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Posts Tagged ‘baby’

Let me be clear: pregnant women do not want your advice.   If they want it, they will ask for it.  And if they ask for it and then realize they disagree with what you are saying, they will probably go vacant-eyed and fantasize about ice cream until you stop talking.  

Mint chip.. Rocky Road... Wait, were you talking?

For the most part, pregnant women or their partners do not want to know what you think about swaddling, whether (and for how long) you believe in breast-feeding, or whether you decry pacifier use as moral downfall or uphold it as your family’s personal salvation.  It’s not that the topics of swaddling, breast feeding or pacifiers don’t interest them.  The problem is that advice givers are so invested in their own choices that their advice, rather than being neutral and informative, is actually a high-pressure sales pitch in disguise.  The expecting parent is like a person who doesn’t yet have a driver’s license but has wandered into a used-car dealership.  “You’re going to buy a car ONE DAY,” the peddler of advice is insisting, “why not buy MIIIIIINE?????  THIS ONE?????  Because I know this one is RIIIIIGHT??!?!?”  And you, the expecting parent, flounder to be polite without committing to anything.

To swaddle or not to swaddle?

My usual approach with expecting parents is to be vague and supportive on any topic.  They don’t need any judgment from me, and if they parent with love everything will probably work out just fine.  My stock phrases are “Every baby is different” and “Whatever works for your family.”  If the expecting parents press me and ask what I did with Miles, I usually answer honestly and then add one of my stock phrases.  Sometimes I finish with, “I’m sure whatever you decide will be fine.” 

Swaddling?  “We did it with Miles.  Whatever works for your family.”  Pacifiers? “Miles refused to take one.  Every baby is different.”  Burying the placenta under a neighborhood tree?  “Ewwww!  I mean, um, we didn’t do that. Whatever works for your family.  I’m sure whatever you decide will be fine.”

Pacifier dreams.

But I have opinions.  I’m not claiming my opinions are exclusively right or that they work for everyone.  (See stock phrases above.)  But here, without further disclaimer or self-deprecation,  are my honest opinions.  This is the stuff that I wish the future me could have flown back and told the pregnant me — the stuff I learned the hard way.

1. Baby wash cloths are not necessary.  They are cute, yes, and registering for them is fun.  But they.  Are.  Wash cloths.  Just use what you have at home and call it good.

2.  Pacifiers.  If you can get your baby to take one, thank your lucky stars.  More time on the pacifier is less time on the boob, which can be astonishingly helpful when you want to shower, make a bowl of cereal, or ride the subway in New York city without stripping.  Not that I would know, because Miles refused to take a pacifier.  He was a boob man through and through.  (In the photo at right, we put it in after he was asleep.  It didn’t last.)

3.  This brings me to breast feeding.  I recommend making it work if you can.  I think it’s better than formula (sorry!), but if you are going to breast feed, puh-LEASE don’t be sanctimonious about it.  Breastfeeding does not give anyone license to berate others. 

Plugged in.

If you try BFing and can’t do it, you are not a bad person.  If you try it and succeed, expect to have mixed feelings about it for the first several months at least.  It will sometimes hurt.  You will not necessarily feel “bonded” when your newborn wakes up every two hours at night wanting to latch on.  You will instead feel furious, cranky and tired.  You will think that all those people who described it as a beautiful experience were lying, and you will want to blow them up.   That is okay.  You (like me) may one day describe it as a beautiful experience.  And even though breast feeding in public is embarrassing and some people will freak out and give you flak for it, just do it.  You are feeding a baby in public, not masturbating, and your alternative is to go home EVERY TWO HOURS to feed your baby in private.  Just use a nursing cover or get used to being bare-breasted.

4. Those little baby outfits with the feet on them? Those are pajamas.  No one told me this.  Miles wore those day and night. 

5. Co-sleeping versus the crib.  As you may know, we slept with Miles for the first year.  Now he sleeps in a crib.  We were happy then; we’re happier now.  This really is an every-baby-is-different-whatever-works-for-your-family situation.  Whatever you do, don’t let anyone give you any lip about it.  Lie if you have to.

6. Speaking of lying, get ready to lie about your baby’s sleep.  Everyone will ask you, and no good can come of their response when you answer honestly.  In my experience, most babies sleep badly. Myths of newborns who sleep “all night” are greatly exaggerated.  Different babies respond differently to sleep training efforts, and those differences probably have more to do with the babies themselves than with anything the parents did correctly or incorrectly.  Yet the more sleep deprived you become, the more vulnerable you will be to other people’s advice, mockery, and judgment.  Protect yourself.  Lie!

