Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Morning in all its Glory

Today is a day filled with excitement and suspense, as my HMLA's brother (BP) and his girlfriend (Shelkat) head to the hospital to work on the birth of their son. I'm a little nervous on Shelkat's behalf as she is being induced (starting about 13 minutes ago) due to her overly high blood pressure, and I know that the induction process with an epidural can be a lot longer (and harder on the baby) than naturally giving birth. Also, it can up the odds for ending up with a c-section. Having had to have my own emergency c-section (birth story later), I'm keeping my fingers crossed that little RBs (said to-be-born son) will cooperate and make his appearance in a timely manner. Not to mention the fact that BP apparently has NO idea what to expect in this day as he and Shelkat didn't go to any childbirth classes. (At one point BP was telling people that the baby was breech so everything was fine.) This is Shelkat's 2nd child (she has a 9 year old daughter, we'll call her Nook) so she kind of just breezed through the pregnancy with a been-there-done-that-when-I-was-17 mentality, without thinking, until a few weeks ago, that mayyyyybe she should have prepared BP a little better for the miracle of birth. So yes, here's hoping today is as easy-peasy as giving birth to a child can be. I'm excited to meet the little Matchgirl's cousin and for my HMLA to be a blood-uncle. (He's already an uncle through my niece and nephew but he inherited them when they were 9 and 8 so he missed all the exciting first years.)

Today is also fun, because of how different it was than my labor day. My Matchgirl's Nana has laughed over how completely opposite Shelkat and I are in our personalities. She says it makes life a lot more interesting to have two "daughter-in-laws" (we're both still actually living in sin, and not married) who are so different. I'm very detail and information-oriented and Shelkat is more la-di-da in her approach. We're going to drive each other crazy with future birthday planning for Matchgirl and RBs, I can see it already.

(scenario for Matchgirl's future birthday)
Me: Shelkat, I haven't heard if the kids are going to be at Matchgirl's birthday. Can you let me know something soon? I'm trying to prep with a good headcount.
Shelkat: Oh, I don't know, that's still 2 weeks away right? I'm sure they'll be there. But, I'll let you know. Probably by next week or so.
Me: *headdesk*

(scenario for RBs and Nook's future birthdays)
Me: Shelkat, what are you doing for RBs/Nook's birthday? When is it going to be?
Shelkat: Oh, I don't know, maybe we'll do something this Saturday.
Me: Are you sure this Saturday? We had some stuff planned for Saturday but we can cancel them if so, so we can be there.
Shelkat: No, we're not really sure. I'll let you know Friday, probably.
Me: *argh*

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Asian Spaghetti" as my HMLA calls it.

I made this Ginger Pork and Angelhair recipe for dinner last night, sans the green onions. Not because we don't like green onions (we do), but because I forgot to get any at the store. Instead, I put some onion powder in the meat mix. I can't tell you how much because I didn't measure it, I just shook it out. I'm sure it would be good with the green onions, though. My HMLA and I really enjoyed it. I served it with some mozarella garlic bread and some steamed veggies (edamame, broccoli, carrots & celery).

I simmered the meat sauce mix for longer than recommended because I wanted it to thicken up....also, because I had forgotten to put the bread in the oven in a timely manner and wanted everything to still be served up hot. I think the consistency of the longer simmer was better than it would have been if I had removed it in the short time period suggested in the original recipe.

I survived my first night without my Matchgirl, and I only cried once, when I picked up her little t-shirt off the couch and took it into her empty room. (cue tears) My HMLA came in and shooed me out and then shut the door and said I wasn't allowed into the "cry room" for the rest of the night. We had a great night out together, and I must say, I felt very refreshed the next morning and our relationship seems to be more vibrant just from that one night. I guess we'll have to do this at least once a month. It's good for us so it's good for the family.

Now I have to go chase my little destructo-monkey who has learned how to "crawl" and is now getting into everything faster than you can go make a cup of coffee in the Keurig. Yay for progress, but it sure does add to the workload.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Early Practice of Letting Go...

My little Matchgirl is scheduled to spend the night with her Nana tonight, in order to give me a test-run before my HMLA and I go for our Orlando trip later this month, which she can't come on with us.

Before actuality, when I thought about or pictured myself being a mother, I always thought I would be a thoroughly "modern" mother. I was going to be a Single Mother By Choice, and I was going to work full-time and send my child to a fantastic daycare that would encourage her natural progression of abilities, stimulating her mind and imagination. I would pick her up after leaving my office, probably managing an attorney's office since that's what I was doing at the time. Then we would go home and I would feed her organic homemade baby food and we'd have some quality time together before she went to bed and I had some me-time to write or watch a movie, etc.

The actuality is, that from the moment I held my little-bitty in my arms, I knew I never wanted to hand her care over to someone else. I wanted this great responsibility completely to myself. I never minded getting up over and over and over again throughout the night in the early months, even though I was in the fog of recovering from my emergency c-section, as every cry in the night from her was a celebration of the breath that declared her alive and present. I still feel the same gratitude every time she wakes, although I have had to humble myself and learn to let her Mammaw and Nana and Daddy help with her care, so that I can take care of myself and the house, which in turn cycles back to helping me care for her in the most beneficial way. About the only thing I've accomplished from my prior ideas, is that she does eat organic baby food, although it's not always going to be homemade. I have definite trust anxiety-issues in letting her go, even to people who I know are absolutely competent.

