Archive | September, 2009

Taking Ownership

30 Sep

For years, I have cringed over my house keeping skills. Or should I say, my lack there of. It’s not that I grew up without being taught how to keep things neat and tidy. To the contrary, my mom is the personification of “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”. She did everything within her power to instill the amazing skills she possessed but I am obviously lacking a very specific gene and this skill set failed to imprint in my brain.

Yes, I do know, comprehend and understand the concepts of organization. I even have some pretty good ideas myself. What I fail at doing is implementing them and then maintaining. “Domestically Disabled” is what I consider myself. I quickly learned that it was simply impossible for me to maintain anything above “organized chaos” and also came to the conclusion that if I couldn’t do it perfectly, why do it at all.

Which is why my room looked like it did as a teenager.

For years, I’ve dreaded housekeeping. As an adult, I realized I couldn’t just let my living area fall to shambles but I’ve never felt like I could live up to the standards of my mom’s house. I always have compared my ability (or lack there of) to her’s and would feel so miserable. That morphed into feeling like I couldn’t live up to the standards of my friends and the world in general.

That has changed now. I came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that I had to stop apply so much pressure to myself. People really don’t care if my house is cluttered, let alone inspect my baseboards. As long as there isn’t bugs in the carpet and mold growing on bowls in the kitchen sink, it shouldn’t matter. The only opinions that truly matter are those who live with me.

Aaron is something of a neat freak and makes housekeeping look so easy that I kind of hate him for it. He’s really picked up where I left off during the 3rd trimester and this early baby time. Watching him just keep a lid on the simmering pot helped me realize that if I could just do that, just keep things from exploding, then life in general and housekeeping in particular will be simpler (not to mention Aaron can do the more meticulous things he loves and I don’t even see).

So this week has been the kitchen. It has been my goal to stay on top of all the dishes this week, keep the stove top and counters clean, and floor swept. That’s it. No gigantic cupboard cleaning binge, otherwise I’ll get burned out like I have any other time I’ve attempted this. Hey, at least I can learn from past failures!

So far, so good. The kitchen hasn’t exploded once in the three days I’ve been doing this. Today I’ve baked breakfast cookies, made apple sauce, and have soup simmering on the stove top. Through all of this I’ve kept the kitchen sink relatively clear of dishes because I’m washing them as I go, which is one of the few things that managed to implement itself in my life from my mother’s teachings.

During this time, I’ve also decided that I’m going to own the fact that I can’t keep house well and am domestically disabled. I’m not a naturally tidy person. That’s part of who I am and I need to stop fighting it. I need to stop being embarrassed when folks come over because there’s nothing wrong with a cluttery home (not hording and dirty!) so long as the inhabitants don’t mind. I’ve found that acceptance has been half the battle. Once I accepted that my home will NEVER look like my mother’s, I’ve had motivation to stay on top of things!

So we’ll see how things go. There are some spots in the house that need some serious help but I’ll tackle those later. I have to start somewhere and the kitchen seemed like the best place to begin.

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No Enchanted Post Box

26 Sep

It’s a sad night tonight. I haven’t been able to fall asleep. Something has been niggling at me in the back of my mind, pressing forward, trying to come to the forefront of my consciousness. It couldn’t shake loose, so I watched Grey’s Anatomy online, which is a surefire way to make me cry. There’s something about crying, even over something completely unrelated, that stills my mind and causes things to rise to the surface that I never expected or saw coming. Things I thought I had made peace with long ago.

Laying here in bed while I type away, my son is sleeping swaddled on my chest. His little snuffling breath is music to my ears. His little twitches and sighs bring a smile to my lips. The smell that only new babies have overwhelms my senses. These things I treasure, imprint on my memory and tuck away in my heart. It’s moments like these that will tide me through teething, melt downs, and sleepless nights. It’s these memories that will be my lifeline through the struggle that is 2. And what I’ve heard about 3 and 4 and 5 and… Well, you get the picture.