Sleep is for the weak.

Different people ask about your baby’s sleep for different reasons.  Some — usually parents whose children are long grown or childless people who don’t want to ever have children — feel a cruel sense of pleasure at your suffering.  It’s true; they want to laugh at you.  People whose children sleep through the night want to confirm that they are better parents than you.  With these two types, you neither want to give them the satisfaction of knowing you suffer nor invite their unwanted advice.  When they inquire, smile sweetly and say, “She sleeps all through the night.” 

Others just want to tell you what you are doing wrong.  They may be well-meaning family members or neighbors or someone you meet in a parenting group.   They’re just sure that any baby will sleep for 14 hours at a stretch if you use their method.  Chances are good that, having tried every method, you will want to punch these people.  Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “He sleeps all through the night.”  If your baby magically sleeps all through the night, and anyone asks about it, just be vague.  DO NOT BOAST OR APPEAR TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THIS MIRACLE.  IF YOU DO, I MIGHT SPIT ON YOU.  Just say, “He sleeps okay.”  If the asker is another parent who looks exhausted and tortured by self-doubt, be vague and compassionate.  Try, “Some nights are better than others.”  If the asker is a friend who is genuinely concerned about your well-being but has no particular stake in the politics of baby sleep, maybe, maybe, MAYBE tell the truth, whatever your truth may be.  But do so at your own risk.

7. I won’t ask you how your baby sleeps, but I might hand you Good Night, Sleep Tight by Kim West.  It is the baby sleep book that saved us from baby sleep hell.  It’s my favorite because, like me, it’s more middle of the road.  It’s not a strict cry-it-out system like Ferber or Babywise, but it’s not a super-granola attachment parenting manual like The No-Cry Sleep Solution (which I tried valiantly to use for almost a year).  We used the methods in Good Night, Sleep Tight, Miles cried some but in a way I could feel okay about, and now he sleeps so much amazingly better.  He sleeps all through the night.  And I am not even lying.  Get this book.  Now.  NOW.

8. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp.  People will tell you it saved their lives.  Personally, I think it’s overhyped.  It worked for us about 60 percent of the time, which was helpful.  But you know what, sometimes all the swaddling and sideways laying and sucking and shhhhhing and swaying in the world does not work.  Sometimes they just cry. If you can borrow the book or DVD from someone, do.  If not, meh.  Whatever.

Dear Harvey Karp: You lied.

9.  Now for the best baby advice I ever received: Be gentle with yourself.  If you are a birthing mother, your hormones will be completely wack-a-doodle-doo for several months.  It is very possible that you will not know who you are any more.  If you are an adoptive mom, a dad, or any other kind of parent, you will still be going through intense experiences that change everything.  Everything.  New parenthood is surreal.  At times in the first weeks, I looked down at the crying bundle in my arms and could not remember its name or whether it was a boy or girl — I just knew I was supposed to appease it.  Give yourself a few months (or a year or so) for things to settle down.  You are doing a great job.  Trust me.  And, of course, congratulations!

This post is dedicated to Tina Anderson and Naomi Frame Powell, who have gracefully endured a great deal of unsolicited advice from me. 

Coming soon: The Breast Feeding Advice You Didn’t Ask For, The Stay-At-Home Parenting Advice You Didn’t Ask For, and more!

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At the laundromat a few weeks ago, Robin and I were  folding clothes while Miles lounged, miraculously content, in his stroller.  Finally, he started to fuss.

“Should I give him the liquid product of the bovine?” Robin asked seriously.

“I only brought water,” I answered. 

“Oh, okay,” she said, and handed Miles a toy instead.

You may recall that Miles was recently obsessed with brushing his teeth and that we took to referring to tooth brushing as “that thing” so that he would not beg to do “that thing” every time we mentioned that particular hygiene ritual in front of him.  Now we use complex, wordy euphemisms — like “liquid product of the bovine” to mean “milk,” for instance — for all sorts of everyday substances, objects and acts.  