The point being, I consider it a privilege to be my daughter's mother. Although this definition does not completely define me, it is, as previously noted, a driving force in my life. The fact that I will go to sleep tonight, that she will go to sleep tonight, without me being there to cuddle her goodnight - it stings a little. The fact that I will wake up tomorrow morning, and she will wake up tomorrow morning, and my face won't be the first one she sees, and I won't be able to sing "Here Comes the Sun" to her as I open the blinds over the changing table - that also hurts a smidge. I love my HMLA and I am eternally grateful to his mother, her Nana, for giving us this opportunity to have time alone with each other. I will miss my Matchgirl, though. I tell her that she can call me if she needs me to come get her, even if it's at 2am, even though I know at 7 months old, she doesn't understand what I'm saying to her.

We'll see how well I make it through, I think the early a.m. hours are when I'll need the most distraction. Good thing I like to read!

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Daughter as a Divining Rod

My daughter has become a center-point of focus from which the majority of my decisions now swing. I always knew my life would change with her arrival, but I had no idea how often I would reflect myself off of her. There are many decisions I make now, as far as my behavior goes, that are determined by the question "would I want my Matchgirl to do this?" or "could this possibly be detrimental in some form to my Matchgirl?" - essentially, I am held to a higher standard than I would hold my solo self to, as I want so much more for her. It is safe to say that I never strove to be the best woman I could be, until I became a mother to my daughter. Her Father, my HMLA, was instrumental in encouraging me to be my better self, and I consider my life to be changed for the better with his presence. I think he brought me to a place with my self that I would have taken many, many more years to reach without him. He's been my second mirror-gate, just like in the Neverending Story, wherein I had to look inside and face my true self. It is because of this strength he showed me through the uprooting of my weaknesses, that I can strive so consistently to be the best example of a woman as I can possibly be for my daughter. I want to be, in my present self, what I wish for her in her future self.

"There are old heads in the world who cannot help me by their example or advice to live worthily and satisfactorily to myself; but I believe that it is in my power to elevate myself this very hour above the common level of my life." - Henry.David.Thoreau

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mountains of Christmas

It's the name of the font I use for the Post Title. I've used it in reference to the ribbing I get from my HMLA (aka my Love, aka her Father) in regards to me "hating Christmas". I do not hate Christmas, of course, I simply didn't grow up believing in Santa Claus, as the gift-bringer, and do not wish to raise my daughter any differently. On the other hand, my HMLA, and her Nana, are determined to celebrate all things Santa. This will be her first Christmas, so my HMLA constantly makes (joking) remarks to people about how much I hate Santa. I do not hate Santa, but the reasons I have for not presenting him as a constant in my daugher's life are as follows:

a. I knew my parents and other people who loved me were the ones providing the gifts under the Christmas tree. This didn't lessen my appreciation for, and enjoyment of, Santa themed movies, songs, stories, decorations, etc. I liked them just as much as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. A common argument from pro-Santa parents, is that by telling your child Santa isn't real, you're "stealing the childhood magic" from them. As someone who grew up knowing that Santa wasn't real, but who fully believed that fairies, unicorns and mermaids were real, I have to argue that my childhood was fully immersed in magic. A belief in Santa missing from the equation didn't lessen my magical imagination one bit. Nor did it dampen my excitement on Christmas Eve, as I waited for 6am to roll around the next morning, which was the earliest we were allowed to wake my parents up. (For they had stayed up all night setting up the tree tableau and recording the "before kids opened everything" moment.)

b. My parents worked hard, and put a lot of thought into providing the gifts for us they could afford with their budget. It meant more to me, personally, to know that someone in my life had provided the presents I received, than if it was some Santa who just gave gifts to everybody, based on his list. Not to mention the fact that, since I knew some years that my parents were working with less income, it made sense as to why some years we got less than years before. It helped instill a feeling of gratitude for the gifts, and, I believe, made it to where we didn't take our Christmas gifts for granted.

c. Psychologically, I disagree with, and am adverse to, perpetuating the idea that being "good" is what earns you gifts via Santa, or not. What if your child is "good" all year, and what they really want for Christmas is a pony, but you cannot afford and/or house a pony? I never got a pony, or a sister, although I asked for one every year. If I had believed in Santa, then you open up the possibility of a child (me) believing they haven't been "good" enough. Or, conversely, what if they know a kid at school that gets in trouble all the time, yet, due to their parents having more means, they end up getting more presents than your well-behaved child does? There goes the "making the list" promise, right out the window. How are you going to explain why Santa did that?

d. Psychologically, Santa Claus is the most common first lie parents tell their children. I don't see how you can annually perpetrate this myth (until some kid at school finally breaks the traumatic news) and then tell your child they can't blame their misadventures on an invisible friend of theirs. (Mom, Drop Dead Fred spilled all that milk, not me.) Sure, you could argue that Santa is a lie supporting a rewarding behavior of gift-reception, and Fred is a lie supporting a lack of personal responsibility for one's actions, but is that how you want your children to perceive lying in general? As an "if it's for benefit it's okay" type of action?

All of my above points notwithstanding, I am not going to interfere with my HMLA, nor her Nana, in their Santa propaganda this year, nor in years coming. I don't care if they want to make cookies to leave out for Santa with her and I don't care if they want to label gifts as being "from Santa". I will not, however, tell my daughter that Santa is real, and neither will her Mammaw, so they better hope she doesn't ask us. It's just a difference in how the two sides of the family approach the common holiday. In the end, it will be up to my little Matchgirl to decide if Santa is "real" or not. The magic is all in her heart, anyway.

So, not what I expected my first post to be about, but I suppose I never had a starting point to being with, and a discussion on holiday custom via fonts seemed to beg the occasion.