Thursday, August 15, 2013

you're gonna miss me by my hair

Dear Sloane,

You are 32 months old this month (so you are 2 and 8 months)...getting closer to three everyday.

You start dance class next month and preschool in January.


You talk all the time.  You are pretty enamored with fairy tale like stories right now (themes that include princesses, witches, dragons, dinosaurs and explorers are your favorites).  Pocahontas gets a lot of play. You love to dress up in hats, jewelry and shoes.  You play pretend almost all the time, although you do love for someone to pitch to you (you bat left-handed, Papa G is so proud).

You are still interested in your play kitchen and love to go to Dillons (so you can drive the green car cart) and get groceries. Blue is your favorite color and you love to ask other people "what's your favorite color?"

Unfortunately you know that every time you go to the store you can probably talk your mom into getting you a little something. Luckily at 2, this tends to be $1 for m&ms or stickers (note to self: break this soon).  


You think bubbles are magical (I agree)


You are a champion bedtime staller and know which technique is most successful (just one more kiss and a hug).  You are still in your crib, but we found you a big girl bed and you are excited to try it out soon. Mommy and daddy are stalling this time, it's so nice to know that when we put you in bed that's where you will stay for the night.

I know it's ridiculous, right?  But I figure I can resell it when she grows out of it. 

Your favorite animal is still the owl (which you call "whoo-hoo") and you love your dinosaurs too. You love going to Bible class on Sunday to see your friends and make art projects.  Your cousins are your "best friends".  You like to hang out at the theatre with mommy or daddy and feel very at home on the stage (who would have guessed).

It is a joy to listen to your mind work, even when it's against me.

I am not always sure I want another baby, but I do wish I could relive the time you were a baby pretty often. But I try not to while away this time wishing for the past, because I know one day I will miss this too.

xox,
mama


title courtesy of that Anna Kendrick song...Cups (You're Gonna Miss Me)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Making insecurity into an art

The internet can be a little rough if you are sensitive.  I posted that I am struggling with depression last month and while I am feeling about 74.5% better I know better than to go poking around on the internet.  

For the past month I haven't laid eyes on Pinterest.  I have not kept up with my blogroll and I haven't been internet shopping.  And besides adding back the SSRI I know that the internet diet is making me happier. 

About a year ago one of my friends was suffering from depression over not being good enough. She would find herself comparing herself to all of the blogs she was reading (including mine). I was shocked.  I was like-- hey girl, you know I'm just like you.  I hide candy from my kid, my house is a mess and I am not sure when I washed my hair last.  But I don't really post all of that (all the time).  I post what I am generally happy about in life, and the one shot (with a soft focus) that is actually pretty flattering of me and my surroundings. 

So she quit. She quit reading blogs. She already didn't do Facebook and she isn't on Pinterest.  Epic win. 

I wasn't too addicted to Pinterest in the first place, let's face it I haven't really been cooking for about 2.5 years (yes that's the exact age of my child) and those fitness posts make me want to vomit (which isn't a healthy way to lose weight) I married an actor, and I work for a non-profit = dream home with a clawfoot bathtub, window seat and 4.5 bathrooms, ain't happening. 

And on Facebook it's been pretty easy to hide, "unfriend" and avoid people that make me angry, eye roll a little too often, or feel unworthy.  

BUT the occasional news story or testimonial shows up on my blogroll or news feed and it sends me into a place where it's hard for me to be.  

In my life, I feel the most inadequate about my mothering and my view on mothering. I feel this way because I don't (nor have I ever) want to stay home with my child.  

Before I ever had a child, I knew that I didn't want to stay home.  But before I had a child I didn't know that I would feel like I had just admitted I was a Nazi sympathizer when I said that. Before I had a child I didn't realize how many articles are posted online (what seems like daily) about this "important choice"  

I read a lot of blogs by stay at home moms and wanna-be stay at home moms and love what they have to say.  BUT when they happen to post about why they stay home or even how to stay at home, I can recognize the merit in their words but it makes me want to run shrieking into a dark closet and wonder what's wrong with me. 

I don't know why I let it affect me the way I do.  Of course some people are all judgy and high and mighty about how awesome they are for staying home, but the majority of people aren't like this.  It isn't the judgy posts that make me re-examine my mothering motives, it's just the everyday casual ones.  

