Posted in Just Funny, Parenting

Sleep Like a Baby…

I’d forgotten.

Saturday afternoon reminded me.  

I needed a nap.  It wasn’t even optional, as I was nodding off in the “upright and locked” position. So I snuggled Charlotte, nibbled on her thighs (because, you know, Cute Aggression), and scratched her tummy until she dozed off. Then I curled up on the opposite side of the sectional, with a fuzzy purple blanket, hoping to catch an hour before she woke.  

Music softly playing, eyes gratefully closed, consciousness ebbing away as logical thought became nonsense… when suddenly pudgy little hands steal the fleecy covers.  My eyes open to Charlotte vaulting onto my head from bouncy couch cushions.  “M.E.!  I wake!” “Yes, Doodle Bug, I see that. “You wanna watch Daniel Tiger?” I ask.

I flip on Netflix, confident she would engage in the electronic entertainment and allow me a half hour undisturbed.

Why can’t my internal optimist EVER be right?

“M.E. I hundy.”

“No you aren’t, we just ate lunch.”

Though unable to unglue my eyelids, I still distinguish the sounds of her unzipping and rummaging through my purse. Click, clasp, smack.  Then sticky fingers tapping my face, “M.E., dipstick. See?”  Squinting slightly I detect, heavily smeared lipstick surrounding her mouth.  She looks like a tiny Vegas showgirl.    

“M.E. I need dink.”

I debate the options, knowing she probably is thirsty and also knowing I should de-clown her little face, but lamenting leaving the warmth of the purple fleece. But I do, because, you know, I love her, and she’s cute. But mostly because she won’t leave me alone until I do.

Back to the couch, toddler on the loveseat with her bottle of water, I recline and regain the warmth.

“M.E., you go nigh nigh?”

Yes, baby.  You watch Daniel Tiger and let M.E.take a little nap, okay?

Seconds later her breath is warming my face, followed by her fingers poking my eyeballs.

charlotte june 15 (2)“Charlotte, don’t poke me in the eyes, it hurts.”
“Sowwy.  M.E.? M.E.? M.E?”

“Yes, baby?”

“I wuuuuv you.”

Oh my.  Too much cuteness. I grab her and swing her up onto me and squeeze her for a minute.  “I love you MORE!” I insist.

“I wuv you mostest!”

My heart melts for the twelfth time today.  But my eyes are still begging for some semblance of sleep.

“Charlotte, would you rather listen to Annie?”  
“AnNIE, AnNIE!  Ya ya!”

She begins to dance in anticipation of her favorite musical score.

I flip over to the Pandora station and attempt, once again, to lie down.

She starts her sing-along with the introductory prelude.  I obviously can’t sleep through this, but at least my eyes are closed.  It’s a step in the right direction.

Again, I feel her hovering over my face: “M.E.? Otay?”

I peek one eye open to see her holding her water bottle. “Otay?” she asks again.  I tell her yes, but she seems unsure.  “M.E.?  OTAY?” she queries again as she shows me her water bottle. I reiterate my approval, assuming she is asking to drink her water.  Smiling, she turns the bottle over and deliberately drenches the ottoman.

Well, I DID just give her permission. 

“He he he, I dup idout.  I get napin and wipe idup.  Otay?”

Sigh.  Yes, baby.  Get a napkin and wipe it up.  Whatever.  I let my eyes fall closed yet again as I listen to her drag a dining chair across the floor, climb up onto the counter for what turns out to be the equivalent of three trees’ worth of napkins, and toddle back to dry up the squishy ottoman.

The soft serenade of “Tomorrow” in the background now as the sweetness of sleep engulfs me.  

Scene change. Charlotte mimics the choreography of the on-screen girls and whacks me in the head with a throw pillow.

Yep.  It’s a Hard Knock Life.

Giving it up, I get up and dance with her.  And make coffee.

“M.E., I go Mommy now?”

You betcha, baby.  I strap her in for the 12-minute drive back to her house.

And, as fate would have it, she fell asleep before we pulled out of the driveway.

