Sunday, February 28, 2010

Natalie's Pony

One night, when Natalie was only a few weeks old, I went to put her to bed while she was too awake to settle down. So, I started telling her a story to put her to sleep. This is that story:
Natalie’s Pony

Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl named Natalie. She was sweet and wonderful and her parents loved her very much. But there was something she wanted that she didn’t have. Natalie wanted a pony.

So one day, Natalie decided to go on an adventure and find herself a pony. She left home in search of the perfect companion. Along the way, Natalie met a squirrel. The squirrel was trying to reach a nut in a hole in the ground, but his little arms weren’t long enough. Natalie helped the squirrel get the nut. She told him that she was searching for a pony and he was excited.

“I’m all alone here and have nobody to help me. I see that you don’t have anyone either. If you will take me on your journey with you, I will gather all the food we need.”

Natalie thought this was a great idea, so they continued on the adventure together.

Soon, Natalie and the squirrel came upon a rabbit, who was trying to get out of his burrow. Embarrassed, the rabbit told them that he’d had too much for dinner and couldn’t fit through the door to his own home. He had made enough food for a feast, but nobody came over to eat with him, so he ate it all himself.

Natalie and the squirrel pulled the rabbit out of the hole and told him that they were searching for a pony.

“I’m all alone here, as you can see, if you will take me on your journey with you, I will cook all the meals we need.”

They decided that one more friend was a good thing, so they all set off together.

Soon, Natalie, the rabbit and the squirrel came to a river. They were sad because they didn’t know how to swim. A turtle overheard them talking and came to help.

“I’m all alone here and have nobody to talk to. If you will take me on your journey with you, I will swim across the river with you on my back.”

They all agreed that this sounded good, so off they went together.

After a while, Natalie, the turtle, the rabbit and the squirrel came to a mountain, too high for any of them to climb. They stood around, saddened that they could not go any further, when an owl flew by and stopped to listen.

“I have flown all around and know exactly what you need. If you will take me on your journey with you, I will fly above the mountain carrying you.”

This sounded wonderful, so off they went together.

When they landed on the other side of the mountain, Natalie was excited at what she saw. Standing before them was a whole herd of unicorns! One of the unicorns came up to Natalie and spoke to her.

“Welcome, Natalie! I have been waiting for you.”

“You have?” Natalie exclaimed.

“Yes. I have been expecting a beautiful young girl to come and take me away from my family to protect her.”

Natalie smiled, and then was sad.

“What is wrong?” asked the unicorn.

“I have a whole family already now. I have the squirrel, the rabbit, the turtle, the owl and my parents. I don’t know if I can take you away from yours.”

The unicorn smiled at her, “Natalie, it has always been my destiny to be yours. I was waiting to join your family, but you had to come get me so that you would meet these other friends along the way. Nobody should be lonely and you all needed each other.”

Natalie hugged the unicorn. Then, the squirrel, the rabbit, the turtle, the owl and Natalie climbed on the back of the unicorn and headed home together.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Laughing at a crying baby...

Yesterday offered up a bit of a challenge for us. Natalie can't go back to daycare until next week, since she had RSV, so we have had to maneuver our schedules around each other so that one of us has her at all times. Normally he has Tuesdays off, but because of some schedule changes last week, he had to cover a shift this week. I have class Tuesday afternoons. So, Natalie had her first college experience. She seemed enthralled by the teacher! She was polite, listened intently and, I swear, if she could have taken notes, she would have! Luckily for us, the class only consists of two students, a professor and occasionally a guest speaker (the professor's son.)
By the end of class, Natalie was tired and refusing to eat. We headed home and I snapped the carseat into the stroller for storage inside, like I usually do (to keep the cat out...) and went to use the restroom before taking care of the slightly upset doll in front of me. When I returned, she was making fussy sounds that were new to me... She took a deep breath, hummed/whined and blew raspberries with her lips, drool flowing gently onto her already disgusting bib. She looked at me with teary eyes. I laughed at her.
The sounds were almost like she was pretending to cry to see what result she would get. I didn't think she was that old yet! I knew she was hungry, wet and tired, so I prepared the bottle and returned with the video camera! I wonder, does that make me a bad mommy? I don't think so, she only fussed for a few minutes, but it was the most precious thing I've seen in a while! I talked to her so she didn't think I was ignoring her except for this weird buzzing machine in her face. I told her she was a pretty girl... and she smiled! Now I was certain she was manipulating me! I put the camera away and went to settle in on the couch with her and her newly changed bottom and fresh, warm bottle.
We had a cozy evening, though I was starving by this point. I realized again how scared I really am to love her, though. Especially since I have no control over it! I love her more than life itself and would do anything for her... including laughing while she cries!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Volume Control

