Monday, April 30, 2007

Feeling good

So, last night I fell asleep at 6:30pm. I woke up with a start at 9pm, but Petunia reassured me that it was okay for me to go back to bed. I set my alarm for 4am and promised to do any night feedings, then I passed out again. I got up at 4am and it was surprisingly peaceful; I was in a great mood and I got a ton of things done, including changing over the curtains from heavy velveteen winter drapes to airy cotton summer curtains. Good times, huh? Even better, Petunia and Hester are doing well today, too.

This promises to be a great week for me. My most aggressive 2-year old is out on vacation all week, so work is waaaay more calm than it's been in months. Also, it's a short work week for me because Orca and Beluga will be here on Thursday! I can't wait to see my brother and his GF, and I can't wait for them to meet Hester. Good times are ahead!


Out for a walk

One lingering effect of Hester's 7-week hospitalization: Sometimes when we're out and about, my knees get weak when I remember that she's breathing fresh air.

I'm so grateful that she's healthy now.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

V. boring, but it's all good.

I've wanted to post all week, but it's been so quiet here that I haven't had any good blog fodder. That's good, I suppose, if a little boring.

I feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things. Work is going better. Hester is a joy (and she's not barfing as much these days!). I've resumed my normal schedule at the library, though I'm certainly not up to the quantity of books I read before Hester came home. Still, it's all good. It feels normal.

This weekend is looking pretty darned great. Hester and I are meeting the remarkable JPP for breakfast tomorrow, then we'll spend the day hanging out in Boston. We'll meet a new moms' group in the afternoon, pick up Petunia from work, and head home. On Sunday all 3 of us will be walking in a local charity event to benefit the organization for which I've volunteered since 2000, so I'm super psyched about that. It should be good times all around, and the money we're raising is going to a great cause.

If you have ideas for posts or questions for me, perhaps that'll jumpstart my blogging. Please let me know what you think.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend update

Just as I was thinking so much about Ariana, it turns out she was thinking a lot about us. We heard from her via email on Saturday! Without going into detail, she and her family are safe and well in Western State. I'm so happy to be in touch with her again. Relieved, too.


I went to the moms group event on Saturday, but the playground was so swamped I couldn't actually find the folks I was supposed to meet. I was really disappointed! I'll try again on Friday, though--there's another event scheduled for that night. We'll see how it goes.


In honor of Earth Day, we got another compost bin. Our city sells them on the cheap, so our $70 compost bin was only $25! We've been using those gDiapers that J. first told me about eons ago, and we're planning to compost the pee ones along with our standard yard waste/kitchen scraps mix. Good times there, huh? I'm a wicked nerd to get so excited about composting peepee diapers.


It is SO BEAUTIFUL here right now. Our weather is gorgeous! The kids and I spent the entire morning outdoors, and Hester is wearing her first-ever sleeveless summer romper. Good lord, this baby is cute. Hester also spent the weekend outdoors with us; she mulched, cleaned out the toolshed, and grilled with her Mumzy. Yay for nice weather and the real start of spring!


I am so excited for all of our visitors next month. I can't wait to see my brother with his niece and my parents with their granddaughter, and I'm so excited to see our dear friends T&R.


That's all from here.


Friday, April 20, 2007

The "I" in INFJ stands for Introvert

Tomorrow I'm going to screw up my courage and attend a local "new moms" event with Hester. I'm excited, but mostly I'm nervous. I'm not so fond of meeting people in big groups, but I'm also not so fond of feeling isolated. That means it's off to the playground for us! I know there will be a couple of moms with little babies, so it won't all be big strong toddlers plus tiny 3-month old Hester. The moms are older, too, and some of them even work full-time. At least on paper, it looks pretty good.

We'll see, though. If it's a nightmare, you'll hear about it.


Thinking of Ariana

As Mother's Day approaches, I find that Ariana is always in my thoughts.