At breakfast, we might speak in code about “that long yellow fruit that grows in bunches in the tropics.”  Feeding Luna, his newest obsession, we refer to alternately as “nourishing the feline”  or “providing sustenance to the feline.”  We refer to the Y, where Miles goes for open toddler gym time, as “the place of recreation with spherical objects.”  When one of us can’t figure out why Miles is hopping and squealing and pointing to the window, the other might ask, “Did he perceive the utterances of the neighbor’s canine?”  A garbage truck might be, “the vehicle that removes the refuse.”  You get the picture

We do this as much for ourselves as for him.  It’s fun to spontaneously construct these odd synonyms, and we joke that when Miles finally figures out what we’re talking about, he’ll have the best vocabulary in Brooklyn.  Other kids will know that C-A-T spells cat, but Miles will know that cats are called felines — or, alternately, “the evil mammal that lurks in our closet.”

Plus, we’re actually fooling him!  Or, we were.  This weekend, in front of our friend Lindsay, we were talking about “the long yellow fruit that grows in bunches in the tropics” and Miles looked at Lindsay and said politely, in case she wasn’t getting it, “Banana!”

Just try to fool me, ladies.

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I remember a time when I thought stay-at-home moms must have the cleanest houses.  Because, you know, they have so much free time.  Their children play contentedly with puzzles in a designated area while they scrub, buff, polish and shine. 

Ahem. 

Cleaning with an awake and curious toddler shadowing you is like trying to brush your teeth while you’re still eating.  You’re undoing just as fast as you’re doing, if you know what I mean.  You put the blocks away; they put the blocks in the cat dish.  You sweep the Cheerios, cat litter, human hairs and mystery bits into a pile; they stand experimentally in the pile and wiggle their toes.  Then eat the Cheerios.  Then track the cat litter, human hairs, and unidentifiable bits onto the bedroom rug.  Where they proceed to lie down in the bits and roll around.

Recently, Miles has taken to wresting the broom firmly but patiently from my hand while I am sweeping and just taking over the job.  The broom is three times as tall as him, but he doesn’t let that stop him. 

Let me handle this.

He shakes his head sadly, like he cannot believe what an awful job I am doing, and bends his body to the task of dispersing detritus all over the room. 

Standing there over and over with no broom in my hand gave me an idea.  Why not get Miles his own broom?  Why not have him “help” me with all the housecleaning?  At the very worst, we would at least have dueling brooms.  And at best, he would eventually, perhaps accidentally, help.

So I got him a broom of his own.

Mr. Clean?

He likes his new little broom, but he frequently steals the big broom back for those tough jobs.  He’s quite thorough.

Sweeping under stuff is important, duh.

After that, I enlisted him to dust by handing him a rag.  He proved to have an eye for detail, scrubbing spots I might have overlooked. 

Reach!

He even polished the doorknobs.

You missed a spot.

Emboldened, I set him loose with one of my least favorite tasks: scrubbing the bath tub.  We had to use a gentle, nontoxic cleaner, which might defeat the whole purpose, but we sure had a good time.

Scrub-a-dub-tub.

Cleaning with Miles is messy, counterproductive, and silly.  I just try to remember that we’re in no hurry.  This book I read on positive discipline emphasized that toddlers love to help and that we can gain so much by inviting them to cooperate.  We’re learning, the two of us — him that taking care of your home doesn’t have to be a chore, and me how to be more patient. 

Of course, free labor comes with serious drawbacks.  My little worker often loses interest in mid-task, wandering off to pull all of the paper recycling out of the bin or chase the cat.  And, quite often, he drinks on the job.

Hitting the bottle.

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“Baby sign language? My brother ruined his kids by teaching them sign language.  All because he wanted them to excel.  Tsssk, tsssk.”

“My sister’s kids refused to talk because they could sign.”

“Better be careful.  You’re going to delay his speech.”

That’s what they said.  And they were wrong.  So there!

Okay, let me back up.  Way back when Miles was an itty bitty infant, I began to wonder, should we teach him sign language?  Proponents say it is good for their brains and improves their vocabulary.  They even claim that it virtually eliminates the terrible twos!  Crazy, I know, but people argue that toddler who can communicate are more likely to get what they want (within reason) and less likely to flip a lid because you handed them crackers when what they really wanted was juice.

All that sounded very appealing.  But was it all a gimmick?  Some stupid yuppie scam?  I didn’t want to be some high-pressure, overachievement freak, either. I didn’t want to be one of those parents. On one hand, I had friends who were signing with their kids and said it was great.  On the other hand, people shared awful stories of sign language retarding children’s speech and parents standing in front of their 4-year-olds begging, “Milk!!!  Can you just SAY milk?!?!?”

