Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Motherhood... So Far Anyway

With so much time spent at work, and all my evening time spent catching up with the baby and the husband, I am finding that having time to write a blog, let alone a thank-you note, is getting away from me. But today, as the dust sits collecting in little piles, the laundry basket has well overflowed, and the bed goes unmade for the umpteenth day in a row, I find myself sitting here instead of catering to my chores. Wanting to get my thoughts written down while I was still thinking them.
And that's when it hit me. I am not really having any thoughts, lately, other than should we wake him? Should we put him down? Should we put rice in the bottle? Should we put on more/less blankets? Should we put him inside/outside/upside-down? Basic thoughts. Caring thoughts. Easy thoughts. Thoughts that are not only a great break from the norm, but are also a welcome excuse to avoid more taxing, unpleasant thoughts, like paying bills or what to make for dinner. Like should we make a will and how can we get out of this condo?
That is what, to me anyway, is so beautiful about Motherhood. How I can do so little to soothe him. Make him giggle. Provide him comfort and be his everything, that while certainly time consuming, is so... simple.
And as much as I want to see him grow up and crawl and walk and talk, I want to remember what this time was like, too. Because when he becomes a mouthy, independent adolescent, I want to have a vivid memory of being in love with him. And other stuff, but really, I want to remember what it was like to be so needed, and how fufilling that is.
So no, I don't really have anything interesting to say outside of how lucky I am to finally get the chance to be a Mom. Of how much I like it. Of how things have realligned themselves and I have never been happier. But who wants to hear about that?
He will. Maybe that's the point.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Calling Me Crazy

SOMEone stole the little white pumpkin. SOMEone threw rocks at my window. SOMEone threw mud balls at the bricks. Then I had a baby. And when SOMEone threw more rocks, eggs, and water balloons at my windows, I got mad.
Because there is a baby in the house and I am one protective Mama. And thoughts of the glass cracking and letting in all the hot air or cold air or the elements come into my house... my BABY'S house...and possibly inhibit his comfort? Well... now... I don't THINK so.
So we started calling the cops. Yep. 911. Well, not exactly. We called the local non-emergency line. And then they would transfer us to the police. We would and well, DO, wait patiently on the patio for them to show up. And because of our property taxes and the town we live in, they did. Show up, that is.
The first few times, we were... uncomfortable. I mean, it's highly UNlikely that any REAL harm will result from any INTENTIONAL crimes here. Junior High pranks at best. I know.
But try mixing a protective Mama, a TIRED Mama, and a wife who FINALLy got to sit down to a nice candlelight dinner of homemade burgers and a Caprese salad with her husband for the first time in months, and have a laser beam shining into her face shortly after hearing some kids say... "This one.. this one.. THIS is the one".
That is where THIS woman throws her fork down already. Because quite honestly? It was at THAT moment that I knew. I knew that for whatever reason we were the neighborhood "target", and I was DONE DONE DONE.
And while we had been reporting the last FEW transgressions, the officers seemed to care little to none, and we assumed our efforts were an effort in futility.
However, this police officer was very nice. I started off with my usual description, a white kid, a black kid, an asian kid and an hispanic kid. His response? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. I knew right away that THIS Officer might be the first to "crack the case".
His phone call within the hour confirmed my confidence. After talking to one of the "followers", who sank like a rotted ship and narced them ALL out, he was able to identify and visit each home. Not so great if you are the parent of a Junior High aged child, I would guess.
When I thanked him for his efforts, he warned me to "not get too excited" as the parents played nice but only agreed to "work on it with their kids"... he sounded pessimistic.
I, however, am excited. I am excited because I feel validated that even though these are childhood pranks, they are becoming increasingly frequent, aggressive, and intrusive. They are preventing me from feeling safe and comfortable when I am home with the baby.
I am not excited that there are some families out there that had a pretty bad night. Or some kids today, for example the narc, that probably get beat up. My husband said late last night, after we both had spent some time contemplating the series of events, "You know, I have been thinking, this is the kind of thing that creates a fork in the road. These kids are going to be making a decision because of this. This is where they say ef it, or ask themselves why they are doing this kind of stuff ".
Truer words could not be said.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Precious Life