Though we'd known about Ariana and her family since the end of November, we only met her in person a few days before Hester's birth. She was very clear that she wanted us to be present during her baby's delivery, an act of kindness and generosity that astounded us (still does, in fact). We were honored to assist Ariana during her labor and delivery and we were so happy to meet Hester the very moment she came into the world. We met Bobby and Tyler at Hester's birth, too. Side note: It is an amazing and wonderful thing to know that Hester looks exactly like her brother Tyler.

Both families cared for Hester during the first week of her hospitalization, and after Ariana and Bobby signed their TPR papers they continued to stay involved in her care. However, as the days stretched into weeks and Hester continued to be hospitalized, Ariana and Bobby's life grew even more stressful than it had been before her birth. Without going into detail, they lost the few supports they had in the area and decided to move to the west coast to stay with Ariana's family. The last time I spoke with Ariana, they were leaving for Western State the very next day. She said that although she wanted to stop by the hospital to say goodbye to Hester and to us, she wasn't sure she'd be able to do it.

It's been a little over 2 months since we heard anything at all from Hester's first family. Ariana and Bobby have all of our contact information, so we know they will be in touch with us if and/or when they can. We send them letters and pictures through their social worker, but I wish we were in touch in other ways as well. I also wish I had some cues from them about this relationship, but I guess I just have to trust my own instincts: More pictures; more information too. Special packages for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas. I put myself in Ariana's place as best I can and think of the things I know about her, and I hope and pray I'm not fucking this up. Will I know if I am, though? I want to do right by her, and by Bobby and Tyler too.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Feeling better

After 2 weeks of illness, I'm finally feeling better. Good news there. Also, the sun is shining, it's Thursday (not much-loathed Wednesday), and I'm looking forward to a wonderful weekend with Petunia and Hester. I'm also feeling the spring-cleaning itch, so maybe we'll be making a few runs to Savers. Awesome. I loves me some CleanSweep.

In just 2 weeks, my brother and his girlfriend will be here! They'll meet Hester for the first time and it'll be their first time at our [not-so-new-anymore] house. Hell, it'll be Beluga's first time in Yankee-land--I've got to show her a good time for real. When I was in Texas they took me to a karaoke dive and we all sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and laughed at some dude's rendition of "Eye of the Tiger." I just don't think I can do better than that. New Englandy suggestions, anyone?

It turns out that May will be All Hester, All the Time month. Orca and Beluga will be here to see her the first weekend in May, Hester's godparents will come up the second weekend, and my parents will be here the last weekend. My 30th birthday's in there as well; so is our 3rd legal marriage anniversary, JPP's birthday, and about a gazillion other birthdays and anniversaries. I love May, I really do.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Kindness and Loss

Since Monday's unspeakable tragedy at Virginia Tech, I've held this poem in my heart:

Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

[Wishing peace for my friend K. and her husband after the loss of his student, colleagues, and friends. You are in my heart.]

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I am heartbroken over the tragedy at Virginia Tech. I have a friend who works there and I haven't yet heard from her. I'm sure she's fine, but I'm so worried about her.

K., if you're reading this, please email me!

Friday, April 13, 2007

On being a Mama

A while ago, Abigail wrote me a great comment in response to this post:

"I've been wondering- do you feel different on a deeper level, now being a mother? This sounds like a stupid question- I imagine you would. I just wonder about this sometimes. I'm not a parent so maybe that would explain some of my ignorance. I wonder if being a mother will feel that I have been changed somehow, or more that it's more love and dimensions added to who I already am."

I've been thinking about this a lot since Hester was born, but it's hard to put my feelings into words.

For me, so far (and bear in mind that Hester is only 3 months old!), I feel that motherhood hasn't changed the things that make me Me. It's different from that; it's more like I've been waiting for Hester--for this particular child--all of my life. Now that she's here I can finally be my whole self. I'm not a spiritual or religious person, but when Hester was placed with us I had this incredible sense of calm and understanding; I remember telling Petunia, "I feel like everything in my life has happened in order to prepare me for this." And I still feel that way, every day.