I bought the Signing Time DVDs.  I waffled on the topic.  I consulted Robin, who was lukewarm.  Miles and I watched the DVDs occasionally, but I didn’t commit to practicing the signs in everyday life. We were at an impasse for a couple months.  And ultimately, I made the decision the way most important parenting decisions are made: in a moment of desperation. 

During a weeklong bout of the flu, with a sad and peaked Miles hanging all over my sad and haggard self, I started playing the Signing Time DVD every day.  (Okay, sometimes twice a day.)  Miles liked it, and it kept him engaged for twenty minutes or so.  Before I knew it, we were all signing like maniacs.  And now we are completely, zealously hooked.

How can I explain the awesomeness of communicating with a 16-month-old?  Perhaps with an example.  He runs over to the bed where our cat is all curled up and, smiling at me, signs a two-word sentence, “cat sleeping.”

“Yes Miles, Luna is sleeping,” I say.  “We don’t bother her when she’s sleeping.”   And he smiles, signs “sleep” a few more times, and moves on.

Signing  has changed the way he looks at books.  He studies the pages intently for familiar images, then points ecstatically and signs “ball” or “bird” or “cat” or “food.”  He sometimes “reads” like this for twenty minutes at a time by himself (miracle!), poring through the pages.

Signing often lets me know what Miles is thinking about.  We’ll be sitting around doing something, maybe finishing lunch, and he’ll look thoughtful and start making the sign for baby. “Okay, Miles, go get your baby doll,” I say.  And he runs into our bedroom and pulls the doll out of its bin, squeezing and rocking it blissfully.  When he is hungry, he walks to into the kitchen signing “food.”  When he is thirsty, he bangs on the refrigerator and signs “milk” or “water”, depending on what he wants.

And he’s talking up a storm!  I have no way of knowing whether he’s talking more or less than he would otherwise — there’s no control group when you raise your kid, so there’s no looking back — but his talk is just delightful.  When he’s really jazzed about something, he says it and signs it at the same time.   A million times a day he approaches me saying, “Book?  Book?  Book?  Book!” as his little hands press together and apart, like he’s opening and closing a book.  If I don’t get the point, he signs “read,” picks up the book, and hands it to me. 

“Dog” is another one he likes to both sign and say, and “cat.”  In the morning, when Robin is trying to get ready for work, he follows her around signing and saying, “Ball! Ball? Ball!  Ball-Ball-Ball!!!”  And, astoundingly the other morning, “Momma, ball!” 

Other sign-and-say words include shoes, bird, bath.  Several words he signs but can’t say very clearly — milk, hurt, water, baby, doll, car, sleep, drink, sorry, thank you, potty and train come to mind, though there are more.   And some words he just says and we never sign.  For one thing, he says “teeth” because his latest passion is brushing his teeth.  He says “spoon” and “bowl.”  He also says “cheese” quite clearly and politely.  I wish you could hear him.  “Cheese? Cheese?”

And, best of all, he has made up a few signs himself.  Phone is a hand to the ear and a questioning sound, like “Eh?”  Hat is a pat on his own head.  Brush is a brushing motion he makes in his hair with his fingers.  Robin has decided we ought to contact the American Sign Language Association and ask them to add Miles’ signs to the official sign language dictionary.

It’s hard to take pictures of him signing, so I’ll just leave you with some other gems.

Hanging window shades.

 

Spitting in the sink.

Practicing yoga.

 

Fedora!

And, because there’s no such thing as too much fedora…

"Hat!"

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About a boy.

He trips heading into the kitchen and knocks his forehead against the doorway.  He topples while squatting to examine the grain of the hardwood floor.  He tumbles headlong from the couch while practicing, for the 38th time, his dismount.  All completely normal toddler mishaps.  Yet as I watch the latest knot form on his forehead, a matching knot forms in my stomach. 

“No falling until Saturday,” I’ve been telling Miles, trailing fretfully after him.  “Remember, we currently have a no-falling policy.  So try taking fewer risks this week, please.”

I’m not normally so hovery and intense.  Falling is part of walking, after all.  But tomorrow, a woman from the court — a probation officer, actually — is coming for a home visit.  This is a routine part of the process of Robin adopting Miles.

 Robin, what?!?  Adopting, huh?!  It seems weird, I know, because she is indisputably his mom, but Robin has to formally adopt Miles in order to be his parent in the eyes of the state of New York.  We’ve known this for a long time, and we’ve mostly just gritted our teeth and accepted it.  We want to have as many legal protections as a family as we can.  In addition to being domestic partners in the city of New York (the state does not offer a domestic partnership),  we have gone through all sorts of legal hoopla to have power of attorney, medical proxy, wills, and whatever else we could think of to approximate the many financial, property and inheritance rights of marriage. 