Posted in Down on the Farm, Family, Parenting

A Little Nap Moosic

If you’re old enough to remember the last time Halley’s comet was visible, you probably remember the “cow toy” or maybe even the “pig toy” that used to be on display in front of certain mall stores like Kirkland’s or KB Toys.daisy-the-cow-reward

These animals would waddle a couple of steps, make their species-appropriate noise and wag their tail or wiggle their nose or some such cuteness.

When my daughter was a baby, we did the whole nursery thing: crib, rocking chair, changing table, toy chest, etc. After investing several hundred dollars in this set-up, I discovered I my inner hippie and we became “family bed” people, meaning the only time we got crib use was when I wanted to clean house during her nap time…like, say, twice a year or so.

On one such day, my sweet baby girl fell asleep and, feeling an inexplicable need to vacuum, I took her upstairs, put her in the crib with some “babies”, pulled the blanket up and the door closed, and left her to snooze peacefully. I would check on her from time to time, as she was such a good-natured baby she almost never cried. When she woke, she would just stare at her toes or make mouth bubbles or whatever else babies do. On this day, however, she woke SCREAMING. Not the “I’m hungry” cry, or the “I’m alone” whimper, not even the “I HAVE DIAPER RASH AND MY TUSHY BURNS!!!!” wail. This was a full-blown scream of terror.

I flew up the stairs (as all super-moms do), rushed into her room to find her flailing in one corner of her crib, her feet entangled in a blanket, as she frantically attempted to escape it. Poor kid. I picked her up, checked her out, and soothed her mini-freak-out. She was fine. Once she quieted down, I heard a softly recurring “mooooo” from under the blanket that had been twisted around her feet. I turned off the little cow she must have inadvertantly kicked on in her sleep, and we went off to play.

Some days later we were in the nursery reading books and playing with blocks, when I set the cow between us and flipped him on. He started to waddle and before he could “moo”, Kacey was in full-blown screaming freak-out mode.

Seems when she kicked on our little bovine friend, his electronic noises woke her, mooand not being able to escape from under the blanket that imprisoned them both, she experienced her first panic attack.

She never could play with the cow again.

Though, every now and again, for my own sadistic entertainment, I would flip it on just to see what happened. Yeah…Super-Mom has a dark side.

Posted in Family, Just Funny, Parenting, Uncategorized

Saved by the Beef

She sat across the booth from her teenage son in one of those chain restaurants. Dark wod, huge bar, kitschy memorabilia hanging from the rafters, and seven strategically placed big-screens jack-burgerdistracting you from the fact that you are paying $26.94 for a couple of burgers and a glass that contains more ice than tea.

During their burger wait time, the sugar packets offered further diversion with trivia questions:      

The Boy grabbed one and queried, “Who recorded ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’?”
“Billy Joel!” she blurted.

“Jurassic Park was released in what year?”
“1993, the same year you came screeching into my life like a hungry raptor,” she smiled and stuck out her tongue.  He gave her one of those teenage boy looks.  The kind of look that says, “You’re much too old to be as funny as you think you are.”

He continued, “What fictional town is the setting for many of Stephen King’s novels?” She paused for a second to search the recesses of her right brain for this information hidden between Casablanca and Clapton, Eric.  Two words…begins with a C…

The Boy raised an eyebrow and his lips curled into an evil little grin, believing he had stumped her, but this kid was clueless how much Stephen King his mother had read over the years.
“Castle Rock!” she finally proclaimed.

Eventually one of the little white packets posed a personal pop-culture question:
14281587_10153960151916801_1612306825_n-horzIt read, “Who would play you in the movie of your life?”

Oooo, a deep, thought-provoking question…let’s see…she’s too young for Meryl and much too old for Mila.

Tongue-in-cheek she responded, “Easy.  Because of our physical similarities I would have to say…” 14302445_10153960151841801_1489741147_n-horzand before the name “Angelina Jolie” rolled off her tongue, her son spurted out,

“Kathy Bates”?

Ugh.  He was seventeen and REALLY good at it.

She then mumbled something about a sledgehammer and hobbling him like James Caan, but lucky for the Boy, the burgers arrived.