Since Hester arrived, I've felt so light. Even in the midst of baby barf, illness, sleepless nights, and nightmarish workdays, the very core of me is light. Parenthood (so far) has been a relief, not a shock, and I've found that caring for Hester is much easier than I thought it would be. Part of it is that I'm used to the hard work of child care, part of it is that Hester is an easy baby (aside from the barfing!), and part of it is that I purely love being her mama. Before she arrived, it was like I missed her all the time and didn't even know it. Now that she's here and I know her and love her, I'm relieved and overjoyed all at once.

Don't get me wrong--I struggle sometimes. I've made mistakes with Hester-- rookie mistakes, even--and I'm not always overjoyed to wake up in the middle of the night to feed my precious sweet baby. I've learned a lot about myself over the course of these 3 months, so I've changed in that way. At its heart, though, motherhood feels like a natural part of me.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Happy 3 months, baby Hester!


On working

I just read my wife Petunia's post about her experience being back at work since Hester came home. I was so touched; I'm really glad she's having such a positive experience. (I'm also really glad she does the middle-of-the-night feedings with Hester during the work week, but that's another story.) Before Hester arrived, Petunia was worried about her dual roles of worker and mother, and I'm relieved that, at least for now, she feels comfortable with both roles. Happy, even. That's rad.

I, on the other hand, am not nearly so chipper about the old work life. It was fine before Hester came home--I had a routine, I liked it, and I enjoyed my days with the kids. Now, not so much. I resent almost everything about my work life now, from waking at 5am in order to clean the house to filling out daily sheets for the kids' parents.

Mostly though, I resent the kids themselves. There, I said it--I'm officially a bad person. I want to spend my days with Hester uninterrupted by screaming toddlers squabbling over toys and poopy diapers that aren't hers. My resentment grew this week when I realized that Hester really does barf more during the work week--I've been recording it, so it's not my imagination. Stress makes reflux worse, so does this mean that child care stresses my baby to the point of vomiting? Or is it that I'm so stressed when I'm working that I make her sick? The whole point of starting this business was that I could spend my days home with our future child and still make money doing something I enjoy. But now that I'm not enjoying it, what does that mean for Hester, the kids, their families, and me? I'm home with Hester and I'm still making money, but that's about it.

I'm trying to give myself time. It's only been 2 weeks since Petunia went back to work, right? I'm a bit of a Type A gal, so I'm purposely trying to let myself feel what I'm feeling while simultaneously thinking that things will change with time. It's gotta get easier, right? But on the other hand, they don't call it "work" for nothing.

The bright spot in my day, the thing I focus on to make it to 6pm each night, is that Hester's with me. I just love seeing her sweet little face all day long, kissing her soft hair, and watching her grow and discover new things. Truth be told, I love watching the other kids interact with her, too--she brings out their tenderness and kindness. Sometimes it's hard to believe that the same child who just whapped another kid with a book is the kid who's caressing Hester's tiny feet and speaking gently to her, but I love seeing it. It gives me hope.

My new mantra: "Things will be okay."

They will, won't they?

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Hester celebrated her 3rd month birthday by barfing into my ear.

She also soaked my neck and hair, just FYI.



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Feeling like ass

I am in the throes of a lovely little virus. I had a high fever in the night, and though I'm managing it today with my good friends ibuprofen and acetaminophen, I still feel like ass. Achy bones, backache, runny nose, sore armpits and neck, lethargy, headache, chills--you name it, I got it. If I had a normal job, my ass would have called in for sure.


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Monday, April 09, 2007

Big ol' toothless grin

I swear Baby Hester gets cuter each day! She smiles hugely when we kiss her cheeks or talk to her, and she laughed for the first time last week. She's a star!


Spring is finally here!


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!


Friday, April 06, 2007

Request for advice

I want to meet other moms of babies in my area. Keeping in mind that I'm tied to the house Monday-Friday till after 6pm, do you have any suggestions for me?