Before Jake was born, and before I was even with child, it was just Billy and I. It was then that we somehow managed to illicit friendships with the neighbor folks. A lot of them. The octogenerian set. That is what you get in a condo building in our part of town.
When our friends found out we were expecting, much excitement was felt throughout the courtyard. Stopped frequently by enthusiastic congratulations and talks and memories of raising their own little ones many years ago. We were gracious for thier gifts. Not only of the standard onesies, photo albums and recieving blankets, but also the advice, support, and cheerful smiles.
When Jake finally arrived, we could barely sit on our front patio without feeling somewhat accosted by the curious and happy-for-us neighbor friends who wanted to stop by and meet our little bundle and of course, bestow MORE gifts and wisdom. That with the colic we most surely needed, appreciated and accepted.
In the days and weeks that followed, a few of our most eager friends seem to have disappeared. I missed the quick chats in the parking lot, on the patio, and under the apple tree in the courtyard. The invitations to come by with the baby or if we needed some support or a break.
And then yesterday happened.
Neighbor Rich banged on our door with his cane. Insisting we open up immediately so he could rest his eyes on the peanut. If you didn't know him better, you would surmise that his gruffness translated into insensitivity, however we knew better. He then went on to tell us about his pain. The arthritis that has taken over his body and left him virtually immobile. How it was so severe that he was going to be asking the doctor to kindly unplug his heart defribulator pumping inside his body so that he could die peacefully within two weeks of a massive heart attack. Luckily, he told us, there was a renewed hope as his newest medications seemed to be easing it a bit.
Then there was neigbor Dorothy. We were laying on the couch with the baby finally asleep restfully after his first round of shots. I rolled my eyes when I saw her approaching, annoyed that my first real time to relax was being interrupted. She knocked ever so gently and with such timidity that I was ashamed at my initial annoyance.
She came in and of course, was looking for the baby. It was then she told us that she was blind. Suddenly. Seems as if some strep had settled in her one good eye leaving her blinded. The good news was that she was going to be able to keep the eye. If it had happened when she was fifty she is pretty sure she would have killed herself, because now, literally overnight, at the age of 78, she cannot do anything. Drive, cook, dress, read. She cannot SEE. It's no way to live, she tells us. Her own grown children are devastated for her. WE are devastated for her. She was sad that she couldn't see the baby that she had so anticipated watching grow.
Once she left and we settled back into our places on the couch, it sunk in more fully.
As I looked down at the precious bundle in my arms, I thought about the beauty of life, as well as the horror of it. I hope Jake knows one day how much he was loved by so many people without ever having to try. I hope he knows that there were some special people that loved him as they were leaving this world and he was entering it, and how those people calmed us, soothed us, supported us and helped us get his life started.
Mostly, I hope he learns to respect life, and the life cycle and how precious it all is.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Operation Get Things Back On Track Day

I am getting snowed. I am getting taken for a ride by my 10 week old, hook, line and sinker. Seems as if the little peanut has noticed that he gets a lot more attention if he chooses to eat little 2 ounce snacks every couple of hours instead of some decent sized 5 ounce meals.
Last week we had managed it all but good, getting him up to 5 ounces at a shot- leaving us with beautifully long slumbers and lots of pleasant adults in the house.. and then we went to Grandma's. It's not her fault. Not by a long shot- but with several three hour road trips in front of us, we were desparate to get him to play nice and sit in his car seat and shut up, I mean rest peacefully, for the duration. Which also means with barely a whimper to be heard we were running like a Jamaican to get him his bottle, pick him up, change him... you name it. It was a very short-lived, but princely time in his life.
It wasn't until yesterday that I noticed the severe regression from all the chaos and his lack of ability to get back into the swing of things.
Today? Operation Get Things Back On Track Day.
Armed with several "How to do this" and "How to do that" baby books in my arm and a newfound reisistance to the peanuts yelps and squirms for MORE MORE MORE- I started the day with "The Plan".
"The Plan" consists of little more than extending the time between his feedings and not picking him up when he's needing a good long nap. Somehow- this has ended up involving lots of pacifiers getting shoved into his tiny, adorable, sweet little pie-hole. Mommy of the Year anyone?
It seems to be working and we have already made some progress. And as I tell my husband... it's actually good for the WHOLE family, namely ME- as I am much more pleasant when the diaper changings are interspersed with quiet moments in which I can put the peanut's scrapbook together already.
Which as of today, is actually coming along quite nicely- thanksverymuch.
The only real fear is the "big debate"... which is him resisting his encouraged bedtime tonight of 7 pm and pushing it to his usual 9- which has majorly interfered with my prime time television watching. Thank God for OnDemand.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Heart Beats Fonder

How can it be that in baby time an hour goes on for DAYS and a week flashes by in a second? At least that is how it has been for me.
Now that we have Jake's colic under control ( I finally had the nerve to ignore Doctor's orders and switched his formula ) it's like we returned our old cranky baby and got a new one. Since then we have had the chance to watch the beginnings of his personality blossom from amongst the dirty diapers, bottles, and burp cloths.
He's still what one might deem "particular". However, he's also very contented to sit back and watch the world. Of course, that is when he's not exercising those strong little legs of his or craning his hulkonian like neck about. He loves the outdoors and car rides and severely dislikes his crib and the sun shining on his face. He likes to eat in snack portions and he prefers his Dad to his Mom on most days. He's a sucker for having his head scratched and the bouncy seat but can tell in an instant if you lift a finger off his carefully held into place pacifier.
I know, nothing too out of the ordinary or shocking- but a real blessing for us. After navigating through several surreal weeks of non-stop crying and feelings vascillating between frustration and helplessness, we cannot help but feel in awe of his every non-crying movement.
Admittedly, not every moment is steeped in blissful Mommy and baby sentiment, however, it's so much easier now to peer into his tiny little face and fall deeper and deeper into love with him. It's these moments that seem to take a lifetime, but yet pass me by in seconds. I wish I could bottle the feeling and market it... or at least save it for myself to relish some other time... like when he gets his first speeding ticket or stays out past curfew...
But for now I will try to remember what these moments feel like. How a day can slip by and all I have to show for it is a deeper, stronger love.