Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Perfect Moment Monday - Yawn

Every morning, somewhere between 4:45 am and 5ish, a certain someone stirs.

After a few ounces of formula to satiate the Hunger that cannot wait (because clearly, we are starving this child), I'm left with the dilemma of "now what do we do?" Hard as I try (and to be honest, I don't try that hard) I can't get my eyelids to stay up this early. Starting the day promptly at 5 isn't an option. But it's almost time to get up, so is it worth the several minute negotiation of going back into the crib?

So, it's not time to get up, but it's not not time to get up. What shall we do? Where do you want to be, little child?

How about here? Right here. In this little space nestled between my legs, on top of the covers. Just for a bit.

I can usually coax at least another hour of sleep from D here. Sometimes, like yesterday, we both fall back asleep so soundly that we don't wake until grandma knocks on the door to come pick him up. Either way, the second waking, the waking from here, is simply the best part of my day. It's slow, gradual, leisurely, even. Punctuated by lots of stretches and dream faces, like this one:

No matter what the rest of my day holds, I know I can do it, because I get to see this tomorrow. And that, my friends, is my Perfect Moment for this month.


Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join. Go visit Lori at http://lavenderluz.com/ to discover more perfect moments (and add your own?)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cognitive Memory

Some amazing friends came to visit us on the Fourth of July. In tow were their two lovely and spirited daughters. Our plan was to have some lunch, saunter through the holiday street fair and to the minor league baseball park, watch the game, watch the fireworks, come home, put the kids to bed, pass out.

I'm pleased to report that all of this happened. Even with one of us on crutches due to a knee injury (note: not me), record crowds at the park and the fair, and 95+ degree heat. Yowsers, it was hot. But eventually the sun started to set, the kids started to calm and we started to make our way from the ballpark back to home in two distinct groupings: me, D, our friend B and her youngest girl. M, the oldest daughter and her dad staying to watch the end of the game and bringing up the rear.

As we were watching the fireworks, D in my arms, neck craned upwards, mouth open, eyes wide, all I could think of, over and over again as I recounted our nice day. Gosh, I wish D could remember this. 

Some days, I'm incredibly thankful for his seven-second memory span. Like when he shifts inexplicably from a furrowed brow and quivering lip to a wide-mouthed laugh for no reason. Like when the water I pour over him in the bath is too cold and he lets out a howl to let me know how he has been wronged (whoa, those little pee pees shrink quick, don't they?) Oh I am sorry, little man! Really sorry!

But on days when we have another first, hit another milestone, or just have a really, really great day with friends or family, I wish that was somehow lodged in his little memory. But it will be years until D. will be able to say, oh yes I remember....and actually mean it.


Earlier in the day on the way back from the game, we were crossing the river on a grated walking bridge and our friend B was telling a story about losing her favorite hairband (a cautionary tale, but one her daughter wanted repeated over and over again). What color was it? Who were you with? Why did you drop it? How old were you?

B couldn't remember the answer to that last one. And we started talking about how hard it was to place your early memories unless you have some major life events, like a new sibling or a major move, to serve as time stamp. B's husband lived overseas until he was 5, so it's easy for him to say whether something happened pre- or post- move. Before or after 5. My brother joined us when I was 4. And I usually place his arrival as one of my first memories. I'm not sure if it was. But I can say distinctly, "I was 4 when this happened and I remember it clearly. I know I was 4 because C was here."

I'm sure I have memories earlier than that. Snippets of moments, times at grandparent's houses and with cousins. But how old was I? Was it pre- or post-baby brother? Did this come before that? Or the other way, 'round. Was C here, but just not there with me during that thing I'm trying to remember. Ah, that's possible too.

Then there's the blurring of what is your memory and what is the story that you've heard so often that you've made it your memory.  M cites his first memory back to when he was 2, and uses the Super Bowl of that year as his marker. People never believe that he can remember something so early, but his retelling of the scenes seem accurate to those who were there, and he uses pieces of the game to prove it happened then.

But how many times might he have seen that game on replay? Who else in his family might have told the same story that he happened to be in? Might he be confusing this piece of a memory with another one from when he was slightly older?

How do we really know what we are remembering and what we're not? Or what's been altered? Or modified? If I tell D about something often enough, will he make that memory his own? Will he remember it as if he is actually the one remembering it?


After all the kids were put to bed, us grown ups talked about this heady stuff and B's husband took it to another level. I know if something were to happen to me now, our youngest wouldn't remember me. [The oldest] might. But barely.

I think we were all a little quiet as we let that sink in.

Here I was, a little melancholy over the loss of knowing some sweet moments, never once taking it to the higher plane. The loss of knowing me.


