nothing more than to scoop her in my arms and run beneath a willow tree. We could lie for hours just watching the delicate leaves flickering along the slick limbs. We'd gasp and giggle at passing clouds. Long, slow nursing sessions, her little hands upon my breast, tracing circles on my side. My eyes would close, no need to watch, instead just feeling. Kissing her head as my body settles, limp and relaxed against the gentle slope og grass.

Avery is quiet, too quiet. I carry Fin to find her. Disheveled bangs feather against the olive fabric of the couch, eyes unlike anything I've ever seen before, so blue and big, almost too big for her tiny face stare vacantly at the screen.

"Ave."

She turns slowly, her eyes lifting to see me and the sudden light and smile that race across her face hit me with an emotional force that makes me tremble.

"Mommy!"

"Yes, baby?"

"You here? You sit? You come and sit with me? Right here?" She pats the spot beside me, a look of hope on her face. I smile and move toward her, excited to sit. She'll press her little body against mine, her hands trace the constellation of freckles on my arms as she murmurs, "One freckle, one 'nother one freckle."

"Mom? Mom? Mom!" Briar calls from the other room.

I am annoyed, heartbroken and panicked all at once. FIn begins to squirm in my arms and Avery simply turns away, prepared to not be picked as Briar screams my name again. I want to run, but I can't decide which way to go. I want to soothe, but the math doesn't work. I have three girls and two arms. They each pull from a different direction and the only constant is my broken heart, my fear that I have failed.

I remind myself that my expectations are my own, but the guilt of wanting the best for them leaves me feeling ashamed. I am trying not to say sorry, trying to know that this is the only love they know. Some days I do better at this than others.

Today was hard.

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