Posted in Birth Stories, Hippy-Dippy Stuff, Parenting, stephanie2morrow, Uncategorized

Why You Won’t Have a Natural Birth

I rarely rant. I almost never rave. If I seem taller than usual, it’s more likely from my new sparkly summer wedges than from standing on a soapbox. But … well … I want to say something that’s going to make some of you furious and others of you feel justified:

Natural childbirth is not possible in an unnatural world.

And we do live in an unnatural world — X-Men, Photoshop, reality tv, fast food, Donald Trump’s hair — and we believe what we see. (Except maybe for the hair.)

Why You Won't Have a Natural Birth

Our culture encourages those same “unreal” perceptions regarding childbirth. Movies and tv shows tell us labor will begin with intense pain and agony. We are shown images of women screaming and begging to be medicated. We are told to freak out when water breaks and rush to the hospital. We listen to the horror stories of our “friends.” We ignorantly put ourselves in the hands of people who are exceptionally well-trained to handle abnormalities and emergencies, hence all our births have become such abnormalities and emergencies.

And that’s just not reality.

We are NOT educating ourselves. We have lost our communal knowledge of the art of birthing and have chosen instead to simply trust the medical profession to decide what is best for us.

You can SAY all day long, “I want a natural birth,” but if you aren’t educating yourself, your chances of actually HAVING one are practically nonexistent. I mean, if you want to be a safe driver, but you don’t read the Driver’s Manual, or learn to operate a vehicle from someone who knows how, or even take a driver’s ed class, you MIGHT get in the car and know WHERE you want to go, but what are the chances of actually making it there safely? Probably about the same as having an uneducated natural birth.

Now, by “educating yourself,” I do NOT mean taking the little hospital class that tours you through Labor & Delivery, makes you watch the epidural video and discusses all the things that “could go wrong” and how the hospital will deal with them. NO. NO. An emphatic NO.

Read for yourself: Literature from both ends of the spectrum, from Twinkle Ding-Dong Yoga Birthing toShut Up and Put Your Feet in the Stirrups. Go ahead and take the Labor & Delivery tour at the hospital, then go to an independent childbirth class. Drink in A Baby Story on TLC, then chase it with The Business of Being Born on Netflix.

Why You Won't Have a Natural BirthRead up on epidurals and episiotomies; C-sections and vitamin K shots; vaccinations and circumcisions; fetal monitoring and forceps; meconium and mucous plugs; contractions and colostrum; dilation and doulas; VBAC and PRoM; breech babies and birth positions; posterior presentation, placentas, pitocin & postpartum depression, and for heaven’s sake, PARENTING.

What determines the outcome of your labor hinges sharply on choosing to educate yourself and surround yourself with the support you need.  And, as a doula, while I heavily advocate drug-free birthing, my job is to help you have the experience you want. Schedule a C-section, squat in a cornfield, whatever. It is, after all, YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOUR decision.

Just please, please, please make it an INFORMED one.

Posted in Family, Hippy-Dippy Stuff, Parenting

Visions of Sugar Plums…

I did not feed my children anything sugary until they were 2. I figured, why give it to them when they don’t even know what they’re missing? Besides, no candy for them meant more for me.  🙂

Anyway, for Kevin’s first Christmas (he was 11 months old), his sister (7) wanted to decorate our tree with a candy-cane motif. So we hung candy canes, candy cane treestrung homemade peppermint garland, wove in red & white striped ribbon, and adorned the very top with our traditional Santa hat. It was super cute!

Now, because we were “family bed” people, Kevin didn’t have a nursery.  For that matter, he didn’t even have a crib to confine him.  He was, what I call, a “wandering baby”.  You just never knew where he was going to be when you woke up.

One morning during the holiday season (pretty sure it was “7 Swans a Swimming” day), I woke to odd noises emanating from the living room. Remember that sound your great uncle made when he was trying to suck a piece of pork chop out from between his front teeth?  Yeah, same sound.

A quick investigation revealed those wet, slurpy noises to be my barely-steady-on-his-feet baby boy, standing as high on tiptoes as footie pajamas would allow.  His neck outstretched like a Serengeti giraffe as he nursed the end of a no-longer-decorative candy cane.

He had bitten off the plastic wrap, then sucked the peppermint to a dangerously sharp point. The slurps and groans grew increasingly louder as he neared the end of his height range in relation to the dwindling stick of candy.

