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Archive for April, 2012

Yahrzeit

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Today, a candle stood burning on my kitchen counter.

Grandaddies are wonderful things. I had a Grandpa for four years, and while I don’t remember much about my experiences with him, what I happened to capture is lovely. Most of all, I remember his smile. But there’s also his “fuzzy” blanket. His balding head. His stubble.

Although Julian has an amazing step-grandpa and two great-grandpas, he won’t ever have the chance to know two of his Grandaddies – Husband’s dad, and my dad, who passed away two years ago today, when I was four-and-a-half months pregnant. I wonder if he left an impression – if J would recognize his voice, or the way his hand felt a kick on my belly. If J had had the chance to meet my dad, I can guarantee you one thing that he would probably always remember…

This riddle:

(in remembrance of you, Daddio)

A man lands on an island that is home to two tribes of Indians: the Truth-tellers and the Liars. The Truth-tellers can ONLY tell the truth, and the Liars can ONLY lie. The man spots two Indians. He looks to the first and says, “Are you a Truth teller or a Liar?” The Indian replies in his language, “um gawa”. The man does not understand. He turns to the second Indian and asks “What did that guy say?” The second Indian says, “Him say him Truth-teller, but him big Liar.”

Which Indian is the Truth-teller, and which is the Liar?

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Sick days

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It’s amazing how a sick toddler can bring out the best in you. I am always pleasantly surprised with myself when J is under the weather. Today, he had a high fever most of the day, and we spent a good 70% of our time nursing in bed (the other 30% consisted of approximately 20% walking around the house in the Ergo time, and 10% bath time). Fortunately, J’s usual sick demeanor is ooey gooey snuggly, but every now and then it becomes to much for him, and he has a complete meltdown. This happened around 4:00 today, and it took me walking around the house bouncing and singing to help him calm down. The impressive part? As soon as I knew J was sick this morning, I went into mom-of-sick-child mode, and nothing else in the world mattered. I was completely calm, grounded, and giving. All day. Under no other circumstances could I ever be this OK with staying in bed and catering to someone else for an entire day. I didn’t even care that I had no tribe to support us, or that I had to pee for quite a while at one point. Nothing mattered but J.

Fortunately, his fever (about 103 at its highest) finally broke this evening. Although, the break was short-lived. As I type this, he’s lying next to me nursing, and I can feel the heat radiating from his shirtless little body. I hope that the mom I was throughout the day today will be able to stay with me through the night, because it might be a rough one.

One thing is for sure – on days like these, I am SO glad that I don’t work outside the home. Of course, I’d take a day off work for a sick baby, but I can imagine some employers don’t look at the “mom job” quite the same way I do. I bet most working moms in our country have to fight for those days off (if they’re the type that would want to take them). I love that I don’t have to fight anyone for my time with J. He is completely (and healthily) attached to me, and when he’s sick, no one else will do. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for a little one not to have his primary caregiver when he’s ill. And I can’t imagine how hard it would be on the caregiver who wants to be home with her (or his) sick child, but fears losing a job. Hopefully I’m overreacting. Hopefully most companies are more family friendly than I think?

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100 things (121-130)

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OK, I know I said I was moving on to a different ‘100 Things’ but the truth is, I’m missing the old one. 🙂 So…

I love…

121. The way you pretend now! You often call your friend Gabi on the phone and tell me he wants to nurse. Tonight, you were cooking French fries for Grandpa with a pitcher on the coffee table.

122. The way you smile when you wake up in the mornings – its the biggest, most sincere smile, and you look me right in the eyes.

123. That you can put your shoes on all by yourself now. It makes you so proud.

124. How much you love to slide now. Ever since becoming brave enough to slide on your own (and since we now have a slide in the dining room), it’s all you’ve wanted to do.

125. The way you curl into me when you sleep. I always have to sleep facing you, because when I try to turn around, you squirm and can’t get comfortable. Your hand searches for my chest.