Memories are such a strange and amorphous thing. Can you think back to your first one, or at least one of them? How old were you? How do you know? What's your time stamp?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Observations and Truths

  • D is 16 weeks old TODAY. 
  • I need to get better at posting from my phone. If I can't do something from my phone, it ain't happening. At least not today. Or tomorrow. Or any day I don't have child care. Forget flashy blog posts with links, letters I need to write for work that take any sort of research or multiple layers of thought, anything that needs to be mailed....This is more resignation than observation. But there you go.
  • Steel wool is amazing. I'm sure I'm late to the party on this. One day with D on my hip, I was tidying up the kitchen and got sick of looking at crusty bits here and grubby bits there, so I picked up a box the next time I went to the store. Wow! Those little rusty balls really buff things to a lovely shine. And can be used one-handed. My teapot, stove top and sink now adore me.
  • If there is a crack of a space between the crib and the wall, that is where the binky will fall. And the next one. And the next one. There are binkies breeding among the dust bunnies behind the crib in the nursery.
  • I think D might be teething. If he's not, we are living with a little being who drools nonstop and gnaws voraciously on hands...his, yours, mine. And makes bizarre animal-like sounds as he does. That's weird. I choose to believe he is teething. 
  • babyproofing this apartment makes M and I wide-eyed and panicked. it feels like an impossible feat. Can't we just sequester him in the hallway?
  • I can absolutely see the value of a standing desk, considering D squeaks every time I attempt to sit. "Squeaks" makes it sound cute.
  • I now say/sing just about everything to the tune of Lullaby and Goodnight. It's a tune that works well to get D to chill, and I usually give him a little recap of the day as I sing him to sleep. But if M walks in the room I'll ask him a question or tell him something without breaking the song. Earlier tonight I was thinking about something and actually found myself thinking to myself in tune. Kind of like talking to yourself in another language, only disturbing.
  • Getting offspring to sleep and to stay asleep - is this a uniquely human dilemma? Are there any veterinarians or animal behaviorists in the audience? Does any other animal struggle with tucking their little ones into bed? We hadn't, until the last few nights. I do believe we are heading into what AskMoxie calls the four-month sleep regression. You know, where there is just so much shit going on in your little brain (and mouth. See teething) that it's enough to keep a little dude (and mommy. and daddy) awake.  So, monkeys? elephants? mice? Are we the only animals that hover in that middle space just above the crib waiting to see if our shushes have worked before stepping backwards out of the room?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Back at It

I'm really glad I didn't hit send on the post that's been lingering here in the drafts for the last few weeks. I'm looking at it now and meh, it's just me sleep-deprived and bitching. There's no need to bitch. It's all good.

I'm back to work. Week one is down. Sure, it was a three-day work week, but still. Did it. Done.

Now it's week two. There are no holidays to save me. And even with my awesome MIL offering an extra day of coverage, I still need M to take some hours off work to watch D since my office scheduled a last minute meeting for me to chair this Friday.

Because child care grows on trees and is really, really easy to coordinate.

I can't complain too loudly. The transition back hasn't been as bad as it could be. I still have a job. People are happy to see me. And I'm starting with a clean slate - if you still need me to do something from three months ago, you're gonna need it bad enough to ask me again. I've erased most of my email and task lists.

A clean slate, and a new attitude. Nothing in the office is earth-shattering. Nothing is life or death. There is nothing contained in those walls that matter more than my time with D. and M. When I'm on the clock, I'm on. And focused and giving 100%. I promise. When I'm off, leave a message. There are other things on my mind.

Like childcare for D. We're patching it together now with help from family and a little bit of flex in our work schedules. But I'm wondering how long that can last. My office has already (completely predictably) shown its disregard for my calendar. How often can I expect that to happen before I need to bring a paid component into the mix?

It really does take a village, doesn't it? Especially since the United States has its head up its ass when it comes to maternity/paternity leave, or creating and sustaining any kind of policies to allow families to have babies AND participate in the workforce/economy in meaningful ways.

Focus on the family my ass.

Ok see, I'm getting cranky again. I should sign off. And really, my ire towards the politics and working conditions in this alleged first world nation deserves its own post, with some supplemental material. Links, research, annat.  I've been reading some great books I need to tell you about. Alas, no time for that this morning. My conference call is ending and now I need to multitask a few different things.

Like finding some coffee.

How are you? If you're stateside, did you survive the long weekend of explosives? We had four days of it. You? Honestly, does any country enjoy pyrotechnics more than the U.S.? I have to think we'd feel very differently if rockets' red glares were a common part of our evening skies, like they are in other parts of the world right now.

Just sayin'.

Do you miss Google Reader? Did you make the transition gradually or was it a last minute, oh shit, what's that other app called again, kind of jump? Where are you reading me now? You are still reading, right? :-)