We all know the parents who take kids to the restaurant only to prevent other patrons from enjoying their dinners, right? Yes, you know the ones. Their child shrieks like a banshee for an hour and a half while they order drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Sometimes they apologize to the waitress, sometimes they ignore the issue altogether. And then there are the parents who shyly sit in the corner eating their dinner, trying to no avail to calm their banshee-child, obviously embarrassed, but not enough to ask for a to-go box. Those are the parents one just feels bad for. "Oh, poor Mr and Mrs Smith, their baby must be SOOOOoooooo difficult!" "Oh my, they don't know how to control that child, do they!?"
But sometimes, the simple fact is that there isn't anything TO do about the screaming child. Are we supposed to bury our heads in the sand and pretend we don't exist until they turn 18 and move away from home? Perhaps. But it is much easier to endure the occasional night on the town with a shrieking infant whose only problem is that she has not yet discovered volume control along with everything else she is learning. New pitches, new volumes, new length of time. The fact that she has an opinion and is able to share it is fascinating to her and who am I to stifle that developmental milestone? I don't want my child to lose her individuality because I shushed her at a restaurant! Ninety percent of the time anyway the ambient sounds at a restaurant are so stifling to conversation that the shriek and squeal of the infant, no matter how pleasant or angry these sounds might be, will become a dull buzzing in the background. Other patrons may notice this specific noise, but for the most part, the cheering over the football game, or the loud reminiscing of the previous quarter's business over drinks and hot wings take control of the surroundings.
So, why do I still feel bad when my little girl decides to share with the world that she wants to laugh at her Daddy? Why is it that we feel embarrassed by the natural developmental noises our children make before they know that it is rude to be so loud in public, but the dinner we have with our boisterous boss isn't even on our radar? Has society continued to preach that parenthood is an inconvenience?
Remember the days when a woman wasn't "knocked up" or even "pregnant," but "with child" and hidden away for the next nine months? No? Well, I wasn't alive then either, but those days did exist. It was improper to speak of reproduction and childbearing. Children were to be seen and not heard even into the end of the last millennium. Even I was a victim of that sentiment and I am not yet 30.
The revolution has begun, however, with the renewed interest in what is natural - breastfeeding, talking children, "baby wearing" and public exhibition of pregnant bodies.
The time has come to embrace the beauty that is motherhood, fatherhood, womanhood, parenthood. My inner woman, my wild-woman, longs to reach out to others and scream "I have a baby, I have given birth to another life that grew inside mine!" I have stretch marks in places and directions I never thought possible. I think I have a road map from South Dakota to Detroit on my stomach, but what it really says is "I am a WOMAN. I am a MOTHER. I am BEAUTIFUL." My baby girl who talked through dinner and screamed from exhaustion tonight is symbolic of all things I love most about my womanhood - she is a testament to the love and faith and hope that life brings from day to day.
Snuggled up in her father's arms, finally sleeping, I realize I am grateful that she doesn't understand volume control. I am grateful that she is learning who she is and how to communicate. Some day, she will stand tall and proclaim "I am a WOMAN. I am a MOTHER. I. AM. BEAUTIFUL!" She might as well start now.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

RAWR- anger at dumb parents...

So... the other day Natalie spent 12 hours at daycare so that she would be away from me and my ucky flu-ness. When she got home, I snuggled her for about five minutes and handed her right back to her Daddy. The next morning, the daycare lady called to let me know that the previous day, Natalie was exposed to RSV by some kids who were coughing all day long... gee... thanks. I want to send their parents the bill for my day... if she was going to get exposed to nasties anyway, at least I could have saved some money!
I'm still not feeling well and am quite disappointed lately in the lack of substance or wit to my writing. Perhaps the flu sucked it out of me. Perhaps lack of sleep, too much homework, or just plain laziness has done it. Maybe I'll be back to my normal self soon!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Missing my Lady-bug!

My sweet Natalie is at daycare today - all day - and I haven't spent much time with her since Saturday afternoon. To celebrate our anniversary (a little late) we went to Deadwood on Saturday night. After a long evening of gambling and having a good-ol' time, we came home Sunday morning. I wasn't feeling well and thought it was just from being up too late, so I went to take a nap. When I woke up, it was even worse... I had the flu.
So, my baby girl spent the night in the living room with her Daddy while I tried to combat the ever growing fever and prevent this horrid beast from taking hold on my little girl, too. So, of course, she couldn't spend the day with me today while Daddy went to work - I couldn't give her the attention she needs without risking the flu-transfer! So, they left for daycare at 9:00 this morning and won't be home until almost 9:00 tonight! All I want to do is HOLD MY BABY GIRL!!!!! But for now, she's still healthy and I'll sacrifice my cuddle time so that she stays that way...
Last night, however, she gave me the most horrible "why won't you hold me, Mommy?" look... and I keep seeing that in my mind... Poor thing probably thinks daycare is her new home. But, she'll be here soon, and Daddy doesn't work tomorrow, so at least I'll get to see her!