126. How much you can communicate now! We have full conversations these days, and you are so clear about what you want and need, putting as many as 6 words together sometimes!

127. That you already know three dance terms (and are able to execute them quite gracefully)! Attitude, chasé, and relevé.

128. The way you ask for me to hold you- “Mommy, hold you!”

129. How much you love transportation! You just can’t get enough of planes, helicopters, trains, buses, firetrucks, and bikes!

130. The way you say “OK”. It’s so sweet. You never say “yes” in response to a question – it’s either “no” or “OK”.

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Crazy wonderful?

20120421-231710.jpgWhat a crazy, wonderful week.

Sometimes, as overwhelming as my life can be, it feels like everything is really starting to fall into place. I’m meeting some amazing people, and I’m beginning to network and create professional opportunities. I’m still far from having the community I dream of, and my career hasn’t quite found its niche within my home life, but I think I’m on the right path. I can see the light.

First of all, we have a house! We are done with negotiations!

Second of all, there was supposed to be a second of all, but I’m having trouble finding words and completing thoughts right now, so…

Third of all, here is a list of crazy or great things that happened this week:

– A wild bird landed on my mom’s shoulder. Very crazy.

– Yesterday, two friends texted me from different parts of the country, almost simultaneously, to tell me that they saw someone who could be my twin. Very crazy.

– Today, we went to a potluck in Durham, and it was so lovely and wholesome, and just comfortable. I love gatherings that feel that way, and I hope I can learn how to host them. J was so happy the whole time we were there. He is usually rather shy and clingy in large groups, but today he was comfortable exploring and playing with all the other kids. It was so nice to see him feel so confident and brave.

– Today, I was also able to see the Carolina Ballet perform Carmina Burana, and they were wonderful! Both the choreography and dancing were superb! And on top of that, the company was accompanied by an orchestra and a 140 person chorale. I was in heaven – and only a little teary and jealous that it’s been so long since I was on stage, in performance shape. This brings me to…

– Next weekend, I will be performing in Durham! I’ll be part of a site-specific structured improv that is taking place during the Durham Storefront Project (Check it out!). I am so excited to be moving again and performing with some awesome dancers!

OK, I think that’s all I have for now. I’m still not really sure if these (sort-of) off-topic (or on-topic, for that matter) posts are interesting to anyone but me, but hey. Who cares? I enjoy writing them. More about my crazy (or boring?) life soon.

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Poetry in April

20120418-221603.jpgToday, I was standing in the bedroom with J, singing while I put some clothes away. He looked at me and said, with an air of satisfaction, “Mama happy.” I smiled and replied, “Yeah, Mama’s happy.” In response, he very sweetly chimed, “Noonie happy too.”

I sure do love that kid.

It’s about 9:30 pm here right now, and the house is eerily quiet. J is sleeping, and Alex is off working. The cat is curled up on the comforter next to the sleeping boy, and both dogs are lying faithfully beside the bed. I’m sitting in the kitchen eating a raw brownie and simultaneously blogging and editing a poem I wrote earlier today.

In case you didn’t know, April is national poetry month! So, I thought I’d join in the bandwagon and use that fact as an excuse to start writing poetry again. Once upon a time, I wrote constantly. I carried a journal and pen everywhere I went. I’d like to start getting back in the habit a bit. I’m a little rusty.

On that note, I thought about posting one of my poems here. But since I don’t have anything particularly relevant or Earth shattering to spout out, I thought I’d simply share of my favorite poems with you. It’s author recently passed away too, so I’d like to make this a tribute to her.

