Milestones

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

sweetness

A week ago, Declan started smiling. It was right around that magical 6 week window when the baby books try to assure you that, if you had a crappy baby, things are gonna look up, and if you got lucky with a sleeper, get ready, because their lower digestive tract is about to rock everybody's world.

But at least they are smiling about it.

The milestones are coming fast and furious. The shockingly fast neck control, the five hour sleep stretches at night ( I KNOW, right? The only reason I'm letting this become public knowledge is that it took about a year for Harlow to start sleeping like that. I earned this one, people.) I leave the pediatrician's office clutching his little list of milestones, his whole amazing life ahead of him, and I can't help but wonder.

Where's my list?

You fall in love. You get your driver's license. You graduate. You fall in love again. You can legally rent a car. You get married. You have a baby. You maybe have another baby. You rapidly approach 40.

And then...what? You... wait for those kids to fall in love. Graduate. Get married. Yo turn 40. Maybe become a grandma?

You hit all the big milestones celebrated by movies and literature and pop songs, checked off all the to-do's. You finish making those babies and then what? What's left for YOU?

Where is my checklist for what's next?

This is a strange purgatory, the place on the other side of having children. I'm not sure if I ever let my brain cast out a line far beyond this point. Just like in my deluded thinking that I would never go past my due date, I just always assumed that at this point in my life, I wouldn't have to be figuring out what's next. I would be well on my way...to wherever that is.

Perhaps this IS the next milestone. I have ideas of where I'd like to be. I'm daunted by the work it's going to take to get there, but I certainly don't want to be here 10 years later, blogging about why the grand plans I had for my life are now a cautionary tale of what happens when you don't fight for your dreams.

So, for posterity, here is my current checklist:

1. Finish my novel
2. Finish my graphic novel
3. Film my short.
4. Sell a screenplay
5. launch my boudoir business
6. Make enough money so that family vacations become the norm. I want my children to grow up with the ability to fall in love with travel the way I did.

Baby's asleep for at least 20 more minutes. Time to get to work on 1 or 2.

What's on your checklist?

Tease

Friday, May 27, 2011

A little tease from yesterday's seeeeriously smokin hot boudoir session.

tease

Wizard girl

Sunday, May 22, 2011

babygirl

This weekend was about Harlow. While everyday is about Harlow, the past six weeks have mostly been about that new kid on the block, and big sister has taken it all in stride.

She has fetched diapers, applied pacifiers, kissed her brother's face, only stuck her fingers inside his mouth once and maybe squooshed his head a handful of times, doing it all with aplomb. And then several days ago, in her small girly voice, after repeatedly asking me a question while I cooed over her brother, she folded her arms and declared that nobody liked her anymore.

I scooped her up (after scooping up my heart off of the floor) and reassured that definitely was not the case. In fact, she was liked so much that we planned out several activities over the weekend devoted just to her.

Friday night - picnic at the Wizard Garden, the newest attraction at the Memphis Botanic Garden, complete with wandmaking, magic potions, and wandering magicians. While she and her daddy explored the grounds, I got dinner ready for Declan, suddenly remembering that I had failed to bring a blanket or cardigan or anything that I could use to afford me a little privacy while nursing in public. So that rainbow blanket in the pic above? The giant blanket I was sitting on? I yanked a giant corner of it over me and Baby D, effectively turning us into a large rainbow burrito. And for some reason I still can't figure out, rather than taking the 10 seconds to shift my body and child in any other direction, I chose to face the entrance of the garden, so that everyone who walked in to the picnic area was greeted by a grown, heavily sweating woman rolled up in a rainbow cannoli. And the dude playing the didgeridoo right behind me.

As if I didn't feel enough like an asshole. I saw those looks when other families came in - how could we not be in cahoots, weird breastfeeding rainbow girl and the white beatboxer who whispered spoken-word over pre-recorded train whistles and rainsong?

My family finally returned to claim me, Harlow with a homemade wizard's hat, feather pen and potions bag. After our picnic dinner (turkey sandwiches and Dragon's Blood (grape soda - her first!), it was time for more exploring. Harlow wanted to return to her favorite play area, and I wanted to work on giving her a little freedom, so I chatted away on the phone while watching her scamper around the slides from a safe distance - until she started hollering for me.

I hustled over to the top of the playground corkscrew slide - she was about a 1/4 of the way down and had jammed on the brakes because of "weird goo" on the slide.

I told her she had to keep going down.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! at a decibel level I didn't know she could reach was her reply. This from the child who will pee her pants so she won't have to pause and episode of Max&Ruby suddenly objected to sliding in goo. She started screaming in earnest, and I did the only thing I could think to do - I got down on my belly and crawled as far into the slide as I could to grab her arms. It was ridiculous how serious this suddenly became.

Suddenly I was Sly Stallone in Cliffhanger.

MOMMMYYYYYYYY! she screamed.

Just hang on! I panted, her hands slipping from mine.

MOMMMYYYY NOOOOO!

Harlow, breathe. Relax, just don't let go, I begged. She was twisting away in panic. I could feel her slipping away. I dug my fingers into her arms and pulled as hard as I can.

When I had to actually remind myself that she was stuck inside a PLAYGROUND SLIDE and not about to plummet into an abyss, for godsakes.

Sweat dripping from my forehead, I fished her out and she fell into my arms. I hugged her and picked her like she was baby. She was safe. The 8 year old waiting behind us in line actually turned away so we wouldn't see her laughing.

