Friday, May 27, 2011

Three things

1. So Lila recently discovered the pack 'n' play that Baby Ruby sleeps in.  For some reason she thinks it's great fun.  She evidently hasn't made the connection that it's the same contraption she considers a cage of torture when I try to make her nap in it at school.  She played in it for 45 minutes today.  Which is great news for me because I can actually get things done with her contained (although you'd never know it if you saw the messiness that has descended on my house).  At one point I was cleaning up her lunch and I heard a small voice behind me say, "Bee!"  Bee is how Lila says boo!  I know, it's way cute.  Anyway, I heard a little voice say, "Bee!" and I turned around to see this:
can you say, "wedding slideshow?"
2. After her nap, I gave Lila a snack - crackers and hummus.  I left her alone for a few minutes so I could dry my hair and this is what I came back to:
apparently she decided to forego the cracker and opted to turn hummus into a finger food

3. And finally, we came across some garage sale stickers today to Lila's delight.  With this result:
Mommy for sale: $6.75

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm sorry and Thank you

Dear guy driving the black Suburban who I ticked off with my reckless and panicked driving today during the tornado,

I'm sorry I honked at you.  A lot.  And zoomed around and cut in front of you.  But you were going 15 miles an hour on the exit ramp during a tornado.  My sick daughter was strapped in her car seat in the backseat, my idiot dog was howling at the sirens in the passenger seat, my mommy heart was a-poundin' and I was a little out of my mind.   Go ahead and tell your friends about the crazy woman (you'll probably use not as nice of a word) who nearly caused a car accident because she was freaking out during what turned out to be minor storms today.  I know you will and I'm okay with it.  You'll probably leave out the part about how you gave me the finger and then pulled up next to me, rolled down your window and said, "What's your problem!"  And you maybe didn't hear me as I blubbered, "I'm sorry! I'm trying to get my baby to a safe place!" You probably think I'm a complete nut case and rightly so.  My brain function definitely feels at about 40% these days.  I guess what I'm saying bad.

Embarrassed woman who clearly needs a lesson in keeping her cool during emergency situations

By way of explanation (or maybe confession), it wasn't like I was out driving and got caught in the storm.  I chose to leave my house when the sirens went off and drive to my parents' house.  We don't have a basement, and visions of Joplin's wreckage were dancing in my head.  So I decided it would be safer to be at my parents' house with a basement than in my house with only a flimsy bathroom for protection.  However, what I was actually deciding was that it would be safer to be in my car than in a secured building.  Not my most shining moment.

Let's just say I have a history of making bad, emotionally-driven decisions when it comes to weather.  The plus side to these bad decisions is that they've made for some good sermon material for my dad.  For example, I may or may not have willingly driven into a blizzard in college in an effort to get home to see Eric (we were dating long-distance).  When I say willingly, I mean willingly.  Have you ever seen those interstate maps online that show road conditions?  You know, blue for wet, green for clear, white for snowy?  I'm not kidding when I say that the day of this particular adventure I-35 through Iowa was marked red with black X's on it.  As in "no one in their right mind should attempt to drive on these treacherous roads."  Well, I wasn't in my right mind.  I was in love.  And where does love get you?  It got me stranded in the ditch in the Middle of Nowhere, Iowa after spinning out and almost hitting a semi.  (Also it gets you a really awesome husband and daughter and a really great life in general, but that's kind of irrelevant to the story.)

Here's where the sermon material comes in.  My dad was at work when he received my sheepish call that I was stranded.  So he did what any good dad would do.  He said a prayer asking the Lord to send angels to protect me and began making plans to risk his own life to drive up and get me and my unwilling accomplice - my roommate Lindsey who tried to talk me out of the trip, but failed and ended up coming with me because she didn't have the heart to let me make it by myself.  (Yeah, she's just that kind of friend.) As he printed out a map to where Linds and I were stranded (Dudley's Corner, wave "hi" to it next time you drive north on I-35!) on the church's shared printer, a co-worker saw it and asked, "Who's going to Latimer?"  When my dad said told her that maybe he was, she said, "My parents live in Latimer!"  Turns out my angels were named Jeanie and Maynerd Agena.  Within an hour Linds and I found ourselves on the Agena's couch watching Oprah and eating pizza.  True story.  You can't make this stuff up, people.

