Thursday, January 28, 2010


This afternoon I watched an interview from NBC's "Today Show" with Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar and their family. They were discussing the health of their youngest daughter, Josie. Born 3.5 months early, she was 2 oz. heavier than our Charlotte. It was one of those moments where my heart absolutely breaks for the Duggars that they are going through this rough ordeal, while at the same time I was horribly jealous that their little girl is alive. I wouldn't wish the pain of the loss of a child on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
Looking at pictures of little Josie, I can't help but think how absolutely precious she is. She is beautiful in a way most babies never have to be. She is truly a miracle. And then I look at my sweet Natalie. Probably close to 15 pounds now, she is like 10 of baby Josie. And I love her as though she was a million babies.
Every second of the day that I am away from her is harder than the one before. I know I have to go to work and school - it is part of life and part of the healing process. My family deserves the best version of me possible. Thanks to Charlotte, I'm working on finishing my degree in English/Secondary Education. If I hadn't been pregnant with her, I would be working at a bank or fast food, with no promise of anything better. Now, for Natalie and my husband and our future children, I have hope that I can finish what I started almost 10 years ago and I am so grateful for Charlotte. She showed me how to love myself enough to tackle the hard things in life. She taught me how precious life is and gave Natalie the gift of parents who truly understand how fragile she is. I'm terrified every moment that something will change and Natalie won't be here, but when I wake up in the morning, there she is, tossing and turning, sleeping like a beautiful angel.
Last night I dreamt that I lost Natalie - she just disappeared. But there is a circle of friends who are here to support us and she is always with her father, me, or at the daycare I've spent almost two years hanging out at anyway. Everyone loves her and it reminds me that there is a whole extended family to protect her...
Almost like the Duggars. 19 kids and every one of them there to support each other when things get tough. Their sweet Josie has no idea how lucky she is just to have that family - so much love and prayers and hope being directed toward her every day. I like to think that Natalie gets that much love and hope and faith directed toward her from her family, too, even though we are significantly smaller in number. The thing is, love knows no boundaries.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Oh, how they change!

I never thought I'd be encouraging my 3 month old baby to be driving so early! I love the way she looks sitting up, though, and the best toy for her age just happens to be a steering-wheel with all the bells and whistles! I can't believe how grown-up she looks already! I am sad that she is no longer a "newborn," but excited for every new step along the way! I'm so proud of her!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Like, Oh Em Gee...

I never thought I'd appreciate the quirks and challenges that come with an infant so much until I spent the afternoon shopping with a couple of 8 year olds. First, let me say that they are both wonderful girls and quite typical for their age. Second, let me say, can mine PLEASE skip that age?!

It's amazing what 8 year old girls think is funny and appropriate. It's incredible how at that age pointing and staring and loudly commenting on other people's appearances is not a red-flag of wrong-ness! But, alas, they are still children.

I had my first experience in the mall with children who were not in a car-seat/stroller today and actually learned a lot about the independence of an 8 year old (which is proven by the fact that she will correct me and say that she is 8 AND 1/2). Almost capable of going off to find the restroom without the assistance of an adult, they are uniquely able to disappear into the myriad racks of clothing and miraculously re-appear moments later from an entirely different part of the store, all WITHOUT destroying the place or shrieking like a banshee. This is amazing to me, as I'm used to hanging out with infants and toddlers, whose vocabulary consists mostly of wimpers and horrific screams.

And I was sadly reminded of how horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) an 8 year old's sense of fashion can be. It doesn't help that the fashion now is reverting to the neon/spandex/hightop days of the 1980's, which I had desperately hoped had disappeared forever. So there is this odd combination of the desire to repeat the fashion blunders of the past, while combining with the unexplainable never-ending fashion disaster that is the goth movement. I miss the days when wearing solid black all of the time was reserved for widows in mourning and priests. The white face-paint of mimes has been butchered into a hideos death-like mask for people wishing to "express their individuality" meanwhile spending time in crowds of equally terrifying death-obsessed people who all seem to look like mild variations of the same human.

Of course, the 8 year olds think goth is cool now... Stores like "Hot Topic" don't help this fad... in fact, they only serve to perpetuate this odd combination of goth and skater that seems to be permeating the masses... and it makes me SO greatful that my darling daughter is still in size 6 months... (even though she's only 3 months old). For now, and hopefully years to come, I can choose what Natalie wears. Pretty pink dresses, pants that fit properly and shirts that cover her belly (not to mention skirts that go past her knees) are all that will live in her wardrobe.