He pivoted quickly when I asked, “Kevie…whatcha doing?”

Verbal communication was not exactly his strong point, but the cuteness factor told me everything I needed to know.  He broke out in a 6-toothed grin, pointed at the candy stripes and enthusiastically implied, “Dearest mother, it’s not that I don’t appreciate your generous and abundant breastmilk, but woman…you’ve been holding out on me!”

Posted in Family, Parenting, Uncategorized

the calm before the storm

We are entering the season: traveling, Christmas shopping, decorating, the early December “calm before the storm.”  I love the holiday season.  Really, I do. I just want it to last twice as long and be four times less hectic. And while I’m not generally a procrastinator, except when it comes to Christmas shopping. I haven’t even begun to think about it, much less actually do it. (sigh)

 I love the cold, the dark, the white twinkle lights, humongous bows on packages, snow, boiled custard, holiday get-togethers, timers that automatically turn my trees on and off, Christmas music, my rabbit-lined leather gloves, appetizers, holiday movies, sweaters, and reminiscing about previous years as we hang each ornament on the tree . . .

aalights (2)I’m not so crazy about wrapping gifts, turkey in any form, pulling boxes out of the attic, property taxes, vacuming pine needles, “Santa Baby”, pumping gas when it’s 18 degrees, or, one of the great mysteries of life: untangling Christmas tree lights which were most definitely NOT tangled when we put them away 11 months ago…

Mostly I just love the whole “being together” thing – the dropping of everything else that clutters our lives every other day of the year to munch on maple bacon and boiled shrimp the size of your palm, play cards, and laugh at each other.  That’s my favorite part of Christmas.

Well, that and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Posted in Family, Just Funny, Minimalism, Parenting, Uncategorized

Refined Taste

 

Standing here at the stove, making a big pot of chili (and wondering just exactly how much cumin is too much?), I realize I’m going to have to make a cracker run before the cowboy packs his lunch.  Eating gluten-free has had so many benefits, but good crackers is not one of them.  In fact, I have come to the conclusion that gluten-free crackers are not crackers at all, but merely packing material disguised with flaxseed.

cracker clubI don’t know if you’re a fan of crackers or not, but they rank pretty high on my snack food list. Club crackers, much like eggs and toilet paper, are a staple at our house. Remember when they used to be in 2-packs in a basket on every table in every restaurant in North America, and how you would make a half-dozen sweet-&-sour cracker sandwiches waiting for your WonTon Soup to be served?

Anyway, one time the kids asked me if I would buy them some more “Good Crackers”. I assumed they were asking if I would replace the Club crackers, you know, since I had finished them off prematurely in a big bowl of milk as though they were corn flakes. So, next shopping day, I brought home a couple of the green boxes.

They never complained, but the next time I was Kroger-bound they asked again,“Please Mom, would you buy The Good Crackers THIS time?”  Sure!  Since Clubs weren’t “the good ones”, cracker goldfishI splurged on a sack of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (which are price-equivalent to a 16-oz ribeye).  This time I was met with enthusiasm! Yes! Score one for Mom! Goldfish crackers are practically CANDY to children. I mean, how do you not love the snack that smiles back? They enjoyed feasting on them for several days.

However, the question was soon asked a third time:  “Mom, you keep promising to buy the Good Crackers.  This time, please?”  The Goldfish weren’t right either?  What ARE the Good Crackers?  crackers wheat thinsThe children couldn’t tell me by name. So, again I perused the Ritz and Cheese Nips and Triscuits, and  decided they must want Wheat Thins. Once home, I waved the yellow box in front of them with a satisfied smile and asked, “Are theeeeese what you wanted?”  Two disappointed little faces told me I had failed as a parent.

More weeks passed, and on this trip to the market, the kids were with me. As we strolled down the cookie/cracker aisle, they came to a screeching halt.  

They stood, frozen in their tracks, staring at the floor. Heaven opened up. Beams of light illuminated the place at my children’s feet, and I heard the faint singing of the Hallelujah Chorus.

“Mom!!! The GOOD crackers! Please!?”

I looked, and there, at their feet, were the Saltines.

The good crackers.