Thursday, July 24, 2014

We all have our days

In the ultimate display of defiance, Penny decides that not only does she reject hair-combing and ponytails, she also wants her actual hair off of her head, too.

How do you let your mom know that you reject your own hair? 
1. Grab a chunk of your own hair, pull it violently yelling "take it out! take it out!".  Do not let go.
2. Cry hysterically because it hurts when someone pulls your hair that hard and won't let go. 
3. Hug your mom to feel better, still angry and grumpy about the owie on your head and that your hair is still there.  Also, wipe boogers all over your mom's everything.
4. Repeat.  For fifteen minutes.

When I finally convince Penny to stop yanking her own hair because that's what was making her head hurt, it's time for lunch.

"I don't do lunch." she tells the kitchen.  
"I don't do lunch." she tells the door to our bedroom.
"I don't do lunch." she tells Apollo and Luna.
(and yells at Apollo because the tennis ball in his mouth is her toy. Also, cries about this.)
"I don't do lunch." she tells the wood floor at the base of the refridgerator.
"I don't do lunch." she tells every other corner of the house and every couch pillow and every toy, in case they didn't hear her the first 63 times.

Got it.  Penny doesn't do lunch.  She's not hungry.  She's mad at the world and she certainly doesn't want food.

"I hear you Penny.  So, I'll eat my lunch by myself and I'll just put this plate of food here in case you change your mind."

"No!  I don't!  I doat!  I doat!  I doattttttttttt do lunch. -- pause -- I like oranges."

"Would you like to join me for some oranges that are here at the lunch table?"

We both proceed to eat our entire lunches.  
Also, Penny tells me "Mommy, that's exactly what I wanted."

Huh, I would have never known.

She doesn't want me to wipe her hands or face before leaving the table so we're back to complete meltdown status.

"I need Tylenol." she tells me between sobs.

So that's pretty much been my day.  
She's teething again, perhaps.  
Or just having a terrible, no good, very bad time.  I don't fault her for either, we all have our days.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mother Knows Best

Up late working on photographs, husband is asleep, all is quiet.   I hear my daughter start to whimper in her baby monitor.  The whimper turns to a cry, and a mumbling for Mommy.

Normally if she stirs during the night or during a nap, we do not go to her.  We've had great success with letting her self-soothe and spend time alone [awake] in her bed [crib].  So much so, that we are able to put her down wide awake at nap time or bedtime, and she [usually] happily whispers or sings to herself, or to her animals, cuddles her big teddy bear, and falls asleep completely on her own.  Typically if she wakes up at odd times, we allow her to self-soothe, especially if she's whining or we can tell it's just a ploy to control us by having us come into her room for no reason.

This time it is not a whine, not a manipulation.  Her voice is scratchy. 

For some reason, I think 'I bet she would like a sip of water.' -- something she's never had in her room.  But just a hunch. 

I go down to the basement, to her room.  She's standing in her crib in the dark, sniffling.  

Despite the nice long shower with lavender body wash and the doTerra fractionated coconut oil that Dan put all over her skin before bed, I can still smell the chlorine on her from our family swim at the community pool tonight.   We think they must have just added chlorine today because it was really really bad, even Dan complained, and he never complains.  Mid-swim, Penny's face was pretty red and blotchy and her eyes pretty swollen, and I think in all her bravery and fish-ness, she probably accidentally got some of this chlorine-infested water in her throat.

I go to the side of the crib.

"Hi Penny, would you like some water?" I whisper.

She nods her head yes and lifts her arms for me to pick her up.

"OK, I brought you some from the kitchen." 

I hold her on my hip while she takes four sips from her cup.  My lower back aches and baby girl in my belly gives Penny a warning kick.  I don't plan to stay in her room very long.  In my head I second guess myself.   I hope it wasn't a mistake coming down here and "rescuing" her.  I hope this doesn't become an ordeal.  

She sips one more time.

"Tanks." she says.

I stroke her hair.  "Are you ok Penny?"

"Yeah.  I kokay."

She rests her head on my shoulder and pulls at her ear [her "tell" that she's tired.]

"Alright, time to go back to bed, you can cuddle your bear again."

I brace myself for a protest, or a plea that I rock her, or sing to her, or read her a book, or get her something else to eat or drink.  Or worse, a tantrum.  God, please not a tantrum at this hour.

Instead she leans her whole body toward her crib for me to put her in it.   I place her feet gently on her crib mattress and she immediately lays back down, clutching her blanket and burrowing her head into her teddy bear's feet.

"Night night, Penny, I love you very much."

And she waves bye-bye to me with just the tips of her fingers as she falls back asleep.


Sometimes kids control their parents too much.  Sometimes us parents are blind to manipulations and patterns of behavior that give even the littlest kids the upper hand in the household.  Sometimes this is a real problem.

But sometimes kids are trying to tell us something when they cry, or call for us, or ask for things.  

Sometimes it's ok to bend the rules we've made for ourselves as parents.  Sometimes it's ok to go with our guts and trust that our emotions are not interfering with our judgment.

