Thursday, November 15, 2012


There a holiday fair held by my company.  I'm going to try making various things to sell.  I figured it would be a great way to keep creating stuff, do some things unrelated to parenting almost every day, and hey, if I sell anything I get extra cash, which isn't too shabby.  Assuming I make more than I spend on the materials. Oh, business! How terrible I am about you!  Things I've made so far: knit neck warmers, and a practice batch of caramels. I'm thinking of also making some gingerbread cookies. And if I really pull it together, some sewn gift items, too.  Only thirteen more days to go, so not sure how successful I'll be, but I'll do my best.

Yesterday I re-instituted a stair climbing regime at my job.  I work on the fifth floor.  The lactation room is in the basement.  That means if I walk down and up every time I pump, I travel the stairway six times each work day.  If I climb my way up in the morning that's seven times.  Since I've fallen off the wagon when it comes to regularly going to the gym, this could help me feel a lot better without changing very much about my day.

This weekend my guy and I benefit from two date nights while we have friends and family babysit, and one activity with friends each day.  I'm positively giddy at the prospect.  I could really use some social time - my patience has been thin recently.  When minor annoyances tick me off in ways that make me clench my jar it's clear the time has come for a break.  So this weekend is full of breaks: with people to hold down the fort, people to hold the baby, people to talk to about non-baby things. And then next weekend we see some family and friends for the holiday - a different type of break, but a break nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Democracy in action

 I am a big democracy dork: I love my right to vote; I love doing my civic duty; I love my small part in the big picture of my country.  This morning we went to vote together as a family.  And I was so excited and happy to be able to take my son with me to the polls.  Okay, so, he slept through almost the entire time we were at the polling place.  But I'll be able to tell him how he was a part of the democratic process in the first year of his life, and how he accompanied me while I filled out my ballot.  He'll hear how we walked in a cold November morning, he in a fuzzy warm bunting his grandmother got for him, to arrive at our designated polling place.  He'll hear how we waited in line for 45 minutes.  He'll hear about how we ran into our neighbors and talked to strangers when normally we don't.  He'll hear how we gave our address and gave our names and got a ballot in return.   He'll hear how we enthusiastically elected the first woman senator Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.  And he'll hear how we so, so proudly reelected Barack Obama as President.  I am so grateful for all of us, in my family and outside my family, that we have the leader we do for the next four years.  I am incredibly grateful that my boy's first four and a half years are under this administration.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Recently my guy and I talked about how there's seemingly little time to do...anything... these days that doesn't feel like chores.  At the end of the work days, one or both of us is rushing to leave work and make sure we are either back home or picking up our boy.  From that time on, we are racing the clock: there's one last feeding; there's bath time; there's getting on tiny little pjs and bundling up; there's a good night story (maybe); and soothing the littlest member of the household until he's so calm he falls asleep, practically with a thud.

If we've done it right, there are minimal tears on everyone's part and we've spent not very many minutes rocking the increasingly heavy boy in our arms.  I love these minutes with him in my arms, but if you put him down to abruptly or if he hasn't sufficiently calmed down first, he'll start crying as soon as he feels the mattress under his head and then -up! Up again to start the soothing all over again. If done right the first time, you only have to do it once.

Then, there's supplies from the day to put away or clean, food to make or heat up and dish out and eat, there's mail to look through and tomorrow's logistics to map out.  And by the time that's all done with, there's maybe, maybe, an hour or two left to relax and enjoy each other's company.  And that feels like so little after all that other time spent just keeping things going.

After discussing all that I made a concerted effort to plan, time and make a good breakfast - granola buttermilk pancakes (they sound good, right? I know! they really were!) that my guy and I could share while our little one was napping.  And yet, when you think you can count on your routine, you get shown how foolish you are to make such an easy assumption.

The boy has his first full blown cold. He's deep in congestion and runny snotty nostrils and the tiniest little cough that kind of breaks the edges of my heart.  When he was all worn out and ready for more sleeping, he needed extra soothing and my guy found he wasn't going to be able to put him down to sleep. Since we want him to rest and heal as quickly as possible, my guy held our sleeping boy in his lap for the entire time I ate my pancakes.