******

Surely Saturday would redeem us. Saturday was Breakfast with Belle at the Bookstore formerly known as Davis-Kidd (and please know that regardless of what I am about to write, I am THRILLED it is still here). Harlow put on her princess dress and slippers and we made our way over to East Memphis to break bread with the Beast's main girl. Except she wouldn't be joining us for breakfast. Really, I don't blame her as the buffet pancakes were sterno-torched, but Harlow was starting to get a touch impatient. We were told to move to the story area to prepare for the main event when a staffer/friend pulled me aside to give me a headsup - Belle would not be joining us that day. For reasons unclear, the children were to be informed that her majesty's wagon got stuck in the mud and sadly she would not be able to make her own party.

And what did I do? Mother who had hyped said event to her child for the previous 24 hours, reading Belle stories and getting daughter ridiculously amped?

I pulled out my camera and waited for them to break the news, poised to snap fifteen-odd princess dreams destroyed in one fell swoop.

I'm a class act.

To her credit, Harlow took the news in stride and sat gamely for the Kix 106 DJ who read a Belle story. She also did not bat one long eyelash when said DJ paused from the story to say "Oh my gosh, y'all! Can you BELIEVE that Gaston just stabbed him in the BAY-UCK?

I loved every second of it. Harlow just wants to know who is going to help Belle out of all that mud.

Four weeks

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Days have settled into more or less of a routine. Baby eats, then baby screams, then baby spits up and (finally!) poops and then mama reads the contents like tea leaves, googling what "green, mucus-y" diapers means to the internet.

Glamorous, non?

While I haven't completely ruled out food sensitivities, it sounds like the likely culprit is my milk oversupply, a benign sounding "problem" until you see - and hear - the affect undigested lactose has on a wee one. It's like living in a tiny town that has only one restaurant with one dish that gives you food poisoning everytime you eat there, but then, what else are you to do? Not eat?

It's not all gloom and doom around here. The fussing *usually* is relegated to the daylight hours, letting us get enough sleep to handle the fussing in the daytime. It' s just becoming demoralizing, this sitting down to write and then baby firing back up again just when you have managed to cobble together a sentence. I suppose I am going to have to become super adept at working in minute-long increments. That's how are brains are trained, post-Twitter and Facebook, right? And how Brad Pitt must get anything done in between shlepping 6 kids and -

motherfucker

I'll be back...

Safety goggles

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

goggles

She wanted to help with D's bath time, but she'd heard tales of what could happen when in proximity of a diaperless baby boy.

She wasn't taking any chances.

Beautiful girl

Monday, May 9, 2011

belle

Sure the presents delivered to me in bed were appreciated, the ability to sleep in deeply so. The breakfast they made was lovely, and the oohs and aahs when I appeared in my first post-preggo heels made me believe that perhaps my future is not entirely comprised of sweat pants and spit up.

But what made my mother's day truly special?

I have a kid who did this:

flashcards

And what is that terribly photographed jumble of paper?

My alchemist husband recently put his skills to work on a vintage card catalog that he transformed into my desk. I cut out slips of paper to label the adorable little drawers, and because I hadn't hidden them away with a padlock, Harlow took off with them. I was annoyed that I was going to have to trace and cut them all out again - until I saw what she'd done with the slips of paper.

She made flashcards. For her three week old brother.

I have a kid capable of that kind beauty. And that's why I had a wonderful mother's day.

Mom

Saturday, May 7, 2011

mama

Isn't she just lovely?


Now that I have another child, I'm aware that I owe an even bigger round of apologies and thank yous to the woman who raised me and my younger sister. She made it look so easy. The house was spotless. She was always present, patient, and gentle. I can only hope that when my kids look back on their childhood, they can say it was moderately clean. And that their socks sometimes matched.

So this is for you, mom. Who can say Happy Mother's Day better than...Mr. T?



Special thanks to Leah Keys for this gem

Skipping rocks

skippin

Floodwatch

Thursday, May 5, 2011

tree

My kid's school made NBC's Nightly News the other night, not for being insanely adorable, which it is, but for being mere feet away from the rising flood waters in downtown Memphis. Caleb was part of a volunteer effort to fill sandbags as a last ditch effort to protect my daughter's classroom. The bags are in place. Concerned parents pass along news and gossip on Facebook.

But all we can do now is wait.

The days are warm and sunny. We stretched out on a blanket underneath an impressive oak tree in our front yard, Harlow gathering dandelions and Declan snoozing on the porch. It would have been a magical afternoon if not for the increasingly grim reality that our poor city is about to take another beating.

The river is forecasted to crest next Wednesday at 48 feet - the same level as the devastating flood of 1937 - while others are speculating it may yet reach as high as 50. In any case, it's not looking good for large chunks of downtown. We are fortunate to have had extensive warnings and time to prepare; no lives will be lost, just massive property damage. We will regroup and rebuild. We end each day watching the increasingly depressing roundup of catastrophic damage in the south, of homes swallowed, roads submerged, news reporters speeding around surreal, flooded neighborhoods in bass boats, and we are heartbroken for them - and yes - grateful that our home, our families have been spared.

Nonetheless, it is personal. It is difficult to sit by helplessly and watch the water slowly but surely advance on my daughter's school, a place that has become increasingly special to her and my entire family. All we can do is hope and pray that the damage - if it occurs - won't be catastrophic.

So please keep the city, really, the mid-South - in your thoughts. We could use all that positive energy.

And because I am loathe to end this week on such a downer note, funny dog!