The only thing I remember saying when my car was spinning out of control in the snow storm was "Jesus!  Oh Jesus!" and "I'm sorry Lindsey!" Funnily enough, I think I said, "Oh Jesus! Oh God! Oh Jesus Christ! Oh please!" about a hundred times in the ten minute drive today.  I guess I at least know that in a life or death situation, my instinct is call out to Jesus!  And two for two, he's been faithful!  We (me, Lila and Francy-pants) made it safely to my parents' house where I got a loving lecture about staying indoors during tornados.  It was vaguely similar to the "don't drive in snow storms" lecture which evidently fell on deaf ears.
Lila and her Pop: post tornado excitement
As soon as we were safe and I had come to my senses, I began seriously questioning my fitness as a mother.  Ever since the moment they placed Lila in my arms, I knew she was a priceless treasure.  And it didn't take long before I was questioning my worthiness to be responsible for such a valuable little being.  I remember saying to Eric as we drove Lila home from the hospital (very, very slowly with me in the back seat, hovering over her little body that seemed way too small for the car seat), "Why did they let us take her home?  We don't know what we're doing!"  Sometimes I wonder how in the world I'm qualified to be her mom - especially when I make moronic decisions like getting in the car to "race" a tornado.  I have to remind myself that I'm not qualified.  No parent ever is.  So I try to remember to pray what some of my parents' friends prayed over their kids, "Lord, fill in the gaps."

Lila's only 17 months old and I already have so many stories of the Lord filling in the gaps.  Like the time I found a quarter-sized piece of rubber in 7-month-old Lila's mouth as I was buckling her in the car after a trip to Office Max.  She had picked it up without me noticing it and had been chewing on it for at least 10 minutes.  If I hadn't noticed it then, she could have choked on it as I drove home and I may not have even known.  Or the time that I drove home from lunch with a friend without buckling Lila into her car seat.  I had had her unbuckled in her car seat snapped in the stroller and I simply transferred her seat from the stroller to the car and forgot to buckle her.  I didn't realize it until I went to get her out of the car at home.  Or the time I had a migraine and I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes and fell asleep before I knew it - only to wake up to my daughter teetering precariously from the piece of furniture she had scaled in my lag in supervision.  I could go on and on.

Tonight as I rocked my Baby Girl, my prayers were simply full of "thank yous."

Dear wonderful, powerful, kind Heavenly Father,

Thank you.  Thank you for filling in the gaps.  Thank you for sparing me the consequences of so many stupid, unwise, reckless decisions.  Thank you for protecting us - both from dangers we can see and dangers we can't see.  Thank you. 

Lila's Mommy who needs all the help she can get

Lila Josephine the day we came home from the hospital

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guess what?

Lila's sick again.  I know.  I can't believe it either.  So much for "normal life."  This time it's strep throat and scarlet fever.  Seriously.  Scarlet fever.  When I told Eric Lila had scarlet fever he said, "She must have picked that up when she was in the Middle Ages."  Turns out scarlet fever is a rash associated with strep.  Also turns out that it's relatively rare for kids under two to even get strep throat.  My daughter's just unique like that.

I went to bed on Friday dreaming of the promise of May 21st.  And woke up Saturday morning to a feverish kiddo with a suspicious looking rash on her feet.  Her fever spiked to 104°, but since I am now an experienced fever fighter we were able to keep it under control through the weekend.  Sunday the rash spread to her arms and legs and today it began blistering and spread to her mouth.
mommies, take note! if your baby's foot looks like this, call the doc, it may be strep!
Of course I wore Google out trying to diagnose her ailment.  (Doctors love it when people do that, right?)  And by the time I called the doctor for an appointment this morning I was pretty sure it was Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.  In fact, it seemed pretty textbook HFMD - especially the whole blistering rash on the hands, feet and mouth.  I didn't confess my Google diagnosis to the doctor, but silently nodded to myself when, after examining Lila, (who, by the way, is a pro at getting poked and peeked at because she's at the doctor every month it seems) she said, "I think it's Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease."  And then she added, "Let's do a strep test just to be sure.  You don't want to miss strep."

Because the strep test seemed almost like an after thought, I was already gearing up for the ominous 1-3 weeks of isolation while Lila recovered from the stupid viral illness that has no treatment and keeps her contagious for way longer than it's possible to stay sane.  Imagine my surprise when the doctor came in and said, "It's strep!"  She was just as surprised as we were that the strep test was positive.

The good news is that strep is a bacterial infection and therefore can be combatted with antibiotics.  The bad news is that mommies and daddies who have been lavishing their sick babies with kisses all weekend can also get strep (unlike HFMD which most adults have built up an immunity for).  The potentially worse news came when the doctor used the word "perplexing" as she peeked again at the rash that presented so much like HFMD.  As she sent us out the door with Lila's first prescription for amoxicillin, she added a warning to "keep an eye on that rash" because she may just have BOTH strep and HFMD.  The way things have been going, I wouldn't be surprised if she did.