What I’m feeling sad about, grieving a bit in my heart is that I don’t have this of my daughter. I have no little snuffling breath memories, no memory of how her head smells. The cooing. The eye contact. Nothing. I feel so cheated, so angry at times over it.

I’m mad at myself for not accepting that I needed help before she was almost half a year old. I want to go back in time and shake that version of me by the shoulders and shout in her face to get help. “You need to set aside your baggage about anti depressants!!!” I can picture myself saying. “You need to hold Aaron’s hand, call Sherry and tell her you want to take her up on her offer for a prescription. If you don’t, you will come to regret it!”

But I can’t. I can’t go back in time. I can’t write a letter to myself and put it in an enchanted post box to send it to my past self. All I can do is acknowledge my loss, accept it and move forward.

I use to think that moving forward was a continuous process. Now I view it as two steps forward and one step back to reflect. Then you take a great big sigh and take two more steps forward. Sometimes more than two. Sometimes it’s five or twelve. I’ve learned I can’t beat myself up about this step back to reflect and try to accept. That will only force me to step back further.

It feels more peaceful now that I’ve cried. My mind isn’t nearly as noisy as it was a few hours earlier. My heart is still sad, but in a much calmer way. I just want to snuggle my baby boy, shed a few more tears over what I’ve lost of his sister, and tuck away even more little bits of him in my heart as my baby.

1 Month Old

25 Sep

Where has the time gone? I feel like time is slipping through my fingers like sand. I desperately want to slow time down, like it use to drag when I was 5 and waiting for Christmas.

Miles weighs 11 lbs and 10 ounces. He’s still 22 inches long (his birth length).  He’s begun cooing and making eye contact, which just melts my heart. He also turns his head to follow the noisy tornado that is his big sister. Being worn in any type of baby carrier is he favorite place to be. It’s the only way he’ll calm down after being in his carseat (which is his enemy of epic proportions). However, the most notable feature of this baby so far is his amazing pooping skills. So far, he’s managed to shoot his poo across the couch and living room with such force that it landed 4 feet away. Of course, that was after part of it also splattered all over me.

Ella still hasn’t seemed to grasp the idea that we need to be gentle with Miles. She doesn’t intentionally try to hurt him, but making his bouncy seat bounce so hard his head is flopping around doesn’t seem exceptionally comfortable. We’ve had a few hard days where she doesn’t want me to hold Miles at all, but we’ve worked through them. You can simply feel the love and adoration oozing off of her regarding her little brother. She’s begun calling him “son” in the exact same tonal inflection that Aaron uses.

This little man is well loved and cherished. I can’t stop mentally giggling at his Captain Picard hair loss. I simply adore him, though I could have done without celebrating his first month day with a thrust treatment (that’s the purple around his mouth)!

1 month

A Moment of Peace and Silence

24 Sep

Well, relative silence. The radio is playing softly in the background.

Ella and Miles are both napping at the same time and I am holding neither of them! It’s a wonderful, glorious feeling. I got dishes washed, dinner in the crockpot, my lunch made and eaten while still warm. Oh, and used the bathroom BY MYSELF. Truly miraculous, I assure you.

I had a bit of a revelation last night and this morning. By the time Aaron got home from work, I was physically and emotionally at the end of my rope. My responses to any and all situations or questions were way out of proportion and I physically felt drugged. It was horrible. Aaron whisked Ella off to bed and I crawled into my own with Miles. Amazingly enough, he worked through Angry Baby Time with record speed and was out like a light by 8 pm! Instead of fulfilling my desire to stay up and do something for myself like read, knit, or watch tv on hulu.com, I turned off the lights and went to sleep.

This morning, I was able to get up without falling back to sleep for a few minutes. We ran errands to the local butcher shop and farmer’s market this morning, all before 10 am! Dinner is perking away in the crockpot with fresh pork chops and produce harvested locally and I was able to prep it while soothing Miles and involving Ella in the cooking process. The kids were the only ones to fall asleep during nap time, so now I am rewarded with a real lunch to be consumed while sitting down.