Adoption is the final step in Robin’s legal relationship with Miles.  And this home visit is the final step in the adoption.  In a way, coming this far is a victory about which I should be happy and relieved.  For most of the process, I’ve managed to stay matter-of-fact.  Okay, yeah, it bugged me that we both had to submit personal letters of reference to the court.  (Yes, both of us.  Although I am biologically Miles’ mother, I had to ask three friends of mine to write letters stating that I am responsible, lovely and good with children.)  And yeah, it was a pain that we both had to be examined by doctors to show that we are in good health.  And get fingerprinted at a police station.  And have Miles certified healthy.  And submit copies of our driver’s licenses, multiple official copies of our birth certificates, copies of our social security cards, check stubs, tax information, letters of employment, and so on ad nauseum.  It bothered me.  I complained a little.   

But this home visit is messing with my mind.  All I know is that a probation officer is coming to our house tomorrow and that she will check for certain safety measures (window guards, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher) and ask us for more paperwork.  And that she has the power to say that we do or do not have a suitable home.  That’s all I know. 

Will she be charming, reassuring and perfunctory?  Like, “Oh gosh, I can tell you guys are nice folks, enjoy your baby.”  Or will she be rigid and businesslike?  Like, “I see here that your smoke detector has a flashing red light rather than a steady red light.  Adoption denied.”  Or will she be suspicious and nosy?  Like, “Where did he get those bruises on his forehead? And by the way, can I see the inside of your microwave?”

All this week, my imagination has run wild with unlikely scenarios.  I’ve pictured her weighing him and looking in our cupboards to see what we feed him.  (“He’s a bit slim,” she might say, pursing her lips.)  Watching us diaper him to make sure we’re doing it right.  (“Do you always use only two wipes?  Interesting.”) Or examining him all over for bruises or marks. Quizzing us on his sleep habits.  Finding fault with our drafty windows.  Telling us our that, dear God, our Christmas tree is a hazard and why didn’t we know that?  What are we, idiots?  Why did they let us have this baby anyway??

I know I’m insane.  But it’s hard, not knowing exactly what she’ll be checking for.  It’s like trying to prepare for a test that could possibly be about all of Russian history — or might focus minutely on 18th century Russian hats.  And if you fail the test, you get to keep being Not A Real Family.  So I’m rushing around cleaning, yanking Miles down from high places, begging the landlady to please please install window guards on the two windows that don’t have them, and casting a suspicious eye at our carbon monoxide detector.  Is it adequate?  Is it correctly placed?  Should we install five more?

Meanwhile, under the panic is a growing fury.  All this because we can’t get married.  I understand that the rigmarole surrounding adoptions is meant to ensure that children are going to good, safe homes.  Through most of this madness, I have kept my mind on that.  But this week, I’m grappling with the reality of a mysterious authority figure coming into our home and judging us.  It’s making me very, very angry. 

Why are we going through this and spending tons of money on, frankly, a pretty crappy lawyer?  Why has Miles spent the first year-plus of his life with only one legal parent despite the fact that he lives with two parents?  Why was Robin unable to sign any of the consent forms when Miles had minor surgery a few months ago?  Why?  Because we can’t get married.  And why can’t we get married?  Because people are bigoted, afraid, judgmental, traditional, grossed out and narrow-minded. 

But you can get married! , I can hear some people thinking.  You can get married in Connecticut!  Or Canada!  Isn’t that lovely?  Yes, it’s very sweet and cute that we can get married in five states; Washington, D.C.; and ten countries.  Each time another state or country legalizes gay marriage, I cheer.  Maybe if we hadn’t already had TWO weddings (long story), we would have enjoyed the sweetness and cuteness of another.  And if getting legally married somewhere would make Robin’s parenthood clearly legally defined in all places, we’d do that for sure.

But in fact, getting married in Canada or Spain or Iowa would not help us avoid the need to adopt because it would not necessarily make Robin Miles’ legal parent in New York.  (State agencies would recognize our marriage, but private companies would not have to.  So, for example, Robin’s health insurer through work might not have to recognize Miles as her child.) And of course, perhaps even more important, it would not result in legal recognition of our family unit from the federal government. 