That's okay.  We'll just build up that immune system now so she can power through the rest of her childhood like a little superheroine.

Just so this post isn't completely full of whiney-complaining, I'll share a sweet little development in our bedtime routine with Lila.  Ever since her last sickness, I have sung Jesus Loves Me to her more routinely.  The other day, as I was rocking her before bed, she started in with an adamant repetition of a word that I didn't recognize.  As I usually do when she's obviously trying to communicate something, I started trying to guess what she was saying with limited success.  Finally, I took her bink out of her mouth and asked her again what she wanted and she said, "Di-stus!"  And it struck me.  She was saying "Jesus."  So I said, "Do you want Mommy to sing Jesus Loves You?"  And she replied in a relieved sort of voice, "Yeah!"  Since then she has alternated calling it "Di-stus" or "Bi-bee" (which, through my brilliant powers of deduction, I figured out was "Bible").  It's pretty much the cutest thing that's ever happened to me. I love to think that the Truth about who she is is seeping into her little heart and mind even now.  She is already starting to love the name of Jesus and request that his name be sung over her.  Ooooh, it just makes my mommy heart glad!

One more thing.  Because Lila isn't feeling great, she's been a really picky eater.  Pretty much all she's eaten in the last three days is yogurt and applesauce (should have clued me in to the strep throat thing).  Tonight, however, her daddy convinced her to broaden her horizons and she added blackberries to her list of palatable foods.  This was the result:
good thing the girl likes baths.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 21st

I have been waiting for May 21st.  I got myself into this busy mess.  Every once in awhile I do that.  I take on too much without realizing it or without acknowledging it and suddenly my introverted self does a double-take and says, "How did this happen!?"

The telltale signs are that I start retreating from the outside world - isolating myself by not answering my phone, not returning emails, canceling plans.  And I start getting snippy at the Husband, unfairly finding fault with everything he does.  And I cry.  A lot.  I really should recognize these things sooner than I do.

It all started a few weeks ago when I took on a job to try to make some extra bucks to make up for my lack of teaching income in the summer.  Seemed like a good deal at the time - a good amount of money for only three days of work.  But the lesson I've learned from this experience is that sometimes the benefit of adding dollars and cents to our bank account doesn't outweigh the toll it takes on the rest of our life.  The casualties of those kind of decisions are the time that is taken from Baby Girl, the patience that is sucked out of the Husband, the kindness in a marriage that is squashed by stress.

Round about mid-week last week, the Husband and I, after several rounds of quarreling, entered into the final round of the match (what am I doing going with a boxing metaphor?  I know nothing about boxing.  Let's try something else...)  Round about mid-week last week, the Husband and I, after taking several small bites out of the mounting tension, finally broke out the scoop and just ate straight out of the carton. (There we go.  An ice cream metaphor.  Now that's something I know something about!)

Forget the metaphors.  What I'm trying to say is we fought a lot.  And then one night, we fought about what all the little fights were actually about.  We were both stressed, both busy, both mad, both felt unappreciated, both felt justified at being mad at one another (sound familiar?).  The fight ended when I blamed Eric for stubbing my toe on Lila's toy piano which had been left out in the pitch black hallway outside her bedroom door.  I complained pointedly that the piano had been left out to which he responded, "Are you blaming me?" to which I responded, "YES!"  And he laughed an exhausted sort of laugh and muttered, "Everything is my fault isn't it?"  And in my head I thought, "Of course it is!" and that's when I realized that I was being ridiculous and I needed to go to bed.  So I did.  But despite my unfair blame game, my sweet husband still kissed me goodnight with the disclaimer, "I know that we're not done fighting, but I may not see you tomorrow before you leave so...*kiss.*"

And I woke up the next morning with the realization that I had lost a lot more than I had gained in the last 10 days.  This job had forced me to rearrange my weeks so that instead of working my usual spoiled two days a week (teaching on Tuesdays and snuggling Baby Ruby on Fridays), I had booked Lila's mommy and Eric's wife for four days a week (moved Baby Ruby to Monday, teaching on Tuesday, and airport driving - my temp job - Friday and Saturday).  By Sunday, Lila was miserable and irritable and acting out because  her world was all messed up, and both the Husband and I were spent.