From An Atlas of the Difficult World

XIII (Dedications)

I know you are reading this poem
late, before leaving your office
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven
across the plains’ enormous spaces around you.
I know you are reading this poem
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed
and the open valise speaks of flight
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem
as the underground train loses momentum and before running
up the stairs
toward a new kind of love
your life has never allowed.
I know you are reading this poem by the light
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada.
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers.
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out,
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
hand
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

Adrienne Rich, 1991

Maybe I’ll share a poem of mine later this month. If you’re really interested, I posted a couple on here last year. 🙂

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My two new favorite phrases (since J became a parrot):

– Scheiße Marie
– Fudge-a-muffin

It is Sunday evening, and I’m already beginning to miss the weekend. I’m listening to J take a bath with his Daddy. The back door is open to the beautiful Spring evening, and the house is in a state of mild, but controlled chaos. I suppose I have two bits of interesting information for you today:

1.) We bought J a new carseat on Thursday, and so far, it has completely changed my view of car trips. J has actually ASKED to get in his car seat, buckle, and take a ride three times (even though the first trip was rather traumatic). I gladly obliged. And when we reached our destinations, he didn’t want to get out of the car! Talk about a 180! I feel like we take advantage of this new love for the car and drive to New York or something. Maybe soon.

About that first trip – We drove half a mile down the road to a little consignment shop I’d been meaning to check out. Inside, J and I began to wander through the furniture/home goods section. I found a couple of coffee mugs that interested me, and J was drawn to three brass candle stick holders. While I inspected the mugs, J began arranging the candle holders on a low table. About a minute passed, and just when I had decided to purchase the mugs, the store owner walked over to Julian. “Can I have those please?” he asked, decidedly. And, “they’re very expensive!” as he took them from J’s hands. Rightly so, J began to cry so sadly. He is a naturally sensitive boy, and on top of that, he is NOT used to anyone taking anything out of his hands. He’s not used to people treating him with disrespect. I angrily left the store without purchasing anything, comforting my boy’s wounded ego. I understand the desire store owners have to protect their merchandise, but the owner could have spoken with ME if he was worried. And for Pete’s sake, they were BRASS candle stick holders being moved very carefully about a foot above the floor. Even if J was being rough, there’s no way he could have damaged them.

I will never understand some peoples attitudes towards children.

2.) I spent most of the day today baking and preparing delicious desserts! While Husband and J mowed the front lawn, I was elbow deep in raw cacao and maple syrup. I have decided to toy with the idea of selling some of my yummy creations. They are all gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan (minus the one I used honey in today), mostly raw treats, and I’ve spent quite a while tweaking my recipes. There isn’t any place around that sells gluten-free/vegan prepared desserts (some places meet one requirement OR the other, but none meet BOTH), so I thought, why not fill a void? Find my niche? Tomorrow we’re taking the goods to Husbands work and asking for filled questionnaires in return for free yumminess. I hope to get some great feedback!

So that’s where I am. Where are you all on the lovely Sunday evening?

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On Strollers

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What’s on my mind today? You might ask. Well, the answer is strollers (or prams as they’re called in Britain). At 18 months, I have just started putting Julian in a stroller for walks (and only when I’m exercising or if he asks for it). I still carry him on my back most of the time, and we both seem happier this way. We walk every day – at least a mile, and sometimes three or four miles – and I love keeping J close to me on our journeys. When he’s on my body, I feel more connected to him. I can talk to him about the trees and animals we see, breastfeed him when he wants, and sense when he needs to get down and pee.

Call me crazy, but until now I have seen absolutely no use for a stroller. They’re big, bulky, difficult to get in and out of cars, and they push babies away from you! I use one now to work out, so that I can run or power walk while J hangs out. He actually seems to enjoy it at this phase of his life, and frequently chimes “more run mama! More run!”, pushing me to work out harder. And believe it or not, I actually feel like I get much more of a workout pushing the stroller! People complain that carrying a baby is hard on the back, but I am way more out of breath and sore after a long walk with J off my body! I’m actually not sure how strollers have become as popular as they have…

Today, I came across a really neat article in a mainstream newspaper on strollers from an African woman’s perspective, so I thought I’d share. 🙂

African mothers see baby strollers as abhorrent fad

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