It makes me think, "why isn't this ever on my mind?"  On Mondays I always miss Sloane.  But I am also deliciously happy to return to being needed by others, to being creative and in charge.  It doesn't have anything to do with Sloane...it has to do with how I am the best me (and thus best mom) I can be. 

sigh...

And you know what sucks.  There aren't nine million articles and testimonials and things calling for men to sacrifice and "stay home with their baby" and give them the best caretaker etc...ad flipping nauseum.

 It's not that "I don't know why we can't all just get along." It's that there isn't this "pressure" on men to feel like if they don't want to or don't stay home they are any less of an awesome parent.  

Beyond this, I know how I would be if I stayed home.  And frankly, it's frightening.  It's like facing one million Sundays in a row. 


It would be me who looked like this.

So I will fight the quiet riot in my heart, work on accepting myself and in the meantime, don't look for me online.  I am probably off playing with my kiddo in the time I have to spend with her before it's off to work.


title courtesy of my current anthem by ms. difranco: present/infant

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sleep, sleep I couldn't sleep tonight...

Dear Sloane,

You are two and a half, and every bit of that half.

You are busy, strong-willed and wonderful.  Sometimes to my chagrin, you have your own fashion sense emerging.  Like the look seen below, which I have dubbed your "Samuel L. Jackson".  You always wear your blue velvet beret backwards ("it's cool") and your sunglasses are usually on upside down.


You enjoy helping in the garden, but never miss a beat when asked about the vegetables we grow. "I not like tomatoes".


We finally phased your pacifier out to only in bed.  It was a rough few days, I am hoping it won't be as rough to phase it out completely, BUT I know to expect the unexpected with you.




You and I had TOO much fun at 4 days of the River Festival.  You took naps in your stroller so that we didn't have to leave the park except when it was time for bed.  It was beautiful weather.  You liked ice cream, the big art birds display, making crafts, watching the SCT CTA dancers, the puppets and just watching all the people. You were sad when I told you that we had to leave and it would be over.



You went to VBS with Aunt Tay.


Love love love ice cream with m&ms.  We walked to Yogurtini and treated you on a rainy cool day.

I love how you think (you would say "hink" on all "th" words you leave off the "t") and you are always thinking.  Bedtime has been hard because you would love to stay up and play all night, or at least sleep with mommy and daddy.  You love to talk, talk, talk and we love to hear what you come up with.

Keep on thinking baby,

Mama

lyrics from My Fair Lady-- I could've danced all night...you love to sing this one!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

She is the film of a book of the story of the smell of her hair

via
I hope so.

In my life I have battled depression since about age 20 and anxiety since about age 5.

I remember clearly the first time I had a panic attack at age 5--- I did not under any circumstances want to go to gym class. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and thinking "what is wrong with me?"

I couldn't understand (and sometimes still cannot) why it seems like a sunny day for everyone else when I am wearing a suit of rain.

This is something that I am terrified to pass on to my daughter. I am not "terrified" in the sense that everyone tosses around that word. I am not "terrified" as you were watching the latest horror movie. I am terrified in the way that my entire body shuts down and I can't process another thought.

The worst thing about being a parent is that our child stands to inherit the worst parts of us. For me it isn't thinking about my thighs, my freckles, my tendency to clear my throat too often when nervous...it's a mental illness.

Many times in my life I have had someone say something right just in the nick of time, regarding my depression and anxiety. And I think it happened again last night.

My husband said. "For two months you haven't been yourself, you just seem sad all the time."

So it's time to get serious about fighting again. Because if my daughter does happen to become depressed or anxious, I hope that she is always able to reference how to battle.

Because that's what her mama does.

Lyrics courtesy of Counting Crows: Tuesday in Amersterdam

Friday, May 10, 2013

Take me to the place where I feel no shame

This isn't a letter to Sloane. Because this is all the stuff that I try to hide from her.

One of my parenting philosophies (which is,at times, hard to live up to) is that I WILL NOT comment negatively about my body, or the bodies of other women.  I do not want to have a 7 year old obsessed with her thighs, or calories, or one who judges others for their thighs. She will receive more than enough of that in the world.

But sometimes it's so hard! Not because I am chomping at the bit to criticize, but as I am trying so hard lately to get into shape (and lose some weight) it is ever-present on my mind, probably to an unhealthy extent.