I love the expression that 8 year olds think they have. I love that they seem to believe that their tastes make them unique or "cool" when they really are a part of the pop culture movement of the time. I remember being 8 years old and my New Kids on the Block belt was the cool accessory to go with my leggings, too long shirt (with a shirt clip, of course) and my Punky Brewster high-top sneakers... O.M.G. I was so cool!
And now I'm even more terrified for Natalie to grow up!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Belly buttons

One of the first games I played with Natalie was telling her what the different parts of her body are: The baby's nose, baby ears, baby toes and the BELLY BUTTON!!! It was something we could both get excited about. She loves when I tap her nose, tickle her feet and wiggle her ears. Mostly, though, she gives me the biggest grin when I exclaim "here's your BELLY BUTTON!!" Tonight I finally realized why it is that every time I change her clothes or diaper I feel this overwhelming desire to kiss her belly button.

It is what allowed me to give her life. It is what connected her body to mine. It is what fed her for nine months while she was being formed into the amazing creature who now occupies one hand while I type with the other.

I then realize that my belly button is what connected me to my mother and her to hers all the way through the beginning of time. This silly sounding body part that no longer serves any function beyond games and lint collection is the link to life. It is what nourishes us in our beginning, then is forgotten as we get older - as soon as the umbilical stump finally falls off in the first days of life.

There are many things in our lives that we take for granted - we poke holes in them not thinking what they mean to us, we forget how we got here in the first place. As I sit here, still feeling residual pains from my remarkably easy and beautiful labor, I am reminded of the miracle that is this perfect daughter beside me. There is nothing I love more about her than her belly button - it is the physical link between the two of us that led to the spiritual link I hope we develop throughout our relationship. As I tell her every day, I will love her more and more and more every single minute of every single day for the rest of my life. And for that, I thank her belly button.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To sling or not to sling...

My darling Natalie does not like to be carried around in the Infantino front carrier that we bought for her. She seems to prefer to just be held, but my poor arms cannot handle the steadily increasing weight of this beautiful little girl. As a solution, we now have a ring-sling. It's the most simple, clever design. It's purple linen and easily maneuvered to contain the small, yet growing body of my baby girl. So far, she seems to love it. Or perhaps she loves watching her father and me try like morons to figure out this one piece of cloth with two rings at the end of it. It hooks like those old belts that have the two rings on one end and the belt hangs from them both and, woven through them neatly the belt holds your pants up... well, it seems that this funny little thing does the same, just with a baby instead! So tonight we tried about 15 minutes of holding her in it, just to see how she liked it. At first, she loved being able to see Daddy and me at the same time... then, she seemed to get a bit tired of it... then, she spit up on me. So who knows if she really likes it yet or not! We'll keep trying it, after all, I cannot go to the chiropractor every week and carrying her around the way I have been made my arms go numb. So here's to hoping that this stubborn little creature decides to get along with my idea of easy transportation so I don't have to lug around the 600 pound car seat every time I go in a store. Or maybe she'll decide that it's funny when Mommy can't feel her arms!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Duh... Mom-Brain

My grandmother has a theory: for every child a woman has, she loses 25% of her brain. That means that as of now, I am operating at 50%. I seriously feel for the people who have had 4 or more children! How in the world do they function with more than one child in the house, and with 0% or less of their mental capacity in tact!
The worst brain-dysfunction I've had lately only caused me to have to wash an extra load of laundry...
Natalie went to bed at 12am the other night. She didn't wake up until 8am, but of course, I was up really late because I'm stupid and after 3 months haven't realized that I should go to bed as soon as she does. When I went to get her from her crib, I filled a new bottle for her and brought her to our bed, where I fell back to sleep with her in my arms. For some reason (that has nothing to do with the late nights and insane build up of exhaustion) I didn't wake up again until almost noon. Natalie was a perfect angel and didn't wake me up. She must have known how badly I needed the sleep. However, about this time she started to fuss...
I reached over to grab her and hand her to her Daddy so he could change her and just as I picked her up, she peed ALL over the bed and me!! When I brought her to our room at 8am, I forgot to change her diaper! Not only had her diaper not been changed for 12 hours, making me feel like a horrible mother, but she was wearing size 1, when she really is pushing out of them into a 2! It was a series of cosmic events which led to the culminating event of my morning, uh, shower...
So here we are, a new day, and I still put the 1s on her for now because diapers are too danged expensive to waste, though I think tomorrow I will donate what I have left to an expecting mother. I put her to bed an hour and a half ago, went to take a shower and when she was fussing a little bit, immediately went to change the diaper.
This morning when we woke up (I'm starting to enjoy co-sleeping in the morning...) I was feeding her and as I lifted her up to burp her, was greeted by yet another shower in the form of EVERYTHING she'd eaten coming up on my pajamas. I had a burp cloth and was being careful about how I moved her, but apparently, mornings are not my thing... or maybe it's the Mom-Brain finally kicking in. Gee, I hope it gets better!