A post about religion

This weekend will be baby Hester's first time in church. I struggle a lot with my own thoughts and feelings about organized religion, but I want to give my daughter a religious base from which to explore when she's older. Hypocrite much? Maybe, maybe not.

I'm not a person of faith. Well, not until Hester arrived, anyway, when there suddenly came upon me a very clear understanding that everything in my life has happened so that I can be the parent of this child. God, fate, karma, destiny, grace, whatever--I'm not choosy about the term. It sounds cliche, but it's true: Something clicked when I saw Hester's face emerge from Ariana's birth canal. It would feel wrong if I didn't acknowledge and celebrate that.

Besides, Petunia is a person of faith; when she goes to church, she means it. She doesn't go for the cultural connection to her heritage, which I why I like going. She feels strongly that Hester should have a faith that's real and complete, like she does. So there's that, too. It's a v. compelling reason for wanting to take Hester to church.

So we're going to church on Easter Sunday. And we'll go again after this weekend, too. Now that Hester's old enough to sit through mass without squalling and we're seasoned enough mamas that we won't freak out if she loses her lunch on the hymnal, there's no excuse to stay home. Our church is an hour away, which is somewhat problematic, but we haven't yet found one nearby. And besides, we were married in that church (well, "joined in holy union"--the legal marriage was at city hall), so it has special significance for us.

We'll see what happens in the long-term. Last night I read Hester a book about God and didn't feel strange about it at all. That's a good start, right?

To those who celebrate it, happy Easter.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Do I look like a pug to you?


If you don't have anything nice to say...

One of my work parents said that Hester looks like a pug. "In a good way," she added.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Warning: This post is all about baby barf

You know how when you go to Sea World and you head into the big stadium for the killer whale show and the announcer is all, "The first 20 rows have been designated as the Official Shamu Splash Zone! Don't sit in those rows unless you want to get SOAKED!"?

Well, Hester herself is the very epicenter of another Official Splash Zone: Baby Hester is a barfer, and she's damned good at her craft.

In the 4 weeks she's been home, Hester has Officially Splashed these people:

--Me, of course
--Her Mumzy, natch
--Auntie J. (in public!)
--Auntie Y. (twice in rapid succession)
--Her visiting nurse (only the shoes, but still)
--C., a kid in my child care program

She has Officially Splashed in these locations:

--Every room of our house, save the bathroom
--Starbucks (2 of them!)
--Mr. Crepe
--The car
--Her car seat (and oh! how it sucks to wash the car seat cover)
--Outside in the yard when I'm working

She has Officially Splashed these v. uncomfortable places:

--Down my shirt and into my bra (twice)
--Into the holes of my Crocs shoes and onto my bare toes
--On our steep and v. narrow stairs
--Into the Maya Wrap as I held her, thus coating herself and me (a two-fer; she's done this many times)

Petunia and I have gotten pretty good at guessing when she's going to spew, and I always feel v. proud when I catch her in time to save her outfit (like I did 30 minutes ago! Brava, Mama!). However, she still catches us off-guard quite a bit. Since her barfing is reflux-related, she might hurl mid-feeding or she might wait an hour and a half to let loose the tide. She's on reflux meds and we do all the usual precautions, including keeping her upright 40 minutes after each feeding and not allowing her to sleep flat on her back, but she's still hurl-a-riffic.

Hell, at least Clary B. appreciates Hester's gift.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

In Newport

We had a lovely time in Newport over the weekend. Hester saw the ocean for the first time on Friday, and she even let Petunia and me eat lunch at the same time on Saturday--another first for her.

Hester's such a sweetheart, and I just love being with her. On Saturday afternoon she and I strolled around Newport while Petunia was in a meeting; we had such a nice time together. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and Hester had a blast facing out in her Maya wrap. When she got sleepy I turned her around and she snuggled in for the remainder of our walk. What a pumpkin!

Here's Hester enjoying her first time at the ocean:

She likes taking in all the sights!