Tonight, especially in the darkest hours when everybody else sleeps and I stare into my computer screen, all of the above is grey and fuzzy to me.  But I do know this: at least this time, my intuition was right.  Parenting is hard, but there's always something to be said for a mother's intuition.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mine: Possessive Pronoun

MINE · possessive pronoun · [mīn] or [mahyn] · 1.  used to refer to a thing or things belonging to or associated with the speaker.  2. used to refer to a thing or things belonging to the individual next to the speaker.  3. used to refer to any thing or things within reach of the speaker.  4. used to refer to a thing the speaker sees and also likes.  5. used to refer to a thing the speaker sees, doesn't like, but also doesn't want someone else to have.  6. used to refer to food prepared for someone besides the speaker but in the same room as the speaker, especially that is sweet or ends in -berry.  7. used to refer to a thing or things given to any child besides the speaker at a birthday party; including gifts belonging to the child whose birthday is being celebrated, and any and all party favors or pieces of cake handed out to any other party attendee.  8.  used to refer to a beverage being consumed by the speaker's father that would not be suitable for the speaker to sample.  9. used to refer to a toy belonging to the dogs that live in the speaker's house, especially one that has recently been in a dog's mouth.   10.  used emphatically to refer to any set of keys currently being held in the hands of the speaker which are needed by the speaker's mother to start a vehicle that will take both individuals to a schedule commitment for which they are running late.  11. used to refer to a thing or things desired by the speaker, whether in or out of sight of the speaker, and whether the speaker can properly identify the item or why it is desirable to him or her.  12. used to refer to all toothbrushes and dolls.  · [middle English from Old English]

Two is coming.  Can I get a witness?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pillow Fight

"I miss you all day, up until the very moment I fall asleep; and I miss you the very moment I wake up in the morning...

Said the pregnant wife on the phone with her husband who is away at church camp.

...but I kind of love having the bed all to myself while I'm sleeping."

Pillows have been a point of contention in our marriage pretty much since the first night we got home from Canada and began to establish our non-honeymoon bed arrangements.

We discovered the following about one another:
Dan feels like any pillow that is not at the head of the bed is literally and symbolically an obstacle and barrier between us.
On the other hand, I like my pillows and I like my space and I like my sleep.

In our three years of marriage, we have had multiple exhaustive debates on the topics of what-defines-a-normal-amount-of-cuddling and what-do-all-these-pillows-say-about-our-relationship and is-intimacy-really-intimacy-if-you-are-sleeping-through-it and wouldn't-we-be-able-to-speak-eachother's-love-languages-better-if-we-got-good-sleep.

When we were first married, Dan unaffectionately named my body pillow "Ryan Gosling." (I have since gotten rid of that body pillow.)

Let me be clear. I extend NO affection for my pillows. My desire for my pillows is purely mechanical, not emotional. I love my husband more than I love my pillows.


In a perfect non-pregnant world, I would have one head pillow and two body pillows surrounding me all through the night.  I realize this is selfish and inconsiderate of my husband's need for physical touch (his primary love language).  These are simply the conditions under which I get my favorite kind of sleep.  

In our non-pregnant time, we reached a compromise: I would have only one body pillow and it would be on the outside of the bed - never between us in the middle.  This seemed to keep the bedtime peace.

Now things are a little different. 

The side effects of this pregnancy on my general comfort, especially during sleep, have been vastly greater than my last.  

In a perfect pregnant world, I would have an automatic intuitive preventative calf massaging machine to help me with the gut-wrenching leg cramps that awaken me multiple times a week (if only), pillows that perfectly conform to my belly surrounding me on all sides, and another machine beneath me to help me roll over during the night (if only). And nobody touching me, ever, while I'm sleeping (Unless it's a back rub. Never turn down a back rub).
To his credit, my husband is much more accepting of my pillow needs during pregnancy. You can tell how far along I am by the number of pillows that surround me when I sleep. As of right now, at 32 weeks, I am accompanied by four pillows. I expect to introduce one more in the next month or so. Then soon we will share our bedroom with a little nursling and everything will change once again.

The ever evolving bed setup is just a part of married and family life. I encourage all husbands and wives out there to embrace it. These seasons of baby making, baby incubating and baby nursing are the stuff of life.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Big Red

Up toward the mountains of northern Arizona is an escape, a house on five acres with a sun room and a giant porch and lots of pine trees. The dogs can run, the husband can shoot, or read, or make craft cocktails; the Penny can get dirty and point at horses and collect pine cones; and the pregnant wife can take long baths in the giant tub and wear no makeup for days. 

At this house lives a truck. Capable of only 53 miles per hour, and with one door that won't open, the truck enjoys retirement from it's younger years of doing who-knows-what for my grandfather.  Now its only jobs: posing in photos every July with my daughter(s) and hauling the occasional lumber to my dad's wood pile.

Happy Red White and Blue this weekend, everyone.

If, by chance, you are interested in doing a photo session with this red truck, we might be able to arrange something!  You can contact me on Facebook or using the contact form here.
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