And my first reaction was to be upset: hey, I'm doing what I can here to add room for us. Why didn't you just put the boy down to nap in his crib? He'd be fine. I went to all this trouble to do something just for us, and here I am, and here are the pancakes. Where's the togetherness? And after I had a bit of a pout to myself I realized how lucky my boy and I are to have such a dedicated guy to help us do and be our best. So what if this one minor effort I made on our behalf didn't go as intended? So what if I eat breakfast alone another time. Really, what's the big deal?

This is a period where we get done the things that need doing in the best way possible, even if our own  individual desires aren't fulfilled. We agreed to dedicate ourselves to our greatest desire and make sure he is cared for and supported while he's figuring out this world of his.  So I'll keep making room in my mind and my heart for simple small pleasures that we can share; and if it doesn't work out, I won't sweat it too much. I'll be working on forgiveness: of people and situations and the c'est la part of vie. And, when left to my own devices, I might be eating some of my guy's share of the pancakes along the way.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

5 months


Here I am. Starting a blog, for the...third time? Fourth? It's not the only thing I'm picking up again this time. Last night I went back to a knitting project I set aside in May. This morning I stood by the side of the bed with my eyes closed, wrestling with part of me that wanted to curl up under the covers.

I wanted to keep resting, I wanted to stay warm, I wanted to remain cuddling up to my family, still  relatively new in this new three person configuration.  I wanted to lay my arm  along my boy's tummy, rounded from nursing, and rest my hand on my guy's side. I did the difficult but important thing instead. I rummaged, as quietly as possible, through my drawers for some pants and a shirt that fit me in my not-yet-returned-to-before-there-was-a-baby shape, gathered up my keys and wallet, and went to the gym. What should come most easily, making time for myself to take care of myself, often is the last thing on my mind in the middle of the day.  The easiest thing at five in the morning, after taking care of one of my son's greatest needs, is to keep taking care of him, or to fling myself back into bed for as many more minutes of sleep I can get before the day starts in earnest.

I made a bold statement last night: that my guy and I should create a plan so that we could each have time to take care of ourselves physically. I thought about it a bit and suggested a division of mornings so I could be sure to exercise three times a week - what I would consider the minimum necessary to return to any level of fitness, and the maximum I felt ready to commit to doing regularly right now.  I failed to consider that my plan included this morning, and that rather than wait for when I felt over my cold, or wait for the weekend, or wait for next week or wait for whatever, my guy would assume I would start immediately.

The knitting project I began in May is a hat for my guy. It uses a soft, thick yarn of variegated greens and blues. I started it soon after my son was born.  I started it to use this beautiful yarn. I started it to have one thing that I did for my own pleasure in a time when I only ever had a couple of minutes every few hours that were not filled with feeding myself or my son, cleaning one of us, preventing one of us from crying, or sleeping.  I didn't really have time for a new project, but I didn't have another way to scratch out a little space just for me.  I didn't have the fortitude to go off by myself, or the focus to think, write, meditate or simply breathe for it's own sake.  Knitting half a row at a time felt like as good a way as any to continue doing something I loved and engage in a regular activity that made me feel good that didn't revolve around anyone else.

My boy makes me feel amazing. He fills my soul effortlessly. He also takes an unbelievable amount of energy, time, care, thoughtfulness, and work. Since right before May I've been, in large part, consumed by parenting this wee one. It's been an astounding experience full of challenges and joys. Today my boy is five months old. He is significantly different than he was when he was born. Just today I watched him roll from his back right onto his stomach and keep on rolling onto his back again. What an incredible feat!, I thought. I smiled big and laughed and clapped my hands, and celebrated this little body's new abilities. And I also feel I am different than I was five months ago. My focus is different, and my time to myself has taken on new preciousness. I'm beginning this blog (and my knitting, and the exercising...) as a way to return small pieces of my own life back to my days. At some point they will not just be a part of a new routine anymore but will have once again become a part of me.