I need to remember that meeting my physical needs, no matter how desperately I crave some solo time, always has to come first. If I get enough sleep and eat appropriately, I am a better mom to my kids, a better wife to my husband, but most importantly I am better to myself.

And this picture has nothing to do with the topic of this post, but I find it super cute. I hear Ella calling from the kitchen for me to bring her the salt because she’s cooking. I was a bit alarmed, thinking she might be getting into something dangerous. Instead, this is what I found:

Me cooking, mama!

These Are The Days Of Miracles

10 Sep

Toys are scattered over the floor. I can’t remember the last time the kitchen floor was mopped. Diaper laundry is kept up on and that’s about it. I smell like baby spitup and my dreams taunt me with hot steaming showers connected to a water tank that never runs out of hot water.

But you know what? I’m okay with it all because these are the days of miracles. Not mind blowing, Lazarus coming forth from his tomb miracles. Rather, they are the small things in life that pass us by all to quickly. I feel like if I take a moment to simply blink, I will loose a miraculous moment.

So the dishes pile up. Phone calls are neglected. My blog becomes a barren waste land begging to be refreshed with a new post. Eventually, things will fall back into place. Before too long, the dishes will be caught up, the kitchen floor mopped, and a post of substance will appear on my little corner of the internet. But until then, I will revel in the miracles of Miles’s first smile, Ella’s complete and total adoration of her baby brother, my husband’s expressions melting into something so tender it brings me to tears when he observes our children interacting, and so many other moments that are simply too numerous to list.

I could go on forever about the tiny miracles taking place in my precious family but I’m running out of time. So I’ll leave you with pictures until I can snatch another stolen moment. Maybe next time I’ll be able to sit down long enough to share with you my brain stutters about lack of sleep and the strange things that take place in a land of sleep deprivation!

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The precious child I wake up next to every morning.

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Ella has discovered the amazing joys of “hair pretties” and she must WEAR THEM ALL at the same time, otherwise the world will end.

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Most of our time is spent together on the floor and me making sure she doesn’t kill him with her love.

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His official “first day to church” outfit.

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Complete adoration.

My happy little man

First smile.

Night night songs

Night night ritual

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Napping

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His fingers. Oh, his fingers… How I love them.

Fly By

3 Sep

Aaron’s putting Ella down. Miles is nursing in such a way that doesn’t require me to hold his head. May this be a regular thing! I’m really tired of having both hands occupied while nursing. It makes it difficult to interact with Ella.

Yesterday was a bad bad bad day. As in, I called a mom in the parenting group who I had never really met (she dropped off dinner for us and that was it) in tears, begging her to let us crash on her couch for a bit since she lives within walking distance of our house. Lots of good friends are within driving distance, but I thought I’d drive the car off the road if I had to listen to Miles’s ear piercing scream from being in the carseat all the way there. Mandy was incredibly gracious and kind and even met me half way to her house to push Ella’s stroller!

I think what made yesterday SO BAD was the fact that Ella refused to nap and I hadn’t slept well the night before. I was yelling at her constantly, Miles was having a horrible day due to the dairy still being in my milk despite being about a week now without it, and everything was rubbing me wrong. Today, Ella actually napped and the boy child and I napped with her for an hour and a half! He woke up then, so I got up with him and she slept for almost an hour after that!

Then Jenn came over, held Miles, played with Ella while I got some laundry going, dinner in the crock pot, and 3/4 of Ella’s toys (that she never plays with) packed away. Even though the living room is still messy, it seems SO much more manageable without all the extra plastic crap strewn around. I don’t mind picking up things she actually enjoys playing with. It’s the things she finds and throws around for fun and fits that kills me.

I even got 15 minutes in the bathroom to shower without anyone knocking on the door.

THAT was more than I’ve accomplished in 4 weeks. I feel so much more emotionally rejuvenated now that I don’t feel like a total slob/bump on a log.

To top it off, I’ve almost made it through the first full week of Aaron being back to work.

Even better, next week is a short week because he gets Monday off for Labor Day!

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