The legal issues are like a bizarre word problem in math class.**  If two American lesbians who are residents of New York City get married in Sweden and one of them has a  baby and then they move to California, what are their rights?  Are they married or unmarried, and whose baby is it anyway? Absurdly, if we got legally married, we would be in the odd position of being married (and Robin a parent) in some places but not in others.  Robin’s motherhood might be recognized in New Hampshire but debated in Arizona.  On a cross-country drive, we could be married and unmarried half a dozen times!  

Is it absurd that Robin has to apply to be a parent to her own child?  Yes.  Is it invasive that someone is going to scrutinize our home and our lives?  Of course.  Yet we want Miles to have the security of having a legal tie to both of us.  So tomorrow I will grit my teeth, answer the door and smile.  I will hand over my tax information for 2009 and a photocopy of my driver’s license ever so cheerfully.  Until then I reserve the right to be annoyed, anxious and slightly bitter. 

I think we need a party when this is over.

A family of three.

 

** Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer.  Don’t rely on what I say here!

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The other day I tried to stage some photos for our holiday card.  (Yes, we’re going to be Those People and send out cards with photos of our baby looking festive.  Just go with it.  And if you want one, please send me your address.)  I put Miles in a green striped sweater and positioned him near a sunny window, in a rocking chair.  Usually, I just let the photos come naturally, but this time even Miles could tell I was forcing it. 

“Miles, look innocent and holidayish,” I commanded.

He rewarded me with this gem of an expression.

Satan baby.

“Okay, one more time.  You can do it!” I enthused.  “Think snowflakes, wonder, gifts, family, Santa, doves, yada yada.”  I lifted the camera.  And Miles did his best impression of the Bad Seed.

Wicked fun.

“Miles, really.  I said look innocent.  Let’s try again.”

Miles heaved a sigh and slumped down miserably.

Joy, shmoy.

Clearly, Miles was not feeling it.  Couldn’t he be festive on demand?!  I needed my perfect holiday-card photo.  Couldn’t he embody all that is pure and gorgeous and ideal about the holidays?  Is that so much to ask, I beg of you? 

Apparently, however, it is.  He’s a baby, not a symbol.  I got a couple of nice shots.  I even thought I got The One.  But ultimately, for the cards (we made two different ones), we chose photos from a few weeks ago.  They have both been published on the blog already, so they are clearly not “holiday” photos.  But they are authentically joyful, tender moments that I had been just lucky enough to catch because I happened to be paying attention.  They’re photos that capture the Miles-ness of Miles, just as he is. 

Okay, this might be gag-a-licious, but I’d like to see a lesson here.  This holiday season, maybe I won’t try to orchestrate perfection.  Maybe I won’t hold up in my mind an image of unblemished beauty and togetherness, only to feel crestfallen when life is messy and full of petty irritations. 

It’s difficult, isn’t it?  We have this idea in our minds of what the holidays should be.  The pressure is on to feel loved, to achieve harmony, to recreate for ourselves and for others that magical childhood potion of anticipation, frenzy and satiety. That pressure is why so many people hate the holidays — because life falls short, because family wounds surface, because we feel absolutely nauseated by television commercials telling us to buy diamonds and cars and sweaters, oh my.

What if, just for this year, I could be open to experiencing the holidays just as they are?  What if I could be a patient, loving observer of myself and my family members?  What if I could capture and watch the moments as they unfold, even the unhappy ones?  The stressed out why-did-I-come-to-the-mall ones?  The everyone-is-being-crazy-and-driving me ape-sh*t-bonkers ones?  The this-gift-is-so-not-what-I-wanted ones?  The my-cookies-are-burned-and-my-fudge-is-runny ones?  What a crazy idea!  Just experiencing the holidays as they are and not projecting my desires onto them?  Have I been reading too many books by Jon Kabat-Zinn?  Um, yes, I have.  But why the heck not?  It could be fun.  If nothing else, the pressure would be off.

Okay, enough crazy talk.  Here are the rest of the photos.  Do they capture the essence of the holiday?  No.  They capture the essence of a boy being plonked into a rocking chair on a sunny morning.  And they are absolutely perfect.

Here and now.

 

My darling Clementine.

 

Green, gray, orange.

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Want another reason to be happy about Fall?  Well, in addition to abundant in-season apples and lower electric bills, I give you… overalls!  These two pairs are hand-me-downs from beloved cousins Matthew and Cash. 

All aboard!

Hey, what's going on outside?

Now, this was obviously a really quick blog entry.  Yet while I was working on it, Miles took the opportunity to catch up on a little paperwork.  Ahem. 

Organizing Mommy's cookbooks and recipes.

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