Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Her Grandmother's Granddaughter


Mom,

How I wish you could have met her. She reminds me so much of you -- she has blue eyes like yours, and her laugh is infectious.  Her favorite color is pink.  You would have seen the irony in that.


She loves to sing.  We sing good morning to each other and we make up silly songs.  Sometimes we sing the Frozen soundtrack at the top of our lungs in the car.

She loves to cuddle with me.  In the evening, before bedtime, she curls up next to me on the couch. She talks a lot now.  Sometimes she tells me about her day, or about what we are watching on TV.

We like to read books together.  She likes to point at the pictures and tell me what she sees.  Sometimes she asks what the word is, and then she repeats it in the cutest little tentative voice.  It feels like she is learning 100 words a day.

When she wakes up too early, I take her in the big bed with me for a cuddle.  I am instantly transported back, 30-plus years and a couple hundred miles, to the big bed in the house in New Jersey.  I can still feel how much I was loved.  If nothing else, I hope to pass that on.

We miss you every day, but especially today.  Happy birthday.



(also posted at blah blah blog)

Monday, August 4, 2014

And this, too.

There are one or two amazing things I forgot to write about in my earlier post.

A few days ago, she got a scratch on her leg, and I told her that I would kiss her boo-boo all better.  She loves that.  Now she asks for me to kiss her boo-boo every day, even though you can barely see anything.  And then, this weekend, I had a scratch on my chin.  She pointed to it, said, "Mommy boo-boo.  Kiss?"  And then she gave me the biggest, wettest kiss.

In our new family room, we have a blue striped throw blanket.  Every evening, when she starts to get tired, she brings me the blanket and says "Baby."  That means that she wants me to wrap her up in the blanket like a little swaddled baby and cuddle with her.

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I love these things so much.  I hope they never end.

Two

It's been a long time since I've written.  So long that the baby is not a baby anymore -- she turned two last month.

At two, she is a bona fide toddler.  She runs and she jumps and she climbs and she talks and she squeals and she laughs and she throws the most ridiculous temper tantrums.

A few weeks ago, we were in a chain restaurant near our new house -- yes, a house! in the suburbs! -- and after a string of me telling her to stop doing things -- no climbing, no squirming, no throwing food, no kicking mommy -- she wrote me a song.  "Mommy, no!" is destined to be a hit, someday.

She knows what she likes and what she doesn't like.  She loves matchbox cars, peeling the paper off of her crayons, anything from Frozen.  We were in Walmart right before her birthday, and she saw a whole display of Elsa dolls.  I tried to walk past them, but she is too quick.  "Oooh, Mommy!" she squealed.  "Let it gooooooo!"

She now has one of those dolls.  How do you say no to that?

We go to gymnastics every Saturday.  She loves to tumble, to climb on things, to swing from bars and rings.

This child has almost no fear.  A few weeks ago, I would have told you that she has no fear, but a few tumbles down the stairs have changed that.  She is now averse to the stairs.  She stands at the landing and cries, "Mommy, carry!"  It doesn't matter how full my arms are -- or how empty Daddy's arms are -- she only wants me to carry her.  No amount of scooting or crawling or handholding will do.  Only carrying, and only Mommy.

I'm sure I will miss this when she is a teenager and hates me to the core of my being.

This weekend, we went to the grocery store.  While we were waiting in a long checkout line, she lost it.  Not even stickers from the cashier would make it better.  So, I took her out to carry her, her diaper bag, and, two heavy bags of groceries.

Finally, we made it to the car -- on the second level of the parking garage, of course. I had to put her down to find the keys.  I stood her up between my legs and told her to put her hand on the car.  Instead, she ran.

She only got a few steps away before I caught her.  When I did, she gave me this look -- you know the look, the look you give someone when you are taunting them, when you are waiting for a reaction.  In that moment, I could see the future teenager that is going to challenge me on everything.

I was so scared and angry; I gave her a whole speech about running away from Mommy in a place where there were cars, and she could have gotten hurt, and NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.  She laughed.  I told her that I was so angry with her that we couldn't listen to Frozen in the car for the rest of the day.  Her reaction changed.  "No, Mommy, no!  Let it go!"

Indeed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Post-Vacation Realization

This weekend, I finally figured out the one thing I really didn't understand before having kids. 

Before, at the end of a long day of work, I could relax in the evening (in my quiet, clean house). And if that wasn't enough, there was always the weekend to recharge. And if THAT wasn't enough, there was always a three-day-weekend or vacation to look forward to. 

Now, my weekends are lots of toddler-wrangling surrounded by piles of laundry and broken up by errand-running. And today, at the end of a long weekend mini-vacation just a short drive away, I am just as tired, if not more so, than at the beginning. 

So that leads to my new-found understanding. It's not the sleep deprivation that you have when your kid is a newborn that is the killer. (That ends, thank goodness.) It's that, with kids, there is no real "down time" to relax and recharge. Maybe ever. 

This is not really a complaint: I wouldn't trade my kid for the cleanest, quietest house or all the fancy spa vacations in the world. But sometimes, I wish I could have it both ways. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Truth About Having A Baby

I read so many of blogs and Facebook posts about pregnancies, birth stories, and the early days with babies. Everyone seems to have had such lovely experiences. I think that's why I never wrote anything of substance about mine: other than the outcome -- my delightful daughter -- my experiences were not pleasant (understatement of the century). I had a challenging pregnancy; I had a long, painful, and traumatic childbirth experience, the high point of which was the surgical intervention; my first few weeks with my daughter were painful because of complications from surgery and panicked because of breastfeeding difficulties. None of it was pretty, and almost a year after the baby's birth, I am still traumatized.

Don't read any further if you're squeamish.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I woke up at 6:15 this morning to the sound of the monitor. It wasn't a full-fledged cry, and it wasn't one of the whimpers that mean that she's not fully awake yet; it was somewhere in between. It gave me enough time to run to the bathroom and get her bottle warmed before I got her.

When I got in the room, she was standing up in her crib, supported by one hand on the toy piano we have suspended from the footboard. She was, as always, happy to see me. And despite my lack of sleep -- she had awoken, briefly, at midnight, and her dad's alarm went off at 3 am -- I was beyond happy to see her.

Diaper, bottle, playtime on the floor, breakfast, another diaper, more playtime, another bottle, snuggles, and a nap: a morning just like every other weekend morning.

This was my mother's day; my first one as a mom. It was also the first one in a very long time that hasn't been overwhelmingly tinged with sadness and loss. I still miss my mother terribly, but I have so much more now than I ever did before. I am so very lucky.

Practicing her pouty face.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

At Eight Months

My daughter is eight months old today.

Flower Girl.

She gives sloppy open mouth kisses when she feels like it, and has been known to applaud the weather forecast. She giggles when you do something unexpected, like blow raspberries on her belly. She pinches me and pulls my hair, a lot, usually when I am feeding her. 

She holds on to me so tightly when I pick her up when she's crying in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning too. She pushes me away when she wants to play with her toys. She likes the toys with the flashing lights, or the ones that make noise or play music, more so when someone close by is sleeping.

She likes to roll over mid-diaper change and wave her little butt in the air. I know I shouldn't laugh, but I do anyway. She calls me "Da Da," even though I keep telling her that my name is "Mama." I know that, eventually, she'll get it right.

She can crawl or roll from one end of the house to the other in seconds. She likes to climb on me, and now she uses my limbs, or whatever else she can find, to pull herself up to standing.  

She is a force of nature, this baby. She is exhausting and exhilarating. And I have never loved anything or anyone as fiercely.