It creeps into my thoughts when she offers me a cookie, or asks me if we can have ice cream.  It's not that I want to divulge to my 2 year old that mommy doesn't want the added calories of ice cream. It's that I don't want to make a big deal out of ice cream.

I don't want to broach the idea of "junk food" at this time. But I must have made a face about ice cream the other night because my little darling caught that expression and ran with it. "You not like ice cream Mommy?, why you not eat it mommy?"

She knows what she needs to know now. She knows that she needs to eat her meal before she gets desserts. She knows that some foods are treats and some foods are for meals.  I don't want her to view treats as negative, because she's a kid.  She doesn't need to worry about that, and frankly treats aren't inherently negative. Her dad and I are in charge of making sure she gets enough nutrition.  Her grandma is in charge of providing the sweets.

So my prayer lately is to make sure that while I am struggling to get back on track I don't inadvertently steal the joy out of certain foods for my child. Once I am consistently exercising the way I should be again I will be eating those foods again too. I hope that I am instilling the fun of getting outside and  getting exercise   playing together.

I pray that even though I can't articulate the way that this issue affects me I will do the right thing for my daughter by doing the right thing for myself.

I pray that while I work on myself I also take a little time to see myself the way my daughter sees me. She looked at this picture on my iPhone and said "Mommy you peety, you look like Belle." (a Disney compliment from Sloane, at this time, is of the highest esteem).




title courtesy of The Wailin' Jennys: Beautiful Dawn

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2 girls together just a little less alone


US 

The year I turned 21 was the most tumultuous of my lifetime, having a preterm baby, going to graduate school, getting a divorce...none of those things have anything on the year of 21. I not only have a mind full of memories, I also have a permanent reminder on my body of that year.  

My best friend Breann is one of those people. The person who knows when to visit, or text or call, or send a card, she has a sixth sense for my depression. And the winter of my discontent  2000-2001 qualified in a big way.  Breann drove from Iowa to Manhattan to stay with me for about a week.  We were both having a less than stellar year, but it seemed easier having her by my side.  And as 21 year olds often do, we had the perfect idea. 

"Let's commemorate this year, our friendship and anything in between by getting a tattoo!"   If there is a type of person who has a tattoo (which I think there is less and less of a type for that) I am not the type.  Because I am a control freak and somehow letting someone mark permanently on my body seems a little out of control for me.  

In fact when we were 18 in college Breann and a few other girls from my dorm went to Lincoln Nebraska and got tattoos and I politely declined. But this year I was different. 

In our infinite amount of 21 year old wisdom we made our decision at about 5pm, went to make an appointment for the next morning and slept on our choice (12 hours is good for a permanent decision right?).  We both got the same tattoo, which we located on album art in a BMG music (remember those?) cd catalog (I was a member, of course, all the cool kids were).  

No we weren't/aren't big Marcy Playground fans...we got the ring of flowers, minus the strange guy




What was I thinking? I really didn't think much at that point. I ran on pure reaction and emotion.  I wanted so badly to be someone who was not myself.  I longed for an anachronism. I did so many things that I wouldn't recognize. This is the only one people can still see.  

And now...it's like a lovely scar. It's the symbol of a million things, not the least of these enduring friendship, of two girls who could have easily self-destructed, but instead persisted.

PS As for tattoos and me now, I have loosened the reigns on my control freakishness-- I want to get this one touched up and add another one with Breann. And I am not opposed to another one, if the well-thought-out mood strikes me.   

Title courtesy: two little girls: ani difranco

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

you be my sunny day, I'll be your shade tree

Lots of stress at work equals having to shut myself into the guest room in the evenings and scrap until I feel tired.  I got 5 pages done this week/weekend. That's the most productive I've been since Sloane was an infant.  I have way too many supplies right now and sometimes that hinders my creativity.  It was a lot easier to get started by limiting myself to one of my Studio Calico kits (from when I subscribed *sob*).  Once I got a couple of layouts out of my system I opened up some more supplies.

Thankfully I can go back through my semi-monthly letters to Sloane on my blog to see what was happening around the time that the pictures of her were taken so that I can journal on the pages. Otherwise, I've learned that my memory for detail is shot.

little bald Sloane telling me "more" Mama! 

One of my favorite photos Viva la Sloane! 
Loved that fluffy yellow gingham

Title courtesy of Blake Shelton: Honey Bee