The sad thing was we had one day of recovery and then it was back into week two of this craziness.  But this week was a bit better because I think we learned from the week before.  We named our stressors and asked for grace and patience from one another.  I intentionally cleared my schedule for my days home with Lila so she got lots of Mommy Time.  Plus there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  Which brings me back to the first sentence of this post.  I've been waiting for May 21st.  Tomorrow marks the first day back into our normal life.  And no one is allowed to mess with it, okay?

I dropped my last group off at the airport today and made a bee-line home to sweep my Baby Girl up in my arms and squeeze her.  Her Pop had graciously given up yet another one of his sabbatical days to play with her and when I came home, this is what greeted me:
Hey, Lila! You look a little lopsided there, girly.
You gotta give it up for a grandpop that can A) be trusted to feed, diaper and keep happy his granddaughter without the help of Grandma and B) make the attempt to put his granddaughter's hair in piggy tails.  I mean, come on people.  That's impressive!  Even if only one survived the morning's playing!

And then later tonight, I walked in the room to find this heart-melting scene happening:
oh, a mama's heart just can't handle this kind of sweetness!
And I thought to myself, "Oh May 21st!  There you are!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Boppy Mommy's Gah.

Dear Lila,

You don't know it yet, but you are a lucky girl. Probably the luckiest girl I know. There are a lot of viable reasons I could say this, but one comes to mind most of all; you have the greatest mommy in the world. I know some great mommies (your Nana and Nanny are excellent mommies and they love you so much) but yours should have trophies.

From the second your mommy wakes up and comes in to lift you out of bed, she's all about you. You were nice enough to give her a break this morning by sleeping in until 10.30, but she doesn't usually get that kind of surprise. She does however gladly change your diaper, make your breakfast and maybe turn on the Muppets just to see you smile. Then she gets you dressed and takes you out to swing or push your stroller across the yard or to see your friend Anna or Camille, just because you love being outside. After she feeds you lunch and puts you down for your nap, she doesn't quit for the day. She works out, or organizes one of the countless tasks she's doing to help other people, or plans every detail of what she and you and I have to do that week, or all three and then some. When I come home from work your mommy stays outside to play with us until it's time for you to go to bed. She puts your pajamas on and snuggles you and sings to you and prays over you and snuggles you some more and rocks you and lays you down gently and kisses you and tells you she loves you, which she does times infinity.

Then your mommy goes to work again, planning and organizing and prepping for the next day until your daddy is exhausted, but she keeps going. And after she finally goes sleep despite your occasional sleepy whimpers and daddy's occasional snore, she gets up and does it all again. And again. And graciously again.

When I was putting you to bed tonight because your mommy had a rare night out with her huddle, it was a little painful to be rocking you to sleep through steady cries of "no-mommy, no-mommy, no-mommy..." but I get it. Who wouldn't want to be rocked and snuggled by someone who is so warm, so beautiful, so caring and who loves so exceptionally well?

I intended to write you this letter on Mother's Day but, unlike your mommy, my timing and organization needs some work. I hope you learn those habits from her. You're already so much like her. You're articulate, passionate, and you take life very seriously. You're also kind and loving and generous, which makes me think you'll inherit your mommy's capacity to know people and love them how they want to be loved. If you grow up to be even a trace of your mommy, I will consider our parenting a success. I don't think I have anything to worry about- it's obvious you love your mommy and, even though it stings a little when you reach for her as I'm trying to put you in bed, I'm so glad that you want her and seem to want to be like her. You did, after all, melt her heart when a few days ago you wished her Happy Mother's Day. Well, technically you said "Boppy Mommy's Gah," but she didn't mind. That's the kind of wonderful mommy she is. I love your mommy so much and I love you, partly because you're partly her.

You're so lucky, baby girl. And I'm twice as lucky because I have you both.

All my love,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

a dream of every man

There's been a fly buzzing around our house all day.  Dive-bombing me.  Out to get me.  Eric just came in the room and I said, "Kill that fly."

A couple minutes later, I heard an exclamation from the kitchen and my husband proudly walked into our bedroom with something pinched between his fingers.  It was the fly.  He had caught it by the leg - which he tells me, is "a dream of every man."

"You caught him?" I asked.

"I ninja-grabbed his ass!" he corrected me.

Then he kept bringing it too close to my face so I could revel in his victory.  But I was too grossed out to revel so instead I took a picture to document his achievement:

pay no attention to the mound of mess on our desk in the background

and this is the Husband laughing when I told him to "look at me like a ninja."
I'm no expert, but I don't think that cute way he throws back his head to laugh is very ninja-like.
Leaves the throat very exposed and vulnerable to a stray shuriken.